The final day of dodgeball brought some tense match-ups, incredible plays and big upsets. With quarterfinals, semifinals and finals all packed into one day, teams were given little time to rest and tensions ran high, but in the end, one team rose above the others to take the 2014 Dodgeball Championship Title.
Short Bicka vs. Past Our Prime (1-0 Short Bicka via sudden death)
Short Bicka-Past Our Prime proved to be an intriguing senior-team game. In a four-minute match instead of the normal five, both teams were cautious out of the gate, unwilling to make any risks.
As things started to heat up, Past Our Prime’s mathematics teacher Matthew Chaffee’s came up big with both a kill and a catch, bringing his team up five players to Short Bicka’s two, seniors Joey Malgesini and Bryan Lai. Bryan eliminated one of Past Our Prime’s toughest players by taking out Chaffee, but was eliminated himself shortly thereafter. A two-on-one showdown soon followed, with Joey squaring off against seniors Surya Ram and Jordan Stout. Joey evened things up with a well-placed throw to knock Surya out of the game, leaving only Past Our Prime’s Jordan. Both players were hesitant to make a big move that would potentially lose the game for their team, forcing a sudden death showdown.
Though the sudden death was initially only set up between Joey and Jordan, referee’s soon decided to revert to a traditional sudden death, wherein the team of the first player to be eliminated loses. After less than a minute of tense sudden death, Short Bicka pegged Surya to take Past Our Prime out of championship contention and secure itself a semifinal bracket spot against the junior-heavy team Hard Ballerz.
Freshman Phenoms vs. Bubba Gump (2-0 Freshman Phenoms)
After its ludicrous win over Cluck Dynasty in round three of the tournament yesterday (http://bit.ly/1phXTTH), Bubba Gump appeared to have a secure grip on the championship title after taking out the heavy-favorite. Surprisingly and somewhat anticlimactically, Bubba Gump had none of the momentum it had built up from yesterday’s huge upset victory over Cluck Dynasty in its game against the Freshman Phenoms. The Freshman Phenoms outclassed Bubba Gump with relative ease in a surprising turn of events and another big upset that likely nobody predicted.
Bubba Gump was at a deficit from early on, as sophomores Trevor Rodgers and Chad Dowdell’s hands were on display, taking out Bubba Gump’s seniors Will Scheetz, Alex Marin and Victor Ruiz, arguably the most clutch trio of the tournament after their performances yesterday against Cluck Dynasty. With only juniors Sean Lanoza and Elena Strawn left standing, the Freshman Phenoms made quick work of Bubba Gump, ending game one.
If Bubba Gump had hoped to make a comeback, it would have had to been made at this point. And for a tense few seconds, it seemed as if a comeback may have been possible, as Will miraculously caught a ball that bounced out of teammate junior Briham Gonzalez’s hands. But in the back and forth firefight that ensued—with Chad taking out Will, Briham being eliminated, Alex Marin pegging Chad and finally, Alex getting hit—Bubba Gump’s toughest were forced to observe from the sidelines. In a repeat ending of game one, only Bubba Gump’s Sean and Elena
were left alive. Sean put up a strong effort, dodging a volley of balls, but was taken out by a catch by sophomore Bailey Thayer, ending the match 2-0 Freshman Phenoms.
In the end, Bubba Gump just couldn’t put together the necessary components it needed to to take on a well-oiled team like the Freshman Phenoms. The Freshman Phenoms were able to take out Bubba Gump’s big guns early on and prevent the absurd catching-spree that Bubba Gump put on against Cluck Dynasty and cruise to victory.
This match, like yesterday’s game, had far reaching consequences for the tournament. In defeating Bubba Gump, the Freshman Phenoms took out one of the toughest teams left in the bracket, and what initially looked like the most dangerous, considering its huge win just the day before. The Freshman Phenoms, through this win, essentially clinched a championship berth in this round in surprising, but dominant fashion.
Hard Ballerz vs. Dodgefathers (2-0 Hard Ballerz)
After wrecking Phat Boi Fresh (3-0) yesterday, the Dodgefathers faced off against the team that would go on to win the tournament, the Hard Ballerz. The Dodgefathers put up a good fight, but fell to the Hard Ballerz’ hard, well-placed balls and great catching ability. Both Patrick and Daniel Rosenbaum shone out in their performances with hands that carried Hard Ballerz to the finals of the tournament.
Flock vs. Sean Baker & Cakers (1-0 Flock)
Though Flock lost in round three yesterday, it took White Rice and Karl’s spot in the quarterfinals after White Rice and Karl was disqualified. Flock did not waste its opportunity and took down Sean Baker & Cakers 1-0 to advance to semifinals, which it played against the Freshman Phenoms.
Hard Ballerz vs. Short Bicka (1-0 Hard Ballerz)
A match between two of the tournament’s favorites, Hard Ballerz vs. Short Bicka had crowds on their feet, with constant back and forth catches and outs that kept the crowd unsure of the match’s fate.
In the first round, senior Andrew Bray was quickly taken out with a ball to the shoulder by senior Duke Myers, and senior Nikhil Raman responded to the loss with a low ball to junior Thomas Kelleher, who failed to catch. In the 30 second standstill that followed, senior Katie Trischler managed to miraculously evade the joint assault of four balls, a standstill that was broken when junior Patrick McColl caught senior Joey Malgesini’s knee. Once again, Short Bicka responded to the loss, and this time senior Raag Uupalari’s catch took senior Max Wilber off the court and brought Andrew back.
However, Short Bicka proved unable to survive the assault that followed. The Hard Ballerz finally managed to find home with the evasive Katie, when Patrick hit her shoulder. Danny caught Raag’s knee, Thomas pitched a ball through senior Bryan Lai’s hands. In a raw double-play, Danny caught Andrew Bray’s stray ball and then punished Nikhil in the shoulder, finishing Short Bicka 1-0.
With only a minute remaining after the crazily energetic first round, the Hard Ballerz managed to keep the Short Bickas at bay, and so, the Short Bickas failed to recover from their first round loss and lost 0-1.
Freshman Phenoms vs. Flock (2-0 Freshman Phenoms)
Missing four of their players, Flock played with four substitutes, all of whom surprisingly put up a strong fight against the Freshman Phenoms. Reflective of the palpable intensity that characterized the semifinals, sophomore Chad Dowell from the Freshman Phenoms ran well past the line, wrestled, and then was chased back to his side to get a single ball. Overall, the Freshman Phenoms depicted the same level of skill they demonstrated in their encounter with Bubba Gump, outclassing the Flock 2-0.
In a match where no more warnings remained, referee Michael Moul was quick to call sophomore Trevor Rodgers out for walking over the line. In the odd series of events that followed, Chad hit senior Chris Munoz in the chest, the ball bounced high into the air and his teammate senior Sergio Carbajal in an attempt to catch the ball, threw his own ball aside but missed the catch as well. The mistake costed the Flocks; It was now four on Freshman Phenoms side to three on Flocks.
Senior Melody Bake grasped tightly onto her ball as two balls were directed towards her, deflecting both. Missing her target, Carrie became an easy target herself, and senior Josh Williams took advantage of the situation, getting her in the shoulder, equalling it out at three to three. The Phenoms were unnerved by the comeback; Chad went for the kill hitting Josh square in the chest and followed up the kill with a catch, so that now only seniors Spencer Katchman and Melody Bakos remained. Trevor took out the rest, catching Spencer’s stray ball and taking out Melody too following a whirl of balls.
In the second round, exemplifying the raw talent that characterized the Phenoms, Chad managed to catch a low well-placed throw by Spencer and then deflect a ball from Brandon while on the ground. However, his teammate Trevor was unable to replicate the play and senior Sergio’s throw knocked him backwards. Sophomore Bailey Thayer responded by pegging Josh in the shoulder, but a ball thrown by Sergio slipped through Trevor’s hands. The Phenoms sealed the deal when Sergio missed a catch from Bailey and then sophomore Cole Botsford pegged Brandon in the knee.
The Phenoms herded the Flock for the remaining minute to win 2-0.
Hard Ballerz vs. Freshman Phenoms (2-0 Hard Ballerz)
In a finals matchup that nobody could have predicted, the Hard Ballerz and the Freshman Phenoms took on each other in a thrilling game of juniors versus sophomores. Traditionally, the final round of dodgeball is a competition between senior teams. But this year, with premature elimination of Cluck Dynasty, Short Bicka’s elimination of Past Our Prime in quarterfinals and Hard Ballerz overpowering of Short Bicka in semifinals, the die was cast for a no-senior final.
Going into finals, both teams had just played two four-minute games; the Hard Ballerz had taken out the Dodgefathers, arguably the underdog team of the tournament this year with spectacular catching skill, and one of the tournament favorites, Short Bicka. The Freshman Phenoms kicked off the tournament by coming up big against Bubba Gump in a sensational and unexpected show of dominance, and dispatched Flock with ease in the semifinals. There was no doubt that these two teams belonged in the finals.
The tournament’s final game was a five-minute affair. Freshman Phenom’s sophomores Matt Heintzen and Chad Dowdell were taken out of the fray very early on: Matt by being hit and Chad by way of a catch by junior Thomas Kelleher. The Freshman Phenoms had no trouble evening up the score, however, knocking Thomas and senior Max Wilber out shortly thereafter. Hard Ballerz’ big man junior Patrick McColl was taken out by some sharpshooting by sophomore Bailey Thayer, just as Thomas was let back in the game. Thomas’ hands came up big with another catch to let Max re-enter the game, but to no avail. The Phenoms were on a hot-streak, having just knocked out Daniel Rosenbaum and Max, then senior Duke Myers and junior Kaitlyn Schiffhauer with impunity. Down three players to one, the Hard Ballerz looked hard-pressed to dig itself out of this hole, as hard-hitting sophomores Cole Botsford, Matt and Bailey all looked to make the kill to end game one.
Thomas, in the most crucial of moments, shone. He dodged two balls at once by getting low, never losing his composure. In a pivotal play, he seized the ball from Matt to allow Patrick back in, and that was all that the Hard Ballerz needed. In the next frenzied 20 seconds, Thomas was taken out by sophomore Trevor Rodgers just as Patrick caught him on the arm. The one-on-one showdown between Patrick and Bailey was short-lived as Patrick nicked the sophomore on the foot to secure his team game one.
The crowd witnessed Chad’s elimination in the opening seconds of game two, an immediate disadvantage. Though Chad had traditionally made big catches in the spotlight for the Freshman Phenoms, he was retired to the sidelines too early, too often in this matchup to help his team.
A furious exchange took out the Phenoms’ Cole, Carrie and Matt and the Hard Ballerz’ Duke and Patrick, leaving only Bailey and Trevor to take on Daniel, Thomas, Kaitlyn and Max. Bailey was nicked in the foot again, leaving Trevor the lone Freshman Phenom on the court. Trevor was able to get a hold of a throw, but his catch was wasted as teammate Chad was forced out of the game within seconds. A throw by Daniel put an end to game two and the Freshman Phenoms’ hopes of a comeback.
In the end, the Hard Ballerz’ ability to perform under pressure and sheer depth saw it through to the championship title. Congratulations to both the Hard Ballerz and Freshman Phenoms on some phenomenally hard balling this year.
With dodgeball 2014 now over, we have yet another year to wait before the school’s best of the best take each other on. This year produced some huge wins, upsets and teams that will be back, hungry to take the title for themselves. Next year, keep an eye out for the Dodgefathers, who entered the tournament as underdogs but overcame tough teams such as Phat Boi Phresh. The Freshman Phenoms will return with a vengeance, as this is the second year that they’ve been denied by an older team. Hard Ballerz will likely return as the tournament favorites to defend its title. Stay tuned for dodgeball 2015, folks.