I like using the term: “Pull a Leroy”. What does It mean exactly? It means to be predicted to do poorly in the NWLA Tournament and then exceed expectations. Remember in 2006 when George Mason got to the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament? It was awesome. No one saw it coming, and they became the big story that year. Five years later Virginia Commonwealth University, another 11 seed, who had to win an extra game to get to the Final Four because of the expansion to the field, did what George Mason did. It was quite the run, but they didn’t get the attention George Mason got. Why not? Because they didn’t do it first.
Leroy Wiffleball Association joined the NWLA Tournament in Chris Gallaway’s final year heading it in 2016, in a year that had the max capacity of 24 teams. Meaning, eight teams who played in regionals, wouldn’t get to play in Dublin in mid-July at Nationals. Leroy was assigned to go to the WSEM regional, in Morenci, MI. That regional had the two-time defending champs, WSEM. Top six team from 2015, GBL. KWL, who did struggle in 2015, but have been a top six team in recent years. In other words, it was a loaded field. The other teams in the region were the Greater Cincy league, and HWL, who skipped 2015, but in 2014 did have four wins at nationals. Before LWA got to Morenci, they circled the GCWL and HWL games as must win. LWA did indeed lose to WSEM, GBL, and KWL. They took care of business against fellow rookie league, GCWL, then had a date with HWL. They were three outs away from losing and not qualifying, but LWA somehow got it done. After all the regionals were finished, they were one of the qualifiers.
So, then what? Why did I tell you guys what you already know? Well, I wanted to paint a picture. I wanted to remind Leroy that they barely got to Dublin. No one could have seen a top seven finish coming. If it wasn’t for Brew City Wiffle somehow qualifying, you would have been predicted to finish last. The popular prediction for Leroy was 15th, and you over-exceeded the expectations. Let’s go to the next part of this rambling. This year, we were sure the Ridley Park Wiffleball League (RPWL) could never “Pull a Leroy”.
RPWL, like LWA the year before, struggled in regionals and barely qualified. RPWL, like LWA the year before, was given no chance to compete at Nationals. Unlike LWA, they did have a 17 year old who turned 18 in between Regionals and Nationals who was a top two pitcher in Morenci, behind only Stephen Farkas. Another difference? RPWL won three DE games to finish top six. Can we say RPWL “Pulled a Leroy”? Or do we need a new narrative? Two years in a row, two young rookie leagues given no chance to win made deep runs. The game is for the young it seems, and the torch will soon be passed. Who is going to take the torch? “WILL” it be Leroy, “WILL” it be Ridley, or “WILL” it be someone else.