Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Callin' The Hogs! Pork Missiles Take WP16 for First Championship: w/ Facts & Figures

     In one of the most unexpected turnaround performances in tournament history, the PA Pork Missiles, led by captain Tim Durante and a pair of really good pitchers, came back from a 1-3 record to pull of two upset performances in the playoffs and win Wifflepalooza XVI. 

     About 2 hours prior to their victory, it was unclear if the Pork Missiles would even reach the playoffs. Coming down to a final game between the Ironballs and Goondingos, the Pork Missiles needed the Ironballs to come through with their first win of the day to create a 3-way tie, that the Pork Missiles won the benefit of on run differential. The Ironballs closed out the Goondingos 4-3 and allowed PA to slip in the back door. In their first playoff game, they kicked that door down. They managed to work 13 walks off of both former Cy-Young winners Mike Tedesco and Justin Geri. They managed to score 6 runs without recording a base-hit and knocked off the 4-time champions in extras. 

    In the title game, it was pitching and a bit of good fortune that propelled them to glory. The Flapacs hit 3 balls of the top of the fence, narrowly missing 3 solo homers, but Baeringer and Weber kept making huge pitches when they needed them, never allowing the Flapacs to string multiple hits together in the same inning. Jody Durante provided the game's only run, a solo shot to the opposite field off Ryan Ricci, which was the Pork Missiles only hit of the post season. 

    The celebration will continue on until next season, but the Pork Missiles know they need to be ready to embrace the targets on their back.

WIFFLE NUGGETS

- Justin Geri became the 3rd player in tournament history to reach 90 career RBI

- The Flapacamingos scored just 9 total runs, the fewest of any team to reach a title game in Wifflepalooza history

- We had 3 no-hitters on Saturday, tying a tournament record set way back in Wifflepalooza III, when as we all know, the strike zones were about half the size they are now. Mike Tedesco, Dan Volpe and Kevin Engasser all tossed no-no's, becoming the first trio to do so since Dimitri Paraskevas, Pat Ney and Ryan Hutchings all did it in WP3. It seems the scuffing rule had an effect, as pitching ruled the day.

- Brian Stanzione became the first to 100 hits (104) in tournament history, passing Al Etter (99) for tops on the all-time list

- Saturday's final was the 6th time ever that the Title Game ended in a shutout. It was the first time the final ended 1-0, since WP4 in 2011.

- The Pork Missiles are just the 8th different franchise to win Wifflepalooza.

- With his all-star performance, Jeff Ronchetti becomes the 4th player in tournament history to make 10 All-Star teams, joining Brian Stanzione, Ryan Ricci and Al Etter.

- Tony Donato and Mike Tedesco, became the 3rd and 4th players respectively in tournament history to reach 150 K's

- Pork Missiles' Ken Weber threw just 2 innings on Saturday, but they were the two biggest innings of the day. After their semi-final match against the Goodfellas went extra innings, PA was left needing 2 innings from another arm that wasn't one of their top 2. Weber stepped up, closed out the Flapacs in the title game and earned the first Championship save since Bill Errig in WP10, when High & Dry took the trident.

- In spite of being limited over the summer, Ryan Ricci was phenomenal again on the mound Saturday. While getting just 3 total runs of support, Ricci posted a 1.40 ERA, a career best, in 20 innings, while striking out 23 batters. It's the 6th time in 13 tournaments that Ricci has posted a sub 2.00 ERA.

- Goodfellas' Billy Jackson took over as the tournament's all-time leader in OPS, at 1.785. He reached the threshold for minimum plate appearances in the Gfellas final regular tournament game.

- Bert Brigade fell short Saturday, and while they still will be a threat for years to come, give them a hand for a heck of a run. Bert is the first franchise to make 4 consecutive title games. And to do it in their first four tournaments is a heck of a run. A 6-3 all-time playoff record is the best winning percentage of any franchise with more than 4 playoff games played.

- Nothing has been confirmed just yet, but it appears that Wifflepalooza XVII will be Saturday, August 12, 2023. The plan is to once again have a HR derby the night prior, August 11. A release will be made once a firm decision is made.

Monday, August 8, 2022

WIFFLEPALOOZA XVI Statistics, Awards and All-Star Team


MVP- Billy Jackson, Goodfellas
    It was a closer call this time around but leading the tournament in RBI and OPS put it over the top for Jackson, who becomes the first ever back-to-back MVP in Palooza history.

Cy Young- Kevin Engasser, Flapacamingos
    What a debut for Engasser. A no-hitter in his first ever Palooza game, followed by a shutout of the two-time defending champs in the playoffs. Arriving just in time, Engasser propelled the Flapacs to their first title game in 8 years.

Title Game MVP- Justin Baeringer, PA Pork Missiles
     Stifling the Flapacs in the title game, Baeringer capped off an incredible afternoon by throwing 5 shutout innings in the title game, to give PPM their first trident.

Most Improved - Jeff Lunsford, Goodfellas
     Now a two-time winner of this award, Lunsford had the best bounce-back tournament of any hitter, driving in 7 runs including a game winning homer in the first game of the day.

Top Rookie- Kevin Engasser, Flapacamingos
     Not only did he dominate the mound, but in just 3 games he led the Flapacs in hits and tied for the lead in RBI. An all-around solid performance.


ALL-STAR TEAM
P- Kevin Engasser, Flapacamingos
P- Justin Baeringer, PA Pork Missiles
P- Mike Tedesco, Goodfellas
IF- Allen Cruz, Ironballs
IF- Jake Hatki, Bert Brigade
IF- Jeff Ronchetti, Goondingos
OF- Billy Jackson, Goodfellas
OF- Jeff Lunsford, Goodfellas
OF- Rick Fifer, Bert Brigade
UT- Dan Volpe, PA Pork Missiles
UT- Tony Donato, Bert Brigade
UT- Ryan Ricci, Flapacamingos


Friday, August 5, 2022

A Dynasty Awaits; Bert Brigade On Cusp Of History


What’s even left to say at this point. Four tournament appearances, four trips to the finals. Two straight championships, anchored by a hall-of-fame pitching duo, the likes of which we’ve really never quite seen. Tony Donato & Ken McCormick, are the two most recent title game MVP’s. They have combined to give up just 13 total earned runs, over the last two entire tournaments.. Good for a 1.12 ERA, the best of any duo.
 

They’ve changed the blue print, they’ve staked their claim, now all there’s left to do is follow through. “Nothing has changed since our last two championships”, Team captain Jake Hatki remarked. “Our roster is the same, just aged a bit like some fine cabernet”. This time around for Bert, it won’t be without worthy challengers. Ironballs, Pork Missiles and Flapacamingos have all made big changes in eyeing to take down the defending champs, and let’s not forget about the 4-time former champs the Goodfellas, who’s record Bert is trying to match, by winning 3 straight championships. Another factor that is unknown, is will the extra enforcement on the pitch speed rule affect Bert’s two aces. They are harder throwing and if found in violation would have to alter their approach. “We see our bullpen has had such an affect on the league, they decided to change the rules to give other pitchers an opportunity to actually get some K’s”, Hatki said. League sources tell us this has nothing to do with the rule changes. 

But these guys are veterans, they’ll adapt if need be, and unless someone can solve the mystery, Bert is an overwhelming favorite to win the whole thing, yet again.

 

  • DEPTH CHART
    • Batting order
      • Hatki
      • Brown
      • Cheli
      • Donato
      • McCormick
      • Fifer
        • BENCH: Rios, Ojeda
    • Rotation
      • Donato
      • McCormick
      • Fifer

DK odds to win WP16: -165

Overcoming Loss, Ironballs Are No Strangers To Change


It’s going to be impossible to address the Ironballs coming into this tournament (runners up, by a 5-2 margin) without talking about loss. As most of you are aware, the Ironballs and the Wifflepalooza family lost one of our great young stars, Nito Figueroa, tragically earlier this summer. Nito was a tremendous kid and a great competitor, & to believe that can be “replaced” is foolish.

But the Ironballs family are very familiar with getting back off the mat when you’re down. Make no mistake, this is a really, really good team. The pitching aspect will be the question mark. Lead by long time palooza veteran Allen Cruz, behind him are some question marks. It is unclear at this point who will be the 2nd pitcher, although it is likely veteran Joey Rodriguez. But the lineup is stacked; top to bottom and will offer incredible challenges throughout.

Out are former all star T.J Suppi, Tim Suppi and Nelson Ocasio, and in are highly touted prospects Izayah Quinones, O.J Flores, Elijah Febus, Erv Bogan and Desi Cardona. If the Ironballs can field the ball and get solid innings out of someone other than Cruz, they should be considered one of the true favorites of this competition. “Chacho Papito”.

 

  • DEPTH CHART
    • Batting order
      • Febus
      • Cruz
      • Flores
      • Quinones
      • Bogan
      • Garcia
        • BENCH: Cardona, Rodriguez
    • Rotation
      • Cruz
      • Rodriguez
DK odds to win WP16 : +185

Thursday, August 4, 2022

G'Fellas Running It Back, Hoping Title Window Is Still Open


 As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States. Even before I wandered into the cab stand for an after-school job, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there I belonged. To me, it meant being somebody in a neighborhood full of nobodies.

They weren't like anyone else. They did whatever they wanted. They'd double park in front of the hydrant and nobody ever gave them a ticket. In the summer when they played cards all night, nobody ever called the cops. Tuddy Cisero ran the cab stand and a pizzeria and a few other places for his brother, Paul, who was the boss over everyone in the neighborhood. 

Pauly might've moved slow, but that was only because Pauly didn't have to move for anybody. Team captain, Rocco Lombardo, on this year's tournament; "Don't put too many onions in the sauce".

    DEPTH CHART

        - Batting order

            -Lombardo

            -Stanzione

            -Geri

            -Lunsford

            -Jackson

            -Colon


        - Rotation

            -Geri

            -Tedesco

            -Jackson


DK odds to win WP16: +210

Organizational Shift has Flapacs Back On The Upswing

 


Knowing a change was needed, the Flapacamingos Wiffleball Club® took action. Changes in the front office, changes on the field, even changes to the uniform (which will be unveiled Friday by HR Derby participants Al Etter and Ryan Ricci) were made. Etter retired and moved into role of team president & GM. Long-time Flapac Pat Ney retired as well, and will serve as manager for WP16.

With the open roster spots and cap space, Etter went to work, striking deals with high-priced free agents Rob Humes and Kevin Engasser, while also promoting from within, calling up prospects Ryan Lorello and Avisail Bermudez. Two late additions in Ray Reyes and Joe Savarino, could make the difference in the Flapacs contending for the trident, or them being just another team coming up short. “I can truly say we left no stone unturned this offseason”, said Etter, when asked about building the roster. “We believe for the first time in a long time, we truly have the best roster possible, for us”.

It’s been a whirlwind transition for an organization, that recently has been reluctant to change. Returning players include all-star Ryan Ricci, and longtime veteran and team captain, Jake Lambert. Lambert, who will turn 53 this winter, has been working on some adjustments this offseason at the plate. But when asked about it, he only offered the following. “Fundamentals are the crutch for the talentless, and I’m sober and ready to destroy the competition”

  • DEPTH CHART
    • Batting order
      • Ricci
      • Lambert
      • Humes
      • Reyes
      • Bermudez
      • Lorello
        • BENCH: Savarino, Engasser
    • Rotation
      • Engasser
      • Ricci
      • Reyes
      • Lorello

DK odds to win WP16 : +375

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

With Experience In Hand, Pennsylvania Returns With Reinforcements

Following a last-minute team merger and a fly-by-night qualification process, Pork Missiles captain Tim Durante found him and his squad over 100 miles from home competing for a title that they didn’t even know existed 10-days prior. “We definitely weren’t expecting it” Durante said, “It all came together very quickly but it was such a great experience. We want to do this thing right and feel this year we’re prepared to do that”. The PA Pork Missiles return to Wifflepalooza for their 2nd go around, & most internal sources feel that they are much better prepared and know what to expect this time around.

The Meatsticks did not sit quietly in the offseason. They kept the same core group together, but added pieces to both the pitching staff and batting order. Newcomers Dan Volpe and James O’Brien, will join Tim Durante in what appears to be a “pitcher-by-committee” approach. In the innings-limit era, no team has ever won Palooza with less than two pitchers throwing more than 11+ innings each, but the Pork Missiles feel they can buck that trend.

Along with the new arms comes Kevin Glynn, who is expected to bolster what should be a much more confident lineup this time around. If the Pork Missiles pitching approach works, and the lineup delivers the way Durante expects them to, you can take them seriously to make the playoffs at least. They appear to be the team with the biggest range of possibilities as far as end results go. It’s all going to come down to execution.

 

  • DEPTH CHART
    • Batting order
      • O’Brien
      • McCullough
      • T. Volpe
      • T. Durante
      • Weber
      • Baeringer
        • BENCH: J. Durante, D. Volpe, Glynn
    • Rotation
      • D. Volpe
      • T. Durante
      • O’Brien
DK odds to win WP16 : +415