NY Fire Summer 2013 Playoffs


An underdog story that has already drawn comparisons to the New York Giants' Super Bowl run against the New England Patriots in 2007, the 1980 Men's US Olympic hockey team, and the Revolutionary War, the Goo Goblins pulled off one of the most memorable upsets in sporting history Sunday evening, winning a game that will surely be a staple on ESPN Classics for years to come. 

Despite being the 3rd seed in the playoff bracket, and being without three key players, the Goblins rallied one message of solidarity: "Fuck the white team", winning the gold, and shocking the world. By 9pm Eastern Time, news of the Goblins unbelievable victory had already drawn responses from several world leaders and prominent celebrities. President Obama tweeted the Goo Goblins "Mmhmm, love me some of dem Goo Goblins", while former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was seen sporting his custom Goo Goblin jersey while having crumpets with the Royal baby.

But, before beginning their championship drive, the Goblins first needed to knock off the 2nd seeded Foul Ballz. While the game was hard fought, the Goblins eventually broke things open in 3rd inning, scoring 4 runs to put the game out of reach. Foul Ballz fought hard and refused to go down without a fight, but the Goblins defense was too much, eventually closing things out by a final of 9-2, setting the team up for a showdown with Ferris Baller's Day Off, who cruised to an undefeated 8-0 regular season despite several close games with the Goblins.

Before the game started, the Goblins decided to make several surprisingly bold positional changes, which ended up paying huge dividends in the championship game. Most notably, Lenny Iannizzotto, who had not spent a single inning all season playing anywhere but catcher, was moved to left field. Alana Hueston, who normally patrolled that area was switched to right, and Cailin Rooney, who had never caught in her two season career, was put behind the plate. The move enabled the Goblins to increase their range in the outfield without downgrading behind the plate.

In the top of the 1st inning, the Goblins set the tone. Iannizzotto laid down a perfect bunt, and Jon Hilowitz followed with a bunt single of his own, setting things up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out. Alicia Tetreault, who kicked near the bottom of the order for most of the year, was put in the 3rd spot specifically for scenarios like this, and laid down one of the best bunts in WAKA history, perfectly sacrificing herself with a slow roller down the 3rd base line, moving Iannizzotto and Hilowitz over the 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out, and Pat Massa coming up.

Massa, the Goblins offensive MVP, followed by blasting the ball deep into right center field, just out of reach of Ferris Baller's right fielder, scoring Iannizzotto and Hilowitz, giving the Goblins a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish. While the Goblins left the bases loaded in the top of the first without doing any more damage, they had all the run support they'd need. Cy Young Award winner Sean Hurley was dominant yet again, working around trouble but getting support from a superb Goblins defense which shut the door time and time again. 

Alicia Terpening made a great play at 2nd base, knocking the ball down on a hard line drive before throwing the lead runner out at 2nd base, saving at least one run and giving the Goblins a huge boost. Pat Massa then caught a lazy fly ball into right field, allowing the Goblins to escape the first inning unscathed despite several runners reaching base, a trend that would continue through the game. Over the next several innings, the Goblins threatened repeatedly, but were unable to come up with the big run, leaving runners on in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings, unable to break the game open.

However, while the Goblins offense struggled as it customarily did this season, the defense was sharper than ever. In the 2nd inning, with a runner on 2nd and one out, Ferris Ballers' laid down a slow roller to short. Hilowitz threw out the kicker for the 2nd out of the inning, but Baller Ryan Wells decided to test Pat Massa's arm, rounding third as he attempted to score. Massa threw a bullet home, where he found Cailin Rooney blocking the plate like Johnny Bench. Rooney caught the ball and proceeded to peg Wells, who attempted to fling himself out of the way, to no avail, completing the huge double play and ending the inning.

In the 3rd inning, the Goblins defense provided more of the same. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, the Ballers dropped down a slow rolling bunt towards 3rd. Inexplicably, the Baller on 3rd known only as "Phil", decided to take off. Hilowitz fielded the ball, and like Wells an inning earlier, was able to peg the runner headed for home, ending the inning. Reports are unconfirmed, but it's believe that someone on the Ballers screamed "FUCK YOU DAVE!" after the baserunning blunder, though the culprit was not identified.

In the top of the 4th inning, Alicia Terpening was pegged excessively hard by Bad Lenny, which nearly ignited a powder keg of emotions. However, Sean Hurley was able to rally and calm the troops, reminding the Goblins not to let their emotions and desire for bloody retribution get in their way of a championship. Hurley did his end of the bargin, fielding two balls in the bottom of the 4th, as the Goblins once again held the Ballers off the score sheeting.

In the top of the 5th, the Goblins had the top of their order leading off, and just like the first inning, the team capitalized. Iannizzotto and Hilowitz each bunted on, and Tetreault, who had gotten into the Ballers head on more than one occasion, worked out a walk, loading the bases with no one out, sending up the Goblins' biggest threat, Pat Massa. 

Massa immediately ripped one down the right field line into the corner, setting the Goblin faithful, who outnumbered the Baller fans by about 50-1, into a frenzy. However, after Iannizzotto and Hilowitz had both crossed the plate, seemingly putting the game out of reach, a late foul call was placed, sending everyone back their bases. Nonetheless, Massa was not detered, ripping a second shot to right, just out of the man known as "Phil"'s reach. Iannizzotto scored the 3rd run, and the bases remained loaded. Alexandra Scheumann, one of the most improved players on the team, both offensively and defensively, blasted a shot up the middle following Massa, but Bad Lenny was able to deflect the ball, throwing out Hilowitz at home who was pegged in the face on the slide. Pitcher Sean Hurley and Center Fielder CJ Rioux were both unable to blow the game open, each popping out, stranding the bases loaded. 

With 3 outs to go, the Goblins had a 3-0 lead, and a chance at history. In the bottom of the 5th, the first two batters, including Mr. Phil, were thrown out, putting the championship within reach. But, Jammer worked out a walk, and JP and Bad Lenny each followed with bunt singles, a far cry from their early approach to blast the ball into the outfield, which had been curtailed by the Goblins' new defensive lineup. That set the stage for a do or die plate appearance. Bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the 5th. 

The Ballers sent up their quickest female, who had reached base twice already that game, and a chance to make a miraculous comeback. However, Hurley buckled down, and fielded a slow roller back to the mound before throwing home to Rooney for the 3rd and final out, sending the team into and their fans into a frenzy.

The championship was a complete team effort, as the Goblins got huge contributions from every member of their team, including Jason, April and Grace, who were unable to make the playoff games. Alicia Tetreault turned into one of the league's preeminent bunters, perfectly executing a number of important bunts in the season's final few weeks, while Alexandra Scheumann was the team's most improved defensive player. Hurley continued his pitching dominance, throwing his 3rd shutout of the season, while Massa continued his torrid offensive pace, knocking in all three runs in the championship game. 

Alana Hueston continued her versitile play in the field, moving between right, left, and catcher in the post-season, though she is most known for making the best catch of 2013 season, a leaping, screaming grab in left field to preserve Hurley's first ever shutout. Alicia Terpening also stepped her game up huge, making the play at 2nd while also racking up numerous hits to lead the bottom half of the order. CJ Rioux anchored the defense, playing center field while also covering 2nd, playing a huge role in the Goblins' dominant defense. Cailin Rooney came up huge all season, but she dominated the championship game in particular, playing rock solid defense behind the plate, setting the tone early and often. Lenny Iannizzotto continued to be one of the most feared leadoff hitters in the league, and his shift to left field completely stifled the Ballers' offensive approach, and clearly defined himself as "Good Lenny" in the final game.

When it was all said and done, the Goblins were champions of the inaugural WAKA NY Fire Summer league, rising from 3rd place to take home the championship. While it's uncertain what the future may hold for this team, one thing is clear: There will be plenty of drunken nights to be had, hopefully with Dave present at some. GO GOBLINS!

Written by Jon of Goo Goblins Fame

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