For those who don’t know me, I’m Jake Frydman, Kickball road warrior, 10-year player for the Love Garden Squids, and KVKL superfan. I moved to St. Louis before the 2019 season. I thought my time in the KVKL was over until the possibility and flexibility of remote work made it possible for me to commit to a few weekends in Lawrence last summer, and I once again found myself immersed in KVKL culture and as a full-fledged member of the Squids. This year, I’m hoping for much of the same. While I don’t get to watch or play as many games as most, I thought I’d still offer my mostly sight unseen take on a power ranking to complement Seth’s AP poll. Here’s how I see things after week two.
- KTC (2-0)
The champs remain undefeated, with the best win of 2022 win of the season (6-2 over Harbour Lights.)
- Harbour Lights (1-1)
Uninspired play in the week 1 GOTW isn’t enough to knock Habour and their back to back to back championship appearances out of the number 2 spot.
- Love Garden (2-0)
With a quality 11-6 win over Harpies, Love Garden appears to be resuming right where they left off in 2021 as one of the only teams that pose a legitimate threat to the KTC and Harbour’s title game expectations.
- Post Haus (2-0)
The other legitimate title contender at this point in the season is Post Haus. Perhaps playing with a chip on their shoulder after a quarterfinal exit in 2021, Post Haus has dominated their first two opponents of the 2022 season.
- Harpies (1-1)
A five-run loss to Love Garden and surrendering 14 runs to Late Fees doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that Harpies are poised to improve on their 2021 final four appearance and highwater mark as a team. They can score with the best, but it seems like they have work to do on the defensive end.
- JWE (2-0)
Finding a quality win over Red Legs in week one and handling business in week 2, JWE has shown they’ll remain towards the top of KVKL in 2022. Always solid, it is hard to imagine JWE falling out of the top 10 this season, but questions remain if they have the ceiling to take down one of the top teams.
- Honey Badgers (2-0)
The week one 12-5 win over Red Lyon might be the best win in team history by Honey Badgers, and they rolled a lesser team the way we expect top teams to in week 2. With red flags showing early for some of the following teams, the door is open for Honey Badgers to find more consistency and a signature win or two in 2022 that plants them firmly into the top tier of teams.
- Shirt Factory (2-0)
After Love Garden barely avoided a second-round tournament upset to Shirt Factory last year, I suspected that people were too low on this team to start the season. A 5-run win over D-Holes and a shutout win in week 2 over Soda Jerks feels like vintage Shirt Factory results. Catching a glimpse of their week 2 game, I was struck by the number of young kids they had trotting around the bases. Young athletes coached by the Shirt Factory vets seems like a recipe to get better throughout the season (and they are starting out pretty good.)
- Red Legs (1-1)
Losing a close game to JWE in week 1 is nothing to hang your head about. The 3 run win over Home Loans (2-8 record in 2021) is raising alarm bells, but I expected Home Loans to take a big step forward this year, so I’m assuming that is what is going on here.
- Johnny’s (1-1)
Last year Johnny’s finished in a 3-way tie for 3rd in the 1 Pool with quality wins over Harpies, JDE, and Red Legs. This year, it feels like Johnny’s is heading in the wrong direction losing to Post Haus by 9 and barely scraping by 23rd St. by one run.
- Red Lyon (1-1)
Perennial top 12 team, but starting slow, with a 12-7 loss to Honey Badgers and a 9-8 escape against KBC Tropics. Red Lyon isn’t a team that shows up every week or shows everything they have until the tournament, but still, these results aren’t great.
- Jazzhaus (2-0)
Call this the GOTW bump. 10-3 over Woost and 12-6 over Asteroid Head are solid, if not wildly impressive results, but Jazzhaus looks the part with athletes all over the field. More importantly than that, many of these are familiar faces. Even a bit more experience for this always athletic squad may result in really good things in the coming weeks for Jazzhaus.
- Free State (2-0)
Starting 2-0 with a nice win in their increasingly close rivalry with XXXoxo and thwacking of Sacred Sword (23-6), Free State is off to a sneaky good start. The floor for this team is really never a question, anchored by some of the best 3rd base defense in the league, the question is if their ceiling can be any higher than 12-15ish, where they’ve hung out for the past few years.
- D-Holes (1-1)
I have Jazzhaus and Free State both jumping D-Holes from pre-season seeding. Starting with a 10-5 loss to Shirt Factory isn’t too bad, but I’m not sure what to make of the 7-2 win over Bald Beavers. From my understanding, Bald Beavers is a brand new team. Only putting 7 on the board gives me pause from a team that struggled to get runs across the plate quite a bit in the second half of last year. (All my love and support to the Hawmans right now. Love you guys.)
- XXXoxo (1-1)
Nearly eking out a win against Free State and then putting the hurting on Bunt N Grind is a solid start to the season for the team that pulled off the biggest postseason tournament upset last year (11-10 over Honey Badgers). XXXoxo at 15, highlights the parity in this part of the seeding from 7 through 15, I can see any of these teams beating each other without it feeling like a big upset.
- Dropstoppers (2-0)
The last remaining 2-0 team in the standings picked up wins on Corksuckers (4-2) and Empire (17-0) in shutout fashion. 16th has them moving up one spot from the preseason ranking. Giving up only 2 runs in 2 games is impressive no matter who you’ve played. Perhaps they should be higher, but only scoring 4 against Corksuckers indicates offense may continue to be Dropstoppers’ undoing as they face tougher competition. They will have the chance to make the case for a much higher rank this week against Shirt Factory who they very nearly knocked off last year.
- Brew Tang (1-1)
Entering their sophomore season, Brew Tang has done what they are supposed to do thus far in beating Sacred Sword decisively (16-4) and losing to KTC, but less decisively than one might suspect (8-1). That result against KTC is definitely something to build on and note. Teams that lost to KTC by more than 7 runs last year include Harbour, Harpies, JWE, and Johnny’s among others.
- KBC Tropics (1-1)
For all intents and purposes, this is a brand new team. Week 1, their first-ever game, was a surprisingly decisive 15-2 win over Young Spine. Week 2 was even more impressive, where they gave Red Lyon every bit that they could handle in a 9-8 loss. I got to catch some of this game, and KBC was playing like they didn’t know they were supposed to lose and was just one bad baserunning error from the massive upset. (It may turn out to be not that big of an upset by the end of the season).
- 23rd St. (1-1)
23rd St. has been putting runs on the board this year. That is huge for a team that has always had solid defense but struggled to score. Like KBC, this team was one run away from potentially earning the biggest win in team history in the 11-10 loss to Johnnies. On the less positive side, they are giving up a bunch of runs, more than 10 a game. If they can keep the offense and get back to their calling card strong defense, then 23rd St., could really rocket up the ranks from where they have been in years prior.
- Home Loans (1-1)
Home Loans is the third team in a row here with a result this year that is tough to figure out in week 2. While Home Loans fell by 3 runs (8-5) to Red Legs, rather than by 1 like KBC and 23rd St. in their respective games, it is still a quality loss. Last year, I was blown away by some of the talent Home Loans showed even in their 40-3 loss to my Love Garden Squids, and was even more impressed to see how far they’d come by the end of the year when they posed a genuine threat to Jazzhaus in the playoffs in a (16-13 loss). I figured if their best players didn’t get poached, they’d surely be much improved in their sophomore effort as a team. So far, that seems right.
- Asteroid Head (1-1)
Asteroid Head represented themselves well in the GOTW loss to Jazzhaus. They definitely know how to play the game, and when they show up can give competitive games to strong competition. This result following a 16-1 win over Soda Jerks in week 1 makes me think we possibly have a more committed Asteroid Head team this time around, even if they are always going to be a fun first team.
- Corksuckers (1-1)
Corksuckers are starting off the season 1-1 with a narrow loss to Drop Stoppers, and a 7-1 win over Reading Rockets, a surprisingly close result against a team that managed only two wins in 2021.
- Woost (1-1)
Woost has started the year slower than I might have thought. Jazzhaus seems poised to be solid this year, but last year Woost beat Jazzhaus by 2, this year they lost by 7. They bounced back with their first win of the season finding an 11-10 victory over Young Spine, a much closer result than preseason seeding would suggest.
- Bunt N Grind (1-1)
Bunt N Grind got a quality and, in my opinion, surprising win over R-Bar in week one (11-9). They followed that up with a blowout 22-4 loss to XXXoxo, which was also surprising (I would have thought they’d keep it closer).
- Ghosts (1-1)
It’s difficult to know what to make of Ghosts either after a close win to Late Fees (10-9) and a blowout loss to Harbour. I’ve got them right around where their preseason ranking is until we know more. (I’m taking the quite-a-bit under on Katie’s prediction of 8-2 for the Ghosts, though.)
- Kicking Assets (0-2)
While still in search of their first win of the season, Kicking Assets has shown some solid offensive capabilities across two games. Putting up 13 runs against 23rd St. and 6 against JWE is nothing to sneer at. They’ll have a good chance at evening their record out over the next couple of weeks, and if their defense improves even just a little, they can definitely move up the ranks.
- R-Bar (0-2)
I have R-Bar as the second-best 0-for team in the league after their close loss to Bunt N Grind, and then a loss to angry Post Haus (which doesn’t tell us much.) The problem is, R-Bar may remain the best 0-for team for quite some time. I don’t have them favored in any of their games for the rest of the season based on these rankings. Keep your spirits up y’all.
- Bald Beavers (1-1)
Bald Beavers are back for the first time since 2006 according to the website, though I think I remember them being around in 2012 my first year in the league. Regardless, they started their return campaign with a big win over Empire (22-2) and then a surprisingly close loss to D-Holes. The jury is still out on how good this team can be, but they likely won’t be at the very bottom this year.
- Late Fees (0-2)
Late Fees followed up taking the Ghosts to extra innings by scoring 14 runs on Harpies. That’s three more than Love Garden scored on Harpies the week prior. Unfortunately, Late Fees also gave up 40 runs, which is typically a pretty bad sign for KVKL success.
- Schoonies (1-1)
Schoonies got their first win of the season in week one over Reading Rockets (11-6), and then they got whomped by Honey Badgers (22-4). Like so many other teams in this range, it is hard to know what to make of these lopsided week 2 results. Schoonies may be much better than last year as they enter their second season, but we won’t get a read on that until we see their week 3 result vs. 23rd St. If they can keep it close or win, we may be on to something.
- Young Spine (0-2)
Despite what I’m sure was a disappointing loss in week one to KBC, who it turns out might be quite good, Young Spine showed resilience in giving Woost a great game. Unfortunately, they came up just one run short (11-10) from their biggest ever win as a club. That result definitely shows potential, but part of the recipe for success has to be finding a way to keep opposing teams out of double-digit runs.
- Sacred Sword (0-2)
Sacred Sword hasn’t shown a ton in the first two games of the season, losing 16-4 to Brew Tang and 23-6 to Free State. They’ve also had a really difficult slate of games to start the season. Scoring 10 runs against some quality defenses is something they’ll look to build on as the defenses get less stingy over the next few games.
- Soda Jerks (0-2)
Soda Jerks are off to a disappointing start, scoring only once through two games. Getting shut out by Shirt Factory is understandable, but the lopsided loss to Asteroid head is surprising, especially after beating Asteroid Head 9-7 late into last season. On the bright side, the next four games all look winnable.
- Pawsh Wash (0-2)
Pawsh Wash has unfortunately been on quite the slide over the past few years. This year, they might as well be a brand new team, and as I understand it the week 1 and week 2 teams may as well have been completely different from each other. They’ll have to find consistency in who is showing up week in and week out before working on the little things like offense and defense. Once they have that though, the rest should follow and they do have some solid new players (at least on the week 2 team).
- Reading Rockets (0-2)
Reading Rockets held Corksuckers to 7 runs in week 2, which is something to build on. They also lost to Schoonies by much less than last year. It seems like this team is improving, but so is everyone else it seems.
- Empire (0-2)
Entering their second season, Empire is still in search of their first win as a team. It looks like it is going to be tough, but it is certainly not impossible. I wish y’all all the luck in the world in getting that first W this year!
Good luck next week everyone!