Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kickball Season 4: Season-Ending Report

Last night, my fourth season of Knightdale co-ed kickball came to an end with losses (7-3 and 3-2) to each of the two league finalists. But given the double elimination playoff format (a first for this league), everyone except for the league champion ends their season with a loss, so I am not ending the season in disappointment. This was the best season of kickball yet, both from a competitive standpoint and from a fun standpoint.

Two weeks ago I talked at length at how and why our team has improved competitively over the last two years, let's delve into the stats. I played in 10 games this season, which is comparable to the number of games I've played in the previous three seasons (11, 10, 9).

(Green = career high; Red = career low)

Season batting: 25 H in 34 AB (.735), 0 RBI, 11 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 BB, 0 K. We typically had between 12 and 15 players per game, which is more than we've ever had; of course, that's going to mean fewer plate appearances. But our lineup might have been planned out better than ever before, which means the lead-off hitter (me) is going to score more runs at the expense of RBIs.

That "slump" I was in a few weeks ago? I closed out the season by going 9-for-10 with 5 runs scored in the playoffs, so...slump over.

Season pitching: 10 starts, 5-5 record, 2.30 ERA (22 ER in 86.0 IP), 16 K, 2 BB (2 IBB). (For ERA, green actually means "career low", because low is better.) The 2.30 ERA is by far my best yet (previous: 6.51 last season), which - as I say pretty much every time I talk kickball - has far more to do with solid defense than anything I do on the mound. Our defense has never been better. But I think my pitching is getting better, too...

Team results: 5-6 record (I missed one game), 3rd out of 5 teams in the regular season, 3rd out of 5 teams in the playoffs. We also finished 3rd last season, but that was in a four-team league instead of a five-team league, so this was our best result.

This kind of takes me back to playing organized basketball as a kid. From 5th through 7th grade, I played in an organized youth basketball league through the local YMCA. Each year, I was on a different team, and each year, we sucked. I went 2-6, 2-6, and 1-7 in my three seasons of youth basketball, as we continually got our butts beat by the teams that stuck together year after year after year. And that's the key to succeeding in a league like this: stick with it and keep the team together for multiple years, and eventually, you'll start contending. In fact, there are scenarios in which we could have potentially won the league title. We split the season series against the 2nd place team (two wins each), and we played the 1st place team to a 1-0 loss in the regular season. They'll still beat us 90 to 95% of the time, but at least we're not like "let's just try to keep the mercy rule out of play" like we were in Season 1.

I had originally planned on only playing "part time" this season in order to spend more time at home with Amber and Marla. That meant no more than one night of kickball in any given week. But thanks to some extremely well-timed rain-outs, we only had one multi-night week all season. So, I only ended up missing one game. Yeah! Now that's a kickball schedule I can go along with. Having two, and sometimes three games in one week, usually results in kickball fatigue. That didn't happen this season.

Sure, it's fun to get my competitive juices flowing, and it's great that we're playing well. But the main reason I play kickball is to hang out with friends. I'm going to miss that. When does next season start?*

(* - That's a rhetorical question. I know when next season is.)

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