In the 11-year history of the Opening Day Tournament, this one was easily one of the most competitive. Every team was capable of beating every other team, and first and last place were occupied by the unlikeliest of candidates. Here is your 11th Annual Opening Day Tournament Recap. Enjoy!
5. B.E.E.R.S. (2-5)
This is easily one of the most shocking finishes in OCWA history. The back-to-back OCWA champs put up an absolute stinker and finished with a losing record for the first time ever. I couldn't figure out what happened to these guys, so I decided to take a deeper look into the stats. Not surprisingly, the B.E.E.R.S. were at or near the top of every offensive category. The real problem seemed to be on the other side of the ball. They finished dead last in ERA by nearly a full run and had by far the worst fielding percentage in the tournament (.854). The bats will always be there for the B.E.E.R.S., and I can guarantee you there will be some positive regression in the pitching and defensive categories. B.E.E.R.S. fans fear not, these guys will be back on top in no time.
4. Papa Jack's (2-4)
Much like the B.E.E.R.S., the Jack's were solid on one side of the ball, but putrid on the other. Their pitching staff was third in ERA, second in strikeouts, second in hits allowed, and tied for first in walks allowed. With numbers like this, you'd think the Jack's would be able to sneak out more than two wins. The big issue for this team was the hitting. Their on base percentage was 20 points worse than any other team's batting average, and they were only able to scrape across 3 total runs on the day. The pitching should remain steady for the Jack's, but they will need to figure out the offense if they want to have any chance this year.
3. Bud Brothers (4-4)
The Bud Brothers were one of the many nice surprises on Opening Day. After some early hiccups, the Bros were able to get a hang of the new format and found an ace pitcher in J.J. Neely. The four wins that this team had all came against different opponents, meaning that they beat every team in the field and are certainly capable of being competitive throughout the season. The Bros got solid production from all three of their players at the plate, and Rooney and Quick were able to provide nice defensive backup to Neely. These guys were ranked dead last coming into the tournament, so a semi-final appearance and a third place finish had to make the drive back to PA a little more enjoyable. We can't thank out-of-town teams enough for making the trip, and we hope to see you guys again soon!
2. Pavlov's Dawgs (6-3)
If you read the ODT Tournament Preview article, you may have noticed that the managers picked the Dawgs to finish in 4th place. The only manager that gave them any respect at all was the Top Dawg himself, Dylan Frankel. Chainzz picked his own squad to finish second in this tournament and he was spot on with the pick. We knew that the rule changes would be beneficial to certain teams, but I'd argue that nobody profited more than the Dawgs. This team was able to seamlessly transition from the moonballing slow pitch ace, Dylan Frankel, to medium pitch stud Ari Knill. Knill started off the day with a no-hitter and then followed that up with an 11 strikeout perfect game. Not only did he lead the tournament in wins and strikeouts, but he was only 0.02 off the ERA lead as well. If the Dawgs bats can heat up a bit as the season goes on, they could easily be a championship contender come playoff time.
1. Crazed Loons (5-3)
Instead of trying to describe this win in my own words, I decided to reach out to Loons manager Josh Ciolek to get his view on things.
Before this tournament, the Loons had a lifetime record of 5-29. Not only did you match your career win total in one day, but you also brought home some cash. How will this win help the Loons throughout the rest of the 2018 season?
"This first tournament win is a huge step for the Loons organization. I think it proves something to the league that we are a team that can be taken seriously. More importantly, it gives us confidence that will carry us moving forward."
What was the biggest factor in your win?
"We played very well as a team: Picking each other up and making big plays during times when others were struggling. Sacheli will also want you to recognize the fact that we didn't make a single error in the field."
The Loons have only ever competed in the slow pitch format. Did you notice any differences in the switch to a 55 mph limit?
"The higher pitch speed was something to get adjusted to, and it was great to have Ryan on the mound. He's always a welcomed member of the Loons. Pitching will be a big question mark for us in future tournaments that the Franchise doesn't attend."
Anything else before we go?
"Shoutout to Ari and the Dawgs for some great games. He's a very tough pitcher to bat against."
Thanks for your time!
Craving some more OCWA wiffle? You're in luck! The 3rd Annual Father's Day Classic is right around the corner. Registration for the June 16th event will be open next week. Check out our Twitter page (@OCWA) for updates!