Epic kickball battle. Instant classic. An event bigger than the Super Bowl, the World Cup and World War II combined. Those are few modest ways to describe Dunder’s opening game against ‘Pitches Be Trippin’ -- an extra innings, defensive slug-fest with Dunder coming out on top with a 2-1 victory. First off, hats off to the ‘Pitches’, who hung tough all game – y’all played a hell of a game and have earned the respect of Dunder. We’ll be rooting for y’all the rest of the season. As Ben would say, “That game was a shit-ton of fun.” 1-1 at the end of regulation – nothing better than extra innings kickball.
At the top of extra innings, those Pitches got a runner who was wicked fast on second with 1 out with a quick bunt followed by a sacrifice bunt. The next kicker tried to sacrifice bunt as well to move the runner from 2nd to 3rd. The Dunder defense got her going to first … what we didn’t expect was the base runner to run through 3rd and head home for the ‘go ahead’ score. Luckily Avalanche is a crafty veteran playing 1st and gunned the ball home where Matt happened to be standing (with a blank look on his face according to Tom). Matt woke up just in time field the catch, turned and did a chest pass at the runner. Said Matt, “I saw Tom zing the ball at me and realized the runner most be coming home. I fielded the ball, turned and threw at the blur. I had no idea where I was in relation to the plate. It was a lucky play but I’ll take it.”
With that, the threat was done … bottom of the 6th still tied 1-1 and the top of the lineup coming up for Dunder.
Alli B led us off with a bunt single, followed by another bunt single from Matt to move her to 2nd base. Tony kicks into a fielder’s choice and Allie is out at 3rd. Runners at 1st and 2nd, 1 out. Then Lisa puts down a bunt to the pitcher, Matt gets a good jump off the base and slides into 3rd – safe. The bases were now juiced with 1 out and our two power kickers coming up … it was just a matter now of getting one deep fly ball from Wendell, tag up by Matt … jogs home for the win. The Dunder offense operating with surgical precision when it needed to most.
There were great heroics by the entire Dunder lineup:
- Tony: locking down the charger position
- Lisa: great catch in the outfield and a key bunt in our ‘go ahead’ scoring drive
- Tom: great over the shoulder catch in shallow RF and great job holding down 1st base
- Wendell: kicked in the game winning run with a line shot to LCF and scored earlier in the game
- Sally: WAKA rookie; a couple of great catches and heads up base running
- Ben: wily, veteran pitching with 1 run kicked in
- Nes: caught a line shot at 3rd base, no time to react … just catch it.
- Eddie: diving catch in LF that ended an inning and saved a couple runs
- Mendoza: locking down RF and backing up throws to 1st
- Alli: the norm for her; great defense and good bunting.
- Matt: sacrificing his body by sliding into bases 3 different times including once which led to the winning run.
And if that wasn’t enough, at G&S when the lights came up at closing time, who was still there? You guessed it … Dunder closing down the bar again.
Eddie “The Iron Man” McWright
Before Robert Downey Jr. donned his famous gold and red suit, another man was already laying claim to Cal Ripken Jr.’s title of ‘Iron Man’. Eddie has been with Dunder since the very first season and has never missed a season since – an uninterrupted streak of 19 consecutive seasons. That streak starting in the summer of 2007. He’s a staple of the Dunder defense having played just about every position over the course of his career. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure (yes, Dunder has a Hall of Fame).
Tom “The Human Avalanche” Rhyne
Dunder has a strict “no one gets kicked off the team” policy. Seriously, you could be the worst player in the world. But if you show up, give it your best effort and realize that we all just want to have a good time then there are no problems. With that in mind, meet Tom – the only person ever to be kicked off Dunder. But wait … you violated your own policy and it’s true. So maybe there’s only really one rule – if you say you’re going to be at the game, you better be there. Nothing will send Matt or Ben over the edge faster than having to re-set the lineup. Matt will spend a couple hours every Thursday afternoon setting the optimal kicking order and defensive alignments – this is an example of "working from home". Everyone is playing / kicking in a certain order and place for a reason – there’s method behind the madness.
Anyways, after a few seasons away, that big old teddy bear known as Avalanche has come back to Dunder. Heck, we couldn’t stay mad at him forever … he’s just too cuddly. But equally important: Avalanche has a high kickball IQ, plays good solid defense and is a force to be reckoned with at the plate. If we can put runners on the base in front of him, Avalanche should be kicking people in like crazy. Plus we can count on him to dispute the infinite details of WAKA kickball rules.