3/19/2011 Bout Recap with DrAwkward


HOLY CRAP, people. Last Saturday’s bouts had it all: a thrilling come-from-behind win, serious jammer-on-jammer ownage (or is that PWNGE? I don’t keep up with high school gamer-nerd lingo), a tense nearly-to-the-wire contest, and more Beerleader t-shirtapult action, slinging WMSE t-shirts into a screaming throng of what to my eyes had to be around 4,000 (NOTE: estimate not scientific). Here we go, folks:

Bout 1: Shevil Knevils 69, Crazy 8s 59

This bout…I mean, this friggin’ bout, y’all. From the opening whistle to the end of the first half, all signs pointed to another Crazy 8s stomp-fest at the expense of the Shevils. 8s jammers attained lead status 6 times in the first half and managed to hold the Shevil jammers scoreless 3 of the 6 jams in which they got lead. As has been the case all season, the 8s blockers laid some serious hurt on their opponents, stymieing opposing jammers like Bloody Cupcake and Grace Killy through the first half (Killy needed 16 points to reach 300 for her career but only scored 3 all bout). Meanwhile, a pair of 15-point jams from the ninjas’ EmFatale and Zo-Tay paced the 8s as they rocketed to a 49-11 halftime lead and another sure victory.

Then again…

As the second half commenced, my colleague Gloria Hole and I observed that stranger things than 38-point comebacks have happened in the world of roller derby, and as the Shevils began to chip away at the 8s lead, that narrative was carried along. Three points from Bloody Cupcake here, four from Candy Acid there, a few two-point jams from Cupcake and Killy, and halfway through the second half, the Shevils took advantage of snatching lead jammer status in all but one of the first eight jams to nickel-and-dime their way to a 52-32 deficit. Still, time was running short. Did the red, white, and blue have what it took to strap some serious afterburners onto this comeback?

Jam 9 of the second half was the clear turning point, and possibly the most electrifying moment of the entire bout. Skittle took lead jammer status with Zo-Tay mere inches behind her on the track (when the opposing jammer is neck and neck with the lead jammer, it’s hard to outscore ‘em before calling the jam off). So Skittle decided to play rough. A shoulder block just after turn 2—Zo-Tay stays upright. Another shoulder block down the straightaway; again, Zo-Tay keeps pace. Finally, just after turn three, Skittle’s roughhousing paid off as Zo-Tay was goaded into an illegal block! Major penalty! Zo-Tay was ushered off the track and Skittle was off to the races, showing the jam-skating form that earned her last year’s Rookie of the Year honors. Her 13-point jam closed the gap to 54-45 (Zo-Tay recovered to steal two at the end of the jam). Not only did we have a rare PALINDROME SCORE (check the spelling of my name to see why that’s frickin’ cool), but also the thousands in attendance erupted, roaring their approval from the onset of Zo-Tay’s penalty until the end of the jam. Suddenly, all the momentum—and crowd noise—favored the Shevils. A 9-0 Candy Acid jam that tied the bout at 54-all sent the crowd into deafening bedlam.

The 8s wouldn’t go down without a fight, though; EmFatale took lead in the 11th jam of the second half and racked up a grand slam to put the 8s ahead 59-54. Em lined up in the final jam of the bout against the Shevils’ comeback queen, Moby Nipps (we still fondly recall her 20-point final jam last year that sent a Shevils/Maidens bout into overtime), and unfortunately got drawn into a major track cut that sent her to the box, leaving Moby unopposed as she grabbed 15 points and, with her head pointed skyward toward the period clock hanging over the track, called off the jam to cap an incredible 69-59 comeback victory as the crowd went apeshiz.

Gloria and I spoke to Shevil blocker Terror Lipinski after the bout and asked her what changed in the second half. Her take—the 8s had amassed several minor penalties in the first half, but took no trips to the penalty box for them (it takes 4 minor penalties to equal one major and its resulting trip to the sin bin). In the second half, the numbers started adding up, and they resulted in more Shevil bodies on the track. Congratulations to America’s Team, who proved that it’s not just a catchy war cry—they really mean it when they yell, “Shevil Knevils never say die!”

Bout 2: Rushin’ Rollettes 76, Maiden Milwaukee 60

After all that excitement, could the Rollettes and Maidens follow up? There were plenty of storylines—the Rollettes were hoping to rebound from their defeat at the hands of the 8s last month, while the 0-2 Maidens were just hoping to rebound, period. The bout seesawed early; while the Rollettes’ dangerous jammers Carrie A. Hacksaw and HighD Voltage got the scoring started early with a combined 7-0 run, the Maidens immediately responded by taking the next five jams by a combined 16-0. The remainder of the first half was a low-scoring, defensive struggle that saw the Maidens cling to their early lead until the final two jams. Amazingly, only one jam in the entire first half featured multiple scoring passes by a jammer; most jams were of the “hit it and quit it” variety. It took Maidens’ jammer Thunderpants! sabotaging herself with a minor illegal block in the second-last jam for the Rollettes’ T-Lo to register the bout’s first grand slam en route to an 8-point jam, putting the Rollettes on top by a point. Another three from HighD Voltage at the end of the half sent the Soviets into the locker room leading 27-24.

The second half progressed much like the first—the Rollettes extended their lead to 31-24 with an opening 4-0 jam from Hacksaw, but after a 10-4 jam from Rejected Seoul (which put her over the 600-point mark for her career, first in BCB history to do so—congrats, Seoul!) and three more from Thunderpants!, the Maidens were back on top 36-35. The teams swapped a series of 4-point jams until HighD Voltage managed to outscore Maidens captain Betty Clobber 9-4 to once again put the Rollettes in the lead, again by a point, 49-48. Unfortunately for the Maidens, they finally ran out of steam when Thunderpants! was sent to the penalty box for a major low block, allowing Carrie A. Hacksaw to roll up a pair of grand slams and give the Soviets a 63-51 lead that they would no longer relinquish. A last gasp by the Maidens’ Super Hera in the final jam was not enough to close the gap, as her blockers couldn’t keep HighD Voltage from matching her point for point. Final score: Rollettes 76, Maidens 60. The Red Scare rebounds and improves to 2-1, while the workin’ class ass-kickers fall to the 0-3 abyss.

However, all is not lost for the Maidens, as the benefit of being in a four-team league is that everyone still has a shot at the championship! As we head toward the semifinals on April 16, let’s see where we sit:

The first three bouts of the season determine seedings for the semifinals. Three teams—the Crazy 8s, Rushin’ Rollettes, and Shevil Knevils, are all tied with 2-1 records. The first tiebreaker in this scenario goes to head-to-head results, but that’s a three-way tie too! The 8s beat the Rollettes, the Rollettes beat the Shevils, and the Shevils beat the 8s. So where do we go from there? Point differential. After last Saturday, the 8s have outscored their opponents by a total of 31 points, and the Shevils have outscored other teams by 29. Meanwhile the Rollettes have been outscored by 6. Therefore, the Crazy 8s are still the top seed, and will face Maiden Milwaukee next month for the right to play the winner of the Shevils/Rollettes bout in the championship on May 14. Who will advance to battle for the coveted wheel-covered trophy (which really needs a name—is someone working on that)? Find out next month!

*Photos courtesy of Moosie

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