I get by with a little help from my friends – a look at week iii

What’s up KVKL kickballers? If you don’t mind, I’d like to bend your ear for a moment or two. Per ex-commissioner/local do-it-all Jacki Becker, who was absent this past week (in person, but not in spirit), and who asked me to give her a little feedback on the on goings of the league this past week while she was away, I’ll do my best to recap the glory and the disappointment that I witnessed during week 3 of the 2014 season. Unfortunately for me, I was only able to catch one game before our game since Mother Nature threw us a curveball and left some of us scrambling for fields without standing water. Fortunately for everyone, we were able to play all 16 games. In part, this was due to Jacki pulling the ace of badassery out of her sleeve to work out a change of fields for one game and the possibility of game time reassignments on other fields, all while driving from several states away to make it back to her beloved LFK by the end of the Game of the Week.

I was able to witness what had to be one of the best games this past week, the Rats vs. the D-Holes (just as I expected), and I played in a game between two of the most competitive teams in the league (at least according to the AP Poll and overall performance the past few seasons.)

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Jell-O shots at the Game of the Week, the laughs, the recap of games, the numerous friendly dogs, and the random shots of whatever was in the cupboard that generous game-goers happily offered me out of their never before washed coffee mugs and flasks. There are countless stories each and every week that are worthy of being told and put into print, but I’ll leave that to Thomas and Jacki, who face the daunting task of pleasing 500 plus souls each and every week. Das Brad is still offering input from 1500 miles away for fuck sake. If you’re curious, he hasn’t even played a game or lived here for 2 seasons of kickball; although he did fly back for a game last year that got rained out. Smooches.

Speaking of Das-y things, back to kickball.

Das Boot vs. Po’ Boys

Score By Inning:

3 1 0 0 2 1 0 1 0   = 8

2 0 2 1 3 0 5 2   –   = 15

Let me start by stating that Das Boot is easily one of my favorite teams to play in all of the KVKL. That might be because we’ve played them – on average or close to it – twice a year for the past few years, or it may be that their roster is always filled with competitive, fun-loving dudes and dudettes who know how to have a good time and happen to be pretty damn good at kickball too. I mean, let’s face it, last year we played with a keg behind the pitcher’s mound during 1-pool ranked play. If that’s not partially what this league is about then I guess I’ve been participating for all the wrong reasons. This was certainly billed as one of the better matchups of the week, and in my opinion, it definitely lived up to the hype.

The Boot came out swinging away and put up half of their total runs in the first two innings. After the second inning, we’d seen their entire lineup and finally settled down and started playing Po’ Boy, err Death and Taxes, err Barracuda kickball – whatever that means these days. Thankfully for us, we were able to put up a couple of runs of our own in both the 1st and the 3rd innings to tie things up. From there we made some adjustments and were able to outscore them 11-4 over the final six innings.

Looking at the score sheet, you’d think it was a fairly easy win in the end. I assure you this was not the case, at all. Boot has a roster stocked with talent, so there wasn’t ever really a feeling of ‘this one’s in the bag’ until we mustered five runs in the 8th inning, spreading the lead to 13-8 (it was 8-7 Po’ Boys going into the 7th inning stretch), but even then we knew they were totally capable of rallying their way back into the game. Being the home team definitely had its perks in this game.

Shout out to the Boot’s new additions too. One of their females has all the makings of a ‘lady to fear’ now and in years to come. Whoever this new vixen is, she not only kicked the crap out of the ball, – more than once – but she also has speed and knows her way around the base paths.

Overall, it was a quality game and – surprisingly, due to the uncertainly of the when and where the game would be played – if at all – a lot of people came out to watch the game. I wish I could say that y’all showed up just to watch the game and not just to scout, but I’m not quite that dense; at least I hope not.

Rats vs. D-Holes

Score By Inning:

Rats:                        1 0 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 = 7

D-Holes:                  2 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 = 6

            This was one of the better quality kickball games I’ve witnessed in a while. I can’t clearly say that one team necessarily deserved to win over the other; it really could have gone either way. The D-Holes ran out of innings and the Rats stayed composed and hung on for the win.

            This game had all the makings of a classic from the get go. The D-Holes jumped out to an early lead, 3-1 after two innings. After a scoreless 3rd inning, the Rats tied things up in the 4th, but the D-Holes fought right back for two more runs in the 5th, reclaiming a two run lead of 5-3 after five innings. The Rats tied things up once again in the top of the sixth 6th inning and added two more runs in the top of the 8th. The d-Holes responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the 8th, pulling to within one, but were unable to capitalize in the bottom of the 9th after holding the Rats scoreless in the top of the 9th, ending the game at 7-6, victory belonging to the Rats.

            As is the case in most close kickball games, this one came down to a few costly errors, a few big plays, and some heady base running. The D-Holes seemed to have more runners on base, but were unable to capitalize and left several base runners stranded.   The Rats had fewer runners left on base (and few base runners in general) but were able to work their way from the base paths to pay dirt. The Rats did all of their damage with the top five kickers in their kicking order. They definitely utilized speed and heady base running to squeak out the win in this one.

            I highly recommend watching either of these two teams play – for scouting purposes or otherwise – because they both field teams that are highly competitive and have an excellent understanding of team play.

            Cheers to both teams; and I can only hope to see a rematch somewhere down the road.

THANK YOU SO MUCH KMARSH!!!  And from the other close game of week three I asked Andy Dalton (Happy Shirt) and Kyle Schneweis (Rockets) offering their take on the game:

From Andy Dalton of Happy Shirt about the final innings of the game:
  Game was still tied going into the eighth inning. Bottom of the eighth, Tyler lead off with an out, Peach and I bunted on, Ford lined to left to load the bases. Steve lined to second, Peach scored. I rounded third, first base (Kyle) ran me back to third, Ford came almost all the way to third, flipped around and dove back to second. Kyle threw the ball back to second, ball got away, I scored. Ford later scored followed by Steve a couple base hits later in the inning. 
There were several questionable calls at first base that required other referees to make calls that were 60 plus feet away. Both teams questioned the calls, and several were overturned. Not the best idea for other refs to make calls, but no call was make on a couple close plays so they had no choice. This could have shifted the games momentum either way for sure.
Overall, Rockets came in with a game plan and they stuck with it throughout the game and it worked well. Their defense was solid except for a couple of mental mistakes that we took advantage of and eventually won us the game. Take away those errors and they win the ballgame or at least it goes to extra innings. Rockets are a legitimate up and coming team if they continue to play that way, the could make some noise in the playoffs as a team you would not like to face in the second or third round. Having Dave, Andy, Geoff, James and Kyle at the top of their lineup is tough.

FROM KYLE SCHNEWEIS of the rockets on their game:

After seven innings of timely defense by both teams, the score was all square at five. Happy Shirt flexed their muscles in the 8th, putting up four runs with a combination of strategic kicks and aggressive base-running that stressed the Rocket defense. Afterwards, the Rockets seemed satisfied with the moral victory of hanging tight with one of the league’s best teams, but a few members could be heard mumbling about a couple late-game close calls that went the other way. The takeaway for the Rockets is probably that their defense is good enough to hang with the best teams, but their offense may not be quite there yet. For Happy Shirt, they once again proved that hanging with them is not the same thing as actually beating them.