Hurts so bad!
Brooklyn Kickball’s two-time champions and heavily favored John Cougar Mellencamps were soundly thrashed by underdog Never Scared in the best-of-three playoff series on Sunday, 16–6 and 14–4.
In what might be the greatest upset in the league’s storied history, the purple players fought authority — but this time, authority, in the form of the two-time champs, lost bad.
Never Scared cherry bombed the defending champs with blowout victories that stunned both the former titleholders and the scrappy underdogs, who lost to the Mellencamps in the 2009 finals.
“I didn’t expect it to go this way,” said Never Scared captain Dan “Titletown” Clark. “I have wonderful teammates and I wouldn’t want it to end any other way. After all these years, to finally get ’em, this was our year.”
The Mellencamps spent much of the year at the top of the standings and had not lost a game in the postseason.
But the crowd was hungry for blood.
“Want to know how much I hate the JCMs?” said Rachel “Furniture” Coleman, of the Space Cadets. “They’re like the villains in a sports movie. This game is good vs. evil.”
Mellencamp’s captain “Shirtless” Tom Dontprintmylastname, dressed in a natty Captain America uniform, guaranteed a third championship before the game.
“I’m not feeling scared,” he said.
But Never Scared showed its fearlessness, tallying eight runs in the bottom of the first inning, beginning with a two-run Paul “Couture” Smith blast to right field and rookie Monica “Gryffindor” Afandor’s RBI-single to left, to take an 8-1 lead.
“This is what you call a complete fielding breakdown,” said League Commissioner Kevin “Commish” Dailey.
Rookie of the year candidate Michael “Baby Jesus” Scott finally woke up and helped the Mellencamps clawed their way back into the game, but Game 1 was never in doubt, as Never Scared kept pouring it on, thanks to a two-run single by “Hot” Karl Pawlewicz and Smith’s two-run homer.
“It’s one down, one to go,” Smith said after the game. “It’s not over yet, but it feels good to be the first game hero.”
In Game 2, Never Scared left off where it started, scoring three runs in the first — two thanks to a Dontprintmylastname error.
The Mellencamps responded with two runs in the first, thanks to Scott’s expert slide home, and one in the second to tie it 3-3.
But Never Scared didn’t back down.
Clark booted home the go-ahead run in the second inning, and the team added three more runs in the third to go up 7-3 and shut down the former champs in the bottom frame.
The crowd began to sense that it just wasn’t the Mellencamps’ day.
“When the JCM are on, it’s spectacular, but this is just a bummer,” said Brooklyn United’s “Hey” Kate Brown. “The JCMs play with heart. They’re like the Yankees.”
Never Scared added four runs in the fourth on Conner “Courage” Walick’s three-run triple and Smith’s RBI single.
Never Scared finally put the Mellencamps out of their misery in the fifth inning, when Afandor doubled, scoring Clark, Never Scored sacrificed home another runner and she came home on Robert “Frost” Whiteman’s single, ending the game with a second Mercy rule win.
“It’s great!” said Afandor, who scored the championship-winning run. “I’m a rookie so it feels good. This is an awesome team, and we deserved to win.”
Afandor and her teammates hugged each other and hoisted the coveted Chuck D trophy, celebrating their first title after playing five years in the league.
The Mellencamps were gracious, though self-critical, in defeat.
“I feel simply embarrassed,” said Scott. “The weather was a factor. Also, we got brunch right before this. Nobody cared, that was it. No one cared. We were definitely over-confident.”
But Never Scared clearly took the series more than the Mellencamps lost it.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said Pawlewicz. “These guys are my best friends. I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and be 10 times happier than I am right now. But now, we’re going to party.”