7/8 7/12 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 8/2 8/3 8/3 8/9 8/9 8/16 8/23
FS 3|3 FS 0|0 HB 0|2 BW 0|4 EL 1|1 ON 0|0 IS 0|13 EL 1|1 IS 0|0 WW 0|0 ON 3|0 KF 6|3 KF 0|1|0 FS 0 BW 1|2 EL 1|2 R★ 2 BW 0 The
WW 0|0 WA 1|1 KF 1|3 KF 1|10 HB 0|0 WA 3|3 WO 11|8 WA 0|2 WA 3|3 ON 3|3 WW 1|1 WO 0|0 EL 4|0|1 BW 2 WA 0|1 BW 0|0 G★ 0 EL 2 Thrill

WSEM Playoffs: the Semi-finals

(1) Git r' Done 7 vs. (6) Ass Kickers
'11 Series
23-5, 2-04 - 010-18, 2-0
Sun. 7/31-3 PM-Games 1 & 2-Constanti Field- Brownstown, MI
Date TBD-Time TBD-Games 3, 4, 5-Frenchtown Field- Frenchtown, MI

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
7/31 7/31 8/5 if nec. if nec.
GD 2 GD 7 AK 1 AK AK
AK 0 AK 0 GD 5 GD GD
The Ass Kickers and Git r' Done could not be riding more different emotions into their semi-final series. The Ass Kickers pulled off the lone upset of the 1st round against the Warriors on the road in Farmington, are clicking as a team, and are playing their best Wiffleball of 2011. Git r' Done on the hand nearly got caught looking past the Jason Mattseals in their 1 vs. 8 matchup and narrowly escaped getting shellshocked in the first game, coming back to tie it up on 4 runs in the fifth before winning 5-4 in six innings. The series was much closer than expected even as a sweep (game 2 final: 2-1); will it effect their confidence or serve as a wake up call on the Git r' Done bench going forward?

Center stage is a quite literal interpretation in this series: that circle in the center of the field. Dennis Pearson versus Mike Constanti on the hill. The numbers on the season for the two are virtually a photo finish: Pearson a 1.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 2.40 K/BB ratio; Mike a 1.54 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 2.88 K/BB ratio. A lot of their teams' success comes directly on the shoulders of the two pitchers. However, as the series get longer having a second option and a solid rotation will become much more important. Git r' Done has two other capable pitchers in Dylan and Nick Braden, the latter of whom won both first round games when pressed into service. Brian Constanti of the Ass Kickers has shined in moments of greatness, but has not been able to find any sort of consistency this season.

Offensively, Git r' Done holds the decided advantage. As a team they outhit the Ass Kickers on the season by 89 points, and out-slugged them by nearly 180 points. Git r' Done also put up nearly double the number of HR and R. The one stat where the Ass Kickers outperformed Git r' Done was BB, which may seem trivial, however, patience is one of the most effective weapons against Git r' Done's pitching that is known to be wild at times. Case in point: look no further than last week when the Ass Kickers hit only .118 against the Warriors, but were able to sweep the series by taking walks to the tune of a .375 OBP.

The tenor of this series should make itself known early on. If Git r' Done brings the big bats and puts up the crooked numbers they are capable of, then the Ass Kickers will have a tough time hanging around. However, if the Ass Kickers can hold the Git r' Done offense to a few runs per game, they will have a shot at pulling off a second upset. This semi-final series is set up as the perfect stage to test the truth out in an old baseball cliche; we may just find out whether a walk truly is as good as a hit.

(2) Wiffling DeLoppes 15 vs. (4) Flying Squirrels
'11 Series
22-6, 2-03 - 114-14, 2-0
7/30    -    11 AM    -    The Drey    -    Romulus, MI

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
7/30 7/30 7/30 7/30 7/30
FS 0 FS 0 WD 0 WD 0 FS 2
WD 1 WD 3 FS 2 FS 1 WD 6
DeLoppes take close series 3-2!
This DeLoppes and Squirrels match-up is really a case of "then, earlier, and now;" a story told in triptych. The two teams have a history of close, low scoring, pitching dominated games prior to the start of Wiffle in Southeast Michigan, in which the Squirrels held the advantage. Then with the 2011 season came the explosion of the Wiffling DeLoppes; gone are their offensive woes, their defense is on another level, and their pitching has been steady atop the league. The DeLoppes quickly turned the tables in the series with the Squirrels, as well as on the rest of the league. That's only the second part of the story, however, as the Squirrels acquired two pitchers during the season, Mike Merlo (Week 4) and Austin Bischoff (Week 10), who look to have again evened the field with the DeLoppes. Bischoff shut down the high powered DeLoppes offense in Week 10, giving the Squirrels an opportunity at a hard fought win again.

The aforementioned DeLoppes offense is definitely the bigger threat. Five out of six bats in their lineup are capable of doing damage at any moment in the game. DeLano, Snow, BJ and Bobby Hoppe are all threats to go deep as well as leg out extra bases; they all also hit .500 or better during their 1st round series. Cliff Comstock brings the ability to leg out singles on balls in front of fielders, or burn them on hits to the wall after drawing them in. Adding to their teams' strength, the DeLoppes easily have the best defense in WSEM to go hand in hand with their top-tier offense. They cover the field well, especially on the fast surface of Frenchtown Field, rarely miss plays that come their way, and have turned more double plays than half of the other teams in the league combined. The accurate pitching of Comstock and Chad Hoppe perfectly compliments by forcing batters to swing at good pitcher's pitches, letting the defense gobble up nearly everything that stays in the park.

The stat to highlight in this series belongs to the pitchers from both teams, and it is an astonishing feat. Both teams have excellent rotations, but just how excellent? The four pitchers (Comstock, C. Hoppe, Bischoff, and Merlo) are the top 4 (with 20+ IP) in WHIP on the season, all have season ERAs below 2, and three of the four put up K/BB ratios greater than 5. As impressive as the whole group is, the Squirrels duo are their teams one advantage over the DeLoppes. Neither Merlo nor Bischoff allowed a run in their first round games. While more impressively, on the season, Bischoff posted an ERA of 0.00, WHIP of 0.75, and an 8.0 K/BB ratio with Merlo close behind at 0.25 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 7.0 K/BB ratio (both in 4 games pitched). With the Squirrel pitching versus the DeLoppe defense winning this series will again boil down to who is able string hits together, just like the old days of 2009-10!

WSEM Playoffs: 1st Round

(1) Git r' Done 7 vs. (8) Jason Mattseals
Sun. July 24th | 6 PM | Frenchtown Field | Frenchtown, MI
Season Series: Git r' Done wins 4-0
** Jason Mattseals will be without Jason Hewlett: out for season with shoulder injury.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
JM 4 GD 2 JM if
GD 5 JM 1 GD nec.
Git r' Done sweep tight series!
(2) Wiffling DeLoppes 15 vs. (7) Campus Commandos
Sat. July 23rd | 3 PM | Frenchtown Field | Frenchtown, MI
Season Series: DeLoppes win 4-0
Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
CC 0 WD 5 CC if
WD 10 CC 3 WD nec.
DeLoppes sweep!!
(3) Westside Warriors 47 vs. (6) Ass Kickers
Thurs. July 21st | 6 PM | Westside Reservation | Farmington, MI
Season Series: Tied 2-2
** Trash talk between the two is heating up. 1) Westside went visual, 2) Ass Kickers took it to the Podcast.
Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
AK 1 WW 1 AK if
WW 0 AK 3 WW nec.
Ass Kickers sweep!!
(4) Flying Squirrels vs. (5) Belgian Wiffles
Sun. July 24th | 1 PM | The Drey | Romulus, MI
Season Series: Squirrels win 3-1
** Belgian will play with 3 players throughout the playoffs: only have 3 eligible players.
** Squirrels may be without captain Carl Coffee for Sunday's series with Belgian.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
BW 0 FS 4 BW if
FS 1 BW 0 FS nec.
Squirrels sweep!!

Week 12

Westside Reservation Lafayette Park Frenchtown Field
7/11 7/13 7/15 7/17 7/17 7/17
AK 2|2 FS 1|2 AK 9|8 GD 8|4 WD 12|5 WD 0|2
WW 3|1 WW 4|4 CC 0|0 AK 0|0 AK 0|1 GD 1|0
Split 1-1 WW w 2 AK w 2 GD w 2 WD w 2 Split 1-1

Marquee Match-up:
July 17th | TBA | Frenchtown Field
Wiffling DeLoppes vs. Git r' Done

The final day of the season. The top two teams in the league. The pennant at stake! Sure, other important games with a lot riding on them are on the schedule this final week of the season: Ass Kickers and Commandos will likely play for the sixth seed on Friday, and the Warriors and Squirrels come into the week tied and will battle for third on Wednesday. None of those, however, comes anywhere close to being as dramatic or climactic as a head-to-head showdown for the first ever WSEM pennant!

The stakes are obviously high, so let's look at the hands the teams will be playing. At 19-3 Git r' Done comes in with the high card: all they have to do is not blink, actually not blink more than once, and they walk away the with the number one seed. Their loss last Friday to the Commandos makes this finish much tighter, as the two games against the DeLoppes now shape up to mean everything. The DeLoppes at 19-5 cannot count on Git r' Done to lose anymore and need to win out, including most importantly both head-to-head games, in order to secure the number one seed and pennant.

On the field we know the hands these teams play: great pitching and bats that can throw up big numbers. As should be expected in a 1 vs. 2 match up we will see some of the best pitchers in the league; in fact Dennis Pearson and Cliff Comstock are the top two pitchers in the league with over 50 innings pitched. Pearson has both an ERA and WHIP of 1.46, a K/BB ratio of 2.30, and a 12-3 record. Comstock's ERA is right there with Pearson's at 1.50, as is his 11-3 record. Cliff's minuscule WHIP of 1.06 and fantastic 4.79 K/BB ratio, however, differentiate the two pitchers. Of course, there is also the unavoidable huge factor that Pearson does not allow hits; he has surrendered only 14 in 65 innings, compared to Comstock's 41 in 56.2 innings. Two very different yet cripplingly effective styles of attacking opposing lineups.

This match up also features seven of the top ten hitters in WSEM! Four DeLoppes: Joey DeLano, Comstock, Nick Snow, and Bobby Hoppe. Three from Git r' Done: Pearson, Dylan Braden, and Nick Braden. An incredible stat! That, friends, is how you put together 20+ win seasons. If you are not getting excited for how this is going to play out on the 17th, then you must be a prophet, psychic, or time traveler who has already seen the outcome and been WOWed to the point where everything is mundane, now.

DeLano is, by leaps and bounds, the best hitter in the league. With a ridiculous .567 AVG, 1.196 SLG%, 14 HR, 12 DB, 3 3B, 46 RBI, and 47 runs scored he leads every offensive category except for BB. Although looking at those numbers, pitchers might want to consider giving Joey a few more of those, too. I feel bad, because talking about Pearson's numbers, outstanding as they are, after DeLano's makes them seem trite by comparison. I beg you not to look at them that way! Dennis' .398 AVG, .780 SLG%, 12 HR, 9 2B, 44 RBI, and 31 runs scored are amazing numbers put up across the breadth of a season. When you add in Pearson's pitching numbers, these two phenomenal talents are easily the front-runners for 2011 MVP.

As a team the DeLoppes bat 30 points higher than Git r' Done: .385 to .354. They slug 60 points higher, .632 to .572, and have a similar 59 point advantage in OBP: .512 to .453. Git r' Done has more home runs, 27 to 23, but the DeLoppes have 39 more runs scored in just two more games played. It is when you combine the hitting and pitching and get the run differential that you see the truly differentiating stat: DeLoppes are +123, while Git r' Done is just +78.

The Wiffling DeLoppes look to be the better team on paper, but it is never as easy as that. Nick Snow said it best about the 'x-factor' in this series: Pearson is really hard to hit, and if you can't hit how are you going to win? Stats piled up, wild cards thrown in: that is why we play the games, and why these games are going to provide an amazingly dramatic finish to the inaugural WSEM season on the 17th! Could we have asked for a better way to bring this to a close?

Week 11

Lafayette Park The Drey The Drey
7/8 7/9 7/9 7/10 7/10 7/10
GD 2|1 CC 0|0 CC 2 GD 4|4 CC 1|5 CC 6|9
CC 0|2 FS 4|3 BW 3 JM 0|0 GD 3|7 JM 0|0
Split 1-1 FS w 2 BW w 1 GD w 2 GD w 2 CC w 2

Marquee Match-up:
June 9th | 5 PM | The Drey
Campus Commandos @ Flying Squirrels

By a rousing vote of 2 to 1 the Commandos and Squirrels get thrown up on the Marquee. Thanks for all of your excitement and involvement... Sarcasm and disappointment aside, is this really the best match-up in the second to last week of the season? Really? Sure, if the Squirrels take both games they are guaranteed a .500 finish and will likely secure home field in the first round of the playoffs, and the Commandos just need to beat everyone on their schedule that isn't Git r' Done this weekend. Still there isn't much intrigue in these games. Maybe, though, that's just a reflection of the (lack of) excitement the league showed in this little pole. Real talk: the Commandos will be lucky to escape with one win from this weekend's 7 games at the Drey. The field is roughly three times the size they are used to playing on; they'll struggle to cover all the ground, especially as they tire from all the games they are playing.

Week 10

Lafayette Park The Drey The Drey
7/1 * 7/2 7/2 7/2 7/3 * 7/3 *
BW 3|3|12 WD 15|0 WD 13|14 WW 0 BW 4|11|3|3 AK 1|5
CC 1|2| 0 FS 1|4 WW 1| 0 FS 3 JM 0| 0|0|0 BW 0|6
BW w 3 Split 1-1 WD w 2 FS w 1 BW w 4 Split 1-1

* Newly added games

Marquee Match-up:
July 2nd | 3 PM | The Drey
Warriors & Squirrels vs. Wiffling DeLoppes

But Darrel, that's not one match-up. It's three! I know, and while true, just take a step back and look at what the results from Saturday's games at the Drey could mean. The DeLoppes will play 4 games: 2 vs. Squirrels and 2 vs. Warriors. The Squirrels and Warriors will both play 3: 2 vs. the DeLoppes and 1 against each other. With that info in hand let's take a look at where the teams could possibly be after Saturday.

The Warriors can get away with a record as high as 15-7 or as low as 12-10. The Squirrels can settle anywhere from 13-11 to 10-14. While the DeLoppes can jump to 20-4 or fall to 16-8. You can pretty much take the 1 game between the Warriors and Squirrels and call it a push, because what matters here is what the teams do in their combined 4 games against the DeLoppes. That is why the Marquee is written as "Warriors & Squirrels vs. DeLoppes."

The Warriors roster has been showing up and showing up well. So, say that they win their 2 games again the DeLoppes and the 1 against the Squirrels: 15-7. The Squirrels lost their games against the DeLoppes at Frenchtown 2-0 and 2-1. So, maybe they can get their shit together and take 1 game from them on Saturday: a 1-3 record on the day for the DeLoppes resulting in 17-7 overall. Warriors: 15-7, DeLoppes 17-7. Now, you're looking at a real race for second place in WSEM, separated by only 1 game!

Contrarily, if the Squirrels manage to get some run support for their pitching, have a great day ending up 13-11, and the Warriors split with the DeLoppes to end up 13-9, then we'll have a single game separation in the race for third place! The bottom line is if the Warriors and Squirrels can combine for a winning record against the DeLoppes Saturday, then things can get interesting toward the top of the standings going into the final weeks of the season. Hell, if the two teams sweep the DeLoppes and Westside beats the Squirrels, then Westside and the DeLoppes will be tied for 2nd place at 15-7 and 16-8, respectively. Most people had written that off and focused on the race for 4th, 5th, or 6th. Sure, there will likely be shake ups in those ranks as well, but the fact is: the top is not safe!

On-field breakdown:
Pitching: the rotations of the DeLoppes and Squirrels are the top 4 league leaders in WHIP, while the Warriors come in second to last in that category. This can be accounted for nearly completely by BBs. In 87.1 innings pitched the Squirrels have walked only 44 batters, the DeLoppes in 95 innings have walked just 50, while in 71.1 innings the Warriors have a staggering 135 walks. The Warriors begin to make up for the BB, though, by allowing only 59 hits to the DeLoppes 62 and Squirrels 99. The DeLoppes take the clear advantage in team ERA with a 1.68, more than 2 points better than the Squirrels 3.84 and further the Warriors 5.33. Numbers do not tell the full story, though, as the Warriors have been getting better in recent weeks on the mound with Maclin Malloy finding his groove, and the Squirrels will be missing new star Mike Merlo on Saturday. Nevertheless, those two factors do not play a role in deciding which team brings the best pitching staff into play:
Advantage - Wiffling DeLoppes

The DeLoppes and Warriors rank 2nd and 3rd, respectively, as a team in all of the major offensive categories: AVG, SLG, and OBP! The two even place the same way in HR; although, HRs will be a fairly moot factor this Saturday at the Drey. What will come into play on the vast open plain of an outfield are 2Bs, 3Bs, and all around aggressive baserunning. The Warriors are second in the league with 16 2Bs, the Squirrels 3rd with 11, and those teams both have a single 3B to their credit. The DeLoppes, however, trump all with 28 2Bs and 4 3Bs, due in large part to DeLano's 11 2Bs and 3 3Bs. I will heed again that the numbers aren't the whole story. The Warriors by far have been playing their best ball of the season lately, and Matt Whelan has been absolutely raking: getting on base and lighting up the AVG column. Teammates Shane Myers and Alex Share are right there with Whelan, as well. Offensive advantage is tough to call, I'm tempted to call it a "push" between the DeLoppes and Warriors. The DeLoppes top to bottom have a lineup that can get on base and hit for power. The Warriors are all speed demons, aggressive baserunners and with the expansive territory at the Drey that could strongly favor them; DeLano is the only DeLoppe that challenges the extra-base aggression of the Warriors. With the long ball taken out of the equation and a large field to cover:
Advantage - Westside Warriors

Week 9

The Drey Westside Reservation
6/25 6/26
AK 0|0 JM 0|3|0|3
FS 3|3 WW 2|1|9|16
AK fft WW w 3

Marquee Match-up:
June 26th | 2 PM | The Westside Reservation
Jason Mattseals vs. Westside Warriors


Both the Mattseals and Warriors were the incredibly unhappy recipients of wins by forfeit in Week 8. The Mattseals, riding the excitement of finally having broken into the win column, wanted to get out and play the Ass Kickers. Unfortunately however, Mike Constanti was forced to call in forfeits for his team and the two gifted wins were no consolation to satiate the gushing, new competitive excitement of the Mattseals. The Warriors went through an even worse situation in their forfeit victories.

Belgian brought only two players up to Farmington; so, while the teams went ahead and played four games, no stats from them can be recorded. The Warriors, as one would expect, are pissed off, want to play their asses off and show up the entire league. Both teams are going to come out with a "fuck all!" vigor to take out the aggravation from this past weekend when they meet up on Sunday. Alex Shore was already upset that the 'Seals vs. Kickers game got billed on the Marquee over his Warriors and Belgian, so with the added fuel in play this week we may get some spectacular fireworks in Farmington!

Due to the Ass Kickers forfeit, we did not get the opportunity to see if the Mattseals could keep their new-found success rolling on the field and be competitors in this league for real. This week the Warriors will be so much more than happy to test the Mattseals, and the potent Westside roster will prove an even greater measuring stick for Hewlett's arm and the 'Seal team's abilities as a whole. The Warriors lineup is full of good-to-great hitters, top to bottom. They can spread the ball around, hit for power, and have speed to burn. We will see for sure how much Hewlett's pitching has improved against this young, aggressive lineup. Hewlett will have to bring his "A" game, as the Warriors can make anything less look like batting practice and any mistake will surely be capitalized on. If he can keep them in the park and slow their carousel around the basepaths, then he has become a legit ace without question.

Whereas the intrigue around Hewlett taking the mound is once again on the question of his improvement, the story on the mound for the Warriors is one of renewed dominance. Maclin Malloy has his nasty stuff back, and more substantially: his accuracy. In the fourth game this past week he threw the first perfect game in WSEM. No matter what you say about the caliber of lineup he was facing, you have to admit that not throwing a single BB is an incredible accomplishment. Even though the games cannot count, the league has chosen to acknowledge Maclin's performance with an asterisked record that he did in fact throw a perfect game on June 19th, 2011 in a game against the Belgian Wiffles that was retroactively ruled an exhibition. Now, that it has been proven that Jeff Biegas (JM) can go without a hit in a game, could Malloy be poised to repeat his performance and throw another perfecto this week against the hit-or-miss Mattseals lineup? (*crossed fingers* Sorry! No jinx!)

Just like last week, the Mattseals will need to keep these games low scoring in order to win. It will be difficult for this 'Seals lineup to push more than a couple runs across home plate against this high caliber of opponent; with only 2 HR they have to manufacture runs, and against a team that can play solid defense behind the threat of dominant pitching that will make for a long day. The Warriors, as previously mentioned, have the potential to blow these or any game wide open with their offense. Not only does Hewlett need to bring his "A" game, but his defense needs to be mistake free behind him, as well: the Warriors' lineup is the exact reason that old adage, "you can't give the extra opportunites," exists. We know that Westside can bring good pitching, hitting, and defense to the field, and with them playing to make a statement to the league this week you can bet they will bring their best. If a truly turned around Mattseals team can also bring those things with them to Farmington, then we could witness a huge turning point in WSEM.

Elsewhere in Southeast Michigan: The Ass Kickers and Flying Squirrels will finish up their season series, started on Opening Day, with two games at the Drey on Saturday. The Squirrels took the first two games, and the teams have gone in different directions since. After going 2-2 to start the season the Ass Kickers have hovered around the .500 mark since (until the unfortunate forfeits this past weekend). The Squirrels took their 3-1 start and flushed it down the toilet, sinking to the bottom of the league and finally starting to bubble back up the standings and winning games. Both teams find themselves in the middle of the pack and trying to put a run together to carve out a safer slot for playoff seeding. Realistically, they are both fighting, along with the Commandos, for the 4th, 5th, or 6th places. One game can easily be the difference between drawing the Warriors in the first round or one of the middle of the pack teams currently in the dogfight with you. Every win from here out means a lot, and the two teams of those three that win the most will likely line up to see each other again on July 23rd.

Week 8

The Drey Constanti Field Westside Reservation
6/18 6/18 6/19
BW 1|0 JM 3|3 BW 0|0|0|0
FS 2|1 AK 0|0 WW 3|3|3|3
FS w 2 AK fft BW fft

It is a slate of three two evening and one prevening series this weekend in WSEM. Is it the heat of summer pushing the games later, or the jockeying for playoff seeding positions that has bumped the games into prime time slots? Well, all five teams on the field this week have much to play for. The resurgent Warriors have a shot at getting over .500 Sunday evening, while the Ass Kickers could get back to an even .500 Saturday with a sweep of the Mattseals. Finally cracking into the win column last week, the Mattseals look to prove themselves this week: that they have settled their pitching woes and found a way to compete in this league. Belgian has managed to win three games against the top two teams in the league, yet still find themselves in seventh place; so, they aim to climb back up the standings this week with four games to play. Lastly, the Squirrels... Well, they are 1-1 against Belgian this season, so that season series is on the line along with bragging rights. So, which of these series carries the most intrigue and possible excitement, enabling it to be emblazoned in lights as the WSEM Week 8 Marquee Match up?... Scroll down a tap or two and see...

Marquee Match-up:
June 18th | 6:30 PM | Constanti Field
Jason Mattseals @ Ass Kickers

Don't laugh. Well, okay take a minute and laugh, but then get back to me when you're ready to proceed... Yes, the Mattseals have made a second half of the season Marquee. All season the front office has been saying that the 'Seals would eventually get a feel for the game and start competing (behind the scenes we were secretly more just hoping that would happen), and it looks like that point in time may have finally arrived! Jason Hewlett showed stuff of a legit ace last Saturday: giving up just 1 R, 11 hits, and 2 BBs in 3 games, while striking out 16. I hear your grumbling, "he did that against the Squirrels... why should I be impressed?" Valid question, but he was all over the corners of the board with nice down and away movement. Is he the second coming of Dennis Pearson? No, but he is now the guy for his team that can give his team a chance to win every time he takes the mound.

Of course that leads us into the hitting side of the game, and that is one that still poses a problem for the 'Seals. Both of their wins are 1-0: the results of smart, aggressive baserunning plays. They're sole bright spot offensively, Jeff Biegas' league leading hitting streak, was just cut down at 12 games Saturday. As a team they are hitting .219, with an OBP of .317, and a sluggishly low SLG% at .256: not even 50 points above their AVG. The good news is that the Ass Kickers offensive numbers are not leaps and bounds ahead.

Better yes, but not completely on another level. The Ass Kickers are a step up from the Squirrels in level of competition. That is the reason this is the Marquee Match up. You're right not to be overly impressed with the Mattseals wins over the Squirrels, but if they are able to beat the Ass Kickers - at Constanti Field - then that would show the 'Seals are finally for real. The Ass Kickers come in looking to heat up again after a disappointing Week 7, losing three to the Commandos and Warriors. As a team the Ass Kickers are hitting .248, just 39 points above the 'Seals. Their OBP looks much nicer at .403, due in large part to the league leading 30 BBs Ryan Bullard has racked up, and the Kickers SLG% is a much more impressive .403. The power numbers are the real divide here. In 14 games played for both teams the 'Seals have 62 TB to the Ass Kickers 112: nearly double the number of bases in the same number of games! This is where Hewlett's new mustard will really be tested; can he keep the Constanti brothers, Bullard, and Kirk in the smaller confines of Constanti Field?

Mike Constanti's pitching, on the other hand, is already field tested and proven to be ace quality: 2.06 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 2.86 K/BB, and 1.90 KPI. In just a 2 game series, it should be expected that each team's ace will take the mound both games - so long as they are tightly contested. Despite the optimistic look at the Mattseals coming into this week, I still fully realize the possibility that the Ass Kickers can win big in these games. However, I think pitching will command the day, and the scores will be kept low. Unlike the Ass Kickers, the Mattseals need to keep the score low (like under 2) in order to win. And again, that is why this is the Marquee: it is a test. A test that if passed will prove the Mattseals can now compete and win in WSEM: a sweeping change throughout the league. All eyes should be on this series for that reason, as the Ass Kickers are the perfect level up test for the Mattseals.

Elsewhere in SE MI: The Warriors and Belgian on Sunday evening almost grabbed the Marquee, but could not surmount a couple big obstacles. The first being that Belgian has two games to play before Sunday; making it difficult to know the state of the team (momentum, standings) or the meaning of the games and what will be played for on Sunday. The second is simply that it is almost impossible to know who will be on the roster for both teams, and therefore what product you are going to get on the field. Floating rosters and substitute players are a bane when trying to detail or hype games.

For the Warriors part, their roster looks like it is beginning to become more solid and secure. Key figure last year, Matt Whelan, has played two straight series, for one. On the other side of the diamond, however, the Belgian roster is in even more shambles as reports are that Chuck Weiler has left the team. Leaving only Chris Lewis and David Buhr as regulars. Just last week Belgian had to field 3 man roster with two substitutes against Git r' Done, and the subs were provided by Git r' Done. With any luck both teams can get their rosters in line, so that when they finish their season series later this season they will have a clearer shot at getting the Marquee.

Week 7

Westside Reservation The Drey Lafayette Park Frenchtown Field
6/7 6/11 6/12 6/12
CC 6|11 JM 0|1|0|1 WD 16|14|8|6 BW 3|1|0|0
WW 7|6 FS 9|0|1|0 CC 5| 0|5|0 GD 2|2|1|3
Split 1-1 Split 2-2 WD w 4 GD 3-1

Marquee Match-up:
June 12th | 2 PM | Lafayette Park
Wiffling DeLoppes @ Campus Commandos

This was a tough one to choose. There are a few quality match ups on the schedule: Third and fourth place in our standings, the Commandos and Warriors, would have been good games to spotlight. However, they were make ups for this past Sunday, and were played on short notice: 7 PM Tuesday at the Westside Reservation. The Belgian Wiffles and #7 Git r' Done is another potentially enticing series. Far apart in the standings, sure, but Belgian just split a four game series with the DeLoppes in their return to the field. So, they could have it in them to take some games from Git r' Done, another team at the top of the WSEM totem, as well. Early plans for that Sunday series also include the opening of Git r' Done's new home field in New Boston, which of course adds spectacle and intrigue. Speaking of fields, spectacle, and intrigue... The Drey is opening up this weekend, but the Squirrels and Mattseals (who sublet the Drey from the Squirrels for home games) are both so far down in the rankings that not even a new field can give this series hope of life outside of a coma.

So, how did the #11 Wiffling DeLoppes and Campus Commandos match up at Lafayette Park get put up in lights over the others this week? Well, just look at the standings; second and third place! The Commandos and Warriors faced off in two heated offensive counter punches on Tuesday night, splitting their postponed two game series. So, both teams held their current third and fourth spots in the rankings, respectively, keeping the #2 vs. #3 four game series intact for this Sunday. Suffice it to say, the Commandos are pushing upwards beyond everyone's expectations and entrenching themselves in a comfortable spot in the league ranks, making for quite a story. Oh yeah, and the 12-4 DeLoppes are no slouches on the field, either.

There are some off the field points of interest to this series, as well. First, when the DeLoppes step onto the field under the Detroit skyline at Lafayette Park it will be their first time playing away from the friendly confines of Frenchtown Field. Will breaking out the road greys change the DeLoppes game? Could they have trouble adjusting to the new field? Maybe the Commandos could gain an early advantage as the DeLoppes take a game or two to get adjusted? Or is the DeLoppes' roster nothing but professionals who will be on their A-game no matter what? I will add that members of the DeLoppes have expressed concern over the conditions of the playing surface at Lafayette Park, even asking to have the games moved to Frenchtown Field to improve the quality of play. Aren't questions great for the build-up of a series? The answers should come quickly after 2 PM Sunday afternoon.

The second point of off the field intrigue is that, with the postponement of the two games against the Warriors last Sunday and the rain out of the Ass Kickers earlier this year, this will be the first time the Commandos play four games in one day. All of their games so far have been played as two game series. This could be what has the biggest effect on Sunday's games. The Commandos success is heavily dependent on the performance of Joe Seto, who through two games is able to hold up. Will he be asked to throw all four? Will he be able to throw all four? The Commandos are yet to find a consistent, effective second pitcher for their rotation. In a four game series that could doom them from the start. The fatigue is not just on Seto, either. Going from an hour and a half of wiffleball in the evening to three-plus hours in the heat of the afternoon is going to wear down all of the Commandos roster much more than usual. The big question here is just how much they have in the tanks, because the DeLoppes six man lineup can play for hours in the sun and still stay sharp and on their game throughout.

Back to performance on the field. The DeLoppes have cooled down some from their red hot start. They split a four game series 2-2 with Belgian this past Sunday, and are 3-2 in their last five games. They are still just one game behind Git r' Done in the standings, so they will be playing to retake the league lead this weekend. Both are playing four game series this weekend with a lot to play for, protect, and prove. In the other dugout, the Commandos are playing their best ball of the season so far and may be catching the DeLoppes in a "perfect storm" moment to have the best shot at beating them: Lafayette Park's nuances definitely lend a home field advantage along with the DeLoppes having come a little back to Earth might give the Commandos their best shot at stealing a few wins.

This will be an exciting week in WSEM. Two new fields making their debut, three four game series, two with a team playing for the top spot in the league, and the other two teams in those series trying to claw their way up in the standings and winning percentage column. A lot to play for, some new scenery, and a lot of fun to be had out there! This, sir, is why we play wiffleball!

Week 6

Frenchtown Field Constanti Field
6/5 6/5 6/5 6/5
BW 3|1|1|1 WW 4|7 CC 4|1 CC
WD 2|0|6|2 AK 5|6 AK 2|1 WW
Split 2-2 Split 1-1 CC w 2 PPD

Marquee Match-up:
June 5th | 12 PM | Constanti Field
Campus Commandos @ Ass Kickers

Who would have thought this? It is Week 6 and the Ass Kickers and Campus Commandos meet at even .500 records! Preseason predictions had these teams heading in opposite directions away from that number: Ass Kickers up, Commandos much further down. In fact, the Commandos (3-3 )are already at commissioner Coffee's three-win over/under betting line! The Ass Kickers 5-5 record may be selling them short and overly harsh at an outside glance, as three of those losses have come against the red-hot DeLoppes and dominating Git r' Done squad. The latter of which were both close games lost in walk-off fashion. So, don't let that record fool you, the Ass Kickers are still an elite team in WSEM and they will start to push back up the win column.

Like any good marquee the story here isn't limited to the numbers and play on the field, but also has some off the field, behind the scenes fire to it. It is no secret that both the Ass Kickers and Commandos are scrapping to piece rosters together week in and week out. Actually that hurdle has plagued many teams around the league, including the Warriors and the commissioner's Squirrels. So, a recent roster addition to the Commandos had Mike Constanti, captain of the Ass Kickers, upset with the way it went down.

Evan Bortmas (P) was put on the Squirrels roster before the season began as a spot-starter/occasional call up, but never played a game or met a Squirrel in person. He was subsequently removed from the roster around Week 2 of the season as the reality of him ever playing was looking increasingly unlikely. Although, communication between Bortmas and Coffee did persist. Jump forward to Week 5 where, as it happens, the Commandos were looking desperately for a second pitcher. Adam Grant, Commandos captain, being face-to-face discussing the need with Coffee was offered Bortmas' services and accepted, still unsure about his regularity of availability. Constanti immediately took issue with the move, seeing it as a sign of favoritism on the part of the front office members of the Squirrels not wanting to help teams ahead of them. His feelings on the issue were especially enticed in the wake of the problems facing what to do with players in fallout of the potential Westside Warriors fiasco. Constanti was told he could not outright sign Alex Shore of the Warriors to the Ass Kickers, because Shore had played games on a league roster [Ed. note: what to do if this situation presents itself is being talked about. Warriors players will be allowed to play in the league, most likely put on the rosters in the most need of them.]. The perceived double standard of giving one roster a player, and denying another the ability to pick one up does not sit well at all with Constanti.

And it just happens that those two rosters will be playing this Sunday at Constanti Field! At high noon! There has been no word on whether Bortmas will be in attendance, but the specter of this scenario surrounding him will for sure be looming over the proceedings. As if this isn't already building into a perfect storm of a series, the disheveled Warriors with all of their questions are the slated third opponent for Sunday's tri-meet. It is a lot of unstable ingredients in a volatile recipe, but hopefully the teams will channel their frustrations into the game and take it all out on the field. Belt a few HRs, burn your opponents with a few first-pitch Ks, and maybe even steal a call in the field to get even. ;)

On the field the game seems to slant in the Ass Kickers favor, despite offensive numbers being fairly even. The Ass Kickers as a team are hitting only 19 points higher than the Commandos (AK: .253,CC: .234) and slugging only 15 points higher (AK: .442, CC: .427), while the Commandos have a significantly higher OBP (AK: .369, CC: .428). The big factor, however, is pitching, and depth of pitching. Mike Constanti's ERA is continuing to drop week after week, and is down to 1.50 right now, compared to the 3.39 of likely number-one starter for the Commandos, Joe Seto. If Bortmas does not make his debut for the Commandos, then Seto will likely have to pitch all four games on the day without a dependable number-two in their bullpen. That could give the Ass Kickers all the looks they need to start teeing up Seto's stuff and turn the day into a hitting derby. Brian Constanti, number-two pitcher for the Ass Kickers, on the other hand has a respectable 3.38 ERA (1 point better than Campus' number-one, even) giving his brother the option of coming off the mound and saving his arm.

Elsewhere in Southeast Michigan: The Belgian Wiffles (1-3) will make their triumphant return on Saturday Sunday against the Wiffling DeLoppes (10-2)! WSEM has not seen this fan favorite team since Week 1. Captain David Buhr has since been on National Guard Drills for a few weeks and his team was unable to get their roster together in his absence. Belgian will be jumping straight into the thick of it again playing their full 4 game season series against the DeLoppes. Absolutely no slowly working back into things, just jumping straight into the action! Gotta love that. One last thing: given the teams sharing "wiffle" in their names, we have to give this series a name, like college football rivalries! Don't we? Dueling Wiffles... The Wiffle Cup... someone say something that sticks!

Week 5

Lafayette Park Frenchtown Field Westside Reservation
5/26 5/27 5/29
FS 2|5 AK 0|0 GD 12|14
CC 5|0 GD 1|2 WW 1|4
split 1-1 GD w 2 GD w 2

Marquee Match-up:
May 29th | 2 PM | The Westside Reservation
Westside Warriors @ Git r' Done

WSEM's biggest rivalry is Git r' Done and the Westside Warriors . Two younger generation teams, hyper-competitive, lots of energy, little restraint. Since Westside began playing with us last June they have an 14-11 record (3-2 in 2011), and Git r' Done has an 18-9 record (7-1 in 2011). Both were runners-up in a 2010 tournament. They have met up twice in each tournament, with GRD holding a 4-2 series lead. Including facing off for the Preseason "Wind Up" championship last week (GRD victory). They were originally slated to play Opening Weekend, but that got wiped from the schedule and now, finally, they get to go at each other on Memorial Weekend. What a backdrop! Making it an even more exciting affair is that this series will mark the opening of The Westside Reservation, the Warriors' home field.

On the field they are in each others' faces, loud, always trying their damnedest to show the other up. Their games draw everyone's attention in with the excitement they produce. Neither just wants to win, they want to make the other look horrible in the process: send them home totally disenfranchised with their heads between their legs.

Off the field they're still always on. Always loud. Once a week a roster member from one of the teams will take a jab at someone from the other and a new round of trash/shit/smack talk takes off. Usually it starts off with the game, a measuring contest with pitching or hitting numbers, calling out a poor performance, then subverting the numbers, escalating the war of words, and eventually just boiling down into a good old fashioned pissing contest over the internet. They get all eyes on them again. Commissioners have had to step in and shut down a few of the most recent shouting matches. The only things that have been left out of the back-and-forth so far are their mama's and the kitchen sink.

The rivalry's done both teams well, as every move/word from either team is can't miss entertainment. Literally. The talk between the two is unavoidable, the games are thrilling, and everyone is excited to see what they both are capable of accomplishing... or possibly demolishing.

Memorial Weekend Match-up:
Thursday May 26th | 6 & 7 PM | Lafayette Park
Flying Squirrels @ Campus Commandos

Two teams once nationally ranked, now no longer. A city once booming, now no longer. This is an underdog story. This is a comeback story. ... Or so Hollywood might hype it up that way. True points, though. Both the Squirrels and Commandos were flying high early in the season when they got to see their names put up in the lights of the NWLA rankings, but now they have both fallen off and slid out of the national spotlight. It's uncertain to say having played so few games so far, but the Commandos may just be returning to Earth. A .500 record is nothing to be ashamed of, especially for a team with little prior wiffleball experience that jumped into a league with a lot of unknowns. Sure, their 2 wins have come against the 0-10 Jason Mattseals, but they did take the feisty, armed-to-the-teeth Warriors to 12 innings before falling short this past weekend. So, they can definitely compete with high-quality teams in the league. The entire Commandos roster has an OBP of .419 or higher. Captain Adam Grant has 16 BB and Alex Linebrink isn't far behind with 12, so you know they are patient, willing to wait and build their success.

It is safe to say, however, that the Squirrels have slid completely off the table. They are a team that came into the season with a 13-7 franchise record, went 3-1 in the first week taking 2 from the Ass Kickers (5-3) and splitting with Belgian Wiffles (1-3), but since then they are on a 7-game losing streak. And the losses have not been close. The Squirrels' hitting is gone. Sure, the 7 straight losses have come to the Warriors (1), DeLoppes (2), and Git r' Done (4), who are all in the top-half of the league, but they didn't even put up a real fight against these teams. Once thought to be a contender for the WSEM championship, the Squirrels are teetering on now looking like a complete joke.

The Squirrels are shaking up their roster in Week 5, though, as it has become evident that Jon McKinnie will not be available. Mike Merlo will fill McKinnie's spot on the team and bring another pitching arm to their rotation, much needed with Murtha's absence this Thursday. Maybe the new blood in the lineup and the co-commissioners want to impress him will be the spark that can get this Squirrels lineup clicking again and climbing back up the standings.

I can hear the murmuring, the question in your head turning, as you're reading this. You are asking: how does a match-up between teams with records of 3-8 and 2-2 get highlighted? Well, it is the only series on the bill this Memorial Day Weekend was the only series on the bill this Memorial Day Weekend until late Tuesday night. So, you could go with that reason, or think about it cinematically: what's the drama in this series? What effects could the outcome of these games have? And there is and are plenty. Both teams have slid from their early lofty expectations; this Thursday is a chance for these teams to stand back on their feet, retake command of their season, and start climbing their way back up the league. Take that question turning in your head and turn it on itself: this match-up is a turning point in the season.

Week 4

Lafayette Park Frenchtown Field Frenchtown Field
5/20 5/21 5/22 5/22 5/22
WW 6|13 FS 0|5| 0|1 JM 0|0 AK 2|2 AK 5|7
CC 5|0 GD 7|8| 9|11 WD 10|10 WD 7|0 JM 0|1
WW w 2 GD w 4 WD w 2 Split 1-1 AK w 2

Marquee Match-up:
May 22nd | 1 PM | Frenchtown Field
Ass Kickers @ Wiffling DeLoppes
The DeLoppes are on fire right now, riding a seven-game winning streak into Week 4. Both their offense and their pitching are clicking, and if you find yourselves down against them going into the final inning, Chucky McDonald will take the mound and make sure you stay down. Presumably, if you manage to have a lead late in the game against the DeLoppes McDonald could come in, shut you down, and give his team the chance to come back and win. That situation is yet have risen.

The aforementioned pitching has always been there. Chad Hoppe is accurate, doesn't walk many, has lots of pitches to throw at you; he won't overpower you, but he won't give you much to rip either while he tricks you out of your cleats. Cliff Comstock, a southpaw, is a good addition to the DeLoppes rotation: similar to Chad, he won't blow you away with speed, but he spots his pitches very well. Forcing you to hit the pitches he wants you to, more often than not where he wants you to: notably into the hands of one his above average defenders; namely the sure-handed, quick-footed Joey Delano ranging around the outfield. Can you get the bat on the ball against the DeLoppes? Yes, but that is not the question. The question is can do anything with the pitches you get the ball on? So far this year, that answer is a resounding, "no."

The biggest part of the DeLoppes hot start to the 2011 season isn't their pitching, though. It is their hitting that shot up out of nowhere. Up and down the lineup they can do damage. The big sluggers, the heavy damage doers are DeLano and Nick Snow who are candidates for doubles and home runs every time they step up to the plate. You can't pitch around them either, because Bobby Hoppe, BJ Hoppe, and Cliff Comstock can also slap the ball around, find holes, and drive the ball to the wall. There aren't many reprieves or easy outs in this DeLoppes lineup; you have to make your pitches to count and not make any mistakes to escape an inning clean. The new black and silver look seems to be working for the DeLoppes, giving them a new found winning culture in their clubhouse.

Speaking of winning cultures: the Ass Kickers won their first ever wiffleball experience last June. The team expected that streak to continue when the 2011 season began, but things got off to a stutter-step start losing their first two games. They did rebound, however, winning their next two games. Off to a .500 start the Ass Kickers are not in bad shape, still in the top half of the league, and at only three games behind the DeLoppes they are in a position to be at the top if they can take the two games against them this Sunday.

Looking at the results so far, you might think that the Ass Kickers shot at taking games from the DeLoppes is slim. The Squirrels who beat the Ass Kickers twice just lost two to the DeLoppes. Although, if you look a little closer, you'll see the Squirrels lost 2-1 and 2-0: low-scoring defensive battles. Offense has never been a problem for the Ass Kickers. So, if Brian Constanti and Mike Constanti pitch to their potential, they have a real shot at winning these games. Brian can hammer the inside corner to right-handed hitters with a hard-cutter that usually results in soft ground balls. Controlling that corner may give him the advantage in getting through the DeLoppes lineup. Mike has also come a long way with both accuracy and movement in his pitching this year, giving the Ass Kickers a solid number-two for their rotation. In combination with the Ass Kickers potent offense, his pitching is good enough to give them the chance to win any game.

Now, if I had to predict the outcome of this two-game Sunday series... I wouldn't! I see two close games. Offensively, I give the advantage to the deep DeLoppes lineup. Defensively, DeLoppes get the nod as well. Pitching is a little tougher. The Ass Kickers throw harder and if they have their stuff working are harder to hit, but the DeLoppes seem to always have their stuff and hit their spots. There is one absolutely sure thing, though. If you want to see a game of wiffleball with lots of hard rips all over the yard, then you should check out one of these games. Both lineups will keep defenders on their toes and moving around the spacious grounds of Frenchtown Field. That said, the pitching will also be first-rate and there will definitely be plenty of "oooh!" worthy swings and misses along with some "damn!" worthy backwards Ks.

Elsewhere around WSEM: Git r' Done and recently proven pretenders, the Flying Squirrels, have both been playing since 2009, but have never met on the field. Saturday's series will be the first meeting for these squads and it comes with a few questions. 1) Is Dennis Pearson's arm okay to pitch? How will it hold up if he does? 2) Week 1 saw the Squirrels offense rake 32 hits to lead the league; Week 3 saw that number reduced to about 6. Which is the real Squirrels lineup? Or, at least, which will show up? ... The Jason Mattseals are still looking to get in the win column, and this Sunday will be a hard challenge to get that done with four games against the recently flaunted Ass Kickers and DeLoppes. ... Lastly, the week leads off with the Westside Warriors (1-2) heading to Lafayette Park to take on the Campus Commandos (2-0) in two games. Captain Alex Shore is upset with his team's attendance and losing twice this past week, so expect him to take out some frustrations having his team running like crazy around the bases against the Commandos. The question still remains: are the 2-0 Commandos for real? The Warriors energy, speed, and quality will be their first true test on Friday night.