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
Offseason Schedule

Sept 22 – “Captain’s Draft” Tournament
      Buhr is holding a September tournament in Southgate. Anyone who wants to play will be put into a pool and drafted by team captains the night before. More info can be found at the Fbook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/145574165581866/

Sept 30 – Returning Team Commitments
      Teams planning on returning need to let us know they are in by September 30th; Islanders and Warriors are considered in this group, as well. We are asking for this commitment early so that we have time to interview and figure out which new teams will be the best fit for the league.

Oct 1 – Free Agency Opens
      Players are free to sign with new teams, and teams are free to start making roster moves. Moves will be reflected on the site starting at this time, and we will also run a "hot stove" (cold griddle?) to follow and have fun with free agency happenings.

Dec 1 – Deadline for Team Name and Colors
      Teams must have any changes to their name and/or colors submitted by the first of December. This will allow us to start getting the site turned over for the 2013 season. No submissions after this date will be considered.

Jan 31 – Deadline for Team Logos
      All team logos for use in the 2013 season must be submitted by January 31st. This will allow us to prepare all the media needed for the upcoming season, offseason maneuvers and lead-up. No submissions after this date will be considered.

Feb 2 - Winter Meeting
      The Winter Meeting will be held to go over changes to rules, policies and responsibilities for WSEM in 2013. A representative of each team is highly encouraged to attend to make sure everyone is on the same page when we get on the fields.

Mar 30 – Satellite Tournament #1
      The first of two satellite tournaments will be held at the Field of Make Believe (Schweitzer Elementary School, 2601 Treadwell, Westland, MI). Click here for the event page. The cost per team is $20, and the winning team gets the purse knocked off their $200 league buy-in. The format will be the same as last year: Each team gets 1 play in game to determine seeding, then a double elimination bracket with a 30 minute time limit on games.

Apr 1 – Deadline for Opening Day Rosters
      Teams must have their everyday players (the 4 to 8 included on the team page) submitted to the league by April 1st. This lets us know who to focus on, follow, and include in stories and predictions, as well as lets players and fans get a sense of each team's identity. Consider free agency closed for the month of April. Trades may still be made, however, and roster additions may again be made after the season begins.

Apr 6 ~ Scheduling Meeting
      In early April a meeting will be held to schedule each team’s ENTIRE SCHEDULE BY WEEK (I.E. Team X will play Team J in Week 1, Team R and Team B in Week 3, etc.). A representative of each team is expected to attend with knowledge of weeks that look bad for their team (i.e. prom, weddings, or a few guys have vacations/business trips scheduled), so that you can help make the best schedule possible for the entire league. If a team is unable to attend they may inform us beforehand of their “bad weeks”, and their schedule will be set by the rest of the league around that. Specific days of the week scheduled may be decided any time up to day of. We are doing this so that the league can see when big series are occurring and may properly hype what is going on in the league. *** $200 team fee is due at this meeting ***

Apr 14 – Deadline for Home Fields
      Field name, location, and approximate dimensions must be submitted by April 14th. This is the field you will use for ALL home games in 2013, unless there is unavoidable scheduling conflict (i.e. a festival, flood, or wildfire) that forces relocation. Fields not submitted to the league by this date WILL NOT be considered for use during the 2013 season.

Apr 26 – Opening Day
      The 2013 season will open on Friday April 26th. It will again be played in Detroit, this time with the Islanders hosting on Belle Isle.

Friday    August 17th    6:30 PM    Knockout Park    Manchester, MI
3 Game 1 0
  Manchester forfeit  
3 Game 2 0
  Manchester forfeit  
Saturday    August 18th    4:30 PM    Poolside Park    Ottawa Lake, MI
0 Game 3 3
  Manchester forfeit
0 Game 4 3
  Manchester forfeit  
Game 5 (if necessary)
 Hatt (2-0) Probable Starters E. Bischoff (2-0) 
Tuesday    August 21st    6:30 PM    Knockout Park    Manchester, MI
Game 6 (if necessary)
 Hughes (1-0) Probable Starters Bortmas (1-1) 
Game 7 (if necessary)
 A. Bischoff (2-0) Probable Starters Hatt (2-0) 

The two teams everyone has been counting on to show up here. Two "rookie" expansion teams where "rookie" means, "has played longer than most of us have." Two dominant pitching staffs. Two twenty-plus win teams. Two teams that have cracked the NWLA top ten this season. Five perfect game pitchers, all expected to throw in the championship series. Two of the most friendly teams to share the field with.

Regular Season
Runs Allowed: 32 
Team ERA: 0.97 
Strike Outs: 365 
BB Allowed: 101 
Hits Allowed: 63 
Team WHIP: 1.00 
Regular Season
Runs Scored: 71 
Hits: 147 
Team AVG: .245 
Team OBP: .372 
Team SLG%: .362 
Home Runs: 18 
Regular Season
Runs Allowed: 10 
Team ERA: 0.38 
Strike Outs: 338 
BB Allowed: 85 
Hits Allowed: 34 
Team WHIP: 0.91 
Regular Season
Runs Scored: 156 
Hits: 173 
Team AVG: .329 
Team OBP: .481 
Team SLG%: .641 
Home Runs: 47 
No one is surprised to see the Punchouts and Aces squaring off for the 2012 Championship, and everyone is excited to see how it plays out. Manchester took the season series 3-1, sweeping the final two games in Whiteford in surprising fashion with twelve unanswered runs. The first two games, however, were decided by one run - 1-0 and 3-2; including an eleven inning game played late into the night under the lights. It is more of the latter that is expected in this championship series than one-sided dominance. Both teams have excellent pitching staffs, including two perfect game throwers for Manchester (Hatt and Bortmas) and three on the roster for Whiteford (Hughes and the brother Bischoff, Austin and Evan). Austin added his second perfect game, the first ever of the WSEM playoffs, in the first game of the semi-finals against the Ducks. Just look to the left or right to see what these staffs are capable of: allowing less than one run per game, and striking out more than 2.2 batters for every one they allow on base.

The Punchouts' 0.59 lower ERA and 29 hits is one thing, both teams numbers are great in that regard, but the one place they truly seem to have the edge is at the plate: 47 home runs (2.61x Whiteford), 156 runs scored (2.2x Whiteford), a team batting average 84 points higher than Whiteford, a team on-base percentage 109 points higher, and a team slugging percentage 278 points higher. It shined in the teams' second meeting, Manchester's best asset is their ability to hit good pitching. They had two 20 home run hitters in Bortmas and LaDouceur during the season, and Bortmas has continued in the playoffs: hitting three in the semi-finals, including a clutch grand-slam.

So, who are the favorites? Most chips will likely fall behind the Punchouts, their 3-1 season series win, and powerhouse offense-pitching combo. However, do not ignore the minority report. The playoffs are a completely different beast than the regular season; things often stand on head, and this would be more of a case of a one-armed push-up in place of using two than any sort of inversion. The Aces are outscoring their opponents (Mattseals and Thunder Ducks) 14-2 in the postseason, with both runs given up on solo home runs. The Punchouts are outscoring their opponent (Belgian Wiffles, excluding Commandos forfeits) 16-7, with all but two runs scored on walks. The Aces seem to have clicked into high gear at the right time to make a charge. Sweeping the reigning champs was a statement, and they will have to keep that momentum going to take down the Punchouts. Manchester just needs to keep doing what they have been doing; their only loss since May was due to lack of control on the mound in inclement weather. Seven games. Who can come out on top four times? This is the most exciting series possible to decide the championship!

Playoffs: Semi-finals

1 vs. 4
Thursday    August 9th    6:30 PM    The Wiffle Iron    Taylor, MI
2 Game 1 1
 WP: Hatt (1-0) LP: Phillips (0-1) 
3 Game 2 5
 LP: Bortmas (0-1) WP: Castle (2-0) 
Sunday    August 12th    4 PM    Knockout Park    Manchester, MI
0 Game 3 6
 LP: Phillips (0-2) Probable Starters WP: Hatt (2-0) 
1 Game 4 5
 LP: Castle (2-1) Probable Starters WP: Bortmas (1-1) 
Game 5 (if necessary)
 Castle (2-0) Probable Starters Hatt (1-0) 

The Punchouts had the least exciting opening round, receiving two forfeit wins from the Commandos. That time off is unlikely to dull the team's talent, however. LaDouceur and Bortmas went on an offensive tear to end the season, finishing with 20 HR a piece, 64 and 55 RBI, respectively. Their pitching has been dominant all season, as well, having won 25 straight games with their last loss coming on a BB in Week 4. Hatt and Bortmas have given up only 10 runs combined in 105 IP, while striking out 138 and 136, respectively. Their lineup is full of MVP, Clown Shu, and RoTY candidates.

Belgian has good rookie talent on their roster, as well. Tomlinson delivered at the plate, hitting .346 with 6 HR and 20 RBI during the season. In the first round, he hit even better: .375 AVG, .444 OBP, and .750 SLG with 1 HR. Phillips delivered on the mound: a 0.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 131 K in 52.1 IP. Phillips did not throw in the opening round, but will be the game 1 starter in the semis. Round 1 saw the Belgian number-two and three starters, Castle and Corbett, take the mound and shut the Squirrels down. The two gave up zero runs and struck out 25, while only walking 3 and allowing 3 hits. Both games in the opening round were won with big hits: Tomlinson's deep home run to left won game one, and game two was won with a deep drive to the wall by Buhr in the bottom of the 7th.

The Punchouts swept the season series 4-0 and shut out Belgian in each meeting. The Wiffles played them tight in two 1-0 losses, though. Manchester may be the favorites to win the WSEM Championship, but this series could be a good test of that prediction. Four All-Stars will take the field: Bortmas and Hatt for Manchester, Tomlinson and Corbett for Belgian. That last name was also part of the last team to give Manchester a loss back in May. Perhaps that late season acquisition will be the splash of luck that changes a bounce in those 1-0 games Belgian's way?

2 vs. 3
Friday    August 10th    6 PM    Poolside Park    Ottawa Lake, MI
0 Game 1 3
 LP: Pearson (2-1) ** Perfect Game ** WP: A. Bischoff (2-0) 
1 Game 2 4
 LP: D. Braden (0-2) WP: E. Bischoff (2-0) 
Sunday    August 12th    5:30 PM    The Swamp    Trenton, MI
1 Game 3 0
 WP: Hughes (1-0) LP: Pearson (2-2) 
Game 4 (if necessary)
 TBD Probable Starters TBD 
Game 5 (if necessary)
 TBD Probable Starters TBD 

This rivalry season series split 2-2, and home field advantage meant nothing in either case; each home stand split 1-1. This semi-final series should come down to the wire. The Aces opening round series was also expected to be a tight one, but they never trailed and won 2-0 smoother than expected. A big part of that success was pitchers Austin and Evan Bischoff both allowing only one hit and two walks in their starts. All but four of their outs were also recorded by strike-out. The Aces' sweep did see one streak come to an end, however. Evan's one hit given up was a home run, and the first run he has given up all season.

The Ducks, on the other hand, were expected to roll over the Donkeys, but for the second year in a row had a close call and narrowly escaped their first round series. It took a come from behind rally in extra innings to make it through to the semi-finals. If it is playing from the script, then the Ducks have little to worry about. In 2011 after their rocky start, they swept the Ass Kickers and won four of five against the DeLoppes to win the championship. That said, all the Aces share in common with the Ass Kickers are colors. The Ducks cannot afford to take one inning of this series lightly if they hope to keep their shot at a repeat alive.

As always much of the focus will be on the lights out pitching of Pearson and Austin. Do not look past the rest of the pitching staffs, though. Dylan Braden for the Ducks, Evan Bischoff and Hughes for the Aces have put up great numbers on the mound this season. In fact, all three Aces have a perfect game under their belt this season. Even more, do not ignore the potentially explosive offenses. Both teams have power at the plate. The bombs of Dylan Braden and Pearson for the Ducks have been highly touted. For the Aces, Austin Bischoff has been seen to similar crush the ball, and Crozier is leading the playoffs with 2 HR. The most exciting parts of this series will be when the offenses lock onto a pitcher and take advantage of mistakes.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Castle (BW), Bortmas (MP), Nagorski (TD), E. Bischoff (WA)
  2 Games:  N/A

Playoffs: 1st Round

1 vs. 8
Sunday    August 5th    3 PM    Knockout Park    Manchester, MI
3 Game 1 0
  Commandos forfeit  
3 Game 2 0
  Commandos forfeit  
Game 3 (if necessary)
 Hatt  (10-1) Probable Starters (0-4)  Grant 

The Punchouts ride a 25 game win-streak into the playoffs, and with the elite level of play both hitting and pitching most people do not see that streak ending anytime soon. Bortmas and LaDoucueur are beasts in the batters box: both slugging over .800 with 20 HR a piece and 119 RBI between them. Hatt and Bortmas have similarly been monsters on the mound: 138 and 136 K, 0.95 and 0.94 ERA, and 0.27 and 0.70 ERA, respectively. It has been a hot-and-cold season for the Commandos, tapping into talent of players only to have them unavailable a few weeks later. It is hard to find consistency like that, but Linebrink has been their most reliable player - hitting .260 and slugging .427 with 5 HR. He has also had moments of greatness on the mound. For the Commandos to pull off this upset it will take a few more of those moments of greatness strung together as a team.

2 vs. 7
Sunday    August 5th    5 PM    The Swamp    Trenton, MI
6 Game 1 2
 WP: Pearson  (1-0) LP: Seto (0-1) 
1 Game 2 2
 LP: D. Braden  (0-1) Probable Starters WP: Murtha (1-0) 
2 Game 3 (if necessary) 1
 WP: Pearson  (2-0) Probable Starters LP: Seto (0-2) 

The Ducks seem to have returned to their 2011 champion form, charging hard over the final weeks of the season (going 8-4) to take the Garcia Division title with a 17-11 record. They are still laughing, but the D & D boys are crushing the ball at the plate and delivering on the mound like was expected from them all season. Nagorski and Nick Braden are also supplying good at bats. So long as their defense holds up, they are poised to do well this postseason. The Donkeys come into the playoffs in exact opposite fashion; they have lost the last eight times they took the field and finished the season last in Ringler at 11-17. The Donkeys are also without star player Alex Shore, who had season ending surgery earlier this month. They will rely on aggressive baserunning, and the arms of Seto, Shaw, and Murtha to dig out wins in this series. The Ducks won the season series decisively 2-0.

3 vs. 6
Sunday    August 5th    4:30 PM    Poolside Park    Ottawa Lake, MI
4 Game 1 0
 WP: A. Bischoff  (1-0) Probable Starters LP: Hewlett (0-1) 
2 Game 2 1
 WP: E. Bischoff  (1-0) Probable Starters LP: Cosby (0-1) 
Game 3 (if necessary)
 Hughes  (3-1) Probable Starters (6-6)  Paquin 

The Aces went 4-0 against the Seals this season, but they did so with three 1-0 games and a single 2-1 game. This series should be tightly contested and Poolside Park is the perfect place to play a series where one lucky bounce or good swing can decide the game. The Seals concluded their season with an 18 and 23 inning game, and more long games may well be coming this first round match-up. They did lose two pitchers for game one due to those long games, but Hewlett, the longest tenured Seal, will get the ball in game one and has proven he can go toe-to-toe with pitchers like the Bischoffs. The Aces have lived up to their name throwing 3 perfect games, allowing only 32 runs and 63 hits over 28 games, and striking out 365 (the league high). The prevailing assumption is this series will be won on either a ballsy attempt to go from second to home on a little dribbler, or the first home run of the year to be hit into the pool.

4 vs. 5
Thursday    August 2nd    6 PM    The Drey    Romulus, MI
0 Game 1 1
 LP:  Consanti  (0-1) WP:  Corbett (1-0) 
0 Game 2 1
 LP:  Skinner  (0-1) WP:  Castle (1-0) 
Game 3 (if necessary)
 Consanti  (7-2) Probable Starters (3-4)  Phillips 

A rematch of last year's 4 vs. 5. Belgian took this season's series 3-1. In the most shocking development leading up to this series, Coffee and Buhr inked a deal sending pitcher Craig Skinner to the Squirrels for pitcher Brandon Corbett. The two have similar stats with batting averages near .200 and ERAs below 1.00. Skinner brings more strike outs on the mound, though, while Corbett supplies more extra base power at the plate. The Constanti/Skinner rotation will be very formidable for a Squirrels team that has always been built around pitching; the key to success for them will be giving them run support. Belgian already had two hitters with good power; Phillips and Tomlinson both have six HR and Corbett adds another five, putting together a dangerous lineup to support a strong pitching staff.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Castle (BW), Linebrink (CC), Shaw (DK), Bullard (FS), Cosby (JM), Bortmas (MP), D. Braden (TD), E. Bischoff (WA)
  2 Games: Phillips (BW), Paquin (JM)

Week 14

 < Week 13

The Wiffle Iron The Swamp Knockout Park Southgate Anderson The Drey The Club The Zoo
7/25 7/25 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/28 7/28 7/28 7/29 7/29
WA 1|0 WA 6|3 KF 0|0 SM 0|0 BW 7|14 TD 7|0 TD 3|7 SM 0|10 BW 0|0 KF 0|0
BW 0|2 TD 7|0 MP 5|5 MP 6|7 SM 0|0 FS 2|1 KF 2|0 FS 4|2 JM 1|1 DK 3|3

To Be Scheduled...
The Zoo Lafayette Park
7/29 7/29 7/27 7/29 7/29
MP 3|3 MP 10|13 BW 2|3 TD 19|5 SM 3|0
DK 0|0 SM 0|0 DK 0|0 CC 4|6 CC 0|3

All hands on deck! It took fourteen weeks, a full season, but we find ourselves in a week with every team playing games for the first time! To celebrate let us do this a little differently this week. We will start it out with a few brief thoughts on some of the series, but then it is up to you to take it from there. We will open up the comments here The comments have not turned back on for some blogger reason, but facebook is there as always, and we want YOU to tell the Wiffle world what you think the most important / exciting / interesting series is this week. After all, you must be tired of us, and we do not hear nearly enough from you. ;)

Well, Wednesday features two series and is going to set the tone and start shaping things up right off the bat. The Wicked Aces (19-5, #19) travel up to face the Belgian Wiffles (10-10) and Thunder Ducks (12-8). The Aces have a 2-0 lead in their season series with Belgian, and are split 1-1 with the Ducks; the scores in both games of each series were 1-0 and 2-1, so you know these will be hard-fought wins. Which is the better Marquee series? Also, a tough fight; both can strategically affect playoff seeding.

Ducks vs. Aces -   This earned the Week 13 Marquee, and much of what was said their still stands. The Aces are essentially on a collision course with number three spot in the playoffs [see the Playoff Watch]. The split over the weekend, however, boosted the Ducks up into the number-two seed as Garcia Champion. If they can split this series again on Wednesday, then they will just about clinch that slot.

Belgian vs. Aces -   Two excellent young pitching rotations. The Aces have three guys with perfect games, and can run out four good arms against you. Skinner and Phillips are an outstanding one-two punch for Belgian, as well, with Skinner also having tossed a perfecto this season. The Wiffle Iron should make for a good showcase of this pitching talent as it is a good test for blue-chip pitchers with its short dimensions, but the Aces are used to that atmosphere already calling Poolside Park home.

Squirrels vs. Ducks -   It may not seem to bring as much excitement around the talent as the above two series do, however, it does feature both All-Star pitchers from Garcia, and (depending on the results from Ducks vs. Aces) can be played to decide the Garcia Division crown! The Squirrels have sucked lately. If they want to have any shot this postseason, they need to get back to early season form. A split in this series keeps their chances alive, but leaves it in the Ducks' hands webbed feet. A sweep by either team puts them in command with the head-to-head tie-breaker. The Ducks have woken up, though, and are seemingly charging in similar fashion to their run last post-season. Look out!

Punchouts vs. the field -   Vegas has the Manchester Punchouts never losing again. It is hard to bet against that, at least for the remainder of the 2012 regular season. Manchester has absolutely pummeled every team put in front of them since Week 4 (including the Ducks, Aces, and Belgian): a 17-game winning streak, while outscoring opponents 116-7. While they may run over the competition in this final week, it could still be compelling sport just to watch them finish the season with a ridiculous twenty-five straight wins, fireballs shooting out of their eyes, and bolts of lightning from their asses.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Phillips (BW), Linebrink (CC), Shaw (DK), Corbett (FS), Constanti (FS), Paquin (JM), Birotte (KF), Bortmas (MP), D. Braden (TD), Pearson (TD), Nagorski (TD), Hughes (WA) E. Bischoff (WA), Cafe (SM)
  2 Games:  N/A

* Team not active this week. Will carry over to next games.

Week 13

 < Week 11 Week 14 > 

The Zoo The Club Lafayette Park Poolside Park
7/21 7/22 7/22 7/22 7/22 7/22
TD 11|4 MP 7|14 MP 13|17 FS 0|0 SM 1 TD 1|1
DK 4|2 JM 2|4 CC 1|0 WA 1|1 WA 7 WA 2|0

One of the most anticipated rivalry series heading into the season, two of the hardest throwing pitchers in WSEM, and you get the full season series in the final two weeks of the season. How is that for coming down the home stretch? True, neither team is soaring atop their division standings at the moment as predicted, however that does not take away from the potential of what this match-up can be.

After all, the Thunder Ducks (9-7) are still a team that can turn up their intensity and focus when faced with a challenge or when people doubt their ability to perform. The expected 6-6 record attached to the Ducks in last week's playoff watch has lit a fire under at least one seat on the team's bench. Nick Braden scoffed at the .500 prediction and proclaimed the Ducks will easily finish their season 8-4, possibly even rolling into the playoffs with a 10-2 run. If the rest of the team feeds off that drive to prove others wrong and they regain competitive focus, then they are very capable of playing at that level. They have the talent on their roster to charge through a long stretch of games; just look at the 2012 playoffs.

Sure, a lot of that run was on Dennis Pearson's shoulders, and the 2011 Clown Shu winner has seemingly come back to Earth this season (1.54 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 71 K, 29 BB, 26 IP). However, during that playoff run at the plate Dennis was joined by Josh Nagorski with 14 H, Dylan Braden with 9 BB and 8 RBI, and Nick Braden with 3 of his 8 hits for extra bases. When the Ducks roll they do so as a team (and when the roosters are crowing and the cows are spinning circles in the pasture...DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!). This season the team's numbers are down (.193 AVG, 41 R, 14 HR, .378 SLG, .312 OBP). Dylan Braden has been the best performer with 6 HR, 13 RBI, and a .333 OBP, but late in the season is a prime time to get it back in gear. And Whiteford, the team everyone has been saying is better than the Ducks for 9 months) is a choice opponent to spark that comeback.

Whiteford on the other hand has been rolling all season. They jumped out to the top of the league on day one with two perfect games, stayed up there until Week 11, and added a third perfect game. Their success was due largely to proving that their pitching staff is much deeper than Austin Bishcoff. Austin is clearly the ace of the Aces (0.43 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 127 K, and 26 BB), but his teammates are not far behind him: Justin Hughes - 0.62 ERA, 1.12 WHIP 37 K, 10 BB; Joel Crozier - 1.73 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 77 K, 31 BB; and Evan Bischoff in a limited role (8.0 IP) has yet to surrender a run, given up 1 H and 8 BB while striking out 19. None of these tossers have a K/BB ratio under 2.48. That is a stout staff!

The Aces are no slouch at the plate either. They are still atop the league in team AVG (.257), although the Punchouts have taken command in extra base power. Hughes is an excellent set up man (.347 AVG, .396 OBP, .510 SLG, 9 RBI, 9 R); he has been in the top five for average all season, and deserves to be in rookie of the year talk. Crozier and Austin are getting it done, as well: AVG - .283, .272; OBP - .402, .382; SLG - .402, .467 respectively. Austin has been the biggest power threat with 5 HR, some massive shots, and 16 RBI. They have put together this possible 20 win season using nine part-time players, who have played four games or less, which is itself an impressive and telling stat about how their core players play this game.

Vegas odds are in Whiteford's favor for the consistent body of work they have put together this season. However, the potential within the Ducks' to put together a clinical upset could make for a big payday. There is also a wild card at play. Both Austin and Dennis played in the NWLA Tournament in Columbus this past weekend, and riding that high - couple with coming back from that to a 5-2 count and a mound 3 feet closer - could make both pitchers more dominant than ever! This series is bound to be everything that has been anticipated since the offseason.

Elsewhere in WSEM:   The Manchester Punchouts look to continue their thirteen game win streak and scoreless innings streak against the Commandos and Mattseals on Sunday. The Flying Squirrels and Wicked Aces will also face off alongside the Ducks/Aces series on Sunday in Whiteford.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Phillips (BW)*, Linebrink (CC), Seto (DK), Corbett (FS), Paquin (JM), Birotte (KF), Bortmas (MP), N. Braden (TD), Crozier (WA), A. Crabtree (SM)
  2 Games:  N/A

* Team not active this week. Will carry over to next games.

Week 11

 < Week 10 Week 13 > 

Poolside Park The Zoo The Swamp The Club The Wiffle Iron The Swamp Poolside Park
7/4 7/6 7/7 7/8 7/8 7/8 7/8 7/8
BW 1|0 CC 0|1 MP 4|10 DK 0|1 DK 0|0 MP 1|6 CC 1|1 MP 3|9
WA 2|1 DK 4|2 TD 0|0 JM 9|2 BW 1|1 BW 0|0 TD 3|4 WA 0|0

When these teams first met under the lights in Manchester the Punchouts dealt a decisive blow to the Wiffles. Belgian managed one hit over the two games and was outscored 5-0. Perhaps, fittingly then, these teams are two games apart for second place in the Ringler Division and separated by a run differential of just six, as well. At the core of both of these teams is the same thing: talented pitchers.

Evan Bortmas and Sam Hatt, of the Punchouts, have both been chosen to represent WSEM at the NWLA tournament later this month, precisely because of their pitching talent. They work in opposite ways. Evan's signature pitch comes from over the top, an absolutely wicked "slurve", while Sam's signature is to freeze batters with a tailing riser. Sure, that is limiting their abilities to just their best pitches, but "why pay for the cow...", right?" So far this season their rotation has given up only four runs. Bortmas has a 1.15 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and 31 K. Hatt is delivering a 0.25 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 51 K.

On Belgian's side, Craig SEYMOUR! Skinner has proven himself to be a stud starter, giving up just two runs in 27 IP. He has a 0.22 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, 58 K, and also already has one perfect game under his belt against the Garcia leading Squirrels. Chandler Bing Phillips and David "Castlehoff" Castle are also excelling in their rookie seasons with the plastic ball. Phillips is sporting an impressive 0.62 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 44 K in 16 IP, while Castle is filling the "number-three" starter role better than many teams' number-one with both an ERA and WHIP of 2.03 and 21 K.

Offensively, these two teams are pulling close to a draw. Belgian has the edge in team AVG by nine points, .238 to .229, while the Punchouts pull ahead in both OBP and SLG: .403 to .384, and .385 to .371, respectively. As a logical jump from those numbers the Punchouts have the advantage in home runs, by a margin of 8 to 5. Similarly, they hold a decisive advantage in total bases in fewer games played: 74 to 53. Do not take the numbers as absolutes, though, both of these teams can hit, and both of these teams can pitch. Given the right conditions, and the right whim of luck, either of these teams can dominate a game.

While many games are still to be played in this waning season, these games will stand as shot across the bow for seeding and standing in Ringler. Belgian would love to sweep this series and gain an even split on the season, while taking just one game and winning the season series will be advantageous for Manchester. There is no doubt Belgian will show better on their home field than they did when traveling out to Manchester. On the other side of the coin, Manchester wants to prove they are a great team no matter where they are playing, so expect them to come out blazing on the road.

Elsewhere in WSEM:   Belgian and Manchester believe the best things come in threes, as both have two more series on the Week 11 schedule: Donkeys and Wicked Aces for Belgian; Ducks and Wicked Aces for Manchester. This week should really begin to shape the playoff picture. The Donkeys (7-7) look to put a stamp on this season with six games this week: two at home versus the Commandos (5-13), and four on the road against the Mattseals (8-14) and Belgian. So far in 2012, they are 2-0 against the Commandos and 2-0 against the Seals. Both teams have come a long way since those early meetings, though, and Belgian is a team in direct contention for a playoff seed. The Wicked Aces (13-2) and Punchouts will also throw their last punches for the top of Ringler as they meet in the finale of their season series on Sunday. They split in their first meeting, with an extra inning special; what will Poolside Park have in store? In addition to the Donkeys, the Commandos will also test out their new roster against division rivals, the Thunder Ducks (7-5), and ace pitcher Dennis Pearson. Grant seems confident with his new metal, and this will be a good test for how far he can ride his new acquisitions.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Skinner (BW), Mott (CC), Malloy (DK), Corbett (FS)*, Paquin (JM), Birotte (KF)*, Bortmas (MP), N. Braden (TD), Crozier (WA), A. Crabtree (SM)
  2 Games:  N/A

* Team not active this week. Will carry over to next games.

Week 10

 < Week 9 Week 11 > 

"Maple Yards" Poolside Park
7/1 7/1 7/1 7/1
FS 1|0 FS 1|3 JM 0|1 SM 0
BW 1|10 SM 7|4 WA 1|2 WA 2

Whiteford (10-2, #5) and the Mattseals (8-12) may be on opposite ends of the Ringler standings, but the two games they played earlier this season could not have been any closer: Whiteford won both meetings earlier this season 1-0 in 7 innings. Pitching clearly dominated the day; including an Austin Bischoff perfect game, but Joel Crozier, Chris Paquin and Mike Myers also held batters in check throughout the series. Great defense was also on display with a home run saving catch made by Greg Franzen. To get the pulse of what this rematch on the Ohio border means, we have asked a fan of the game to write up this week's Marquee preview.

guest pen Stephanie Franzen

You may wonder who I am and what I know about wiffle ball. Believe it or not, I actually know and understand wiffle ball more than you might think. You have fans out there that appreciate the game and your talents, including myself. I follow the league closely and not just my husband’s team either. I’m the kind of girl who can hold my own with the guys. I’m fun and feisty and I hope you enjoy my insight from a different perspective.

Highlights of the first WA vs. JM series
This is the second and final meeting for these two teams in the Ringler Division during the regular season. At first glance, you may think there is no comparison between these two teams and that the Mattseals don’t stand a chance against the number five nationally ranked Whiteford Wicked Aces. The team that is currently ranked first in their division versus the team ranked last in their division? No brainer, right? Maybe not. I’ll admit Whiteford scared the bejesus out of me when I was first introduced to WSEM. Upon looking at their team page I thought, “This is Team Iceland from Mighty Ducks 2!” Their pictures were so intense and they looked like these little kids that would club an old lady in an alley for a marble rye (Think Seinfeld episode). Austin Bischoff is a beast that towers over all opponents and Joel Crozier has that intimidating Darth Vader voice. In reality, these are some classy fellas. They play for the love of the game and are never boastful, which is something a lot of guys in the league lose sight of with national rankings, stats, divisional standings, and playoffs involved.

These two teams are actually more alike than you think. For one, both teams actually practice. (I know... we’re talking about practice! - Allen Iverson) Whiteford may have the advantage in this case. While the Mattseals are older players with work and family commitments, it is difficult to get the entire team to attend each practice week in and week out. Another thing in common, they aren’t afraid to play without all players available even the studs (Hint: Brandon’s infamous scheduling article). They deal with what they have. Whiteford has an advantage in this case again. They are able to pull from an additional pool of players to fill a roster. It is like a farm team out there, but hey if you build it (as Joel and his dad did)… they will come – Field of Dreams.

Next, they both rely more heavily on the pitching and defense. You may think the Mattseals don’t have the pitching caliber that Whiteford has and that may be true to some degree. It can be argued that Austin Bischoff is the best pitcher in WSEM with allowing only 1 hit and 80 strikeouts in 5 games pitched. He may be a top five pitcher in the nation. Austin pitched a perfect game against the Mattseals. Even though Joel Crozier is ineligible for this two game series, the Mattseals face an obstacle with probable starters Evan Bischoff or Justin Hughes. This deep rotation is another advantage for Whiteford, as both Evan and Justin have both pitched perfect games this season.

At their last meeting, the Mattseals held Whiteford to 7 innings in both games and only lost 1-0 in both games. These weren’t blow- out games for the former “Benny Hill Mattseals” either. In fact, the Mattseals are no stranger to extra innings. They also took the Donkeys and the historic Wiffling Deloppes team to extra innings, and let’s not forget the 18 inning league record game against the Flying Squirrels. You may ask who the Mattseals’ pitchers were in week two. While Adam Cosby has speed (previously clocked in the 70 mph range by the handy work of Jason Matt at Satellite Tournament #1), he did not pitch against Whiteford, nor is he eligible for this series after pitching that 18 inning game against the Squirrels. The Mattseals had solid pitching in both games. Chris Paquin, who pitched one of the 7 inning games gave up only 1 run, 4 hits, 1 walk, and had 8 strikeouts. Jason Hewlett and Mike Myers were in the pitching rotation for the other 7 inning game and neither one of them managed to give up a walk. (In WSEM, Adam Grant and Carl Coffee wouldn’t have stood a chance!) Then, there was the homerun rob of Joel Crozier by Captain Greg Franzen, one of three homerun robs Greg has this season.

Even though Joel Crozier will be ineligible to pitch, his presence in the batter’s box will be vital in this series. Joel currently has a batting average of .313 and a slugging percentage of .433! He has the most plate appearances and at bats on the Wicked Aces. This will present a challenge for the Mattseals. However, all of the Mattseals can field and do it well. Their alignment is unique from every team in the league and it works. The Mattseals were still getting their flippers wet that second week of the season in regards to learning rules, lighting up the bats, and getting aggressive with base running. The Wicked Aces will not be facing the same team in week 10. One thing is for sure, this marquee match-up will be one hot ticket.

-----   -----

Thanks, Stephanie. This should certainly be "one hot ticket", which makes it convenient that there is a pool on-site! If I have to state a "make or break" point for this series, it will be - simply stated - whoever can miss the most bats wins the series. There is not a lot of field for the teams to cover, so defensive range is virtually taken out of the game. Following that thought, the fences are quite close, so power is not an absolutely necessary factor (although it never hurts); any batter who can make solid contact has a shot at being the difference in the game. Speaking solely on what these teams bring to the plate, discounting opposing pitchers, this fairs well for both teams. Both lineups make good contact; if you can put the ball in play at Poolside, and get lucky once or twice, then you can quickly swing the game in your favor. It is a Jon Madden "DUH!" statement, but the team that makes more solid contact will win these games. Every pitcher put out there is capable of getting outs, but they will need to deliver swing and miss outs to secure victory.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Castle (BW), Mott (CC)*, Malloy (DK)*, Birotte (KF)*, Bortmas (MP)*, N. Braden (TD)*, Kincaide (SM)*
  2 Games: Corbett (FS), Cosby (JM), Crozier (WA)

* Team not active this week. Will carry over to next games.

Week 9

 < Week 8 Week 10 > 

Knockout Park LaFayette Park
6/22* 6/24 6/24
BW 0|0 KF 0|0 CC 11|0
MP 1|4 CC 6|11 KF 5|1
* Late addition to schedule

One match-up has been added for Week 9, and there is one thing we can tell you for certain: Friday and/or the Commandos will come out of this week with their first on-field wins of the 2012 season! Both teams received forfeit wins from the DeLoppes inability to read a rules page - three for Friday, two for the Commandos - and Friday also got two wins for a similar snafu from Belgian, which actually has them sniffing the possibility of a playoff berth at five wins.

Forfeitures aside, King Friday has improved every time they have taken the field this year: being on the wrong-end of perfect games twice in their first series, getting hits against the Squirrels then runs against the Ducks in week two, and recently carrying a lead into the fourth inning against the Mattseals in Week 8. Despite playing better, it seems Friday has continually been bit by the same bug: one bad inning in the field. This is common, especially among new teams and teams pressing to get things going. Once they are able to get in the win column they should settle down and start finding themselves in position to win more games. They have the pieces to be a decent team once they get the confidence.

Early in the season Tristan Birotte established himself as a capable pitcher in the rotation, getting the ball over the plate, not walking opponents, forcing them to put the ball in play, and getting a few strike outs along the wall. He has taken on a lesser role with the team, but in 4 games pitched (13 innings) he has struck out 18 while walking only 8. Brandon Mushinski has since become Friday's horse on the mound. Brandon has the lowest WHIP on the team at 2.04, and lowest ERA of regular players at 3.80. In 25 IP over 8 games he has 35 K to 23 BB, though one-third of those walks came in his first start. Friday just had potentially impressive pitching cavalry arrive, as well, in Ryan Hurd Jr. In his two Week 8 starts he struck out 19 while walking just 9. He also threw seven scoreless innings, surrendering his eight runs in two innings across both games: bitten by that "one bad inning" bug. The pitching for Friday is beginning falling into place.

Friday's hitting (team AVG of .108) still looks dismal, however it is perking up. As proclaimed by captain Richard Hurd, "At least we have a 3 digit team batting average now. Ha!" Joe Markos is their biggest threat with the bat leading the team with 8 TB, having hit the only Friday home run, and also having the team's second highest OBP (.294). Friday's on-base lead is shared by Jake Mushinski and Arvie Coffman at .333. Jake may be figuring out Wiffle pitchers as he tripled his hit total for the season in Week 8, and Arvie (in limited time) also leads the team with a .200 AVG. If the offense is starting to come around for Friday, then four games with the Commandos will be a good test to see what they are capable of producing.

The Commandos have been hot-and-cold, on-and-off all season; not from game to game, either, rather in the course of one game. Similar to Friday, one miscue or trouble finding the zone seems to snowball until they are effectively taken out of the game. This, in large part, is what has led to the Commandos biggest trouble getting wins on the field: 94 runs allowed and a -67 run differential. With that said, let us ignore the runs while talking about their pitchers.

Seven different pitchers have been tried by the Commandos, but two have been ridden for seventy-five percent of the innings: Alex Linebrink and Daniel Egan. Even with that many innings on the backs of those two, the Commandos have only thrown six complete games this season: another sign of struggles on the mound. Linebrink, a second year pitcher, is averaging nearly two strike-outs per inning (31 K in 16 IP). However, he also has 35 BB to go along with that, building toward a 3.56 WHIP. Egan, a rookie, has 36 K in 21.1 IP, and has his walks more under control with 23, just over one per inning. Being more around the zone means bats run into the ball more often, though, resulting in 32 hits allowed and a 2.58 WHIP.

Offensively the Commandos as a team are hitting .140, thirty-two points higher than Friday. Their slugging percentage is double the average at .280, which puts them in stride with the Squirrels and Punchouts (.281 and .282, respectively), and they have an on-base percentage of .295. A large part of that latter number is Adam Grant again making a bid for the Texas Ranger award with 17 BB of the team's 41, eleven more than anyone else on his roster. Grant, therefore, has the highest OBP on the team with .357. As for doing it with the bat, Linebrink leads the team in batting average with a .214, while Eric Pfefferle provides the most extra-base power with a .500 SLG (3 HR, 1 2B). Egan is also providing a good dose of power with 3 HR, 1 2B, and a team leading 8 RBI. The numbers may not be outstanding, but if the Commandos can quiet down an opposing offense, they are good enough to win a game or two.

Winning or not, these teams represent what is great about this league and sport. They show up, they joke around, laugh when something that can only be described as "Wiffle-y" happens, are having fun playing the game and are salivating at the chance to be in the driver's seat of the John Hill for the Thrill. Wrapping their arms around a couple wins on the field is only going to make them enjoy playing this game more!

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Castle (BW), Linebrink (CC), Malloy (DK)*, Ry. Hurd (KF), Bortmas (MP), N. Braden (TD)*, Kincaide (SM)*
  2 Games: Corbett (FS)*, Cosby (JM)*, Crozier (WA)*

* Team not active this week. Will carry over to next games.