Vassallo Hits Three Homers, Including Walk-Off in Bottom of 8th, Puts Fish Sticks Up 3-1 in Wiffle Series

12 Aug

Vassallo's walk-off home run solidified his position as one of the most clutch EWL players, and put the Fish Sticks on the brink of a title

Led by Blose and Vassallo, the Fish Sticks came back from an early deficit to beat the Caucasian Vaginas in extra innings and pull within one game of clinching the 2011 EWL Wiffle Series Championship.

After dropping Games 1 and 2 with little offensive output, the Caucasians resurrected in Game 3 of the Wiffle Series, pounding the Fish Sticks 10-0 and putting themselves back in contention. The Caucasians surprisingly didn’t start their ace, 2011 Pitch King Guthrie in Game 3, but instead turned to Higgins who pitched a complete game shutout. With Higgins out for Week 2 of the Wiffle Series and replaced by Frosty who missed Week 1, the Caucasians went back to their proven star, starting Guthrie on the mound in Game 4. The Fish Sticks #1 starter Dinger was hit hard in Game 3, and Joey started on the mound in Game 4.

Guthrie returned to the mound in Game 4 after taking the loss for the Caucasians in Game 1

After giving up only 1 earned run in a complete game win in Game 2, Joey seemed to have the Caucasians confused. But something changed in the top of the first inning of Game 4, as the Vaginas hit Joey hard and jumped out to an early lead. Joey retired Guthrie for the first out of the inning, but then the Caucasians opened up offensively like they did in Game 3 against Dinger. Morrison clubbed a one-out solo homer, putting the Caucasians up 1-0.

Morrison rounds third after putting the Caucasians up 1-0 early

The next batter, Frosty, followed with another bomb, and the Caucasians were up two runs. Les, batting fourth for the Caucasians, followed with yet another homer, and the Caucasians had hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the second consecutive game. The Fish Sticks were reeling early, and the Caucasians looked to be on the way to evening up the series at 2-2 and reclaiming momentum. Up 3-0 with one out, Guthrie singled to extend the rally, but Joey retired Morrison for the second out of the inning, stranding Guthrie at first and ending the first inning barrage of runs.

Les capped off first inning back-to-back-to-back home runs for the Caucasians, putting them up 3-0

Guthrie gave up two homers to Blose in Game 1, including a leadoff homer to start the Wiffle Series. Blose didn’t take him deep to start the bottom of the second, but he did single, and the Fish Sticks had a base runner hoping to reduce their early deficit. Dinger grounded out to left for the first out, pushing Blose to second on the play. With a runner in scoring position, Joey was unable to plate a run, grounding out to left for the second out of the inning.

Joey regained composure in the top of the second, retiring Frosty and Les in order for a scoreless half-inning.

Down three, the Fish Sticks showed sparks of life in the bottom of the second. Vassallo led off the inning with a solo home run, pulling the Fish Sticks within two runs. With no outs, Blose continued to scorch Guthrie, hitting a solo home run to deep right field, making the score 3-2. The Fish Sticks couldn’t match the Caucasians back-to-back-to-back homers though, as Guthrie retired Dinger and Joey in order to end the second.

Vassallo put the Fish Sticks on the board in the 2nd inning with his first of three home runs

The Caucasians still had the lead, but were unable to add to it in the to of the third. Guthrie and Morrison were retired consecutively and Joey had retired four straight batters after the disastrous first inning.

Guthrie continued to struggle in the bottom of the third, as history started to repeat itself. One inning after hitting back-to-back jacks, Vassallo and Blose did it again. Vassallo led off the inning by crushing a homer to left field, and Blose followed with another homer. Blose and Vassallo were a combined 5 for 5 at this point with 4 home runs. The Fish Sticks had regained the lead after falling behind in the first inning, and the score was 4-3. Guthrie again retired Dinger and Joey in order to get out of the inning, and the Caucasians headed into the fourth inning down a run.

Blose's second home run of the game gave the Fish Sticks a 4-3 lead, their first in Game 4

Frosty led off the top of the fourth with a single, his second hit of the game and the first Caucasian hit since the first inning. But Les and Guthrie were both retired by Joey at the mound, as Frosty was unable to advance past first base and the Caucasians still trailed.

Vassallo was finally retired in the bottom of the fourth, as he led off by grounding out to right field. Guthrie followed by retiring Blose, and he had pitched his first perfect inning of the game.

Morrison led off the top of the fifth by grounding out to left field, and the Caucasians were three outs away from dropping another game. But with one out, Frosty hit a deep solo home run, his third hit of the game, tying the game at 4-4. After cruising through the past three innings, Joey started to show signs of weakness. Les followed with a out-out single, and the next batter, Guthrie, doubled. Les was unable to score on the play, but the Caucasians had two runners in scoring position, and the go-ahead run on third base. Their best hitter, Morrison, was at the plate, but his struggles in Game 4 continued. He grounded out to left field, stranding both runners, and the game remained tied at 4-4.

Frosty rejuvenated the Caucasians with his bat and his screaming, hitting a game-tying homer in the 5th inning

Guthrie kept rolling in the bottom of the fifth, retiring Dinger and Joey in order, his fifth and sixth consecutive outs.

The game entered the final inning tied at 4-4. Despite getting hit in the fifth inning, Joey stayed in the game on the mound for the Fish Sticks. He retired Frosty and Les in order, putting the Fish Sticks a run away from winning the game in the bottom of the sixth.

The Fish Sticks couldn’t start a rally, however, as Guthrie sent Vassallo and Blose down consecutively, each by groundout, forcing the game into extra innings.

Joey continued pitching for the Fish Sticks, and he got Guthrie and Morrison to each groundout to Blose in center field in the top of the seventh.

Joey retired the final seven batters he faced in Game 4

Guthrie kept firing for the Caucasians, and he extending the game to an eighth inning after retiring Dinger in Joey in order.

Frosty led off the top of the eighth, and became the first player in league history to call himself out. With two strikes, he hit a pop fly in foul territory behind the plate. Joey raced from the mound to attempt to make the catch, and Frosty didn’t get out of the way. In a stunning act of sportsmanship, he called himself out, resulting in the first out of the inning. Joey then retired Les to end the eighth, and the Caucasians were unable to plate a run. Joey had reached his eight inning pitch limit, and the Fish Sticks would have to turn to a new pitcher if the game went to the ninth inning.

The bottom of the eighth would be Guthrie’s final inning on the mound too, two outs away from reaching his limit. But neither team would have to deal with their bullpen, as the Vassallo would cap an incredible game at the plate with his second walk-off home run in the 2011 EWL Playoffs. After taking several pitches, he hit a low-flying laser beam to left field. The fly ball would have been foul, but it clipped the lowest hanging leaf on the left field tree, making it fair. The ball hit the leaf and fell just over the fence, and Fish Sticks had won Game 3. Vassallo had hit his third home run of the game, shocking the Caucasians and uplifting the Fish Sticks. The Fish Sticks had assumed a commanding 3-1 series lead and were now one win away from clinching the championship as the series moved to Game 5 with the Caucasians at home.

Game Notes:
– Vassallo and Blose led the Fish Sticks offensively. Blose went 3-5 with 2 HR, a single, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Vassallo went 3-5 with 3 HR, 3 runs scored, 3 RBI, and the game-winning hit.
– Dinger and Joey combined to go 0-10, and were the first and second outs in five of the game’s eight innings.
– Joey pitched 8 innings for the complete game victory, giving up 4 ER on 8 hits. Joey moved to 2-0 for the Wiffle Series and 3-0 in the playoffs on the mound.
– Guthrie pitched 7 innings in the loss, giving up 5 ER on 6 hits. Guthrie moved to 0-2 in the Wiffle Series and 2-2 in the playoffs.
– Frosty led the Caucasians offensively, going 3-6 with a single, 2 HR, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI.

Box Score

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