Hello fellow Wifflers this is Caleb Jonkman from Leroy Wiffle, and I am composing sort of an all compassing review of our first NWLA tournament. I think I speak for all of our team members that it was a weekend to remember. There were a lot of emotions for us going into our first tournament but I think we handled everything really well. We knew we wouldn’t have the star power that we wanted coming. But every person who went played their role to a T.
Starting off Brett Detmar was fantastic. 2-0 only giving up 1 run and no hits against HRL and putting up a 1 hit shutout against the 2nd place team in Skibbe Wiffleball. He played with incredible poise and precision out on the mound and made numerous big pitches in big situations. The NWLA is going to have a field day in the future seeing him on the bump.
Jared Jonkman had a great tournament as well, he was the rally starter in both huge wins against Hessfield wiffle and against the GAWL. His good eye and contact bat will be a force to come as this was his first experience at a NWLA event.
Kevin Vroegh is Kevin Vroegh, he is so damn reliable. You know he will always lead you off doing whatever he can to get on base. His speed was evident in this tournament making some ridiculous catches in the outfield. There will always be a place in the lineup for kevin in the upcoming NWLA tournaments.
Jordan Mosel was a last second fill in but besides Sam Skibbe’s homerun against WSEM I don’t know of a more meaningful home run in the tournament. His homerun against Hessfield gave us the extra cushion we needed to seal the deal in a monumental upset of the tournament.
Tim Wiltjer did all the little things right as manager one of the most underrated positions at the NWLA. His move to rest Brett on Saturday, take the loss to WSEM and pitch him against HRL was a phenomenal move that got us to a top 8 team for next year. He made some huge plays in the field and also had 3 huge walks for huge runs against Hessfield and HRL.
Jeremiah Wiltjer was a pleasant surprise on the mound for the legends. In his first time pitching at 48 he threw the ball very well, throwing great innings against WSEM. He will definitely be important as he continues to improve at that throwing distance.
Caleb Jonkman had a big tournament, throwing 3 great games against KWL GAWL and Hessfield only giving up 2 runs in the tournament. His presence as a hitter was also felt too, hitting .333 with 6 R.B.I. Him and Brett as the 1-2 punch of the legends rotation for the foreseeable future will be mayhem on NWLA hitters.
Erik Detmar gained valuable experience from the tournament. Still only 17, next year he will look to be the 3rd arm in that nasty Leroy rotation.
What did we learn as a team?
1. We can pitch. Throwing our 2 main guys the combined for an average E.R.A. of .66. That’s stupid. We can throw with the best of them and hopefully that can push us to be better as we only have more arms that will be coming.
2. Our hitting has to improve. Despite drawing the second most walks in the tournament we have to be able to drive in runners in elite 8 games and on. You’re not going to be given runs in the late stages of this tournament you have to go produce them.
3. We can compete here. One of the biggest concerns for us was going to be could we as a 3rd year small league out in the cornfields of Indiana compete against these big powerhouse leagues? Yes. And double yes. When we stay grounded and play our game our way, there isn’t a team that we can’t beat.
As I round up this post tournament review of the legends I just want to give a brief thank you to Hess Field Wiffle Ball, Skibbe Wiffleball League, Kalamazoo Wiffleball League, Griffle Ball League, and the Wiffle in South East Michigan for making us feel so welcome. It was great meeting all of the teams but you five especially gave us some great tips and made us feel very welcome. All 5 of you teams had a phenomenal tournament as well and we cannot wait to see you guys next year.
Overall I count this first NWLA tournament as a monumental success for the Legends. We overcame some grim expectations to be a national qualifier for next year. We will come back relocked and reloaded and prepared to make another deep tournament run. Thanks to Chris Gallaway and the tournament staff for all of your hard work. Representing Leroy wiffle was a huge honor for me and as a rep for the league I want to thank you for reading this recap.