We now officially have the regional matchups for each region of the 2015 NWLA Tournament. The four hosting sites are Wilkes-Barre, PA, Kalamazoo, MI, Eagan, MN, and St. Louis, MO. Each region will provide a tune up for some teams and a good look at the new teams. Seven teams are already qualified for Ohio, meaning that thirteen teams will be fighting for nine spots in Ohio. Here’s an early look at each region.
Kalamazoo Region Host: Kalamazoo Wiffleball League
Participants: KWL, WSEM, ISWB, GBL, BWACS
This region is one of the toughest, and by that I mean for every league but WSEM. The defending champs are bringing a tryout roster and can probably still be expected to win handily. Who finishes next is going to be an interesting battle. The hosts have finished mid pack every tournament so far, and hope a name change will change their luck. Griffleball has been another mid pack team as well. The two new teams could provide some intrigue. Indy Southside got voted out last year but look like they mean business, while BWACS is a high-profile new league who enjoys the idea of national wiffleball. This will be fun to watch.
Projected finish: WSEM, GBL, KWL, ISWB, BWACS
St. Louis Region Host: Skibbe Wiffleball League
Participants: SWBL, WWL, PWL, ETW, GWWW
On paper it looks like Skibbe got another easy draw, but a deeper look reveals it isn’t that simple. Yes, they should win this region handily, but they’ve got some tough teams ahead. Washburn is sneaky good, but had a down year last year. Potomac has been improving every year and will be expected to continue that trend this year. These two teams may be hampered by having to get on a plane and travel to St. Louis, but we’ll see. The dark horse in this region is GWWW. Nobody really knows much about them, but these guys will be good. They play Golden Stick events, but the adjustment to skinny bats and clean balls might be too much.
Projected finish: SWBL, PWL, GWWW, WWL, ETW
Wilkes-Barre Region Host: Backyard Wiffleball League
Participants: BWBLPA, OCWA, HFWB, HVWBL, SRL
This is another tough league but has a lot of new and young teams. The only experienced team is the Freaky Franchise, an instant favorite to win. Hess Field brings a ton of competition and experience outside this tournament, and one of the best pitchers in the country, Chris Hess. The host league also has a long history but may not have the arms to get it done. Hudson Valley had an okay first tournament last year, and hopes to build on that. Susquehanna had a terrible outing last time around but should field a more competitive team this time. This is yet another region that will be fun to watch.
Projected finish: OCWA, HFWB, BWBLPA, HVWBL, SRL
Eagan Region Host: Home Run League
Participants: HRL, MNWA, SFWL, BCW, TBW
It seems odd that Tampa will be traveling to Minnesota for their regional, but whatever region they’re in immediately makes them a favorite. Their main opposition will be the hosts, who are coming off a successful 2014 Tournament. The game between these two will probably decide the region winner. After that, Minnesota is a good league but ultimately not on the same level. Not much is known about Brew City or Shed Field, but I can only imagine these two will battle for the bottom. This is a tough region and the champion will be battle tested.
Projected finish: TBW, HRL, MNWA, BCW, SFWL