We look at the pitching storylines for each team that could prove key in Mid Atlantic Wiffleball's second tournament of the 2017 season this Saturday, June 10th.
Can Dan Isenberg Step Up in Nick Schaefer’s Absence? (Stompers)
The Stompers’ veteran southpaw did not see any in-game pitching action at the first tournament of the 2017 season leaving most of the pitching duties to Nick Schaefer. With Schaefer not expected to play on June 10th, Isenberg will not only get a chance to pitch but he will have to carry the Stompers if they have any hopes of going two for two in MAW tournaments. With Schaefer absent, the Stompers will lean heavily on Isenberg to carry the load.
In his prime, Isenberg was one of the more underrated – if not top tier – left-handed pitchers in the northeast. Injuries and age have diminished his velocity but the crafty lefty is still able to get hitters out. When he is able to command his pitches, Isenberg changes speeds and eye levels to keep batters off balance while relying mostly on a riser and unorthodox drop pitch. In addition to command, a key for him will be how many innings he can throw at a high level. In all likelihood the Stompers will need at least three complete games from Isenberg to have a chance at repeating.
The Bruisers Test Their Pitching Depth (Barrel Bruisers)
Ryan Doeppel of the Barrel Bruisers was the big story of the April tournament as he mowed down hitter after hitter and finished with 26 strikeouts in nine innings of work. Those high velocity pitches reportedly took their toll, however. It is believed that Doeppel has been dealing with lingering shoulder soreness and will be unavailable on June 10th.
If Ryan is indeed unavailable for the entire tournament, the Bruisers might be left scrambling as their second pitcher – Chris Owings – is scheduled to miss the event. Jerry Hill – arguably the team’s best hitter – will likely be called upon to contribute on the mound as well. Jerry has asserted himself well in the speed restricted Potomac Wiffleball League by pitching to a 1.17 ERA over 56 ½ innings this season. His ability to carry those numbers over to the non-speed restricted environment of MAW would be a huge boost to the Bruisers.
Yaks Turn to Veteran Pitchers with Ace Absent (York Yaks)
Jarrod Bull showed great promise in his competitive debut back in April but is expected to miss the June event due to the birth of his first child. Luckily, the Yaks have no shortage of available (veteran) arms in reserve.
Dan Potter did not see action in April, but the veteran right-hander will almost certainly spend some time on the mound this Saturday. A great athlete with above average stuff, Potter can be a challenging pitcher to face when he is commanding his stuff. Jared Laird suffered a tough luck loss to the Stompers in his only April start, but also has the stuff and ability to shut down any team in the field. Nick Shirey – injured arm and all – can still get hitters out and might play a bigger role than normal with Bull unavailable.
Danny Lanigan’s Big Game Experience (Golden Sanders)
With the Stompers’ Nick Schaeffer out for the June tournament, nobody else in the field comes particularly close to matching Danny Lanigan’s big game experience. Among the many highlights of Lanigan’s long career as a member of the Golden Sanders, State of Mind, New York Knights, and The Usual Suspects is helping lead the Knights to the finals of the 2007 Fast Plastic National Championship Tournament beating the Ball Bustaz in the semi-finals before running into the juggernaut Golden State Wifflers in the finals.
Lanigan – whose Usual Suspects already have a Golden Stick Wiffleball League tournament victory under their belt in 2017 – will likely handle the majority (if not all) of the pitching duties for the Golden Sanders. Lanigan will be walking a fine line. If he holds back too much in the early going, he might fall victim to some of the more high-powered offenses in the field. If he goes all out, will he hold up over the 22 innings needed to win the tournament?
Connor Young Brings His Electric Stuff to York (My Name is Erl)
At one time Connor Young was a rising star in Golden Stick. After homerun plagued 2012 and 2013 seasons, Connor delivered on his obvious potential with a pair of strong – albeit abbreviated – seasons in 2014 and 2015. Absent from Golden Stick competition in 2016, Connor and his team My Name is ERL make their Mid Atlantic Wiffleball debut this Saturday.
From a pure stuff standpoint, Young might be unequaled at this tournament. The question surrounding this former Wiffle® prodigy is how his apparent layoff from competitive Wiffle® Ball in 2016 will impact his performance on Saturday. Similar to Lanigan, Connor will likely be tasked with throwing the majority or all of the innings for his team.