FISHKILL, NY --- Brendan McKay's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th inning scored Taylor Walls with the walkoff run as the Hudson Valley Renegades took Game 1 of the best-of-three New York-Penn League Championship Series with a 3-2 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters Wednesday night at Dutchess Stadium.
Walls led off the bottom of the 13th with a line drive single to left and advanced to second when Carl Chester was hit by a pitch from Lake Monsters reliever Oscaar Tovar (0-1). After a sacrifice bunt by Deion Tansel moved the runners to second and third, McKay hit a 1-0 pitch from Logan Salow deep to rightfield to score Walls easily from third.
It was the ninth walkoff loss of the season for Vermont, including the fourth in just seven games played this season at Hudson Valley. Including the regular season, the Lake Monsters are now 14-18 in one-run games (17 of Vermont's last 27 losses by just one run) and 3-9 in extra-inning games (0-7 on the road.
Hudson Valley had taken a 1-0 lead in bottom of fourth on a Tansel one-out double and Zacrey Law two-out RBI single to left. The run snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak for Vermont pitchers dating back to a third-inning run by Mahoning Valley in Game 1 of the semifinal series on Saturday.
Vermont quickly tied the game in top of fifth on back-to-back two-out doubles from Lana Akau and Will Toffey before the Renegades again took a one-run lead in bottom of inning on Justin Bridgman one-out single and a Walls two-out RBI line drive double down rightfield line.
But for the second inning in a row the Lake Monsters retied the game as Logan Farrar led off the sixth with a double and came around to score with two outs when Aaron Arruda tripled past rightfielder Angel Perez, who had tried to make a shoestring catch of a blooper from Arruda.
The Renegades threatened in the bottom of the sixth as a single, passed ball and groundout put Tansel on third base with one out, but reliever Heath Donica escaped with a strikeout and groundout keeping the game tied 2-2.
Lake Monsters best scoring chance came in the ninth as Aaron Arruda led off with a single and when Payton Squier followed with a lineout to short, the throw to first to try and double off pinch runner Mickey McDonald was wild advancing McDonald to third. But a Javier Godard popout and Lana Akau strikeout ended threat.
Vermont also put the potential tying run on second base with two outs in the 10th and one out in the 11th inning, but were unable to get the breakthrough hit. The Lake Monsters finished the game 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while the Renegades were 2-for-8.
Farrar was 3-for-6 with a run scored and double for Vermont, while Arruda 2-for-4 with the RBI triple and Hunter Hargrove 2-for-2 off the bench as the Lake Monsters outhit the Renegades 14-9. Walls and Tansel both had two hits for Hudson Valley, while Ivan Pelaez (1-0) three hits allowed over three scoreless innings to earn the win.
Vermont starter Jean Ruiz was charged with two runs on five hits with two strikeouts over the first five innings, while the Lake Monsters bullpen (who allowed one run over 11 innings in the two semifinal wins) allowed one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 combined innings.
The series now shifts to historic Centennial Field with Game 2 scheduled for 7:05 pm on Thursday night as the Lake Monsters look to even the series one game apiece and the Renegades look to sweep the series. Gates open at 6:00 pm and tickets can be purchased online at www.vermontlakemonsters.com now or in person at the Centennial Field Box Office and by phone (655-6611) starting at 10am Thursday.
Paul Stanfield is the Media Relations Director for the Vermont Lake Monsters.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.