Team of the Week: Hudson Lake Heat
Hudson Lake- Since entering the league, the Heat have improved in all 3 of their seasons. After a rough 8-28 first season, the Heat went 12-12 and took down the Magic in the 2015 first round. They are now coming off of a 14-10 season in which they were 1 win away from winning the AL West. The real question is 2017 and if they can make a championship run? Many believe they can, others are doubtful. Here we give you our opinions on both sides of the spectrum.
Reasons Hudson Lake could win 2017 ORWBL World Series:
In 2016, the Heat hit a whopping .482 batting average, as well as 171 home runs, while scoring 258 runs. They were second in the league in all of those stats behind the White Lightning, who is now no longer in the league in 2017. Hudson Lake also had one of the top offseason additions when they signed the former White Lightning star and Manager, Doug Benner. Benner hit .568 in 2016 for Saugany Lake, leading the number one offense in the league in that statistic. The Heat are also very enthused about the offseason work of the veteran and fan favorite Mikey “Schwarber” Smith. The Heat made an ALCS run last season with Smith hitting a .385 batting average, which was the lowest on the team. Heat manager Jared Monhaut thinks Smith’s offseason program could make him the leader for the 2017 team as he said, “We really think we have a legit shot at the World Series because the improvement of Mikey Smith, the guy has been in the weight room and put on at least 20 pounds in muscle.” Monhaut also went on to say,
“ We really think we can ride Mikey on offense and defense all the way to a championship, the guy is the best two way player in the league in my opinion.” The up and coming manager also said they plan on Smith doing “90 percent” of the pitching for them in 2017. The positives for the 2017 Heat don’t stop there either, as they also have one of the more marketable, yet quite guys in the league in Ben McDonald. Not to mention, the 2016 AL MVP Bob Bushman returns for the upcoming season. Bushman hit .564 and had 43 home runs for the Heat in 2016. Looking at this team, it’s tough to find a reason to not believe in their championship hopes.
Things that could prevent a Heat 2017 World series title:
Hudson Lake only finished 6-6 at home last season. This will not cut it in 2017, as even the 7-17 Olive Township Mechanics went 6-6 at home in 2016. Hudson Lake’s first two home series are against Maple City and Jet City which figure to be the teams standing in the way of a Heat World Series appearance. Hudson Lake will need to step up their wiffleball at home to get series wins against these teams, especially after the Magic embarrassed the Heat in the ALCS. There are questions around the future park of the Heat as they will no longer be playing at Pine Park. The AL West seems to be a toss up in most experts opinions. Some think Hudson Lake has done enough this offseason to surpass Jet city in the standings. Others think Jet City is just too good to get by in the standings with Nate Arndt, Drew Luther, and Tony Koch providing elite star power.
Even if Hudson lake is able to get passed Jet city, they will have to get past Maple City to advance to their first World Series in franchise history. Oddsmakers have Maple CIty as the favorites to once again be crowned National League Champions, especially after one of the most impressive offseasons in league history. Luckily for everyone waiting to see which team might prevail, Hudson Lake and Maple City face off in Week 1 of ORWBL at Hudson Lake in a rematch of last year’s ALCS. Wiffle News has already announced this will no doubtedly be their featured matchup of the week. Last season Bobby Bushman won the AL MVP, and it would be hard to believe that he will have another MVP-caliber season, so that could possibly slow Hudson Lake down. All in all, this tight knit group is ready to break out in 2017 and will be one of the more exciting teams to follow this season, especially now that Manager Jared Monhaut started recording stats last season.
PROJECTED 2017 RECORD: 18-12