SWEET REPEAT! King Hippos Champions!
It was a banner night for the plucky and courageous King Hippos on Thursday, as the Orange stampeded to kickball glory over the course of two exciting matches.
Due to permit issues, the regularly scheduled semifinals and championship match, normally held on two fields, were confined to a single, makeshift field in the corner of the Common that led to a degree of adventure for all teams involved.
The semi-final match between the Blue Steel and league winner Scoregasm was scrubbed when Scoregasm were forced to forfeit due to a dearth of registered players.
The King Hippos then took the field against Gettin’ Cider. Cider had defeated the Hippos handily during the regular season, so the Orange were in the mood for payback.
The Hippos struck first in the bottom of the opening inning. Cider tied it in the bottom of the frame, but they would never lead.
The Hippos’ offense came to life in the second inning as the middle of the order pushed five runs across the plate.
Explosive offense, combined with cracker jack defense appeared to cow the normally feisty Cider.
The game’s webgems both went to gold glove third baseman Kevin who managed to steal a sure base kick and probable RBI with a wild diving catch. The second came on a close play at third as Reilly collected a relayed throw and, in mid-air, fired the ball into the diving runner’s back. The runner was safe, but was forced to earn it on what had no right being a close play.
“It was a thing to see, really impressive,” said Captain Big. “I’ll tell you what, you gotta love that spirit!”
The Cider managed to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth, but by then, the mood in the park showed the game’s result was a forgone conclusion. The Hippos were charging and wouldn’t be denied their triumph.
Defeating their rivals left the Hippos nearly rabid, so one almost felt sorry for their next opponents.
Fate, it would seem, is not without a sense of humor, as the 2009 MA Patriot Summer Championship turned out to be a replay of the 2008 final.
Blue Steel, the team that the then Green Team had squeaked by the previous year and managed to defeat in both of their regular season meetings this year, stepped up to the plate and the still-thundering Hippos quickly made it clear they were not about to be silenced.
The Hippos’ defense remained solid and the offense remained potent.
The Orange plated three runs in the first and another two in the second off of Season and Playoff MVP Colin “The Man Of” Steele’s first career homerun.
Steele had four RBIs on the day, his foot coming alive at just the right time for the Hippos. He was awarded the season MVP award, not solely for off-field contributions, but for a near perfect on-field performance throughout the playoffs.
“The MVP award wouldn't mean anything if we hadn't won the championship,” panted Steele. “That's always the main goal. And there's no ‘MVP’ in ‘team’. OK, there's an ‘M’, but whatever. Anyways, as I was saying, I'm honored I could help finish on top… That's what she said.”
As the light left the field, both teams began to struggle and safety, in the bottom of the fourth, became an issue. Before the Steel were able to record an out, the officials called the game to a halt for safety concerns: The final score, a convincing 10-1 for the Hippos.
Despite the game’s abbreviated nature, the Hippos were jubilant.
“It's freakin’ awesome!” cried Asian. “Hippos win! Woohoo! I'm hungry!”
“I feel fantastic!” shouted Shookie. “Like the happiest hippo alive!!”
“In Africa hippos are responsible for more deaths among humans than crocodiles,” counseled BK. “The hippo will wait just below the surface of the water and flip a passing boat, destroying the vessel and, often times, killing or seriously injuring anyone in the craft. Well, tonght, a special breed of hippos -- The Champion King Hippos -- waited just below the surface and didn't miss the chance to destroy a couple of boats named Gettin' Cider and Blue Steel.”
“I’d say that was a pretty successful season,” laughed Captain Big, eyes moist. “What a great group of players. I look forward to playing with these guys for many seasons to come.”
Most of the Hippos squad will reconvene on the hallowed fields of MA Minutemen in Somerville this fall under the banner of Grilled Cheese Sandwich. We all wish the squad continued success and spirit as they carry forth the spirit of kickball at its best and most fun.