Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Kickball Recap: 8/30/10

It's kickball season again! We've added some people to the team, making us (on paper) slightly better than last year. We're still going to lose most of our games, but I think my personal goal of winning two non-forfeited games - one more than last season - is attainable. Last year, our official record was 2-11, but that included one win by forfeit, so really, we only won once. And it was in the first game. That means we were riding a 11-game losing streak into the new season, a streak that was extended to 12 after a 13-0, five-inning loss in the season opener. Aren't we awesome?

I don't feel the need to recap every kickball game the same way that I do with curling. Two or three posts per kickball season is plenty. But when we actually manage to win a game, as we did on Monday (6-4) deserves a recap.

I've learned that pretty much the only way we can win a kickball game is if the following is true:
1) The other team only has a couple of people who can consistently kick the ball into the outfield. Or, if there is a strong headwind that will keep everything in the infield (as was the case in our lone win last season), that'll work, too.
2) The other team doesn't have solid fielding. We don't have too many strong legs on our team, so our best hope is if the other team drops the ball, overthrows first base, or something along those lines.

We didn't have the headwind. But most balls were kept in the infield (with a few exceptions), and we fielded very well. I also had my best pitching performance perhaps ever - four strikeouts, including the final out of the game - but I still believe that pitching is overrated in kickball. If the other team is capable of kicking it into the outfield, they will, no matter how deftly I spin the ball or paint the corners of the strike zone. I just like to make them dance.

Offensively, we took advantage of some fielding mishaps (hey, it happens), but our come-from-behind top of the 9th wasn't really the result of poor fielding. Entering the inning down by one run, we went bunt --> runner on 1st; another bunt --> runners on 1st and 2nd; kick to the outfield --> two runs home and runner on 3rd (who also scored later in the inning). Now that's execution! I was a little nervous going into the bottom of the 9th after that rally, because I certainly didn't want to blow the save after that. But they went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th, including a called strike three to end the game. Why anybody just lets a ball roll through the corner of the strike zone with two strikes - especially when it's the potential final out of the game - is beyond me. But hey, I'll take it! After securing the win, I was more surprised than anything else.

There are only five teams in the league this go-around, and I've seen all of them play (at least briefly) now. One team can beat us without even trying, and one team will probably beat us handily, but I think the other two teams are beatable if we play well. Maybe there is hope for a two-win season after all! ... Actually, I take that back. Whether it's curling or kickball, I don't get as frustrated when I assume going into the game that the other team will beat us, and that helps me play better. So, I'll just assume we're headed for another one-win season at this point. Sure, it was a great win, but...let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

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