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

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.

Week 8

 < Week 7 Week 9 > 

The Drey The Zoo Knockout Park
6/16 6/16 6/16 6/16 6/16
KF 0|0 JM 1|5 JM 0|1 BW BW
FS 4|3 KF 0|1 FS 1|0 DK MP

The slate for Week 8 has thinned out with the series between the second, third, and fourth seeds in the Ringler Division scratched off the schedule. What remains is a Fri-meet at The New Drey including King Friday, the Mattseals, and the Flying Squirrels. These will be the final meetings between each of these teams for the season. Friday and the Seals will conclude their rivalry series, which began two weeks ago with the Mattseals taking both games, 6-0 and 11-0. Friday and the Squirrels will also play their final two games of the 2012 season; when they met in Week 2 the Squirrels took both games, 3-0 and 9-0. The Seals and Squirrels will have their only meeting of the regular season.

If the season ended today the Squirrels (11-3, #22) would be the second seed, Friday (5-7) would be number seven, and the Mattseals (5-11) would be the odds-on favorite to have the first selection in the John Hill for the Thrill Postseason Extravaganza. None of those were the expectation before the season began, and alas, we are only halfway through the season with a lot of shuffling yet to occur. Despite the five in the win column, it has been a rough season for King Friday. As a team they are batting .096, have scored four runs (not coming by forfeit), gotten two extra-base hits, and allowed sixty-six runs. The bright spots for Friday have been Tristan Birotte and Arvie Coffman, who are both batting at the Mendoza line, and Joe Markos who has been a spark, supplying power and patience at the plate. On the mound, the two Friday pitchers who have thrown enough innings to be considered for league leaders (Birotte and Brandon Mushinski) have put up respectable numbers for rookies; even if that may be like learning to swim in the shark tank. Birotte has been talked-up as their ace, having struck out 18 in 13 IP while only walking 8, despite a 6.91 ERA and 2.23 WHIP. Mushinski has flown under the radar and shown even better with a 4.37 ERA and 2.19 WHIP, although he has not shown the command of Birotte: 22 K, 16 BB in 16 IP. The Kings have a few good pieces, they just need a chance to put them all together for thirty-five minutes. If they can handle the large grounds at The Drey defensively, their offense may be able to take advantage of the expansive open space.

The Mattseals have started to put it together recently: five wins in their past six games, including one against the Thunder Ducks (7-5, #46). They have actually been right there all season, suffering walk-off or one-run losses to the Donkeys, Aces, DeLoppes, and Punchouts. Carl mentioned in his Week 2 Power Rankings article that "those poor Mattseals" had taken on a totally new connotation, and it seems that phrase may finally be fading from use altogether. Their most consistent player has been Chris Paquin: batting for a .250 AVG, .391 SLG%, and .324 OBP in addition to delivering a 2.07 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 39 K to 13 BB in 29 IP. The rest of the Seals rotation has also been impressive this season: In 20 IP Jason Hewlett has a 1.75 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 26 K and only 9 BB; Adam Cosby in 14.2 IP has a 2.39 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 25 K and 10 BB. For a long-time the Seals problem was scoring runs, but they have added 32 runs in the past two weeks to their 3 scored prior to that. The biggest player in that offensive surge is Mike Myers; even if not supplying home run power, he is hitting .323 with a .553 OBP and has scored 8 runs.

As unlikely as the Squirrels 11-3 division lead sounds, it looks even more improbable. The Squeaks are batting .202, tied for fourth in the league, and their 1.01 team ERA is good enough for fifth in the league. A 1.17 team WHIP bumps them back up into fourth position, one point behind Belgian's pitching, but in no category are they blowing away the competition. They are just winning. I suppose you can cite "Money-Squirrel"; their .363 team OBP is just four points shy of the Punchouts (with whom they split a two-game series) and thirteen points above the Donkeys (whom they swept in a two-game series). Whatever recipe being used, the result is apparent in the run differential: +30, which only trail the Aces at +37. The pitching of Mike Constanti has been a key component of that recipe, giving up only 2 runs in 25 IP (0.40 ERA), striking out 48 while walking just 9 batters (0.84 WHIP). The Squirrels number-two pitcher has been a nice "pinch" to "two-parts Mike", as well. Brandon Corbett has a 1.56 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 49 K to 17 BB. "Money-Squirrel" was teased earlier, and it is fitting: they get on base. The team has taken 62 BB, all of their regular players have OBP above .300 and three players have double digit walks, led by Carl Coffee with 18. Two games (Punchouts and Belgian) have, in fact, been won via the walk. The biggest benefit from "Money-Squirrel" has been reaped by by Corbett, who has 18 of the teams 44 RBI on 15 hits, 3 doubles, and 4 HR. Although, the biggest moment brought by "Money-Squirrel" is likely the grand slam hit by Carlos Flores to defeat division rival the Ducks in week two.

Fun Fact:  Halfway through the inter-division season Ringler has a commanding 18-10 lead over Garcia with twenty-eight games between the divisions remaining. So, what is at stake this week outside of four inter-division games? King Friday is still gunning for their first legitimate win on the field. The Mattseals want to club the Squirrels and make hats out of them. The Squirrels want to prove that moneyball works (apparently), or more measurably, match their win total from last season (14). There may be blood; sliding is always dangerous. There will be sweat; "small ball fury in death valley". However, there will not be any tears, unless they are tears of laughter; that is just how it works at the New Drey.

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

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

Week 7

 < Week 6 Week 8 > 

Knockout Park The Drey The Swamp
6/9 6/10 6/10 6/10
KF BW 1|0 JM 0|2 SM 7|0
MP FS 0|1 TD 4|0 TD 6|2

It could not have come at a better time. Last week Uni-Watch had a guest entry entitled "What Can Brown Do For You?", wherein the comments praised heartily the combinations of both brown and yellow and brown and light blue. Now, this week WSEM has our "Battle of the Browns"! Oh, and in case we have forgotten, this is a rivalry series on top of that!

Team Pitching
Belgian 1.00 1.20 2.24
Squirrels 1.14 1.14 3.22
It is true that this is not a "blood rivalry". These two rosters have never played serious games against each other, and this is simply - as coined by commissioner Coffee - "that leftover rivalry". These teams are, however, shaping up to be a great rivalry based on their stats. Let us start where it all starts in Wiffleball: the pitching. Belgian (5-3) has a slight edge in ERA with a 1.00 to the Squirrels 1.14. In turn the Squirrels (10-2, #28) have a slight advantage in WHIP: 1.14 to 1.20. The Squirrels also bring a sizable advantage in K/BB ratio, however Belgian mitigates that with 2.47 KPI to the Squirrels 1.80. What we have here is a great base for a good on-field rivalry: a pitching rotation that is too close to call, a push.

As for comparisons in on-field play, both Belgian and the Squirrels have played the Commandos and Ducks. Both teams have swept their season series with the Commandos and split with the Ducks: losing to Pearson and beating Lewis. A further similarity, both teams won their game against the Ducks by scoring four runs, and outscored the Commandos in their home series by fifteen runs. These teams are evenly matched. Face it, these teams are twins. Need more proof? They are both brown. Identical!

Elsewhere in WSEM:  The Mattseals (4-10) coming off their hot, four-win Sunday travel to The Swamp to challenge the Thunder Ducks (5-3, #46). It is a second inter-division series, which the Ducks urgently need to win for Garcia (along with the Squirrels over Belgian). The records and credit given to these two teams may seem drastically different, but both bring good pitching and hitting to the table. Two 1-0 losses to Whiteford prove that the Mattseals can contend with dominant pitching, while the Ducks have split each of their series against teams with wins-not-by-forfeit this season.

Unavailable Pitchers:
  1 Game:   Paquin (JM), Bortmas (MP)*, Linebrink (CC)*, Malloy (DK)*, Castle (BW)
  2 Games: Crozier (WA)*

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