Renegades Retain State Championship With Backs Against The Wall

They won it last year as 9-year-olds, but Newtown Renegades Coach Adam Taylor says it wasn’t only the experience factor that paid off in the team winning the U10 state title this spring. The combination of the familiarity level of seven returning players and how well they meshed with six squad newcomers was significant in the team’s success.

The Newtown Renegades overcame a first round loss in the double elimination tournament to win six straight contests, culminating with 10-4 and 3-1 wins over New Canaan at New Fairfield’s Tegmier Field on July 12 and 13. The Renegades not only kept a hold on the state crown, but also avenged their state tourney opening game loss to New Canaan.

Newtown outlasted New Fairfield 5-3, got past New Milford 6-5, and South Meriden 8-7, and out-slugged Danbury 17-13 in extra innings en route to the rematch with New Canaan.

“They gelled immediately and they’re good friends. They’re very good teammates — they rely on each other, they push each other to achieve; they have high expectations of each other,” Taylor said.

In the first game of the second go-around with New Canaan, the Renegades forced a decisive third overall clash between the two teams by jumping out to an early lead and never looking back.

Newtown took a 6-0 lead in the first inning on a double from Matt Bradbury and two hard-hit singles from Jared Dunn and John Godino, the latter of whom pitched a complete game in the 10-4 win.

In the next day’s game, for all of the marbles, New Canaan jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first, but the Renegades came back to score three in the third behind a double from Dillon Robinson, two well-hit singles from Liam Murphy and Bradbury, and a double from Joey Rios. Jack Street pitched a complete game for the win.

Bradbury excelled behind the plate for the Renegades, working every inning of every game and bringing a strong bat to the plate. Connor Haywood and Rios homered in the extra-inning game against Danbury. Rios shut down New Fairfield, New Milford, South Meriden, and Danbury in relief efforts.

The Renegades performed admirably under pressure. Upon losing the tourney opener, they were in a win-or-go-home situation.

“To win six straight was an incredible accomplishment for the kids. They had to battle back all the way through,” Coach Taylor said. “We had our backs to the wall the entire tournament.”

Taylor added that players from up and down the roster made big contributions. “It really was a true team effort.”

Newtown goes on to compete in the Cal Ripken New England Regional Tournament in Cranston, R.I. this weekend. The Renegades are playing for the right to represent New England in the U10 World Series.

Last year, the team placed third in New England.

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