Loggers Epicly End Wifftober Drought

On the arms of Ox and the Plastic Surgeon, the Loggers emerged victorious in a classic back and forth
Post Season
Game Date: 
October 15, 2011
Epicocity of Game: 
Epic
Lagers: 
28
Loggers: 
31

Just a day before the biggest wiffle championship in all of Addison County and part of Rutland, the defending champion Lagers shocked the wiffling world by trading their entire 2010 line-up (and a case of Miller High Life) for Lonichiro. The lowly Loggers, struggling to sell tickets in their well chronicled Wifftober drought, could no longer afford Lonichiro's hefty contract. Knowing that you could never replace Lonichiro, they tried to get an array of players. The Lagers, left with no players after the trade, used the High Life to coax the Ghost of Guapo, J-Mac, and Lucky Charms out of retirement. They added the rookie phenom "The Beebs" to round-out the line-up on the cheap.

So going into the big game, the four time champion Lagers fielded Guapo, J-Mac, Lonichiro, The Beebs, and Lucky Charms against the retooled Loggers of Black Cloud, Chin Music, the Plastic Surgeon, Hideki O'Leary, The Ox, and Tremendous Thompson.

TOP 6 - GapBridge

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The players showed up bright and nearly on time. J-Mac got the start for the Lagers and quickly recorded two outs. The Ox stepped up and coolly drifted a solo ringer. The Loggers could get no further scratch off of J-Mac but left the top half with a one run lead.
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The Lagers didn't have to wait long to reply. Black Cloud was on the mound first, obviously trying to take advantage of the sunlight and wear his "dark" glasses. This strategy didn't seem to be of much use as rookie "The Beebs" cracked a deep shot and immediately brought in 2 runs. Cloud settled in and got out of the inning with no further damage. The 1st inning ended Lagers 2 Loggers 1.
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J-Mac was efficient in the 2nd and rode through without allowing any runs.

The day would provide glimpses of years past, in general these were positive, however the bottom of 2nd was not. Black Cloud struggled with finding the mark and unexpectedly walked in a mercy. He looked to be descending into his namesake, luckily a unprecedented 6th costume change brought a lighter shade of sunglasses, quickly brightening his demeanor. Unfortunately, the prospects of the Loggers were not looking as bright, deep in a 9-1 hole.
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The Beebs and Tremendous Thompson threw goose eggs on the board in the 3rd for their respective teams. Things only got worse for the Loggers in the 4th. The Beebs served up a scoreless inning in the top half.

In the bottom half, the Lagers bold trade looked brilliant, as Lonichiro clocked a 2 run shot off of Tremendous. After 4 the Loggers were in big trouble down 11-1 to the loose and confident Lagers.
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Logger fans couldn't be blamed for feeling down, there was a lot of similarities to their downfalls in Wifftober II and III, making it look like the hole was insurmountable despite there being a lot of wiffle left to play.

The thirstiest Lager, Lucky Charms, took the mound in the top of the 5th. With Chin on first, The Ox stepped up and crushed a missile into East Warren. It was likely the deepest homer in GapBridge history. Once a squad of Lager players located the ball, it was placed in the trophy. An energized Logger line-up started to go on a tear, including two doubles from the reinvigorated Tremendous Thompson. By the end of the man sized inning, the Loggers had brought in a total of 8 runs.
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The Lagers, looking to reestablish their lead, quickly loaded the bases on Skimmer in the bottom half. One run came in and it was looking like the hole for the Loggers was going to get deeper again. With J-Mac batting from the left side, Skim was able to get him to ground up the middle. Unfortunately the ball got past Skimmer coming off the mound. A bumbling Black Cloud dove recklessly from left managing to pick up the dribbler. He tumbled about a bit before tossing the ball to the Surgeon who completed the inning ending double play. The Lagers started a half hearted argument around the play being a bungled mess. While they may have had some ground, the fact that a dive was involved trumped any rationality. The Loggers escaped the bottom half only giving up one run, and the gap had closed to 12-9.

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The Loggers would close the lead to two, chipping away at ace Lonichiro, but left the bases loaded. Charms would get one back from Skim in the bottom of the 6th, cranking a solo shot deep for his first Wifftober homer. The teams boarded the LowBus for HST with the Lagers up 13-10.


MIDDLE 6 - HST

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Logger manager, Moises Abeckou seemed perplexed and pleased with the state of the game. "We are about where we expected to be, but we didn't expect to get here in this fashion." His confidence in heading to HST was based on some aggressive stat crunching that Gordon Wiffnofski had done. The wiffle world would soon find out what the analysis had indicated.

The Lagers trotted their starter, J-Mac, back to the mound to start the 7th. Ox led off with a double followed by back to back singles from hometown heroes Black Cloud and Hideki O'Leary. The Plastic Surgeon sauntered up to the left side of the plate, looking particularly comfortable in his fuzzy pants. They looked even better as he chased the three baserunners around the diamond, having catapulted a monster shot over the rightfield fence. The Loggers had their first lead of the game. Chin would follow a Tremendous double with another double to bring the score to 15-13 Loggers on the up side.
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Following the game it was leaked that the Lagers tried to get The Ox in the Lonichiro trade but the Loggers stated that he was untouchable. Their plan from the beginning was to feature the southpaw at HST, a park that he had consistently pitched at an elevated level.

The Logger executives, warm, toasty and well lubricated in the centerfield box seats, had to smile when Ox knocked down the top of the Lagers order 1-2-3 to close the 7th.

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Resurrected Guapo made his Wifftober V pitching debut in the top of the 8th. He was quickly staring at juiced bases and things were not looking good. The veteran knuckled down and got the next two. Painfully close to a "major squander", Surgeon and Tremendous were able to drive in two runs before Guap got off the mound. Ox continued to dominate in the 8th allowing only one Lager to get on base. 17-13 Loggers in the lead.
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Both teams would go scoreless in the 9th, with Guap and Ox displaying complete control of the plate. At the midway point of the game, the Lagers trailed 17-13.
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The Loggers sent rookie Beebs back to the mound for the 10th. He maintained his startling dominance until the Surgeon drove in a single run, bringing the score to 18-13 wood choppers ahead.
Ox continued to groove in the bottom of the10th knocking back Lagers like he was power drinking in college.
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The weather had been a roller coaster of wind, rain, and sun all day but had been bearable. Suddenly the skies opened up and a deluge of liquid fell of the wifflers. For only the second time in history (the other being the famous lightning game), a rain delay was issued and everyone hurriedly ran for the clubhouse.

When the teams returned, Lonichiro headed to the mound for the Lagers and threw a goose egg at the Loggers. In the bottom half, Ox threw his 5th consecutive scoreless inning. He left the mound having only allowed 3 baserunners out of the 18 Lagers he faced. The greatest pitching performance in Wifftober history. Still 18-13 after 11.
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Lonichiro returned to the mound looking to keep the Loggers wiffle axes silent. Chin had other thoughts, leading off with a towering solo shot to left. By the end of the inning, the Loggers had piled on four total runs, including two off another Chin double.

With Ox sipping suds in the dugout and Tremendous out for his 3rd inning of the day, the Lagers were looking to get something going and start clawing their way back into the game. Lonichiro was up with one away, desperately looking to leave his offensive mark. He spanked a high liner just to the left of the mound. It looked to be the double they so craved to get the offensive engine running. Black Cloud, playing the tight hot box of HST, instantly dove, laying completely out and reaching with both hands. At full extension, he miraculously poached the double before crashing to the ground. A loud thud reverberated through-out Bristol, as the Cloud let out a loud scream of triumph. It was the defensive play of the game and one of the top plays of all time, known simply as "The Catch". (Note: this replaces the former "The Catch", recorded by then Hot Rod Beck at the first Belgian Wiffle.)

Onto the Friendly Confines for the final 6 innings, Loggers in the driver seat 22-13.


BOTTOM 6 - The Friendly Confines

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The teams arrived at the Friendly Confines to a cold and driving rain. The grounds crew hurried to ready the field for play as Guapo started to warm up for the Lagers. The Loggers continued to chip away at Guapo's arsenal of pitches and managed to hang another run to widen their lead.

Chin took the mound in the bottom half but struggled to find consistency in the wind and the rain. Beebs wacked a triple that nearly cleared the fence for his second HR of his virginal Wifftober. Lonichiro, still smarting from the robbing an inning earlier, strolled to the plate with the bases juice and served up a Grand Slam with extra bacon. Chin wouldn't get out of the inning until 8 runs had come in, leaving them with a precarious lead 23-21.
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Lonichiro, fresh off the happy homer, climbed the mound in the top of the 14th. The Loggers, desperate to expand their lead, could only pick up one run.

The weary Chin returned to the mound in the bottom of the 14th hoping to slow the hard charging Lager offense. The Lagers would have none of it and just kept churning out runs. Lonichiro capped two man innings of offensive work by sending another wiffle across the road for back to back grand slams. A feat that may have no equal in LowBall history. Note: dating back to Wifftober IV, Chin has given up grand slams to Ich in 3 straight innings With another mercy, the Lagers regained the lead for the first time since the 7th, 28-24.
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The Lagers sent Lucky Charms back to the mound in the top half, clinging to their newly acquired four run lead. The Loggers may have been in the process of tapping a keg, had the LowBus gotten one. Instead they tapped into a barrel of whoop ass and started to throttle young Charms. By the conclusion of the inning, the Loggers had regained the lead 31-28.

The Loggers had been quietly holding their ace, the Plastic Surgeon, in reserve all day. With a ban on gin and tonics and the memory of getting mercied in Wifftober IV, the Surgeon looked ready to go. He took the mound in the bottom of the 15th and immediately stitched things up to stop the bleeding.

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Guapo returned and shut out the Loggers for both the 16th and the 17th despite the Loggers loading up the bases. Unfortunately for the Lagers, the Surgeon did the same. In a particularly savage pitching episode, the Surgeon showed off his optometry degree, snapping Guapo glasses in two with a nasty inside fastball.
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Starter J-Mac came in to close the 18th and was quickly facing juiced bases. The wily veteran dug deep and got his team out unfazed. The Lagers were down to the final three outs with a three run deficit to overcome.

The Loggers went to the controversial Closer by Committee strategy. The Surgeon took the first duty, quickly getting J-Mac out. Lonichiro followed by finding a way to sneak on base. Black Cloud emerged on the mound to face Guapo. With the morning's mishap behind him, he dispatched Guap. The Beebs came up next and hit a hard single to the opposite field. After much discussion the Loggers sent Tremendous to the mound to face J-Mac. With the tying run at the plate, many in the crowd shook their hands in odd ways. Thompson was able to get J-Mac to pop out, thus sealing the first Wifftober victory for the Loggers.
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This is a game that will grow in myth and grandeur as the years go by and I, celebrated wiffle journalist Hugh Wifflerton, was honored to witness the entire drama unfold. You saw the pinnacle of wiffle; the greatest pitching performance in Wifftober history, arguably the greatest hitting in two innings that has ever been seen, one of the best defensive plays ever made, and a continual roller coaster of lead changes and momentum swings. If you didn't love this game, you should just change the channel to the home shopping network and never tune in again.
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As the players embraced and celebrated the final day of wiffle in 2011, a few questions hung in the air. The Plastic Surgeon has now won the greatest number of Wifftobers, four straight with Saturday's big win. Three players are tied at three a piece; Lonichiro, Black Cloud, and Tremendous Thompson. Hideki O'Leary, at last not a perennial rookie, has finally tasted the warm beer from the Chalice, when will Charms and Beebs follow suit?

Fan favorite Ghost of El Guapo has now been thristing since Wifftober II. Will he get back to the Chalice in 2012? I know the fans will be pulling for him.

Easily overlooked in the Loggermania, is the quiet emergence of The Beebs as a prime time wiffler. Not only did he lead the Lagers in WAR, he was fourth overall for the day. How long will his current contract that requires him to bring beer to games hold out?

There will be 12 cards for next season, but for the first time ever West Coast will not be one. With West Coast's first absence, now only five players have played in all Wifftobers - Black Cloud, Lonichiro, Tremendous Thompson, Plastic Surgeon, and the Ox. Will they all still be on the list when we make it to Wifftober X?

After suffering through the fan backlash following the 2010 strike, LowBall has witnessed consecutive epic Wifftobers. What will next season hold as the league attempts to build on its current momentum?
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I contacted Gordon Wiffnofski, famed LowBall mathematician, for a breakdown on the stats. Upon performing an expert analysis, he concluded that the Loggers attention to batting order was most likely the reason they won, that, and the fact they scored more runs. It appears that the Lagers top hitsman on the day, Lonichiro, missed two at bats. Of course, Gordon, who invented the Wiffnofski Theorem on wiffle drinking, could have missed a few details in the late innings. There is a peculiar lack of doubles for the Lagers. Certainly the fact that the Loggers had two players, Black Cloud and the Ox, getting on base nearly 3 times out of 4 attempts didn't hurt.

On a side note, Wiffnofski bears an uncanny resemblance to Black Cloud, Hugh S. Wifflerton, the head photographer of LowBall, the lead greens keeper at HST, and Ludwig von Beck the trophy builder. It is almost as if they are just one person, but that would be impossible.

Player of the Game
Highlights: 
Ox was a monster of the wiffle pitch, he locked the Lagers for 5 innings of impressive pitching, allowing only 3 base runners out of the 18 he faced, he blasted two homeruns at GapBridge to bring the Loggers back, finished with game best OBP of 0.750 and a WAR of +0.583
Astroglide Smooth Defense
Defensive Highlights: 
The tumbling double play at Gap and "The Catch" at HST
Quote of the Game
Quote: 
He's got the eyes of a peregrine falcon.
Player quoted: 
Situation: 
Describing The Plastic Surgeon batting.