By A.J. Martelli
The Hudson Valley Renegades have been battling a case of inconsistency lately, losing four of their last five games entering Saturday night’s showdown at Dutchess Stadium. But a four-run sixth inning and some fantastic pitching proved to be the cure for Hudson Valley, as the Renegades got back on the winning side by beating the Lowell Spinners 6-1.
The Gades, although becoming the first team in the New York-Penn League to reach 40 wins with their 6-2 victory last Wednesday over Tri-City, had lost Friday night’s game to the Spinners 5-0. Yet they went in the next night with a fresh mentality.
“New day – same team obviously, but we were just able to capitalize on some things,” said first baseman Casey Gillaspie, who powered the Renegades with two RBIs and will be one of seven representatives from Hudson Valley in tonight’s All-Star Game in Brooklyn. “Every day is different; tonight was just one of those nights and hopefully we can do it again.
“It’s always good to get a win under our belts, but hopefully we can continue to play well.”
The Renegades were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but quickly put the game out of reach. Left fielder Hunter Lockwood drew a leadoff walk and came home on a booming RBI triple into the right-centerfield gap by second baseman Jace Conrad – who then scored on a wild pitch.
Center fielder Coty Blanchard later ripped an RBI single, and Gillaspie legged out an infield single to scrape Braxton Lee across. The Renegades sent nine men to the plate in their explosive sixth inning.
“It’s baseball; we’ve been down a little bit,” said Renegades manager Tim Parenton. “The last week we’ve been down swinging it – making contact but not hard contact. But when a couple (of hits) fall, the guys start believing and that’s what happened tonight.”
Gillaspie started the Renegades off with an RBI double in the first inning, and came around to score on an RBI single off the bat of third baseman Grant Kay. Hudson Valley held a 2-0 lead until the sixth, when the Spinners scored their lone run on an RBI sac fly by Mauricio Duban.
Lowell struggled to get anything going offensively on account of the lights-out pitching of Eli Echarry. Echarry took Nolan Gannon’s slot in the rotation because Gannon will be throwing in tonight’s All-Star Game.
Filling in for Gannon nicely, Echarry tossed five innings in his spot start, allowing no runs on two hits. He didn’t issue a walk and struck out six to pick up his second win this season, which pleased Parenton.
“He’s done well for us all year, he goes out to the mound and throws strikes,” he said of Echarry. “The bottom line is, if you don’t walk guys you’re going to do well. He threw strikes and used three pitches; threw his fastball, his curveball and his changeup over the plate. He did a great job for us.”
Reliever Darren Fischer let up the Spinners’ only run in the sixth, while Justin McCalvin tossed three scoreless frames to not only push the Renegades to 41-21 on the season and 23-7 at home, but pick up a save – his second of the year.
After the All-Star Game the Gades will travel to Aberdeen and Connecticut, not to return home until Monday for the final home stand of the regular season.
“We just have to play to the end of the year,” Parenton added. “Once you play to the end, the playoffs start, and you see what happens.”