Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Dec. 21, 2023) – Throughout the month of December, we will be counting down the top 12 most-memorable moments of the 2023 season. This year was a magical one for the Renegades, which included unforgettable promo nights, incredible individual performances, and the team’s first playoff berth as
Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Dec. 21, 2023) – Throughout the month of December, we will be counting down the top 12 most-memorable moments of the 2023 season. This year was a magical one for the Renegades, which included unforgettable promo nights, incredible individual performances, and the team’s first playoff berth as a Yankees affiliate.
We have already taken a gander back at 12-10, which you can read here, and 9-7, which you can read here. Let’s continue on our journey today, re-living 6-4.
6. Ben Cowles’ On-Base Streak
The Renegades record book has been almost completely re-written since the team transitioned from playing a short season schedule to a full-season schedule in 2021. However, not all records broken have been the result of that, and Ben Cowles’ incredible 41-game on-base streak during this past season is one of those. From July 4 through Sept. 1, Cowles reached base safely via hit, walk or hit by pitch at least one time in every game, shattering the previous club record.
It started innocently enough with a 1-for-4 performance at Jersey Shore, a two-homer game on July 23 against Brooklyn, and reaching base four times on a hit and three walks on Aug. 16 at Brooklyn. He hit .292/.409/.431 during the streak, raising his batting average 22 points, his on-base percentage 36 points, and his OPS 59 points. On Aug. 26 he officially broke Emeel Salem’s team record by reaching in his 36th straight game when he drew a one out walk against Trey McGough of Aberdeen.
Cowles spent the entire season with the Renegades, playing in a team-leading 106 games, batting .254/.356/.393 with 10 home runs while playing strong defense at second base, third base and shortstop. He also stole 23 bases in 27 tries, second-most on the team behind Spencer Jones’ 35. After the Renegades’ season was over, Cowles was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to finish the season, and went 2-for-9 in limited action.
5. Drew Thorpe’s 13-strikeout performance against Brooklyn
Boiling Drew Thorpe’s unbelievable 2023 season down to one game is a difficult task, and we could easily have made this countdown just a list of the top 12 performances by the right-hander. But in the spirit of spreading the love, this is the only individual performance by Thorpe on our countdown. His performance with the Renegades was legendary. He went 10-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 138 strikeouts, missing winning the South Atlantic League pitching Triple Crown by one strikeout. He set new single-season franchise records for wins and strikeouts, won SAL Pitcher of the Week twice, SAL Pitcher of the Month in June, and was named both SAL and Minor League Baseball Pitching Prospect of the Year after the season.
Perhaps his best start of the season came toward the end of his Renegades career, when he took the ball at Heritage Financial Park on Saturday, July 22 against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Thorpe retired the first 16 Brooklyn batters of the game before Omar De Los Santos singled through the hole at shortstop with one out in the sixth. He was promptly caught stealing by Antonio Gomez. He allowed a double to Alex Ramirez to lead off the seventh, and walked Drake Osborn with one out in the eighth, the only baserunners allowed by Thorpe in the game. Meanwhile he mowed down Cyclones hitters, striking out 13 batters with an assortment of devastating changeups, wicked sliders and overpowering fastballs.
The strikeout total broke a single-game team record, a record he set earlier in the season when he struck out 12 Jersey Shore batters. During this game Thorpe picked up his 10th win of the year to set the single-season wins record and set the single-season strikeout record by passing Mitch Spence. He was named Minor League Prospect of the Week, and appeared with Harold Reynolds on MLB Network for his effort.
4. Make-A-Wish Night
Thus far on our countdown we’ve focused exclusively on baseball moments, but of course the Renegades are about more than that. They are about creating magical experiences that become life-long memories for our entire community. No night embodied that spirit more than the Renegades’ inaugural Make-A-Wish Night on Aug. 23 against Aberdeen which saw the debut of the Lil’ Renegades. In partnership with Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley, the Renegades gave a group of nine local Wish Kids a VIP experience as Renegades for a Day.
The kids came and took pictures in their special Lil’ Renegades uniforms, and got a baseball card set of themselves and the rest of the Lil’ Renegades team. During batting practice, the Lil’ Renegades were stationed down on the field to watch the big Renegades up close, and signed autographs for the players and posed for pictures with them. At the start of the game, they took the field along with the team, and throughout the game players headshots were replaced by the pictures of the Lil’ Renegades. With all of the special pomp and circumstance around the Lil’ Renegades, it would be easy to forget that the night was capped off by a 3-2 walk-off win by the Renegades, when Jesus Rodriguez singled in Jared Serna with the winning run.
Check back next week to see the final installment of the countdown!