Spices On Fire: Advance to Semifinals

The Team Your Team Could Smell Like’s 2010 Playoff Campaign started on a friendly note as the captains exchanged gifts before kick-off. By exchange, that means that Mark gave Big a Bafana Bafana South African soccer scarf straight from the recent World Cup. Thinking quickly, Big gave Mark one of his wristbands… Frankly, and almost-insulting trade…

“I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts!” he later cried.

The Pitches’ captains also presented the Spices with an Old Spice poster they’d apparently ripped off the ground near the Broadway T-stop – something Big would’ve appreciated being told before he made a show of hugging it close to his face…

In the Pre-Game Ceremony, Team Martyr Brennan was also honored for his efforts in the final game of the regular season in which he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

There was an atmosphere of levity and fun as the teams took the field, both ready to make the most of their kickball hijinks as the season’s finale draws nearer.

“It was great to finally play the ‘Pitches since I missed our regular season game for a graduation,” said Bayewitch. “I was actually supposed to play on that team, but they filled up too fast and Steph helped me get adopted by the Spices. Although they didn’t come to the game expecting to win, they had great energy and sportsmanship and were definitely the most fun team we’ve played."

With eyes for Vegas, however, the Spices knew they had a job to do: Score as many runs as possible in order to qualify for this year’s Founders’ Cup. A slow start, however, saw the Spices’ kickers go down in order in the top of the first.

Things got rolling – literally – in the second, however, as Big led off with a bunt that, after a series of plays deserving a Benny Hill soundtrack, would result in the Captain coming all the way home. The Spices then plated four more with a triple by Phil and RBIs by Kevin, Amy and Chris.

The Red team would then score three in the third (RBIs by Squints and Ray) and break the game fully open with an impressive eight run fourth, with a second homerun by Big (this time with the bases loaded), another triple by Phil (this time with an RBI to boot), an RBI double by Kevin and a sacrifice by Brown.

For his offensive efforts, Captain Big was awarded the Game MVP trophy.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “Kicka-the-ball ‘az alwayz been beddy beddy guud to me.”

Defensively, the Spices were sparkling. Tristan was busy in right field with a number of catches as well as covering throws to first.

“I would like to pretend that I'm confident enough in my hand-eye coordination to relax in those situations,” he said after the game. “In reality I just shout in my head ‘CatchitcatchitcatchitcatchitcatchitcaughtitbreathethrowtoBig.’”

As the game progressed, the ever-observant Pitches noticed Captain Big and Umpire Charlie looking parched and insisted on providing refreshments. Both men were driven to a knee with gratitude…

The match finally ended with a bang, as the Pitches kicker lofted a difficult spinning ball into foul territory near the Spices’ bench. First baseman Colin, however, ranged over and made the play, with a little double-touch flair.

"As a first baseman, I'm used to just standing there and catching the ball,” said Colin. “So having to run for that foul ball was a new challenge – one that I wasn't particularly up for, considering it involved physical exertion and, quite frankly, it was pretty hot out. When you throw in the fact that it was a foul ball, and I could have just let it land over by our bench harmlessly, it's a minor miracle that play even happened."

With that confidence-builder, both teams repaired to the bar (though, not before returning the ice-cold refreshment favor to the Pitches’ player who had, previously, been so generous) where they heard the Catty Awards results and played around with Tommy Doyles’ thermostat so that it would cool the room, rather than heat it.

The Spices are now looking forward to carrying this momentum into the Quarterfinals and, Spaghetti Monster-willing, their third Championship match in as many years, next Thursday. They welcome any and all of their friends and fans to come out and support them in their historic run to Vegas!

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