Monday, May 10, 2010

Kickball: End of Season Report

Co-ed kickball season (previously discussed here and here) is over. A good time was had by all, and we had lots of fun and got good exercise, despite the fact that we lost our last 11 games (not counting a win by forfeit) and lost our final game by a score of 26-2. Go team! Now I know why everybody on our team was so excited after we won the first game. Officially, our record was 2-11 thanks to the win by forfeit, and if you can believe it, we didn't finish last! There were four good teams and three bad teams in the league. I think the three bad teams - including us, of course - all went 2-2 (including forfeits) against the other bad teams, and lost every game against the four good teams. So, there were actually three teams with only two wins. By way of tie-breakers, we ended up 6th out of 7 teams, apparently. Woohoo! Not last!

For us - or, at least for me - kickball is more of a laid back social activity than anything else. I vowed I would never take kickball so seriously that I would feel the need to buy cleats, for example. For most other teams, it's serious business. They all have cleats, and some players on other teams will even go as far as to yell out things like "Got it!" or "Drop it!" when we're fielding to try to distract us. I mean, come on. You're already winning by 10; is that really necessary? Apparently, the kickball culture isn't anything like the curling culture. (What is?) Suffice to say that there isn't much camaraderie to speak of between teams. That's too bad, because we could have gotten a lot of free beers out of this season.

Here are my season-ending stats:

- 11 games played (our team played 13, but I missed two); I pitched in 8 1/3 of those 11 games
- Batting: 28 hits in 41 at-bats (.683 average), 10 runs, 2 RBIs; no extra base hits, walks, or strikeouts
- Pitching: 9 starts, 2-7 record (including one win by forfeit), 68 runs allowed in 66 2/3 innings pitched (9.24 ERA, assuming every run was "earned" - it's too difficult to keep track of errors), 15 strikeouts, 2 intentional walks
Note: 10-run "mercy rule" is in effect after the 5th inning (we were "mercied" four times)

I said before the season that my batting goals were to bat .500 or better (check), average at least one run scored per game (almost - came up just one run short of my goal), and get "at least a couple of RBIs" (two RBIs counts as "at least a couple", right?). Overall, I thought I did well. I bunted almost every time, and when I did it properly (side of the foot, down the 3rd base line, on the ground, no need to do more than tap it), it was a guaranteed hit. About half of my outs were misplaced bunts, and the other half were with runners already on base. (Bunting doesn't work when there's a runner in scoring position, for example, forcing me to actually try to kick it far, which is not my specialty.) I'm sure some people in the league batted .750+, but I'll take a two-thirds average. Our offense also improved significantly as the season progressed, so I think next season, I'll be able to eclipse my one-run-scored-per-game goal. But the thing I'm most proud of is no strikeouts. Whew!

Going in, I had no idea strikeouts ever happened in kickball. But I racked up 15 Ks from the pitcher's mound, for an average of two strikeouts per nine innings pitched. That's pretty good! Even so, while I was able to get a strikeout every once in a while, and infuriate some of the other players with my spin (maybe that's why some of them yelled "drop it" at us?), I think kickball pitching is overrated. I think putting wacky spin on the ball can help, but some guys are going to kick it well no matter what you do with the ball. Fielding, rather than pitching, is the most important thing on defense. It also helps when we had to play against the wind. We had our most success when the wind was blowing towards home plate, because it kept most balls in the infield, and neutralized the other team's strength advantage. Our lone legitimate win was against the wind, and our second-best game of the season (a 5-3 loss against the eventual #1 seed) was also against the wind. Our season-ending 26-2 loss was not against the wind. (By the way, I was not the pitcher in that 26-2 game. We tried putting me in the outfield to run down long fly balls, but that didn't work out so well.)

We're going to try to keep the team together for the Fall season, and we're sure to improve next season, Maybe next time, we can get two non-forfeit wins! One can only hope.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I think Knightdale Kickball's biggest problem is that you have some teams that have been together forever and they are very competitive against each other. (I should talk - I get way too competitive!)

It really will take one or two more social oriented teams to make it a more laidback atmosphere.

That being said, it was a lot of fun and Maggie and I are glad that you and Amber played with us this year and had a lot of fun doing it!