BALTIMORE, MD – With a trip to Denver for the WFTDA Championships on the line, the fourth-seeded Steel City Derby Demons Steel Hurtin’ took on the third-seeded Charm City Roller Girls All Stars, who, along with the D.C. Rollergirls hosted a well-run and entertaining East Region Playoffs at the Du Burns Arena. The two similarly-styled teams of black and yellow warmed up with some good-natured teasing by Baltimore, wearing the jerseys of the Ravens football squad who’d trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers a week earlier. Hard-hitting would be the name of the game on another football Sunday as Charm’s pack — and control of lead jammer status — built up a first-half 88-point lead that could not be narrowed despite a much closer second half. Charm is going to Championships with the 189-94 victory.
The first half was dominated at the jam line by Charm City who captured all but 2 lead jams. Things started inauspiciously for Steel City as ‘snot rocket science was called for a track cut. Athena’s shove of teammate Ally McKill knocked Charm’s I.M. Pain out of bounds and kept her from running the score too high on the powerjam. But as ‘snot rocket science returned, she was almost immediately sent back for a back block and after one jam it was 13-0 Charm. After Joy Collision’s chest block blew up the Bonecrusher-anchored Pittsburgh front wall, Crowella De Vil’s dexterous feet scampered through a penalty-troubled Steel Hurtin’ pack for 23 more points. ‘snot rocket science did get Steel Hurtin’ on the board, however, with 2 late points.
I.M.Pain was able to extend the lead by another 9, but the Charm squad’s hard hitting on Hurricane Heather kept her scoreless but started to fill the penalty box. In the ensuing jam, Joy Collision was able to knock Mean Burrito out to prevent her from getting lead jam. Clitty Clitty Bang Bang was not awarded lead either and Mean Burrito was able to win the 13-7 two-minute jam. Two jams later, Mean Burrito shot through the pack as I.M. Pain called it, winning a surprising 4-2 jam to bring the score to 56-19. Then Joy Collision showed why she’s one of the best blockers in derby, constantly recycling Hurricane Heather back to the pack as Crowella De Vil leaped through the pack for 18 points the hard way. With 15 minutes in the books, Charm led 75-19.
The Shocker captured the first lead jam for Steel City as Athena drew the blockers’ attention, and Crowella De Vil was called for a track cut to give Steel Hurtin’ the opportunity they’d wanted. Unfortunately for Steel, the Shocker could only score 7 on the ensuing powerjam before she was sent to the box herself. Starting out alone, Just Carol had a hard time as La Diabla*, ‘snot rocket science, and Ally McKill killed the penalty. But Just Carol was able to effectively still play a powerjam for 20 points as Dolly Rocket’s superior blocking at the back of the pack neutralized the Shocker on her return and then sent her again to the box by drawing a back block. Joy Collision and Holden Grudges stood out on defense keeping Steel City off the scoreboard as the lead increased incrementally.
With seven minutes remaining in the half, grabbing only the second lead jam for Pittsburgh, ‘snot rocket science battled Lady Quebeaum at the back of the pack and Holly Go Hardly at the front and managed to get through three times to I.M. Pain’s two to win a 14-8 jam. Just Carol answered, slenderly slipping through pairs of blockers to score 9 as Charm’s defense came up with their another of their 14 first-half jam shutouts. With two minutes to go, Crowella De Vil beat the Crippler around the outside while Holly Go Hardly held the Shocker on the inside for another 4 for Charm. Just Carol had time to get her own 4-0 by shrugging off blows from Athena and ‘snot rocket science and the first half ended with a commanding 129-41 lead.
Mean Burrito seemed to be on her way to a lead jam to begin the second half but a last-second Holden Grudges block sent her sprawling to the center of the track as I.M. Pain successfully added on another 13. Steel City then turned it around as Crowella De Vil seemingly had a shot at lead but a last-second wall formed by the Crippler and Friction VixXxen kept her in the pack. Crowella De Vil was then called to the box and Hurricane Heather was able to finally knock out a good jam for 9 points. ‘snot rocket science continued the carried-over powerjam for 9 more until Joy Collision’s big hit snuffed that candle. The Shocker completed the 22-0 Steel Hurtin’ run, shooting through the diminishing Charm City pack as Athena recycled Just Carol to the back of the pack.
The black back wall of Baltimore then got momentum back for Charm. Holly Go Hardly, Rosie the Rioter, and Loretta Scars were too much for Hurricane Heather; then Dolly Rocket, Thorough Bled, and Reckless Ndangerment proved to be the same for ‘snot rocket science. Charm seemed content to lose blockers to the box in exchange for preventing points and lead jams and Steel City was not able to capitalize on the pack advantages until ‘snot rocket science scored a 4-0 against a 2-1 pack. Then Mean Burrito won the race through a no-pack to score 9 as Crowella De Vil seemingly went to the box, only to be sprung immediately afterward to score 5 causing a bit of confusion. Holly Go Hardly worked over the Shocker, but too many Charm blockers went to the box. The Shocker scored 4 and Hurricane Heather got 4 herself against a starting pack consisting solely of Dolly Rocket. With one quarter remaining, Charm City held a 154-84 lead.
For the remainder of the bout, Charm was able to capture lead most of the time to seal the victory, content to keep the scoring low or even scoreless as time ticked away. In a sole exception, Just Carol slipped through for 15 while Holly Go Hardly and Holden Grudges took turns keeping the Shocker in the pack. With only 4:30 left, Athena and Friction VixXxen kept Crowella De Vil trapped on the inside and ‘snot rocket science was able to break the shutout run with her own 4-0. Holden Grudges then donned the star herself, scoring 5 as Joy Collision worked over Mean Burrito. The Shocker finally got a little daylight to grab lead jammer, but Rosie the Rioter spoiled her scoring pass and I.M. Pain equaled her in a 4-4 to bring the final score to 189-94.
Charm City (2-1 on the weekend with wins over 6E Boston and 4E Steel City and a loss to 2E Philly) goes on to represent the Eastern Region at Nationals and Steel City (1-2 with a win over 5E Montreal and losses to 1E Gotham and 3E Charm City) goes home with their highest Playoff finish, at fourth place.