Barrel Bruisers Take Arlington
One of the final tournaments of the calendar year – anywhere – took place on October 28th just outside of the nation’s capital in Arlington, Virginia. The inaugural Arlington Wiffleball Tournament drew six teams from the surrounding areas, including several familiar faces. My Name is ERL loaned Connor Young to the Stompers for the tournament, the Yaks’ Nick Shirey & Dan Potter joined Cameron Long (InHumans), and the Barrel Bruisers (Jerry Hill and Chris Owen, joined by Tony Mainelli) were represented as well. Those teams were joined by the well-traveled (and 2017 MAW participants) Squad 51 and long time Potomac Wiffleball League team, the Dupoint Circle Jerks. The tournament used an eclectic mix of rules including yellow bats, narrow fields, and non-scuffed balls. The close pitching distance and lack of an enforceable pitch speed limit* - along with those other rules – made for a pitching dominated event.
In the end, it was the pitching of the heavy-hitting Barrel Bruisers that was the difference in the tournament. The Bruisers got quality pitching performances from both Hill and Owen and all three pitched in with timely hitting en route to capturing their first ever tournament title. During the 2017 MAW season the Bruisers made it a habit of finishing in the top half of the field but a tournament title alluded them. By taking Arlington, the Bruisers ended their season on a high note and will try to build off that momentum in 2018. Owen twice shut out the Stompers/ERL combo, Mainelli provided the decisive blow in the playoffs against the Stompers, and Hill tossed a gem in the finals to defeat the InHumans.
Elsewhere, Cameron continued to flash his vast potential for the InHumans. Having just turned 13, the tall righty showed off improved command and good zip on his fastball with plenty of room still left for projection. His slider already rates out as at least average and his screwball is coming along. Cameron gained important experience by starting the championship game for his team and it won’t be long before he is picking up victories for the Inhumans in MAW. The DuPont Circle Jerks were very competitive, riding the right arm of John Hamlett throughout round robin. Lefty Thomas Schwarting uses a very deceptive motion and its easy to see how tough he can be when he has he’s able to command his pitches. Okezie’s Kerby Valladares (also a Potomac veteran) impressively worked all 23 innings for his team. We hope to see more of these guys in ’18.
* The tournament was ostensibly a medium pitched tournament, with radar guns planted on the front of the target strike zone to enforce the limit. However, the gun appeared to be significantly slow with the hardest thrower at the tournament (Connor Young) unable to get much over 55 MPH even when throwing at full speed. The result was a tournament with essentially unrestricted pitch speeds.
First Offseason meeting in the books
On November 11th, a small group of MAW members met in Baltimore, Maryland to discuss plans for the 2018 season. Items on the agenda included relatively minor rule changes and refinements to the regular season and playoff formats, among other topics. According to a source, while none of the proposed rule amendments or changes to the season format are considered “major” all of them were suggested with fairness and competition in mind. The format for the 2018 regular and post season is excepted to remain similar to 2017 with a few minor tweaks aimed at allowing a greater number of teams to compete for the title next season. Updates to the rule book will be announced later this offseason, after a larger group of MAW members are afforded an opportunity for review and discussion.
Inaugural Winter Classic Takes Shape
The first ever Mid Atlantic Winter Classic comes to you from Big League Dreams in Medford, New Jersey on Saturday, February 3rd. Although the tournament is still two-months away, the 8-team field is filling up quickly. Five teams have registered already and given the level of interest, MAW officials anticipate a full field. The Winter Classic is a rare opportunity for winter Wiffle and you won’t find a better venue for it than Big League Dreams. Full tournaments details can be found here and registration is currently open at the MAW Pro Shop. Don’t miss out!
Behind the scenes, Fast Plastic officials are hard at work discussing the next steps after the successful 2017 Texas Open. We hear that nothing has been officially decided yet as to a 2018 direction, but you can expect Fast Plastic to be around in some form in 2018 and a return to Texas in October appears likely. The Drop will pass along any and all Fast Plastic details as soon as they become official . . . A popular but dormant tournament might be making a comeback in 2018. Stay tuned for more information . . . In rare November tournament action in the Northeast, the Wiff is Life League (“WILL”) out of Canonsburg, PA held its first annual Fall tournament on Black Friday, presented by Robert Morris University Basketball. The Jabrones came out of the losers bracket to upset Team 4 in the finals. Follow WILL on their website and on Twitter.