Hurts so good! Kickball opener finds John Cougar Mellencamps back on top

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Brooklyn Kickball’s preseason favorites were tripped up at the starting gate while the league’s defending two-time champs continued their dominance as the sport of kings got underway for a ninth season in Greenpoint.

League powerhouse John Cougar Mellencamps swept its first two games of the season in a resounding message to the rest of the league while their rivals, the Pony Boys, split a pair of close contests on Sunday night at McCarren Park’s Gilroy Field.

The new-look Mellencamps rumbled, 6-4, over Tragesty, the remix of last year’s final four surprise, Majesty, then tamed a revamped Brooklyn United squad, 6-1, in the late game.

“We’re probably going to threepeat — there isn’t really much doubt in that,” said Mellencamps captain Zach “Field of Dreams” Kinsella. “We’re pretty cocky, we’ll never practice, and we’re still going to win.”

The Mellencamps added former Crucial Taunter Andrew “W.B.” Yates, Georgia “On My Mind” Nerheim, and a mysterious free agent named Mike Baby Jesus, who replaced a gaping infield hole left by all-star Priest “Last Rites” Fontaine and Angelique “Not Really French” Everett, now horsemen of the Pony Boys.

The Boys are a strong favorites to get back to the finals, but the team dropped its first match of the year to the hungry New Frontiersmen, 6-5, before shutting down Brooklyn United, 3-0, in a time-shortened match.

General Manager Anthony “Darkness” Sneed blamed the loss to the pesky plaid players on poor communication in the infield and poor clutch kicking, as too many runners were left on base in key situations.

“The infield needed to get coordinated,” said Sneed. “They are so used to playing with each other and were all warmed up after playing two games in the preseason. We’re a team that hasn’t played before.”

The Frontiersmens’ perennial MVP candidate, Matt “Marquis de” Sadewitz, said that his team caught the super stallions on an off night but was “proud” with his team’s injury-free performance. The team had already beaten Tragesty earlier in the day and now boasts a 2-0 record.

Last year, Sadewitz missed six weeks of the season after separating his shoulder. But now he feels great, helping his team

“My shoulder is 200 percent,” said Sadewitz.

Earlier in the day, Never Scared barbecued the Bacon Bits and shaved off Zeus’ Beard behind the offensive exploits of third-baseman Karl “Pope John Karl” Pawlewicz.

And the Mathletes continued its strong run at the end of last season with two victories Sunday over Saved by the Balls and the Kickiables, two new teams that started their seasons with dispiriting losses.

But two of the most-surprising developments of the day have to be the fast starts of two long-time bottom-dwellers in the standings, Divine Sisterhood of the Sacred Bleeding Heart and Dolls Kicking Balls.

The Sisterhood, which spent five years in the league, were gutted by multiple defections in the offseason and faced two new teams made from the turncoats — and beat them both.

“For athletes around the world, it’s reassurance that despite a team’s defections Stella never truly loses her spiritual groove and Judas never gets off smooth,” said Sisterhood’s Brian “Beast” Ries. “We remain good friends with our former Sisters on both teams, wish them the best in their future conquests, and look forward to battling them in the near future.”

But the Dolls Kicking Balls’s two victories over the Greenpoint Reformed Church and Hot Mess were historic — the team has never started its season with a win and hasn’t even won two games on the same weekend!

League commissioner Kevin “Commish” Dailey said he would always remember where he was on the day the Dolls won two games in a row — in McCarren Park.

“I’m happy they were able to experience winning for once,” said Dailey. “Good for the Dolls. I hope they have a great season.”

Brooklyn Kickball at Gilroy Field in McCarren Park (Bedford Avenue at N. 13th Street in Greenpoint), Sundays, 5–11 pm.

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