Boomer Sooners: Renegades win 15u UNYS Mickey Mantle title, headed to Oklahoma for World Series
|The Troy Renegades 15-and-under baseball team poses for a team picture after winning the Upper New York State Mickey Mantle tournament Sunday at Knickerbacker Park. (Video capture by Will Montgomery - The Record).|
Kris Muller laced two triples and Ryan McGrath pitched a complete game two-hitter against the South Troy Dodgers in Sunday’s 4-0 victory in the Upper New York State 15-and-under Mickey Mantle championship game at Knickerbacker Park. With the win, the Renegades clinched a berth in the American Amateur Baseball Congress’ Ken Griffey Jr. World Series, a national tournament for 15-and-under teams to be played in Owasso, Oklahoma beginning August 3.
Renegades head coach Kevin McGrath asked the team after Saturday evening’s victory over the North Country Athletics who they thought should pitch Sunday morning. Without reservation, Ryan McGrath’s teammates said they wanted him on the mound.
McGrath allowed two hits, struck out two and walked four on 88 pitches over seven innings and never threw more than 16 pitches in a single inning. He threw first pitch strikes to 16 of the 27 batters he faced and relied on his infield defense, inducing 12 ground ball outs.“I was definitely hoping to pitch against them (the Dodgers),” he said. “It’s always a big game when we play against them.”
South Troy starter Mike Carryk went toe-to-toe with McGrath through the first three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. McGrath reached on an infield single – the first hit of the game for either team – and the next batter, Jason Gallacchi, reached base and advanced to second on a throwing error. Muller, a Saratoga Springs native, followed with his first triple of the day, a two-run blast that gave McGrath and the Renegades a bit of breathing room.
“It felt like it was going to come down to the bottom of the seventh,” Muller said. “We thought it was going to be a close game and it was a close game, but we still scored four.”
Muller scored Troy’s third run on a wild pitch and Greg Hotaling’s seventh inning double drove in Greg Ruddy for the Renegades’ fourth tally.
The Renegades were flawless in the field on Sunday, sparked by right fielder Muller’s diving catch in the first inning that robbed South Troy’s Nico Church of a leadoff base hit.
“If it went by me I knew it was going to be a double,” Muller said. “I looked at my glove and saw it in my glove. There is a bumpy hill out there and I didn’t know if I caught it.”
The last five winners of the 15-and-under Upper New York State title have all come from the Collar City. The Lansingburgh Royals won the tournament in 2009 and 2007. South Troy captured the title in 2008 and 2006.
Traveling around the nation for tournaments is nothing new for the Renegades. They won the 13-and-under AABC tournament in Michigan and finished third in a National Amateur Baseball Federation tournament in Lynchburg, Virginia last summer. A few weeks ago, Troy won the NABF 15-and-under Classic in Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s really fun to get together and go away,” Ryan McGrath said. “This is our second trip this year and hopefully we’ll have a good tournament again.”
A few years ago, this group of players joined together in Little League at Spring Youth Baseball. Rather than spread out to the established baseball programs in the area as they grew older, the players chose to stick together. Win by win, that decision is looking better every day.
“It’s another accomplishment for this team,” said Kevin McGrath. “I got together with a group of kids and they wanted to stay together. Anything is possible if you’re willing to put the effort in and it showed.”
Notes: A number of people deserve thanks for the hard work they put in to make these summer baseball tournaments possible. Kevin McGrath said he met up with volunteers from Spring Youth Baseball at 6:15 a.m. Sunday to go borrow equipment from Brunswick. With the help of Joe Henkel from the Lansingburgh Royals, they worked on the field for hours prior to the start of the game to make it the most playable surface possible. Many of the parents and coaches sacrifice a great deal of their time (and vacation at work) to be a part of the teams...and that certainly showed this weekend with all the work that needed to go into this tournament with the rain we received. There are a lot of parents and volunteers doing a lot of hard work in concession stands and with field maintenance behind the scenes every summer and Henkel did a very nice thing by making sure they were recognized during Sunday's game.
Renegades raising funds: Troy Renegades head coach Kevin McGrath admits it is hard asking for money at this point in time, but he is looking for fundraising ideas and/or donations to support his team’s trip to Oklahoma. He may be reached via phone at: 728-7948. Checks made payable to ‘Spring Youth Baseball’ may be sent to McGrath at: 17 Red Rock Road, Troy, NY, 12182.
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