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Bacon Bits taste glory - They’re your Kickball League champions for 2008

The Bacon Bits are your 2008 Brooklyn Kickball League champions!

With the tying man on third and the go ahead run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Erin Heartbreaker and the John Cougar Mellencamps had their hearts broken when she grounded out to first as the Bacon Bits’ bench erupted in celebration.

“I’m on top of the world! This is the ultimate goal! Platitudes. Platitudes,” said Bacon Bits shortstop Matt Jacobs after the hard-fought victory.

The Bacon Bits defeated the John Cougar Mellencamps, 8-7, last Sunday at the McCarren Park ball fields, in a tense game with several ties and lead changes. The key defensive play in the game came in the 8th inning with the JCMs rallying after being down 8-6. With one out and two men on, “Shirtless” Tom avoided Karl Pawlewicz’s tag on the 3rd base line, bringing in a run and extending the inning. After Shirtless was forced out at home, the JCMs struck a line drive to center that almost singled home Tournament All-Star Elana Luppino, if not for the quick throwing tag applied by the Bits, forcing out the runner on second base and keeping their lead in tact.

“I think it was all on the offense,” Pitcher Shannon Coghill said. “We’re both strong teams on the field. We were trying to keep kicks in the field in order to advance the base runners.”

Karl Pawlewicz kept the dangerous JCMs off the bases with his stellar defense at third throughout the night. After five innings of infield outs, the frustrated JCMs changed strategy in their kick selection in order to keep the game close.

“This is my first year playing in Brooklyn Kickball,” Pawlewicz said. “The whole thing has been amazing. Just playing against great teams like Prison, Ye Olde Fashioneds, and the Dream Team got us ready for today’s game and got us fired up.”

It was a tough night for the JCMs, who enjoyed their first finals appearance by slaughtering The Commitments 10-2 in the makeup semifinal match. Tournament All-Star third baseman Priest Fontaine made several diving stops in the field, but aggressive baserunning and several sac flies kept adding to their opponent’s lead.

“We’ve been studying outdated NASA experiments and we’ve really been focusing,” Fontaine said when asked to describe his team strategies for competing. “It’s kind of like science fiction.”

The JCMs had better luck in their makeup semifinal, picking up where they left off last weekend. An agreement between the teams and the league was reached, where the game resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning with the JCMs leading The Commitments 4-2. Following six errors in the field, including a Bill Buckner-esque error by Tournament All-Star Jesse “Ballgame” Sullivan, the JCMs tacked on six runs over the final five innings. The Commitments would not score again.

“The Commitments have one of the biggest arsenals of talent in their field and on the bases,” Shirtless Tom said. “Everyone played really well. There was no one person that took over.”

After the loss, Commitments Team Captain Randal Mixon announced his retirement from the league, which could usher in changes on the team’s roster next year. Mixon and hundreds of other kickballers crowded around the dugouts on the chilly Sunday night to dance to music DJed by Team Never Scared and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in the seventh inning stretch.

“It’s been the best four years of my life,” Mixon said. “To be able to bring my daughter here and be incorporated into this community has been great. I hope new people have as much fun as I had.”

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