Written by Jane Lawrence Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00
LI-Kick, the co-ed adult kickball league based in Glen Cove, was formed a little over one year ago and is already making a name for itself on the competitive kickball circuit. On Saturday, July 12, the league sent two teams to McCarren Park in Greenpoint to compete in a national kickball competition sponsored by Brooklyn Kickball. Teams came from as far away as Toronto, Portland and Atlanta. LI-
Kick was the only league from Long Island to participate.
While their “B” team did not make it out of their qualifying group, the “A” team advanced all the way to the final round. In their qualifying group, LI-Kick tied a Brooklyn team 2-2, won against Hoboken admirably with a score of 3-0 and trounced Providence with a score of 10-0. The semi-finals pitted them against another Brooklyn team and again LI-Kick met success, winning with a score of 3-2.
Meanwhile, in the other semi-final game, undefeated Philadelphia was the victor over Atlanta and became LI-Kick’s opponent in the final, championship game. LI-Kick went down in the final game to
Philadelphia, but league founder and Glen Cove resident, Sal Farruggia was still very pleased with how far the team advanced. “Every team there was of high quality," said Farruggia. “They all sent their best players and were all strong on skill and strategy.”
Competitive kickball is a relatively new sport. While the game is played in a similar fashion across the country, unlike baseball, there are no standardized regulations. “We were playing in Brooklyn, so all the teams had to adjust to Brooklyn rules,” noted Farruggia. “Brooklyn rules allow bunting, which we do not allow. Their ball is smaller and heavier and they play for five innings whereas we play for nine.”
In order to prepare for the competition, team captain Zak Korman of Glen Cove watched videos from the National Kickball League and “mined the brain” of teammate Joe Botka, of Floral Park, who had played in the Brooklyn league prior to joining LI Kick and was invaluable in helping develop defensive strategy.
“Also, the fields in McCarren Park only allowed for three games to be played at one time. We were not the first team to play,” said Korman, “and this gave us an opportunity to observe and talk strategy.”
Korman said, “I was extremely proud of the way we performed that day. The semi-final match with Brooklyn was incredibly intense with the Brooklyn fans rooting for their home team.”
Glen Cove’s Raquel Gonzales made the final out in that game, securing LI-Kick’s victory. An “impressive athlete,” Gonzales had been a soccer player in college, but had not played kickball since elementary school. This is her first season with the league.
“At first I joined just for fun,” she said, “but then I began to enjoy the competitive nature of the sport when the team I was on started winning games.”
LI-Kick’s fall season opens on Sept. 2, and registration is now being taken at www.LI-Kick.com. The fall season will have both a recreational league and a competitive league. Farruggia looks forward to also building a travel team which will compete in future tournaments.