Hudson Valley Renegades: McKay’s A Hero As Gades Take Game One
Tuesday night may have been “McKay Day” on the mound but it was his bat that made an impact on Wednesday night. Brendan McKay’s walk-off sac fly in the bottom of the 13th inning helped the Hudson Valley Renegades defeat the Vermont Lake Monsters in game one of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
The Renegades and Lake Monsters had two very different paths to the championship. Vermont breezed through their division and swept their opponent in the semifinals. Hudson Valley, however, rode a late season hot streak into a Wild Card spot and relied on timely hitting and stellar pitching to find themselves in the championship series. The two squared off in game one of the series on Wednesday night at Dutchess Stadium.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Renegades third baseman Deion Tansel lined a double to left and was moved to third on a McKay ground ball. Catcher Zac Law delivered the game’s first run with a RBI single between short and third, giving the Hudson Valley Renegades a 1-0 lead.
Vermont quickly struck back with back-to-back doubles by Lana Akau and Will Toffey, tying the game at one. The Renegades quickly gained the lead back in the fifth off a Tyler Walls double that brought home, Justin Bridgman.
The Lake Monsters answered quickly again with a leadoff double by Logan Farrar in the top of the sixth. Aaron Arruda brought him home on a sinking line drive that got past Oscar Rojas and rolled all the way to the wall. Arruda slid in with a triple and the game was knotted at two.
Tied at is where it would stay for the next seven innings, as both teams’ bullpens went to work. After 5.2 innings of two-run ball from Austin Franklin, the Renegades sent Hunter Schryver, Zack Mozingo, and Ivan Pelaez to the mound in relief. The three combined for 7.1 scoreless innings, allowed six hits, a walk, and struck out six.
In the top of the 12th, catcher Zac Law made one of the best plays you’ll ever see a catcher make. Farrar grounded a ball to second baseman Vidal Brujan, whose throw went wide left and rolled towards the dugout. Law, who was backing up the play, chased down the ball, sprinted to first and made an all-out dive to tag out Farrar, who had made too big of a turnaround first. The play fired up the crowd and the Renegades dugout and shifted the momentum in their favor.
Taylor Walls started off the bottom of the 13th with a line drive single to left. Carl Chester was then hit by a pitch and a perfectly executed sac bunt by Tansel put runners on second and third with one out. Already with multiple late-inning heroics for the Renegades this season, McKay stepped up to the plate with a chance to win the game. He did just that, sending a deep fly ball to right and bringing Walls home on the walk-off sac fly.
Pelaez was credited with the win after three shut-out innings while Oscar Tovar was tagged with the loss.
It was the second extra inning walk-off win for the Renegades in the postseason, the first a walk-off three-run home run by Zac Law in game one of the semifinals. The victory brings the Hudson Valley Renegades just one win away from a championship. The two teams will head to Vermont for game two on Thursday night, and game three on Friday night, if needed.