Wappingers Falls, N.Y. – The end of the year is always a time to look back and reflect on the year that was, and we wanted to get in the spirit and celebrate the top 10 moments of 2022. The only problem is that there were too many to pick
Wappingers Falls, N.Y. – The end of the year is always a time to look back and reflect on the year that was, and we wanted to get in the spirit and celebrate the top 10 moments of 2022. The only problem is that there were too many to pick from. So instead of making a hard choice to leave deserving moments out, we made the easier choice to celebrate the top 12 moments instead.
We've already shared moments No. 12 through 9 with you, so let's get to the next batch: Moments No. 8 through 5 from 2022!
No. 8 – Re-writing the record books
In year two of the Renegades being a full-season affiliate of the Yankees, it is not a surprise that a ton of team records fell. Three of the most notable was Everson Pereira breaking the team’s career home runs record, Matt Sauer breaking the team’s all-time strikeouts record, and Cooper Bowman setting a new record for most stolen bases.
Pereira hit his 23rd home run across two seasons with Hudson Valley in his final game as a Renegade on July 12 against Greenville. The record-breaker was a go-ahead two-run shot off Drive starter Shane Drohan, and propelled him past Dan Grummitt’s team record of 22 set in 1999. After a 35-game homerless drought in April and May, Pereira crushed eight long balls in his last 34 games with the Gades, earning his call up to Double-A.
After rolling up 51 strikeouts in 2021, Sauer added another 100 in 2022 before his promotion to Double-A to become the Gades all-time strikeout leader. On June 15 in Greensboro, Sauer surpassed 2021 Renegade Mitch Spence’s franchise record with his 119th of his career. It was the last of five strikeouts on the game for Sauer, freezing Yoyner Fajardo for a called third strike. He continued to rack up strikeouts for another few weeks before an early August promotion to Somerset. By season’s end, left-hander Edgar Barclay also passed Spence and sits second on the all-time list with 125.
As June and July heated up, it became clear that there was a two-man race between Bowman and James Nelson to break the Renegades’ all-time stolen base record. Nelson had a head start from playing for the Gades in 2021, but Bowman got off to a torrid start on the bases, stealing 12 bags in April and another eight in May. On July 15 against the Greenville Drive, Bowman stole his 34th base of the season, breaking Jake Fraley’s single season and career record of 33 set in 2016. He added one more bag to his tally before he was traded to the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline in the Frankie Montas deal. Nelson ultimately finished his Renegades career with 32 steals, but more on him later in the countdown.
No. 7 – Hardman comes through in a pinch
Early in the first half, the Aberdeen IronBirds were the best team in the SAL North Division. In mid-May they rolled into Dutchess Stadium for the first series of the season between the teams. After falling on Tuesday, the Gades trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Spencer Henson drove in Pat DeMarco to cut the deficit to 5-4, but then reliever Nick Roth struck out Eduardo Torrealba for the second out of the inning. Manager Tyson Blaser called on Tyler Hardman to pinch hit for Aaron Palensky, who was mired in a deep slump.
Hardman swung at a 1-0 fastball and drove it over the centerfield wall for a go-ahead two-run homer. The Renegades held on for a 6-5 victory – a huge highlight amid a tough month. Though Carlos Narvaez would also hit a pinch hit home run for Hudson Valley this season, Hardman’s was the first pinch hit home run for the team since records are readily available online (since 2005). That was just Hardman’s second home run of the season, and he would ultimately finish with a team-leading 22.
No. 6 – Sikkema dominates in final two appearances
Having pitched in only four games since he was drafted in 2019, left-hander T.J. Sikkema was finally healthy heading into 2022 and many were hopeful after a strong showing in spring training. After a minor forearm injury saw him miss April out of an abundance of caution, he pitched well throughout May and June.
It was planned to move him to the bullpen in mid-July to manage his innings after missing two whole seasons. In his first relief outing on July 10 at Jersey Shore, Sikkema turned in one of the best individual outings by a Renegades pitcher in 2022. He threw 5.0 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 11, walking one and allowing only two hits and one unearned run (an automatic runner in the 10th). At one point he retired 12 straight batters and didn’t allow a hit until his final inning.
Pressed back into the starting rotation, six days later Sikkema took the mound at The Dutch against the Greenville Drive and struck out 10 batters in 5.1 innings of work. The southpaw set down the first 14 batters he faced before hitting Gilberto Jimenez with a pitch in the fifth. He allowed his only walk and only hit in the sixth, ultimately leading to a run before he was replaced by Carlos Gomez. Across those two games, Sikkema threw 10.1 innings, striking out 21, walking two and allowing only three singles. Sadly, these games would be his last two with the Renegades, as he was traded to Kansas City as part of the Andrew Benintendi trade and finished the year with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
No. 5 – Running wild in Jersey Shore
In addition to Bowman’s record-setting stolen base performance, the Gades shattered every meaningful stolen base record in team history this season. They stole 230 bases as a team, by far the most in team history, and on Wednesday, July 6, they set three new marks in one game.
It started in the first inning when Trey Sweeney was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and then stole second base. Following a Bowman walk, the pair executed a double steal and the Gades were off and running. In the fourth inning, Anthony Seigler stole second, third and home in the same inning, with the final swipe coming on a double steal with James Nelson.
In the seventh, Carlos Narvaez stole third base for the Renegades’ 150th stolen base of the season, setting the new single season team record. Aaron Palensky, Everson Pereira and Seigler also stole bases in the frame, giving the Gades 11 steals in 11 attempts on the game. Seigler’s four steals were the most in a single game by a Renegade since 2005.
The 11 steals were the most in a single game in team history, and the most by a South Atlantic League team since the Rome Braves stole 10 bases against the Charleston RiverDogs on July 1, 2013. No SAL team has stolen 11 bases since at least 2004, and only three full-season teams across all of Minor League Baseball have matched that number since the start of the 2005 season.
Stay tuned for the final installment coming soon!