Hudson Valley waited a little while to get going this season, hovering around .500 until reeling off 15 straight wins in mid-August. So it was only natural that it took a bit of time to break out in its playoff opener.
Thirteen innings, to be exact.
Video: Hudson Valley's Law wins it with a home run
Zacrey Law, who hit three homers during the regular season, slugged a three-run blast in the bottom of the 13th to give the Renegades a 5-2 win over Staten Island in Game 1 of the best-of-3 New York-Penn League semifinals at Dutchess Stadium.
"It was nuts, man. I mean 13 innings, our whole season was a microcosm of that game," Hudson Valley manager Craig Albernaz said. "We kept on battling, kept on grinding -- bend but didn't break."
Gameday box score
Hudson Valley took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, with Law driving in Rays No. 3 prospect Brendan McKay with a single to center and coming all the way around to score on Andy Diaz's error.
The Yankees tied it an inning later on Timmy Robinson's solo shot, and the teams remained deadlocked as the game stretched to the 13th.
Carl Chester hit a leadoff single to right field, Deion Tansel sacrificed and McKay was intentionally walked to set the stage for Law. The 2014 23rd-round pick sent the first pitch from Justin Kamplain over the left field fence to set off the celebration.
"Every time you hit a home run it's a big deal, never mind a walk-off home run, never mind in the playoffs, never mind in the 13th inning," Albernaz said. "He's pumped but ready to get back after it tomorrow. That's just the way he was brought up, the way his parents raised him. He's a competitor, just looking forward to the next challenge."
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According to Albernaz, Law was an outfielder before converting to catcher this season. He was 2-for-6 in the Renegades' playoff opener after batting .241 with 27 RBIs in 60 regular-season games.
"He just loves to play baseball. For me being around him, I'm very happy for him," Albernaz said. "As far as him being happy, I mean of course, to do that, and more important to get the win any way we can he's all for it. Just so happens he had the big hit tonight."
Taylor Walls had two hits and two walks out of the ninth spot in the Hudson Valley lineup, while McKay drew three walks.
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Zack Mozingo (1-0) gave up one hit and struck out two over two scoreless innings for the win.
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is Sunday at Staten Island.
In other playoff action:
Vermont 8, Mahoning Valley 3
Logan Farrar belted a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning and Greg Deichman followed with a solo shot as the Lake Monsters took the opener of the other semifinal series. "I saw Deichman on deck and I said, 'Hey, I'm gonna go early here and if I don't get it that's 'cause I'm trusting you behind me to get one, but I'm gonna get one here," Farrar said. "Sure enough, I got it done and he got one right after me. We kind of say among ourselves, 'Don't count out the Monsters.' The whole year, it's been going like that for us. We always find a way."