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Counting Down: Top 12 moments of 2022 (4-1)

A look back at some of the top moments of the past year
December 31, 2022

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, and No. 8 through 5, so now it's time for the final stretch: Moments No. 4 through 1 from the 2022 season!

No. 4 – Dominguez switch-hits home runs in Wilmington

In what turned out to be the final game of the season for the Renegades, uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez went out with a bang, putting together an amazing game. He went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs, and clobbered two home runs. In the third inning with two outs and the bases empty, the switch-hitting Dominguez hit a line drive home run off Wilmington left-hander Dustin Saenz to give the Gades their first run of the game. Later on in the seventh, he connected for a towering solo home run off righty Orlando Ribalta for his second long ball. In doing so, he accomplished the rare feat of hitting home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game.

No. 3 – Nelson hangs on for the catch

In his first five professional seasons, James Nelson had never played a single inning in the outfield. Early in 2022, the Yankees began playing him in left field to introduce some more versatility into his game. On May 15 against Aberdeen, Nelson was playing in just his seventh career game in the outfield when he made one of the best defensive plays of the season in the South Atlantic League. In the top of the second, Billy Cook hit a foul fly ball down the left field line that Nelson raced after.

His left foot stepped on the incline of the bullpen mound in foul territory, then his right foot came down higher and he tripped. As he was falling to the ground, the ball settled in his glove just before he finished his full faceplant on the hard clay surface. He immediately popped up, showed the ball to base umpire J.T. Shaw and flipped it to shortstop Trey Sweeney to relay in to the infield. For a player with minimal experience in the outfield, it was a truly tremendous play.

Sadly, Nelson was released by the Yankees in August, a victim of a numbers crunch. He signed shortly thereafter with the Lexington Legends of the independent Atlantic League and hit .400/.476/.855 with six home runs in 17 games to close out his season.

No. 2 – Fitts flirts with perfection

Though he only appeared in five games with the Renegades, Richard Fitts put together the best single-game pitching performance of the season for the team on August 27 against Hickory. Already a special night as the Renegades were celebrating Veterans Night, Fitts turned it into a game that was extra memorable. As the Gades beat up on Hickory pitching, the right hander from Auburn University mowed the Crawdads down. He took a perfect game into the eighth inning, when Angel Aponte broke it up with a clean single to center field. Keyber Rodriguez followed with an RBI double to break up the shutout, but Fitts finished off the eighth without any further baserunners.

He was the second Renegades pitcher in 2022 to complete 8.0 innings in a start, joining Matt Sauer from an outing in Brooklyn. His final line – two hits, one run, no walks, and seven strikeouts – earned him a nod as South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week. A 6th round pick of the Yankees in 2021, Fitts went 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA, striking out 38 and walking only three in 33.0 innings with the Gades down the stretch.

No. 1 – The Martian lands

Ever since the Yankees signed him at age 16 in 2019, the anticipation to watch Jasson Dominguez play has been palpable in New York. This year, Dominguez began the season with Single-A Tampa before a much-ballyhooed promotion to Hudson Valley after the All-Star Break. When The Martian finally touched down with the Renegades, the team was in Wilmington to start the second half. On Friday, July 22, Dominguez led off and played centerfield for the Gades.

After he struck out and popped out in his first two plate appearances, he singled on a grounder to left field for his first High-A hit. He walked and scored in the eighth, touching off a three-run rally to cut the Blue Rocks lead from 5-1 to 5-4 heading into the ninth. With two outs and no one on base in the top of the ninth, Dominguez faced flame-throwing lefty Jose Ferrer. He hit a rocket home run to right-center off Ferrer to tie the game at 5-5. Although the Renegades ultimately lost 6-5 in extra innings, Dominguez made a huge mark in his first game, foreshadowing a special run for the 19-year-old over the season’s final weeks.

We can't wait to see what magical moments will happen in 2023!