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Remembering 2012: Most memorable “War of The Roses” victories

It may be the slowest time of  year for Revolution news, but we still have plenty to post here in case you missed anything during the season.  As we did last year, we’ll be posting a different column at the beginning of each week from the past season of the York Revolutionary Times in case you missed an issue at the ballpark.

Darrell Henry’s Top 10 War of the Roses Victories
The Revolution broadcaster looks back at his favorite moments from the first 99 meetings in this rivalry

The first meeting between the York Revolution and Lancaster Barnstormers this past June marked the 100th regular season meeting in the new “War of The Roses” series.  So with that in mind, we wanted to take a look back and revisit some of our greatest moments in the history of Revolution vs. Barnstormers.

It’s a rivalry that has already included an epic postseason series, down-to-the-wire battles for Community Cup rights, record-setting offensive performances, great pitching duels and a little bit of everything else.

There were some tough decisions here.  And decisions aren’t my strength.  Which Revs shirt to wear?  What to eat?  This wasn’t easy; I tried to use some reasoning to come to my conclusions.  Each postseason win has its own spot in the top 10, those are the most sacred.  Here is my top 10 Revolution wins in “War of The Roses” series history. 

#10. May 18, 2008, 5-4 win at Sovereign Bank Stadium
There is nothing more exciting than winning at home in a last at-bat situation, and this was the first such occurrence in “War of The Roses” history.  Trailing in the ninth inning and in the midst of a difficult stretch to begin the season, the Revs were in need of a highlight, and they got one.  They also nearly had the first walk-off home run in club history, twice.  After Kevin Kotch parked one onto the clubhouse roof, albeit foul, the young backup catcher took his walk and allowed Kenny Perez to be the hero, driving one off the right field wall for a walk-off double, giving York a 5-4 win, and setting off a wild celebration in the infield.  It also set off a wild celebration in the broadcast booth. 

I had tickets to see Van Halen in Hershey that night, and K.P.’s walk-off knock allowed me to get there on time.  The only time I was perhaps even happier to see a game end was June 3, 2010 when Ian Bladergroen (you’ll see his name again in a bit) hit a walk-off homer in the 13th against Somerset ending a long day game.  That night I had Calder Cup Finals tickets in Hershey.  I was sweating that one a bit.  I considered giving the nod for #10 to Matt Padgett whose ninth inning grand slam propelled York to a 10-5 win in Lancaster on July 5, 2009, but figured the walk-off at home was more memorable.

#9. September 12, 2010, 9-8 win in 10 innings at Sovereign Bank Stadium
Fan Appreciation Night.  The final regular season home game of the 2010 season.  The final home game before the playoffs.  What better way to wrap up the home schedule than with a blown call?

After coming back from a big deficit early in the game, York, gearing up for the playoffs, took Lancaster, playing out the string and itching with excitement for the season to just end already, to extra innings.  And that is when future playoff MVP Vince Harrison ended the home schedule by hitting a ball through the right field fence.  That’s right.  And not like in The Sandlot when they could no longer play because they didn’t have another ball, but because it was actually called a home run.  If you weren’t there, take my word for it, the Barnstormers went bonkers.  But replay showed the ball snuck through a tiny gap in the gate in right field, and Harrison, in his first week with the team, was a hero.  Had it happened against York, it would have been blasphemy.  But because it happened to Lancaster, congrats V-Hay on your walk-off blast!

#8. August 15, 2010, 18-9 win at Clipper Magazine Stadium
One of the great individual performances in Revolution history, Ian Bladergroen crushes three home runs in his former home park, as the Revs settle for only 18 runs in the win.  After all, they scored 19, 20, and 21 against Lancaster in other games that season.  There was room for improvement.

“Blade” drove in six runs in the monster game and also reached on three walks.  He became the first in Revs history to go deep three times in a game.  The Revs’ annual golf outing was scheduled for the following day, so he was probably just getting loose for that.

But it wasn’t all about Blade.  James Shanks also drove in six, coming within a triple of the cycle.  And future postseason hero Matt DeSalvo made his Revs debut, earning the win in his first start.

#7. September 22, 2011, Game 2 of Freedom Division Championship Series, 4-1 win at Sovereign Bank Stadium
It was tough to decide where to rank this one.  Should it be higher because it was a postseason game?  Well, that’s up for debate.  But all three postseason wins in 2011 were dramatic, nail-biting victories for the Revs.  Game 2 was maybe not to the extent that the other two were, but it was still great theatre.  Tied 1-1 in the 7th inning with a chance to take a 2-0 series lead in the pivotal game, Salvador Paniagua breaks the tie with a homer to left and later adds an RBI double in the 8th in the 4-1 win.  Nick Schumacher came up big with seven stellar innings.  It sent the Revs to Lancaster for the remainder of the series with a 2-0 cushion, and some room for error which proved crucial.

 #6. June 19, 2010, 20-2 win at Clipper Magazine Stadium
There wasn’t a whole lot of cowbell at Clipper Magazine Stadium on this night.  Of all of the live-game batting practices that the Revs took against Lancaster pitching in 2010, this was by far the most impressive.  York tied an Atlantic League record with seven home runs as a team, and set a new league record with 28 hits.  Scott Grimes paced everyone going 6-for-7 with two homers, six RBI, and four runs.  James Shanks tripled twice.  It would be difficult to put up numbers like those in a video game.  I enjoyed it.

 #5. May 18, 2007, 2-1 win at Clipper Magazine Stadium
I had to find a relatively high spot to rank the first win, which came in the first game ever played between the two.  Wearing retro uniforms from the White Roses vs. Red Roses days, and with a packed house and a throng of media on-hand for the much-hyped inaugural meeting, Matt Dryer crushed a tie-breaking homer deep onto the lawn in left-center in the eighth inning, as the Revs took the first ever meeting, 2-1 in Lancaster.  Jason Olson earned the win in relief, while Adam Thomas recorded the save.  Dave Gil went five scoreless, earning the starting nod on the historic night.

#4. September 18, 2008, 14-5 win at Sovereign Bank Stadium
This was the clincher as the Revs punched their first ever Atlantic League playoff ticket.  Down four early, the Revs score 13 unanswered runs and turn it into a big party at The Vault.  Jason Aspito gave York the lead for good with a sixth inning grand slam, starting the celebration early as the Revs clinched the Freedom Division’s second half title.

#3. September 21, 2008, 8-7 win at Clipper Magazine Stadium
I considered ranking the previous game higher than this one, but this was the clincher in a head-to-head battle against the Barnstormers themselves, so I’ll rank this one #3.  Needing to finish with three straight wins to steal the Community Cup, the Revs did just that, ripping it away on the season’s final day.  How selfish, a playoff berth and the Cup.  But being around that 2008 team, the hardware really meant a lot to them, and they were almost just as pumped to win the season series and the Community Cup for the first time, which was awesome.  I remember watching them take it over to share with York’s fans by the third base dugout in a great postgame moment.  York scored four times in the ninth, taking the series 11-9 with an 8-7 victory in the final game. All four runs scored with the Revs down to their final out.  Edgard Clemente’s two-run triple tied it, and Matt Padgett’s two-run homer gave York the improbable lead.  Lancaster scored one in the bottom of the ninth, but Keoni DeRenne’s spectacular play at shortstop ended it with the tying run in scoring position, bringing the Cup to York for the first time.

#2. September 21, 2011, Game 1 of Freedom Division Championship Series, 3-2 win at Sovereign Bank Stadium
In the first postseason walk-off win in Revs history, Bryant Nelson’s home run to right field in the bottom of the ninth gives York a 3-2 win, and a 1-0 series lead, as the Revs take their first step toward repeating as champs.  Vince Harrison’s two-out triple in the eighth tied the game setting the stage for Nelson’s heroics.  The homer lives on as Revs fans still hear the highlight before each radio broadcast on WOYK this season.

#1. September 26, 2011, Game 5 of Freedom Division Championship Series, 5-4 win in 10 innings at Clipper Magazine Stadium
A decisive Game 5.  Extra innings.  What could possibly be more dramatic than that?  Corey Thurman turned in the greatest performance of his legendary Revolution career, and as the game moved later into the night, he became the greatest cheerleader in Revs history, serving as the emotional leader for his teammates as well as the York fans behind the Revolution dugout on a surreal night.  York fans took over the stadium as the Revs took over the game, scoring four runs in the 10th inning, and then hanging on as Dumas Garcia struck out Travis Metcalf to end it, sending the Revs back into the finals, with a one-run Game 5 win one year to the day after doing the same against Somerset.  York trailed 1-0 into the seventh, when Eric Eymann tied the game with a single, helping to keep York’s season alive.

 So that’s my top ten.  What’s yours? 

 Not bad for the first 100 meetings.  Bring on the next hundred!

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