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Intramural dodge ball: Blue Ballers open season with a win

BY TOMMY REINKING | NOVEMBER 17, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Blue Ballers started its season off on the right foot with an 8-2 victory over URP in a Division 3 intramural dodge-ball matchup on Wednesday night.

The easy victory for the Blue Ballers was primarily due to its many advantages — the squad had twice the number of players and twice the amount of experience.

"We're a veteran team," Blue Baller captain Joey Hammond said. "We've got four returning starters from last year, plus two new guys. We made it to the second round of the playoffs last year. I think we can go further this year."

URP had four players for the first three games, until one player had to leave; this forced the team to play the rest of the match with the minimum number of players. Blue Ballers had six players that they split into two separate teams to play every other game. Hammond said this was one of the team's strategies.

"We put one good kid with the two rookies," he said. "It averaged out our strength for every other match."

The "one good kid" Hammond was talking about was Brett Bilina. Before the game, he was labeled the squad's secret weapon; during the game, he was called the comeback kid; and after the game, his team named him the MVP.

Twice during the match, he was the last member on his team still in. Both times, he knocked all three opponents out to give the Blue Ballers a point.

"He's our secret weapon because he looks like he's going to suck," Hammond said, referring to Bilina's slight frame. "But the kid has a cannon."

URP players noted before the matchup that they weren't expecting an easy victory and wouldn't be surprised if they didn't win.

"We haven't thrown a dodge ball in a long time," URP captain Andy Berg said and laughed. "We might get tired, because we only have three players, but I think we have pretty strong and accurate arms. The length of the court is really small. There's nowhere to hide."

Playing on a racquetball court isn't the only aspect that differentiates intramural dodge ball from the version most played in high school. Once a player is out, he or she is out, and catching an opponent's ball doesn't bring a teammate back into the game. If a ball bounces off of a ball in a player's hand before it strikes the player, he or she isn't out.

There were numerous confusing moments during the match, because players weren't completely sure which lines could be crossed legally and when balls actually connected or missed. Without any referees, all the calls made in the games are made by the players; Hammond said fortunately, both teams played a fair game.

"They were a good team and a fun team to play," he said. "They showed great sportsmanship and didn't try to cheat us on any calls."

As for the future of his team, the sophomore says the sky will be the limit after they buff out a few weaknesses.

"Our two rookies need to do better," he said. "That would take some pressure off Brett. I could also do a better job as captain. Today I was mostly the team's moral support. We've got a promising season ahead of us, though."


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