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Homegrown Kickball Classic: Friday shuts out Saturday

Team Friday celebrates after winning the 2017 Homegrown Kickball Classic.

DULUTH, Minn. – The Friday bands shut out Saturday to win 2017’s high-stakes Homegrown Kickball Classic 8-0, tying up the overall series record at 9-9.

The game got underway 32 minutes after gametime, when a ball was finally obtained from a child in attendance as a spectator. For her contribution, Adriana Serrano McFarland was granted the honor of first pitch.

The first half of the first inning started slow with no runs, no hits and one error. Robot Rickshaw showed up but was not allowed to kick, by decision of Friday Coach Heiko.

0-0 at the end of the first. Tensions high.

In the second inning, a bearded man in a green jacket walked up to Saturday Coach Paul Lundgren. Looking a little lost, he said, “You guys need a Tuesday performer to fill out the lineup?”

Lundgren sized the kid up.

“We’re in the field,” he said with a nod. “Catch a ball.”

As the newcomer jogged onto the field Lundgren said to no one in particular, “Anyone with two good hands and a strong back is welcome on the Saturday rollers.”

Lundgren’s faith was rewarded when Mr. Tuesday made a catch-and-assist to get a Friday player out. Unfortunately, Jaw Knee Vee (later to be named MVP) started showing his mettle in the bottom of the second, bringing three runs in with one kick.

“He’s got a golden tooth and a golden foot,” drummer Ryan Nelson said admiringly from first base.

In the fourth inning, Saturday’s spirits were lifted briefly by a couple of successful routine plays. They tagged the formidable Ryan Van Slooten out at first. Mr. Tuesday again proved his worth, catching a fly for the second out. Nathan Holte caught Rick McLean’s fly for a third out, and Friday kept Saturday to three points… for the time being.

In the top of the fifth, Ryan Van Slooten caught a fly ball for the first out.

“As a general rule, let’s not kick to Ryan Van Slooten,” Lundgren admonished from the sidelines.

Scott Starfire Lunt was the third out, but in the bottom of the fifth redeemed himself by catching a pop fly.

Jaw Knee Vee scored on a sacrifice fly from Heather Dean to make the score 4-0.

In the sixth inning Saturday kickers dropped like flies, with Jaw Knee Vee catching a fly for the third out.

“Who scheduled Jaw Knee Vee on Friday?” festival founder Starfire asked, exasperated.

A plan began developing to recruit former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe for Starfire’s Saturday band, so that he could join the Saturday team next year.

“He probably would do it,” Starfire said. “He seems like a fun guy.”

Jon Choi made it home for Friday in the bottom of the sixth, bringing the score to 5-0.

In the top of the seventh, most of Alamode’s lineup was up to bat. No cease and desist required here, though — for all its success on the stage, the band didn’t make a single play this date.

In the seventh-inning stretch, Freddie Tyson and his Tysonettes provided a morale boost, pulling a speaker out onto the field in a wagon and putting on a brief but vigorous dance party.

In the bottom of the seventh Friday was up to bat, recharged and showing no signs of slowing its momentum.

Saturday player Alex Piazza walked to the sidelines, dejected. “I’m carrying the team on my back,” he said. His bandmate Nathan Holte remained positive. “We need one good inning,” he said. “One really good inning.”

By the top of the 8th, the score was 6-0.

Coach Lundgren gave a quick pep talk: “Get your g**d*** d***s in the game.”

Jacob Swanson walked up to the plate to kick, but he did not appear to have his g**d*** d*** in the game.

“What inning is it?” he asked.

He was informed that it was the eighth.

“So we have one more after this!” he said, and kicked a fly directly to bandmate Ryan Nelson to become the third out.

Friday was up at the bottom of the eighth, and teammates began heckling each other in a confused attempt to fill the mysterious absence of chief heckler Chad Lyons.

Friday scored twice to bring the game to 8-0. Oddly, records show one of those runs was on a foul ball.

Saturday player Ellen Vaagen stopped playing because of a hurt finger but came up with the chorus “I hate cute bunts and I cannot lie,” thereby still proving to be of invaluable service to her team.

In what should have been a dramatic all-in, last-ditch effort at the top of the ninth, Saturday got three outs in four kickers, with only Crunchy Buncher Dan Branovan getting to first.

After the loss, Saturday began making earnest plans to practice over the summer and come back and “cream them next year.”

Friday player Jaw Knee Vee, who scored two runs, reached base in all three plate appearances, and played devastating defense, was named MVP.

He said he has played kickball but “not regularly.”

“I don’t know where it came from,” he said. “It’s an extreme honor. I’d like to thank my team, everyone that’s been on the Friday team in history past. Coaches, trainers, my agent. You’re really writing this down?”

While no one was officially named LVP, Saturday Coach Lundgren put forth a suggestion.

“I think the entire Saturday team.”

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