Opening Day Tournaments of the Past

September 14, 2015

    This year will be the 8th edition of the Opening Day Tournament, but times have changed. For the first time in the tournament’s history, it is being held in September. It will also feature a slow pitch format for the first time, and is being opened up to outsiders. It also will crown the OCWA champion. This long-running tournament has had some great teams, let’s take a look back:

 

2008

Champs: BT Renegades

Runner up: Quakes

Other participants: Ballers, C-Mets

 

    This was the original, and it was vastly different from what we’ve seen even for the past few years. The games took place on the original Monster Park field in the side yard, the mound was 33 feet away, and it took place in late June. Not many guys threw fast, and the Renegades had the advantage of a guy who did: Ryan Bush. This tournament featured a lightning delay followed by a rain-soaked finish, but BT cruised to the title, the first of many for Bush and Tomkins.

 

2009

Champs: BT Renegades

Runner up: Lil Pens

Other participants: Big Test Icicles, The Water’s Warm, Boy Kissahs, Shake and Bake

 

    For most of the OCWA, this was their original tournament. Many OCWA classics got their start in this tournament, from Jon Suhre to Brown, Sach, and Bacon to Krabs. Mother Nature did not intend for us to finish this one, accounting for three lightning delays and soaking the finish, but BT went on to win for the second year in a row, sliding through the mud in celebration.

 

2010

Champs: Lil Pens

Runner up: BT Blue Storm

Other participants: Kung Fu Hillbillies, Louisville Sluggers, Southern Nevada 96er’s, Notorious Dr. Lipschitz, Big Bob’s Beepers, Coexist

 

    This was the largest ODT to date and one of the most entertaining, with several instant classics along the way. This tournament was so large that Monster Field was brought out of retirement for the first and only time. The defending OCWA champ Lil Pens took the title, but they would not take the OCWA title. This spawned what is now known as the “ODT curse”: the winner cannot win the OCWA Championship. The win was the first for Papa Bush.

 

2011

Champs: Flying Squirrels

Runner up: Freaky Franchise

Other participants: Brown Eye Bears, Ponyboy’s Heart of Gold, the Carols, Hitless Wonders

 

    2011 saw the league shrink as well as the tournament, and it also saw the beginning of one of the greatest franchises in OCWA history. The Freaky Franchise weren’t quite as freaky then, as they lost to the Flying Squirrels. This win was Doug Bush’s second straight and Tomkins’ 3rd in 4 tries. The Squirrels fell victim to the ODT curse, falling to the Franchise in the OCWA Final.

 

2012

Champs: Freaky Franchise

Runner up: Tampa Bay Turtles

Other participants: Plainguys, Take A Wiff Of This, No Your Other Left, Hairy Hoodlums

 

    This tournament was probably the worst in terms of talent on the field besides the eventual champion, the Freaky Franchise. However, this ODT also spawned one of the greatest seasons in OCWA history. The Freaky Franchise would finish the season 20-0, with a national championship already in the bag. They would win the OCWA Championship as well, breaking the ODT curse… for now.

 

2013

Champs: Lil Pens

Runner up: Freaky Franchise

Other participants: Schweaty Sachs, Tampa Bay Turtles, Strong Tough Dudes, Pavlov’s Dawgs

 

    With Chris Roeder becoming more and more of a stud, it was only fate that the defending champ Freaky Franchise and STD would meet in the semifinal. The Pens breezed to the championship game while the Franchise and Dudes did battle, with the Franchise coming out on top. However, they would lose the title to a solid Pens team, the third for Papa Bush, who then reestablished the ODT curse by not winning the OCWA crown.

 

2014

Champs: Freaky Franchise

Runner up: Heat Throwing Mother Lovers

Other participants: Lil Pens, Wagrupp Dynasty, Pavlov’s Dawgs, FOY Boys

 

    With the Franchise of old splitting up, HTML seemed poised to win their first ODT. They also didn’t have to face the new Franchise until the finals, which is exactly what happened. The game proved to be tight, with the Franchise coming out on top. The ODT curse would continue this year, with HTML taking the championship, but the ODT win was number four for Bush and number five for Tomkins.

 

2015: ?

 

    This year could be anyone’s game, but you’ll have to compete with the best of the OCWA. Commish Tomkins comes in with five wins, and Ryan Bush has four. Don’t underestimate Papa Bush (3 W’S) or Chris Roeder (surprisingly 0 W’s), or anyone else. With the slow pitch format, nobody knows what could happen.

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