It’s finally here. On May 19th, the 6th Annual Opening Day Tournament will happen. Bush Grapes Park is ready. Scrimmages are taking place. The final power rankings (!!!) are as follows:
1.)#1 Freaky Franchise- They dominated the Dawgs over the weekend, winning 23-8 and 6-1. Ryan Bush looks to be in midseason form already and Brett Bigler’s pitching has improved dramatically, and he will compete for innings this year. Add in the balanced games of Justin Tomkins and Jon Suhre, there’s no wonder this team grabbed the #1 spot in the NWLA Preseason poll.
2.)Schweaty Sachs- Josh Maves just had a season that would have won him the MVP a year prior. But the last time he had a season like that he fell off the next year, and he’ll have to avoid that. Josh Ludwig provides a balanced attack and Chris Sacheli is a past MVP. Bring in Dave Erb’s ridiculous batting numbers and you have an all-around solid team.
3.)#42 Strong Tough Dudes (STD)- This team grabbed the 42nd spot in the NWLA Preseason poll. I’m still going to put them third though. Chris Roeder will be in the MVP discussion again, and Ben Brown is a solid player. The supporting cast is a little shady, but if Joe Simmons brings his bat, this team will play well.
4.)Pavlov’s Dawgs- I considered dropping them down again, but they are the most talented team left. Dylan Frankel is swinging the bat pretty well, and Ari Knill and Jordan Benzing can toss the ball. We will see how their rookies (Todd Nupp and Dave DiLoreto) play, but this young team has the best chemistry of any team not named the Freaky Franchise.
5.)Lil’ Pens- Given the history behind the Lil’ Pens name, I honestly can’t believe I ranked them fifth. Doug Bush is stepping out on a limb here by picking up two rookies and using a player who has taken time off. Still, Bush is one of the best pitchers in OCWA history, and Nate St. Ours adds pitching depth, but offense will be an issue.
6.)Master Batters- I believe in Adam Kloos. The man they call “Zero” has improved dramatically since he came into the league, and has a very balanced game. BJ Turner is a question mark, as he has taken time off, but he should provide an anchor on defense and an offensive spark. Mitch Rupp can stroke the ball, but they need his pitching to come along quickly.