FORT WAYNE, IN — In the first half of the Cincinnati / Bleeding Heartland opening match in the 2013 WFTDA D1 Playoffs, it looked like the story was going to be Cincinnati being undone by enormous penalty trouble and Bleeding Heartland scoring a kickoff upset. In the second half, though, Cincy’s blockers cleaned up and created a showcase for tireless Cincinnati jammer K. Lethal. Lethal jammed 25 of the game’s 40 jams, went 9 jams in a row in the final 12 minutes, and put up a stunning 176 points — including a 24-0 in the final jam — to lift Cincinnati to an improbable comeback victory, 217-214.
The teams combined for 101 penalty minutes in the game — 52 for Cincy and 49 for Bleeding Heartland.
Cincinnati needed more than an hour of play to take the lead for the first time. After two opening 0-0 jams, Bleeding Heartland jammer Nuck L. Sammie was completely untouched by a severely diminished Cincinnati pack for the entirety of a natural 24-0. That light pack would continue to be a huge problem for Cincinnati for almost all of the first half, as they had two in the box at seemingly all times; over the course of the first 30 minutes, key blocker Nuke’Em rang up 6 penalties while CandyKickass had 5. As a team, Cincy had 33 first-half penalty minutes against 23 for Bleeding Heartland.
The first two jammer penalties of the game both went against Cincinnati’s Wheezy, leading to big 19-0 and 20-0 runs for BHRG jammers Kaka Caliente and Nuck L. Sammie — meanwhile, with Bleeding Heartland almost always having the numbers advantage on the track, Cincinnati couldn’t get much offense going.
The Bleeding Heartland lead got up to 102-28 with about 10 minutes to play in the half before Cincinnati finally caught a break — BHRG jammer Terror D’bits lost her footing going around Sadistic Sadie at the front of the pack and her skate bounced out of bounds during her fall, and apparently not realizing it, she hopped up only to receive a track cut major.
Although Cincy got a huge 22-0 out of it, they handed back the advantage and more when Hannah Barbaric successfully called off the jam while not lead. That left her watching from a once-again-full penalty box for the first minute of the next jam while Nuck L. Sammie racked up the biggest jam of the game at 30-0. WIth 6 minutes left in the first half, BHRG’s was romping at 132-50.
However, right when Bleeding Heartland seemed to have Cincinnati set up for a triple-point deficit at the half, BHRG jammer penalties on three consecutive jams opened the door for Cincinnati to rally. Though they weren’t able to fully capitalize on the first two as K. Lethal and Sadistic Sadie followed their opponents to the box, Lethal managed to stay on the track for the entirety of the last one and iced Nuck L. Sammie in the box to close the half. At the break, Cincinnati had some desperately needed momentum on a 50-5 run, with Bleeding Heartland’s 82-point lead having been eroded to 137-100.
Led by hard-hitting defense from Shock N Roll, Pele’s Melee and Bombshell Shock, Bleeding Heartland opened strong in the second half, answering 7 early points from Cincinnati with 24 of their own and amping up their fans at a score of 161-107 with 20 minutes to play.
However, yet again it was K. Lethal quieting the rowdy Bloomington crew with a critical 20-0 power jam win — and after freezing Nuck L. Sammie in the box, she went out for the next two jams in a row, taking 4-0 on both. That made it 161-134 Bleeding Heartland with just over 15 minutes to play in the game.
Bleeding Heartland lost a major opportunity after blocker Shock N Roll forced Cincy jammer Sadistic Sadie to the box on the next jam — BHRG’s jammer Terror D Bits seemingly tried to call off the jam and skate off the track, but only got a skating-out-of-bounds major for her trouble as she wasn’t lead. That let Sadie take 5-0 on the jam, narrowing the game to just 22 points at 161-139 with 13:26 to play. BHRG’s Bobbi McGuillotine and Cincy’s Nuke’Em both fouled out on that jam.
Cincy continued to lean heavily on K. Lethal with the star, putting her out on consecutive jams — but late in the latter jam, she barely committed a track cut and was boxed while Aceta Menacin’ racked up big points during her first and only turn with the BHRG star. That jam made it 183-149 Bleeding Heartland with 10 minutes to play.
As Cincy seemed to be running only Lethal on the jam line, BHRG started running jams long in an apparent attempt to tire her, but endurance didn’t appear to be a problem. With 7 minutes to play, Cincinnati was still very much in the game at 200-170 even with a jammer rotation of 1. Cincy called an official review that led to a lengthy stoppage of play there.
When play resumed, it was yet again K. Lethal on the jam line — and with ace BHRG blocker Shock N Roll having fouled out, she found it somewhat easier going in the pack. Cincy took 4-0 and then put Lethal out again — but she hit the penalty box on a track cut. The Cincy D of June With a Cleaver, Sadistic Sadie and Penn Tupanga managed to keep the damage relatively light at 10-0, but time was running out for Cincy with the score 210-174 and 4:21 to play; Cincy called their second timeout there.
Cincy got just what they needed following the timeout, with a somewhat rested Lethal back on the track and BHRG jammer Sammie boxed; Lethal ran up 19-0 and it was a 17-point game, 201-193, with 2:32 showing on the clock. Cincy called their final timeout — and put K. Lethal right back on the jammer line for her 8th jam in row.
BHRG jammer Terror D’ Bits got lead jammer after a tough battle with Sadistic Sadie — but Sadie forced a track cut at the very end of that jam, meaning that with just over a minute to play, BHRG had handed K Lethal a minute of unopposed time against a light pack, with the score 214-193.
Lethal picked up 20 points before Terror was freed from the box, making it a one-point game at 214-213 with no time remaining on the period clock. Terror fought through for her initial pass, but Lethal was already coming for the fatal points, and called it off with a 24-0 game-winning run on her 9th jam in row. It was the first time Cincinnati had led in the game.
Cincinnati’s 217-214 win sends them to play top seed Denver at 4pm Friday; Bleeding Heartland enters the consolation bracket at noon Saturday.