Worlds collided and new rivalries were spawned on Sunday, August 15th as nine HRL greats met up for some fine wiffling and grilling. The festivities began with a lot of sitting around. Then the Group of Nine had an opening Home Run Derby which ended up being a little on the pathetic side. K-Mart, Truck and Hendi each went yard once but the power outage made no one want to break the tie – so an underwhelming three way title was issued and the players moved on to the games.

Since Pieks had the title of Sabbath Commissioner Mixer (or something like that), and he has been jonesing to play against Shirls, those two took the captaincies.  Shirls won the first of many rock-paper-scissors contests against Pieks to give him the first pick. Shirls chose the wooly one, K-Mart with the first selection in the draft. Pieks followed that up by choosing one of two players who have employed Richard Simmons as an avatar model this year – Hendi. Shirls simply couldn't overlook Truck, son of Buck, with his second round pick and took the stoic HRL leader. Pieks

"It's true.  Jesus DID play wiffles. We hear he had a mean-ass knuckleball." 
                                 --The Book of Peeks, 4:20

followed up by selecting a visibly beleaguered Nick Sanchez with his 2nd rounder. Shirls came back with some Jimmy West action, to cement good team moral while Pieks went with the Mikey Poop P so that J West would have something to aim at all day. Shirls ended the draft by selecting the Niner who would have his revenge against the Steamers.  With the teams in place all that was left was selecting some names for these glorious conglomerations of wiffle talent. K-Mart quickly rose to the occasion by dubbing Shirls' team the "Hot Karls." (K-Mart insists it is spelled with a K) Pieklo determined that his team would have to be titled the "Cleveland Steamers." With the teams and names in place, it was time for some action – rapid style, 4 inning games would be employed for the first two games, with a few new wrinkles – dugouts - used for the first time and new pitchers each inning. Likewise these all-fun, pseudo-all-star teams featured some extremely compelling HRL match-ups – Jimmy West v. Poop all day – Pieks squaring off against Shirls, Truck v. Poop, Hendi against Jimmy West, Nine v. Pieks. At the end of the day, some egos and necks were bruised.



Game 1 – Hot Karls 5, Steamers 1
Game one started off with K-Mart and Mikey Poop facing off on the hill and posting matching zeroes in the first. All the action in this game came in the second. Pieks took the hill for the home team Steamers in the 2nd and got J West on a routine grounder for the first out. Then the walls came in. Nine stepped to the plate and promptly crushed a 2-1 Pieks offering over the wall in right field. After wiping the tears away, Pieks rebounded with a K of Truck for the second out. Then K-Mart sent a squibber into the field where it seemed like each Steamer had a separate chance to make the play – none did and K-Mart was aboard on the errors. That play proved costly as the Karls followed up with four consecutive hits off Pieks and four more runs – leaving the score 5-0 heading into the bottom of the 2nd. With Truck on the hill, Sanchez led off the bottom half with a line shot down the deep left field line in Carnelian 1 for a solo shot. Truck, perhaps, wakened from a Sunday slumber, perhaps experimenting with new pitches came back with a vengeance. After surrendering a hit to Kelly Dangle, Truck settled down to get Hendi and fan the Poopster. With two outs Sanchez came to the plate and laced a base hit – what followed was perhaps the most impressive display of wiffle balling these eyes have ever seen – after a throw to the plate to keep the runner at bay, Sanchez decided to go for second – Truck spotting the movement, whirled around from home plate and promptly uncorked a missle toward the speedy, yet beleaguered Sanchez, and nailed him a foot from second base to end the inning. There was much rejoicing. Nobody scored the rest of the game and the Karls took the opener 5-1. Nine was the MVP of the game going 2-4 with a walk and the HR and 2 RBI and 2 R scored.

Game 2 - Steamers 2, Karls 0
Game 2 featured the debut of The Black Dangler – the larger, wiffle bat that was expected to create an offensive firestorm. Didn't happen. The Steamers got the only run they would need in the top of the first off of Shirls. Pieks led off in the fascinating match-up of Philly teammates. He hit a grounder up the middle that Shirls bobbled for an error and took 2nd as Shirls tried in vain to still get Pieks on his way to first. What followed was odd to say the least. Hearing Jimmy West declare that Pieks could be picked off – Shirls swiveled awkwardly and hummed the ball with his fastball grip toward Pieks - reaching his target with deadly precision. The only problems with this were that: a) Pieks was standing on 2nd, and b) Shirls hit Pieks squarely in the jugular vein. No – there was no bleeding – but Pieks can still be heard muttering about the play. Philly team chemistry may have been forever altered this day. Anyway, Sanchez would drive in Pieks with a two out hit to give the Steamers a 1-0 lead after the first. In the 4th, the Steamers added an insurance run on a solo shot by Hendi off of fellow Brewer Jimmy West. This game displayed some stellar pitching from the Steamers as Hendi worked a perfect 3rd and Sanchez struck out the side to end it, only giving up a pesky BB to Niner. K-Mart mustered the Karls' only hit. Sanchez was the game's MVP going 3-4 with the crucial RBI and the save on the hill.

Chow Time – With Pieks manning two grills at once, a bevy of meat products were consumed. There were Brats, Cheddar Sausages and Burgers consumed as well as some Funyons® and Ruffles and potato salad as well as some delectable cole slaw from the Cub Foods deli. Shirls and Nine each had two cheddar sausages apiece while Truck put down a brat and a double cheeseburger. Featured beers were: Bud Tall Boys, Lenies Honey Weiss bottles and Icehouse cans. Pieks and Jimmy West had one brat apiece to help maintain their figures.

Game 3 – Karls 4, Steamers 1
The rubber match featured two sun burned, bloated teams and was a chosen to be a 6 inning game. The Steamers opened up the first with a run on a 2-out hit by Pieks off of K-Mart which drove in Hendi. They wouldn't score again, managing only 2 more hits in the final 5 innings. The Karls' bats came alive again in the bottom of 3. A lead off hit by Shirls was followed by a two run shot by Truck. This ball was hit on a line straight for the RF fence – it hit the top of the boards and shot seemingly straight up in the air – giving Hendi a chance to perform a Rocket style miracle grab. Instead, the ball fell 2 feet on the other side of the fence. K-Mart hit a 2 out triple which would have been a single for a lot of guys – K-Mart was blazing out of the box and never stopped running as soon as he saw nobody near 3rd – he was safe after an ugly slide near the place where he had pissed a couple of hours before. Shirls drove him in on an error by somebody for the Karls' third run. The Karls added on in the 4th with a two out hit by Truck driving in Westy who had singled earlier in the inning. Pieks had 2 hits and a walk for the Steamers in defeat and Westy went 3-5 with a run for the Karls. Truck was the game 3 MVP pitching a nice inning and going 2-5 with a run scored and 3 RBI.

Final stats for the day:

Poop – 1 for13, BB
Hendi – 2 for14, HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
Pieks – 4 for 12, 2 BB, 1 RBI, 1 R
Dirty S – 6 for 15, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R

Nick gets the Steamers MVP for the day award.

Nine – 2 for 9, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Shirls – 3 for 12, 1 RBI, 2 R
K-Mart – 3 for 12, 2 R
Westy – 5 for 13, 2 RBI, 2 R
Truck – 4 for 13, HR, 4 RBI, 1 R

In a tough call between Westy and Truck, Truck gets the MVP nod.

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