Justin is currently down in Aruba scouting some prospects so I'll be filling in this week. With this being the last 10 Every 10, I've decided to write something that focuses more on the future of the OCWA, rather than the past. Enjoy.
Last spring, around this time of the year actually, talks started swirling about adding Regis to our team for the NWLA Tournament. At first it seemed like there was no shot of him coming, but after countless weeks of bargaining we finally landed him. We knew we would be getting an elite hitter, but what we didn't expect was the dominant pitching that came along with it. In his first pitching appearance as a member of the OCWA, Regis no-hit Griffleball. He followed that up with a first round double elimination win against MNWA which lead him to finish the tournament with a 2-0 record and a team-leading 0.50 ERA. He also slashed a .263/.462/.421 with two bombs against some of the top pitchers in the tournament. Did I mention he was the winning run in the championship game? Not a bad first impression if you ask me.
We were hoping we'd be able to keep Regis around forever, but as the winter went on it became more and more unlikely that this would be the case. Well, we finally got the bad news this week. Regis informed us that he won't be able to attend the tournament this year and, in addition, is retiring from NWLA play. After thanking him for everything he had done, the first question that popped into everyone's head was, "who will fill his spot?".
Ari Knill is returning from injury this year which is a big (re)addition, but we still have one more roster spot to fill. While I don't know if it's possible to replace Regis, the following list contains 10 guys that I think would be a great addition to the Franchise.
10. Regis Pollard
This is kind of a cop out for the number 10 spot but I really don't wanna believe that Regis won't be returning. I personally believe there's still a 1% chance he plays so I'll throw him on the list.
9. Doug Bush
Don't think Papa is on here strictly because he's my father. He would actually be a solid number 3 or 4 on the mound and probably wouldn't walk a single batter all weekend. Papa does swing a decent bat but would most likely be DH'd for, which is why I have him at number 9.
8. Ben Brown
Ben is a solid all-around player who could really be used anywhere we need him. Mostly known for his bat and artistic ability, Ben could also log a few innings on the mound if we needed him to.
7. Dave Erb
Dave Erb features something that nobody else on our current team does - a left handed throwing arm. He is mostly a knuckleballer, another rarity, but he can also gas it up in pressure situations. Dave also features a power swing from the left side which would probably make us the most left handed lineup in the tournament.
6. Chris Sacheli
Chris Sacheli, or "The Big Unit" as he calls himself, is another guy who has a ton of all-around talent. He is mostly known for his fluidity in the field but he also hits nothing but line drives at the dish. Sach would be a nice Brock Holt-esque player to add to the team.
5. Brett Bigler
This one is another long shot since he lives in D.C. but I had to include him anyway. Biggie is a household name in the NWLA Tournament and the return of his bat would be nothing short of incredible. This man is sixth all-time in NWLA home runs and hasn't played a game since 2014. Pair that with his .389 career average and elite fielding abilities and you're looking at the perfect replacement. Maybe the PWL will be lucky enough to scoop him up this year.
4. Cody Hammond
If we're gonna be replacing Regis, why not do it with one of his former WWL teammates? Cody has dominated the OCWA since his first tournament in 2015 and also has valuable NWLA tournament experience. Cody has the rare combination of power and speed that would be an excellent addition to our squad.
3. Don Sutton
Don hasn't played fast pitch wiffle since 2011 but after seeing him throw a bullpen last year I can confirm that he still has it. Don probably wouldn't see too many at bats but would definitely be a force on the mound. Most likely an early double elim pitcher, Don could also be utilized as one of the first closers the NWLA Tournament has seen.
2. BJ Turner
Before both of BJ's knees exploded multiple times, he was one of the most dominant players in our league. You would see his name at or near the top of both the batting and pitching leaderboards every season, and you could count on him to be there for every single game. It's been a few years since he's played, which is exactly why I think he'd be a great addition. Those knees have had some time to heal and the pitching arm has to be as fresh as ever. BJ, if you're reading this, feel free to make a return to the OCWA.
1. Tim Coykendall
Coyk is a player that I've been wanting to bring to the NWLA Tournament since 2013. He played college ball with Chris Roeder and has also played every single career OCWA game alongside him. Those two managed to put together back-to-back 19-1 seasons in the OCWA while also winning the 2014 and 2016 OCWA championships. In addition to the instant team chemistry boost, Coyk would also easily fill in as our number 3 pitcher and would pretty much be guaranteed a spot in our double elim lineup.
That'll do it for the 10 Every 10's as we're just 10 days away from the 10th Annual Opening Day Tournament. If you haven't done so already, make sure you register your team because we're capping it off at, you guessed it, 10 teams. Registration closes at 11:59 this Sunday. See you all very soon.