Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Dec. 14, 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. 14, 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. Today we plow forward to numbers 9-7.
9. Aaron Palensky’s massive game in Greenville
Though this countdown is still in its infancy, we’ve already talked a good deal about the Renegades’ series with the Greenville Drive in late April. After a successful season with the Gades in 2022, Aaron Palensky didn’t spend much time with the team in 2023 after getting off to a torrid start, punctuated by his performance on April 26 against the Drive in a 16-2 Hudson Valley win.
Batting eighth in the lineup and playing left field, Palensky was 2-for-3 with a run scored entering the top of the seventh, with the Renegades leading 9-2. With Anthony Garcia at third and Rafael Flores at second, Palensky ripped the first pitch from Robert Kwiatkowski over the wall in left-center for a three-run home run. Then, in the top of the eighth, Palensky came to bat with the bases loaded against Christopher Troye and crushed a grand slam over the Greenville Monster in left for his second homer of the game and extend the Renegades lead to 16-2.
He finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored, two home runs and seven RBIs, tying the Renegades single-game franchise record with two others. This was part of a stretch where Palensky homered in four straight games, and hit six homers in a six game span, being arguably the hottest hitter in baseball at any level. He established himself as a name to watch in the Yankees system, and had amassed 12 home runs by the time he was promoted to Double-A Somerset in late May. Palensky finished the season with a career-high 22 long balls between Hudson Valley, Somerset, and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
8. Eduardo Torrealba and Spencer Henson re-write record books
The last two seasons have been filled with Renegades all-time records falling and in 2023, two of the biggest in club history fell, with Eduardo Torrealba becoming the Renegades’ all-time hits leader and Spencer Henson homering on the final day of the regular season to become the all-time home run king.
The veteran Torrealba suited up for the Renegades across parts of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons to become the hit king. On July 7 at Jersey Shore, Torrealba led off the top of the fifth with a double off Rafael Marcano to tie Angel Perez for first place with his 125th hit. Later on that night, he lined a single to left-center off Konnor Ash for his 126th hit, to establish a new club record. He finished his Renegades career with 134 hits across 166 games, another team record.
In the wild regular season finale against Jersey Shore at Heritage Financial Park, Henson blasted his 24th career home run with the Renegades to break a tie with Everson Pereira and Grant Richardson for the all-time home run lead. Leading off the seventh against Carlos Betancourt, Henson delivered a classic homer for him, a missile line drive to left field which tied the game at 7-7. The Renegades eventually took the lead that inning on a Kyle Battle home run, but the BlueClaws worked to tie the game and send it to extra innings, where they prevailed 10-9 after catcher Juan Crisp had to pitch for the Gades.
Henson’s home run was a huge part of that game for the Renegades, and was a cap on a strong season for the first baseman. After struggling to start 2022 and splitting playing time at first, he had a great bounce-back year, setting new career highs in hits, doubles, home runs, and RBIs, while raising his OPS by 84 points. He was one of the most important players in the lineup, and was well liked in the clubhouse for his sense of humor. Henson finished the 2023 season as the Renegades all-time leader in home runs, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases, runs scored, RBIs and hit by pitches.
7. North Division Championship Series Game 3
With the Renegades in the playoffs for the first time as a Yankees affiliate, they played the best-of-three North Division Championship Series with the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the team they had just finished playing the regular season against. The BlueClaws won Game 1 at home before the Renegades took Game 2 at Heritage Financial Park, setting up a winner-take-all Game 3 on Sept. 15.
Jersey Shore took an early lead with a run in the top of the first against Brock Selvidge thanks to a one-out double from Otto Kemp, who scored on a Felix Reyes RBI single. However, the Renegades struck back to tie the game in the bottom of the first when Ben Cowles scored on a Marcano wild pitch, and took the lead on a Cowles sacrifice fly in the second. Another sac fly, this time from Alexander Vargas in the fourth, extended the lead to 3-1.
Leandro Pineda drove in Reyes with a single in the sixth off Selvidge to cut the lead to 3-2. In the top of the eighth, the BlueClaws loaded the bases against Cole Ayers with one out. Geoff Gilbert came out of the bullpen in his Renegades debut and struck out Pineda and Anthony Quirion back-to-back to end the inning.
In the ninth, Gilbert retired the BlueClaws 1-2-3 to save the game and send the Renegades to the South Atlantic Championship Series. It was the first playoff series win for Hudson Valley since 2018.
Check back next week to see 6-4!