FCXIII Notes & Observations

 

 

Extra, Extra!

The Founders Cup competition has never been tighter than it was this year, especially in the Final and Semifinal rounds. Each matchup in the Semis involved a come-from-behind victory and ended in walk-off fashion, and each game involving FCXIII Champion Panik Attack required extra innings to clinch.

Sofa King Good (#11) put a healthy scare into The Other Shot Callers (#2), scoring 2 runs in the first - but OSC roared back and scored 2 of their own before the inning was through. After the defenses locked down, it wasn't until the bottom of the 5th that OSC broke through with a walk-off sac fly. Meanwhile, Panik Attack (#4) took a 1-0 lead on MEATBALLS (#1) into the 5th, only to find it tied and sent into extras. MB went ahead in the top of the 6th and looked poised to return to the Finals, when a 1-out PA kick to the outfield scored the winning run from 1st base and sent the top seed packing.

In the Finals, PA scored early and forced OSC to keep their heads and chip away, finally catching up to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the 5th and send the World Kickball Championship into extra innings for the first time. The frenzied Panik counter-attack put up a decisive 4 runs in the top of the 6th, but the final score won't reflect how close the game truly was.

 

Don't Panik! It's just déjà vu...

It's a small world at the top of the Kickball heap. Panik Attack (#4) of VA Recess League won it all in their Founders Cup debut - but many of PA's players had been there before, as members of 2008 champs Frosty Balls. Also comprising the PA roster were players from Make It Rain, who in 2009 made it to the Sweet 16 before losing 2-1 to eventual champs The Others.

Players from The Others roster largely turned up on two FCXIII teams: IB (#7), and The Other Shot Callers (#2), who would face PA in the finals. OSC's roster was an amalgam of past FC greats from the DC area, going back to the legendary Kick Asphalts and their longtime rivals Gonzo, who faced off in multiple championships circa '05-06.

New teams with new names - but a lot of familiar faces in the Founders Cup Finals!

 

Top 5 Most Interesting Games (that weren't in the Final or Semifinal rounds)

#1 - Sofa King Good (#11) def. Your Balls Are Foul (#3) 4-1

This Quarterfinal match between the last two West Coast teams standing gave the vast crowd of KO'd California teams a lot to cheer for - at long last, a showdown between LA's best and SF's best, with statewide bragging rights on the line. YBAF's roster featured numerous players from FCXII's runner-up Best Coast Ballers - a team whose sweetheart run had East Coast teams wondering if the West could consistently contend for the Cup, and West Coast teams eager to prove they could get as far given the chance. SKG had led the field in LA for years, but had twice made early FC exits after unlucky 1st round draws against the likes of MEATBALLS and The Others. This year, with a Semifinal berth on the line and a chance to make their statement in this inevitable rivalry, SKG came out newly energized - pressing their speed attack, scoring early and often, and never looking back.

See the full compiled plays of this game on YouTube, courtesy of L.A. filmmaker Padraic Culham!

 

#2 - Cobra Kai (#19) def. IB (#7) 6-4

The longest game of this or any Founders Cup tournament was the classic played in the Sweet 16 round between the stalwart DC-area veterans of IB (A.K.A. Inglourious Basterds) and the pride of Jacksonville, Cobra Kai. Heavily favored with a roster of former champions, IB struck first and led 1-0 until the 4th, when Cobra Kai rallied to take a 2-1 lead. On the verge of defeat, IB mustered a tying run in the bottom of the 5th. In dramatic extra innings, a deadlocked 6th was followed by trading runs in the 7th. Finally, in the first 8th inning played in FC history, a Cobra Kai 2-run triple proved the decisive blow. Understandably spent, the Cobras would fall in the Quarterfinals to OSC - but the team from NoFL left its mark on the tournament with this gutty performance.

 

#3 - Pitch, Please! (#22) def. Riff Raff (#12) 4-3

This match from the first Elimination round marked the first ever Founders Cup knock-out victory of a SoCal team over a SoFL team. Both teams came out with something to prove: for RR, that their run to the 2009 FCXII Semifinals was no fluke; for PP, that they're more than the best team left standing after Sofa King Good left CA Hollywood for CA Studio. Last year in FCXII these two teams met in Pool Play and tied 1-1... this year's rematch gave SoCal's oldest league a prized pelt for the trophy case back home. In the key play, captured on video, Riff Raff walk the bases loaded to pitch to a girl - and pay dearly for it.

 

#4 - Tie:  A.K.T. (#38) ties Relax and Let It Happen (#10) 3-3

                A.K.T. (#38) ties Cobra Kai (#19) 4-4

Back home in their new digs of CA Studio League, A.K.T. (A.K.A. A Kickball Team) currently lead their conference with 5 wins and 3 ties. So it should come as no surprise they advanced from Pool Play as the one team with the distinction of tying 2 of their 3 games. Their magnanimity turned a potential "Pool of Death" into a free-for-all, as all three involved teams advanced from Pool Play. A.K.T.: They're as good as you are... exactly as good.

 

#5 - Your Mom (#46) def. Capital Punishment (#18) 2-0

Denver's Your Mom nearly saw their FC ambitions slip away when an upset in the CO Mountain finals cost them the league title. Fortunately, they made the cut as a runner-up, and set about to prove their worthiness on the big stage. Their win against the NC Capital champs and FC veterans Capital Punishment proved one of the subtle turning points of the Pool rounds, as it made Your Mom the lowest-ranked team to survive Pool Play, and Capital Punishment the highest-ranked team not to. Hopefully we can look forward to a long and bitter rivalry between Denver and Raleigh!

 

Florida: The Gauntlet

Although Florida has only one Founders Cup championship title (DWAKP, 2007) to boast of, and no FL team has made the Finals in 2 years, it is clear that any team with aspirations to be World Kickball Champs will have to work their way through a formidable gauntlet of talent from the Sunshine State. MEATBALLS (#1) leads the pack, but all 7 of the attending FL teams made it out of pool play, and for the 2nd straight year comprised 3 of the Elite 8. Miami, and FL Beach League in particular, is quite rightly considered one of the foremost strongholds of competitive adult kickball.

 

New York: The Other Gauntlet

Nearly matching Florida in quality if not yet in quantity, New York City saw all 3 of their participating teams make the Sweet 16. NY Victory's Team Ramrod (#43) was the lowest ranked team to win their pool, while Panik Attack (#4) had to survive tough games with both NY Freedom's Lock it Up (#13) and NY Liberty's Wu-Tang Killers (#5) en route to the Final.

 

The Cruelest Cut
The first round of elimination proved the most brutal, as all 4 Wild Cards and 12 of 14 Pool Runners-up got knocked out. 10 of 16 matches were shut-outs, and only 3 were decided by 3 or fewer runs: LA's Sofa King Good (#11) 3-0 over OC's The American Gladiators (#36), DC's IB (#7) 3-1 over LA's The Monster Cartel (#32), and of course LA's Pitch, Please (#22) 4-3 over FL's Riff Raff (#12).

California Kings... of the First KO Round
FCXIII helped to show the Kickball Nation what Los Angeles kickballers already know - that North Hollywood's CA Studio League is the emerging elite league of the West Coast. (Known to locals as The Greatest Show on Dirt, or 3 Dirt Fields and 1 Grass Field That's Still Mostly Dirt.) All four participating CA Studio Teams made it to the Elimination rounds - only FL Beach (Miami) can boast more associated teams (5) surviving Pool Play.

FCXIII Semifinalsts Sofa King Good (#11) carried the torch the farthest, and Pitch Please! (#22) made a great splash, but they were far from alone in the rising tide of quality SoCal teams. There was Irvine's The American Gladiators (#36), Santa Barbara's Multiple Scoregasms (#27), and - sing along now...

From the South Bay: Playground Posse (#20)

To the Valley: The Guy Fawkes Conservatory (#17)/The Monster Cartel (#32)/A.K.T. (#38)

From the West Side: Hot Box (#23)

To the East Side: Los Brew Crew (#26)

New Regions on the Rise

Four regions can now boast they have advanced a team out of Pool Play for the first time: CA's Silicon Valley (#29 WAKAmole!), Denver, CO (#46 Your Mom), Greenville SC (#24 5'11" And Hits Like A Truck), and Kansas City, MO (#34, El Guapo: Peleones Legendarios de Pollo). In the cases of Denver and Greenville, this was accomplished in their first year of participation. And you just know they learned a lot in the process to take back home...

Honorable Mentions

Blue Ballerz (#54) of Long Beach's young CA Big Kahuna League showed great promise, losing only 4-3 to San Francisco powerhouse Your Balls Are Foul (#3). CA Junction's YoJabbaWAKAs made the most of their rock-bottom #56 seed, beating ABQ's Howie's Heavers (#28, NM Mesa) and opening the door for Sunnyvale's WAKAmole! (#29, CA Solar) to advance out of the ensuing 3-way tie on Fewest Runs Allowed.

Even among the teams going 0-3 in Pool Play there is at least one worth a sincere acknowledgement: New Orleans all-stars Nothing But Fun (#35) lost all 3 games by a single run: to Hartford CT's Choochamungas (#50) 4-3, to Pitch, Please! (#22) 2-1, and a mere 1-0 to IB (#7). The 7 runs allowed by NBF was the lowest total by any non-advancing team, and better than all 4 advancing Wild Cards. In fact, only 16 teams in the tournament allowed fewer pool runs. Clearly a defense worth watching, as they hopefully reload for a 2011 return to the FC stage!