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Des Moines, Iowa
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One and Done in the Kickball Tourney

Geoff Wood

Things didn't end so well for Team KEG's 2007 Kickball Championship quest. The tourney was this past weekend and before hand I was pretty jazzed to be playing again. For the first time in several weeks we actually had a full roster(1) and it included several players who had been out for a few weeks. That anticipation damped about an hour before the opening pitch when we found out that 4 of our teammates had cancelled.

This meant that we were only going to be able field seven - which is less than a softball team or even a little league baseball team. We asked league officials about playing with our small number and they said it was fine but "good luck".

By the time that the other team - the "Grass Kickers" - arrived they, too, had cancellations. I overheard them scrounging for subs and told them about our shortage and we agreed to equitable play. Unfortunately, for us, their subs started arriving and within an inning or so we were playing 7 on 10(2).

After much strategizing, we wound up playing two outfielders in left and right, first- and third-basemen in front of them, myself behind behind second base, Hope and pitcher and Keri, our usual catcher, next to Hope as a utility infielder/shallow short stop. Other than the obvious lack of a center fielder, you've most likely noticed we played without a catcher. This may be a first in organized kickball. In my opinion, it's akin to pulling your goalie in crisis time of a hockey game, only we had to do it for an entire game.

The first couple innings went well with our typically stout defense not really affected by the lack of field coverage. We were even able to score a few runs on offense which had really been missing from our games the last few weeks. About the third inning things started to go horribly awry as the were able exploit our lack of players(3). Not to mention they also kicked what may have been the longest kick I've ever seen in my life.

However, in the top of the sixth we had a little spark on offense and started to gain some ground on what had been a 2-11 deficit. We scored five runs which is tough to do with seven players - you're pretty much either up to bat, on base or coaching a base. In the bottom of the sixth, we held them with three straight outs. We were excited to make up the remaining runs in the top of the seventh and continue on to round two of the tourney, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be: three straight outs and our season's over.

All said and done, it was most likely our best played game (especially considering our shortage of players) and probably the most fun, too. In fact, it was just fun enough to bring us all back next year.

(1) 11 players (2) To add insult to injury they even added an 11th player in the sixth inning. (3) They were also helped by an umpire who was so disinterested in the game that he never noticed both teams standing their watching him as he asked some girl if he should wear his Colts speedo to a party that weekend. I told him yes.