The Great Lakes Godfathers finished the 2017 season as one of the most improved teams in the league. After finishing 4-20 in their inaugural campaign, Great Lakes took steps in the right direction as they finished 11-19 this year.
With the whole state of Michigan behind them, the Godfathers gave their fans many reasons to smile after a much improved 2017 season. Mark Haase led the way with a 2nd straight impressive season as he made his 2nd consecutive All Star Game.
The big difference in 2017 for the Godfathers was the production that they got from guys like Bill Beckman, Matador Smith, and Jeremy Ross. Before being traded, Jeremy Ross provided some youth for a rather older group of guys.
Age is just a number to Matador Smith however as Smith became a league wide phenomenon after a Great Lakes marketing strategy that proved worth while. Matador most notably gained recognition during the Hometown Days Tournament in which the Godfathers made a surprise run to the Elite 8.
In that Elite 8 matchup vs. Speedy's Chickenheads, Matadorville came to fruition. It was an unbelievable scene as crowds gathered beyond the outfield fence to cheer on the Godfathers. While their Hometown Cup run ended in the Elite 8, Great Lakes certainly showed the wiffleball community that they can hang with the best of them.
The most obvious reason for the improvements however was the production that Great Lakes got from Bill Beckman. Beckman hit 26 HR's and 40 RBI's in just 15 games and if they can get a full season out of him, teams better watch out.
All in all, the direction of the Godfathers franchise is pointing straight up. After falling to the Hudson Lake Heat in a hard fought Wild Card game, Mark Haase immediately started looking ahead to 2018.
Haase was able to land Heights Riots sluggers Paul O'Hara and Will Smith to the Godfathers for the 2018 season. Great Lakes is starting to become a desirable destination for free agents and Haase may not be done making moves just yet. Watch out for the Godfathers in 2018, consider this your warning.