-The Tri-City ValleyCats and the Hudson Valley Renegades have played some classic games this year, evenly splitting the six games against each other during the regular season. The fans at Dutchess Stadium were treated to another unforgetable match between these two juggernauts, as the Renegades capitalized on a late three-run home run in the eighth to even the series at one apiece.
The 'Cats got off to a quick start, scoring almost immediately off Renegades starter Jesse Hahn. After Joe Sclafani struck out looking, Catfish Elkins would hit an infield single and come around on Preston Tucker's double to the left-center field gap. Tri-City could not bring in Tucker, but had a 1-0 lead after just half an inning.
ValleyCats starter Aaron West was back up to his old tricks again. After a rocky game one start against the Auburn Doubledays in the semi-final round, the former Husky set down the first 15 Renegades in-a-row.
Jake DePew reached first base, the first time for any Renegade hitter, in the bottom of the sixth on a throwing error by Sclafani. Joel Caminero would single to center, and both runners would move 90-feet on the ground out to first base by Joey Rickard. Both runners would come around to score on the two-RBI single by Tommy Coyle, tying the game. Both runs off West were unearned.
Jamaine Cotton relieved West to start the bottom of the seventh inning, and would work out of a runners-on-the-corners jam. But he would run into more trouble the next inning.
Caminero would single up the middle to lead-off the inning. Rickard sacrificed himself, bunting down the first base line to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. ValleyCats Manager Stubby Clapp would walk Coyle to put the double play in effect, giving the 'Cats the chance to end the inning on one swing of the bat. Instead, one swing essentially ended this game. Richie Shaffer turned on the first pitch he saw and unloaded a three-run home run into the woods in left field, giving the Renegades the late 5-2 lead.
The ValleyCats could not get a base runner on in the ninth, thus extending the season one more game.
The 'Cats and 'Gades will square off from Dutchess Stadium in game three of the best-of-three championship series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on www.tcvalleycats.com