This was a record breaking year for the OCWA. Literally. There were more records broken this year than in any other year prior. Which is also a record. Anyway, this season was marked by a return of the bats, but we still had two guys with sub-1 ERA’s. Let’s take a look at the season that was, and look forward to the postseason.
The first thing we will cover is the return of the offense. Even though the total runs scored were down (fewest since ’09, when we played 15 games), some teams went OFF. The Pavlov’s Dawgs, who I said a million times couldn’t hit, started hitting the ball. They finished with 179 runs. But the real offensive story is the display the Freaky Franchise put on this year. They scored 272 runs in 20 games, averaging 13.6 runs per game. They scored 49 more runs than any other team in OCWA history, and outscored the three bottom teams COMBINED. They finished with the highest run differential in history at +146. Individual achievements were abundant. Ryan Bush broke the single season records for: at-bats (171), hits (82), homers (51), and RBI (176). Teammate Justin Tomkins broke the single season records for runs (137) and walks (133). This team had by far the best offensive season in OCWA history, but other teams stepped their offensive game up too.
This year wasn’t without its memories on the mound though. We saw a record eight no-hitters (Ryan Bush led with 3, Roeder and Coykendall had 2 a piece, and Tomkins had 1). We saw countless one-hitters. We saw a perfect game get broken up by a single with one out left. We saw Chris Roeder have another ridiculous season on the mound: 5-0 with a 0.29 ERA and 64 K’s. Almost matching him were teammates BJ Turner and Tim Coykendall, who had 0.36 and 1.33 ERA’s respectively. This team let up 13 (!) runs all season, also a record. Ryan Bush flirted with the strikeout record, recording 109 in this season. We also saw some ridiculous individual game accomplishments. Chris Roeder pitched a 10 inning marathon against the Freaky Franchise, a game in which Ryan Bush recorded 25 strikeouts, both records. Even with the increase in offense, the top pitchers were still nasty.
1.) Heat Throwing Mother Lovers: 19-1
Runs Scored: 139 Runs Allowed: 13 Team MVP: Chris Roeder
This team was projected to be the best team to ever hit Bush Grapes Park and they didn’t disappoint. Early projections said that they would allow 10 runs or less, and they almost met those lofty goals. They lost one game to the Freaky Franchise, a game where pitcher Tim Coykendall didn’t have his best stuff. Still, they finished 19-1, repeating their mark from last year as STD. They destroyed the fewest runs allowed record, and look to keep their shutdown pitching in the postseason.
2.) Freaky Franchise: 15-5
Runs Scored: 272 Runs Allowed: 126 Team MVP: Ryan Bush
Shocking revelation that a guy who hit 2.5 homers per game is this teams’ MVP. He also carried a big load on the mound. They lost 3 games to HTML, which was expected, but also lost 2 to the surprising Pavlov’s Dawgs. Their offense went berserk this year, as previously mentioned, but their pitching was inconsistent. In order to knock off HTML, they are going to need some lockdown stuff from both pitchers. If they do that, their offense should take care of the rest.
3.) Pavlov’s Dawgs: 10-10
Runs Scored: 179 Runs Allowed: 198 Team MVP: Ari Knill
Yes, I picked the guy with the least amount of bombs as this teams’ MVP. Like it or not, the patient Dawgs finished .500 on the year, and their offense improved immensely. They won 2 games against the Freaky Franchise, but also lost a few inexplicable games (FOY Boys, Wagrupp). They used their patience and secret pitching weapon in Knill to frustrate other teams and win some big games. If they can keep doing that, they could upset the Franchise in the semifinals.
4.) Lil Pens: 7-13
Runs Scored: 98 Runs Allowed: 165 Team MVP: Doug Bush
This team was made up of the two oldest players and the youngest player in the league. This team was also another case of a Bush carrying a team on the mound. Doug Bush finished the season with a 4.11 ERA, nearly 10 whole points better than #2 man Zack “Puig” Carpin. Puig improved mightily over the season, especially on the mound, where he is beginning to show more consistency. The biggest problem with this team is the offense, which has to get better in order to compete in the playoffs.
5.) FOY Boys: 6-14
Runs Scored: 102 Runs Allowed: 224 Team MVP: Brett Bigler
This team really had no clear cut MVP, but Bigler brought the best all-around numbers. The main problem with this team was the lack of a true #1 pitcher. Not to take anything away from Bigler, and had he been used more they may have been the 4 seed. Pitching was the Achilles’ Heel for this squad, with Bigler and Adam Kloos as the bright spots. This team hit rather well, especially Jon Suhre, who led the team in homers and RBI. They are going to need consistency on the mound to beat the Pens.
6.) Wagrupp Dynasty: 3-17
Runs Scored: 66 Runs Allowed: 131 Team MVP: ?
You know what, we’re not gonna go there with this squad. They forfeited playoffs, let’s leave it at that.
This was an incredible season, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs even more. If everything goes according to history, a finals matchup between the Franchise and HTML would be one of the best finals ever. However, you can never count out the Dawgs, Pens, or FOY Boys, as each team has been competitive this year. This postseason is looking like a good one, so stay tuned.