With dynasty aspirations at stake, the Smashbros rallied to defeat the Public Enemies in a best of 5 Championship series. The Longo and Horwedel brothers now lay claim to one of the greatest wiffleball dynasties of all time. The game five victory by the Smashbros culminated in what was one of the best overall playoffs the HFWB has ever seen. Every single series leading up to the finals had plenty of “Holy shit, did that just happen?” moments.
In an era where the HFWB is trying to redefine itself, the wiffleball Gods reminded us that Hess Field still has plenty of greatness left in the tank. The finals pitted the leagues top two teams, the #1 ranked 15-0-1 Public Enemies and the #2 ranked 14-4 Smashbros. The series started off with a bang, with Aussy crafting a clutch pitching performance. Chris Hess came in to close the game out, and PE took a huge 1-0 lead. They were able to finally best Jesse Horwedel on the mound, thanks to clutch hitting and pitching.
With a boat load of confindence heading into game 2, it was PE looking to take control. Cy Young candidate Brian Kelly toed the rubber for PE. Everyone knows it’s difficult to contain the Smashbros offense, and it was on full display in game two. Homerun after homerun, the game was eventually PPD due to darkness. The onslaught continued when they played next, with the Smashbros claiming a 22-10 mercy victory. The series was now tied at 1-1.
Game three wasn’t the prettiest of pitching performances for either team, but PE escapes with an 11-10 victory. The win gave PE a huge 2-1 lead. One more win, and they’re champions.
Considering the ferociousness of this series, and what was at stake for both teams, this was one of the best HFWB finals we’ve seen in a long time. This is what HFWB is supposed to be. Mutual respect, great pitching, and clutch hitting. This is what makes HFWB one of the best leagues in the country.
The darkness that hung over the entire finals, loomed large in the remaining two games. In game four, captain Josh Longo called his own number. The southpaw pitched the biggest game of his life. Aussy took his turn on the mound again from the short mound, and was good, but not good enough. A quick 2-0 lead for the Smashbros set the pace for the rest of the game. Josh Longo was masterful on the mound, holding PE to only one run through 5.2 IP. Alex Kelly connected on a long solo HR to tie the game at 6. Heading into the bottom of the 6th, Zac Longo hit a walk off single to win the game for the Smashbros. A 3-2 victory tied the series up at 2 games a piece.
For game 5, each team threw their best pitchers at each other; Chris Horwedel and Chris Hess. The first few innings were lights out, with each pitcher looking dominant. Horwedel escaped bases loaded jams to keep the game scoreless through 2 innings. It wasn’t until Adam Trigger unloaded a HUGE two run HR off Hess in the top of the third. That hit seemed to knock Hess out of the game. They would tack on another run to make it 3-0. PE responds with a run in the bottom of the 3rd to make it 3-1. Horwedel escapes another bases loaded jam to keep the game close.
Brian Kelly comes in to pitch for PE and keeps the game scoreless as we head to the bottom of the 6th. Chris Horwedel is still on the mound, but begins to show signs of fatigue. Trailing 3-1, PE manages to scratch across 2 more runs to tie the game. At this point, it is pitch black out. Both teams agree to keep playing, but didn’t know what to do about the darkness. Their only option was to move everyone’s car and turn on the lights (an HFWB first).
In the top of the 7th, BK walks in a run to give Smashbros a huge 4-3 lead. He would get out of a bases loaded jam to keep the game close. In the bottom of the 7th, Zac Longo gets the three biggest outs of his life, and the Smashbros win the 2016 HFWB Championship. What a great series played by two great teams.
Special thanks to Corey Zeh, and every other league member that made this season possible. This was one of the most trying seasons we have ever experienced, but we made it through.