Let me be the first to say that I think the new format has been a smash hit. Only one year after having only four teams and not completing our season, we changed to slow pitch tournaments and magically have six teams qualified for playoffs. We welcomed the C.A.R.E.S. Tournament into the fold this year, and had 14 teams play in league competition overall. Thanks to all those teams, and we hope for more next season!
Getting down to business, the playoff format has been changed this season. Gone are the days of the Best-of-3 series. We have developed a new triple-elimination format that guarantees insanity on the final day. The bracket can be seen at the end of this article or on our Twitter feed (@OCWA).
We are also introducing a new payout structure for this tournament only. The entry will be $20 per player. The winner under this format will receive most of the prize money, but we have a few different scenarios:
1. If the winning team doesn’t lose a game on the day, they receive 100% of the money.
2.If the loser’s bracket team forces a second or third championship game, they will receive their entry money back. The winner will then receive the rest.
3.If the winning team comes from the Loser’s Bracket, they receive 100% of the money.
Not only is this about the money, but it’s also about taking home the OCWA crown. Here’s a look at the teams in contention for the Title:
#1 Freaky Franchise
Regular Season: 11-6, 18 pts.
Offensive Force: Ryan Bush (.713, 55 HR, 115 RBI)
Pitching Machine: Justin Tomkins (9-1, 5.30 ERA, 26 K)
Tomkins didn’t show for the final tournament, and the team went 0-5. Bush can carry a lot of the load but does need somebody to take some pressure off. With Bush’s MVP type numbers and Tomkins’ ability to keep bats at bay, this team is tough to beat.
#2 Caledonia Crush
Regular Season: 8-3, 17 pts.
Offensive Force: Regis Pollard and Cody Hammond (.579, 31 HR, 73 RBI combined)
Pitching Machine: Regis Pollard (8-3, 3.83 ERA, 27 K)
The Crush came within one game of the #1 seed, but the duo of Hammond and Pollard are a great 1-2. Pollard not only pounds the ball, but he’s also a great pitcher, earning all the team’s decisions. Hammond can mash and plays the field well, and Anderson was a nice pickup.
#3 Papa Jack’s
Regular Season: 8-9, 17 pts.
Offensive Force: The entire team (.493, 48 HR, 124 RBI combined)
Pitching Machine: Nobody, really (8-9, 7.71 ERA, 47 K combined)
Listing nobody under pitching probably isn’t fair. Suhre was a top strikeout pitcher but carries a 7.76 ERA. This team gets by on their ability to mash the ball, as Suhre, Papa Bush, and Don “Sorry for Party Rocking” Sutton can all get vertical on any pitch.
#4 Crazy White Pitches
Regular Season: 11-7, 16 pts.
Offensive Force: Chris Roeder (.664, 40 HR, 83 RBI)
Pitching Machine: Tim Coykendall (6-1, 4.44 ERA, 15 K)
This team didn’t mess around in the final tournament, rolling with the Roeder/Coyk tandem and taking home the cash. Roeder finished second in every batting category, but turned to Coyk on the mound late and found results. Coyk isn’t a slouch at the dish either. This team is extremely underseeded and should outperform #4.
#5 Crazed Loons
Regular Season: 2-14, 10 pts.
Offensive Force: Team effort (.385, 21 HR, 55 RBI combined)
Pitching Machine: Team effort (2-14, 8.57 ERA, 38 K combined)
This team’s season can be characterized by the rise of Pete. As he’s gotten better, the team played better. They took down their first win with Erb and Sacheli in the lineup. Erb has a great knuckler and provides some pop, with Sacheli bringing fielding prowess. They won’t be a pushover.
#6 Pavlov’s Dawgs
Regular Season: 5-6, 8 pts.
Offensive Force: Frankel and Knill (.468, 20 HR, 59 RBI combined)
Pitching Machine: Frankel (4-6, 6.65 ERA, 16 K)
Probably the second most underseeded team, they were hurt in the standings by missing a tournament. Benzing had a down year, but never count him out. Frankel has the ability to keep runs down with his skyscraper pitch, and this teams fields well. A tough out as always.