“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” –Walt Disney
Now imagine this with me it’s Sunday July 16, 2017 at about 5:30 PM and Leroy Wiffleball has just won the NWLA tournament and are national champions. Brett Detmar throws a gem and Caleb hits a homerun to secure the win against the reigning champions OCWA. Now I did not talk to Tim Wiltjer or see his article until after I had already made this prediction, but it makes for a great story doesn’t it? Now while this may seem a little confident, cocky, or whatever word you want to use it to describe our collective attitude towards this years tournament most of the players on the team can see a very similar scenario playing out this weekend. The narrative from that scenario I gave above is that our two best players Caleb and Brett would be the reason we won that game. What does this team need to do to make it to such a Hollywood ending of a story? Well that’s what this blog post is going to focus on, and I am going to look at four main parts. They are practice leading to the tournament, Pool play, Double Elimination, and the intangibles.
As Allen Iverson once said “We talkin bout practice.” Now while I won’t spend much time in this point I did want to highlight some things from this area. This is also something I don’t have to speculate on like most of the other topics since I have seen it for a year already. The moment the team got back from Dublin, Ohio last year I could tell they were happy, but not satisfied. Tim already was talking about what we could do different next year and how we could assure our top players were going to be excited to join us this year. Caleb has worked on his game nonstop and often that’s what our conversations were about during the offseason. It has shown greatly in his season here in Leroy he is having his best season, which is hard to believe if you have seen him play but it is true. This is just some of the examples of how practice and dedication leading up to this weekend could help us win it all, and I can go on but I told you this was going to be a shorter section (maybe not, sorry).
Now we can start to dream a little bit. We now know who and when we are playing on Saturday in our first games of pool play, and this is what we have to do to be successful. First we have GBL at 8am and this instate rivalry will ratchet up a little bit during this matchup. If you listen to my podcast you might know they will see someone that they haven’t seen before, and I think that gives us the edge in this matchup.
Next up is BWACS another one of the local leagues to us. Now for how much Tim and others have given this team flak you always have to take every game seriously or you could lose. Keeping the focus on having consistent at bats and hitting the strike zone will be the keys to winning our 2nd game of pool play.
Finally we have Skibbe the first test of the tournament, and this game I could see going two ways. We really hit and pitch enough to win or we take our first lose and end up 2-1 after a close game. This would leave us in good shape going into the main part of the tournament Double Elimination.
Finally this is the meat of the tournament the part that matters the most. For this section I want to talk about a few teams I see that could give us a hard time. For the record I have never been to an NWLA tournament yet but I did research the teams by looking up video and going by previous years. The first team I want to talk about is Tampa. I always seem to hear about them in some way or another and looking at their past performance they are the real deal. I think this is the game the LWA will prove themselves as contenders to win it all this year.
The last team I really want to look at is WSEM. The main reason is because of Stephen Farkas and how much everyone says he is the best pitcher in the tournament, and the stats would suggest that is true. LWA lost a 7-0 game against WSEM last year and Farkas did not pitch. I think that will change and I could see this game going a long time with little to no runs. These two teams highlight those that I am looking forward to facing and the ones that could give us a big challenge.
This will be my last thing I am going to mention for this post. I am sure that we have some outside factors that will give us a boost this year. First is our clutch hitting has improved since last year. Some of our new hitters for this year have experience hitting in big spots when it is needed most. One of them is the only one to hit a homerun off of Caleb in the last couple of years and he has done it twice.
Second and finally is the coaching staff. Tim did it all by himself last year, but now we are bringing 4 guys as part of our coaching staff. Now that may seem like too much but I think it will help us out in the long run because each of us brings something different to the table, and I think that can be a difference maker.
So I’m hoping you stayed around for this and that I brought it full circle I tend to drift after typing for too long. I am excited to get to the tournament and see how it plays out for us. So it is time to stop talking and play the games in Morenci!