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American League First Half Recap

South Bend Truffle Butter (14-1) As we hit the half way point in the season, the South Bend Truffle Butter hold the top record in ORWBL at 14-1. South Bend made the most noise of any team over the offseason as they signed Walter Griffin III, Brandon Terry, and Josh Trim which signaled to the entire league that this team was going all in to win now.

All three offseason acquisitions have already cemented themselves as core members of the Truffle Butter as all three players have played in all 15 games so far. The trio has combined for 65 Home Runs as they have helped turn South Bound into one of the favorites to win the World Series. On top of their new acquisitions all playing extremely well, they’ve also got their Manager Ryan Galiher playing at an MVP level. Galiher leads ORWBL in HR (35), RBI, (49), and Runs (46) while boasting a .618 AVG which ranks 3rd among qualified players. Another reason for South Bend’s great start is their ability to change things up with Ryan Galiher and Walter Griffin III on the mound.

South Bend picked up a statement series win over the Maple City Magic in Week 3, giving them the tiebreaker in case of a tie at the end of the season. With South Bend having already showed that they can take down Maple City, this team has their eyes set on winning a World Series title in 2022. They will open up the 2nd half of the season with the (10-5) Mishawaka Meatspins in what should be a highly entertaining series. This team has yet to play Warren and Crown Point, so if they are able to have their way with Mishawaka, this team could potentially run the table all the way up until the postseason begins.

Maple City Magic (13-2) After getting swept in the 2021 World Series by the Granger Panthers, Maple City’s run of 4 consecutive ORWBL titles came to a close. With that said, Maple City has been able to play more relaxed and it has showed through their first 15 games. As a team, they are hitting .545 through the first 15 games while also leading the league with 154 Home Runs. They have three legitimate MVP candidates in Caleb Jonkman, Jared Jonkman, and Wes Ellis as all three have put up elite numbers early on.

Caleb Jonkman has the top batting average in the league at .697 while also ranking in the top 5 of other categories. Jared Jonkman also ranks in the top 4 in all hitting categories as he has taken his game to the next level this season. Jared Jonkman has also been a force on the mound as he has handled the bulk of the Magic pitching duties, leading all of ORWBL with 12 wins. Wes Ellis was a man on a mission at the Cam Snead Tournament as he helped lead Maple City to an impressive title in the first tournament of the year. The Magic have also received loads of production from their role players this season.

Offseason acquisition Jeremy Ross has contributed 16 HR to go along with a .569 AVG which ranks 5th in the league. Ross has added a versatile weapon who brings elite level defense to the table as that was on full display at the Cam Snead Tournament where he held down Left Field. Their skipper Alex Friedman has also played well early on as he has hit 14 HR to go along with a .591 AVG. Drew Luther has also added 14 HR while hitting at a .500 clip. The red hammer has also assumed Maple City’s closer role as he has closed out a league leading 11 games so far this season. Their other offseason acquisition of Erik Detmar has also played well in his short stint, hitting 9 HR while boasting a .589 AVG as he figures to play a big role down the stretch. Maple City will get a big opportunity in Week 6 as they will host the Granger Panthers in a 2021 World Series rematch.

Bourissa Hills Wildcards (9-6) . The Wildcards came into this season with brand new and higher expectations after making a trip to the American League Championship Series last season. On top of making their impressive run, Bourissa Hills was also able to make a splash in the offseason by adding wiffleball legend Danny Hernandez to the mix.

This team has lived up to the hype so far as they currently hold the #3 seed in the American League thanks to their Opening Day victory over the also (9-6) Wiffle Dees. The Wildcards have not had the friendliest of hitting conditions to start the year as you can see by looking at their stats. Yet, they have been able to grind their way to victory more often than not. Luke Stanisci has continued to evolve into a true bonafide ace as he holds a 9-4 record to go along with 8 strikeouts. With hitting conditions tough early on, Stanisci’s effectiveness on the mound has been crucial.

Before getting swept by South Bend in Week 5, the Wildcards were sitting pretty at 9-3. Reigning AL MVP DJ Hill was not able to be there as he and his wife welcomed their 2nd child on Sunday. Had Hill been there, you have to imagine things may have gone differently so they are not hanging their heads much on that series loss. Instead, Bourissa Hills will now shift their attention to their crosstown rival New Carlisle Newts who they will host at The Palace. The Wildcards have had their way with the Newts over the past two years after many years of suffering. The Cards’ will hope to take care of business against the teams that they need to in the 2nd half to improve their playoff positioning as best they can. This group of guys proved to be dangerous in the playoffs last year and you can already be assured that they would like to have more of that success after getting a taste of it in 2021.

Cityless Wiffle Dees (9-6) . Through 15 games, the Cityless Wiffle Dees have been the top first year team in the league. While this is the first year for the franchise, this team is full of veteran players who have already had loads of success in our style. The Wiffle Dees have already proved to be one of the top tournament teams around so it is great to see this team come together to form an ORWBL team.

After finishing 2nd in the American League MVP race in 2021, Tyler Shupert is following it up with another big year. Shupert leads the team in all hitting categories with 21 HR, 31 RBI, and 33 Runs to go along with a .590 Batting Average which ranks him 3rd among all qualified players. The former County Line King Kadin Abegg has shined in his new role as he ranks 2nd on the team in HR (19), RBI (30), Runs (32), and AVG (.494). Abegg has also been a force to be reckoned with on the mound as he holds an 8-2 record while boasting a very respectable 6.09 ERA while leading all pitchers with 11 strikeouts.

After a slower start than usual, Garrett Ruiz has picked things up as he has hit 15 HR while hitting at a .462 clip. With Kody Webb leading the charge in the outfield, this team can take down any team on any given day. 2020 American League MVP JP Kehoe has also returned to the mix after missing a few games early on. There is no doubt that Kehoe is a difference maker as he and teammate Garrett Ruiz led Queso and Chips to the Championship game at the Cam Snead Tournament. All in all, this group of guys have proven to be a lethal combination at tournaments and you can count on this team to be a threat to win it all if they are able to send out their top lineup.

Flat Rock Cyclones (7-8) . The Flat Rock Cyclones have been one of the feel good stories so far here in 2022 as they hold a very respectable 7-8 record at the half way point. After losing Tyler Shupert in a trade at the end of last season, along with Brandon Terry and Walter Griffin III over the offseason, there were many question marks revolving around Flat Rock’s future in the league. On top of losing those guys, they knew that Mark Richard’s would not be available much as he continues to pursue his professional cornhole career.

Despite all the uncertainty, Flat Rock’s Austin Howell made it very clear that they would not be going anywhere. Austin Howell assumed the Managerial role over the offseason and he has his group of guys playing inspired wiffleball early on. Despite losing all of that talent, Flat Rock hits the midway point at 7-8, just one game under .500. They have received contribution out of everyone as this group had just been waiting for their chance to shine. With so many hungry players on top of having one of the top ballparks in the country in The Barnyard, it was a no brainer for Flat Rock to return in 2022.

Manager Austin Howell has made the most out of his opportunity as he leads the team in AVG at .436. Slammin’ Sammy Satoski has done the same as he leads Flat Rock in HR (16), RBI (21), and Runs (22). His brother Owen Satoski has also played well as he ranks 2nd on the team in RBI (18) and Runs (21). Collin Froedge has proven to add a nice power bat to the lineup as he sits tied for 2nd on the team in HR with 13. Flat Rock’s offseason acquisition of Jake Osburn has been paying off as Osburn has provided a stable bat with elite level fielding ability. Osburn’s .391 AVG and 13 HR’s rank 2nd on the team as he will continue to play a massive part in this team’s success down the stretch. Osburn has also taken on the bulk of the pitching duties as he holds a 5-6 record through the first half of the season. The Cyclones have also been the only team so far to send the Skeeters a series loss as their Opening Day series win looks more and more impressive as the season goes on. Flat Rock will open up the 2nd half of the season with the (3-12) Hudson Lake Heat who are coming off of a series victory over the Newts at Migley Field. Flat Rock only trails the Wildcards and Wiffle Dees by 2 games so they could very well improve their playoff positioning over the 2nd half of the season.

Mill Pond Pink Pandas (6-9) . The Mill Pond Pink Pandas hit the half way point of the season riding some momentum after taking two out of three against the (9-6) Cityless Wiffle Dees this past Sunday. You cannot overlook the importance of that series win as it helped show Mill Pond that they can go on the road and pick up a series victory against a more experienced team who had been playing very well prior to the series. The series win had to instill some confidence in the young group as they continue to take positive steps in the right direction.

They have already played against South Bend, Maple City, Cityless, and Bourissa Hills and the fact they sit at 6-9 despite playing that schedule is a win in itself. They still have remaining matchups against (3-12) Crown Point, (4-11) Green Stem Great Lakes, and (7-8) Flat Rock and if they are able to pick up series wins, this team could be heading into the postseason with loads of momentum. Mill Pond has had unfavorable hitting conditions so far as you have to imagine these guys cannot wait for that to change. Despite the unfavorable conditions, they have received quality play out of many of their guys. Zach Christy has led the way as he leads the team in HR (14), RBI (33), Runs (29) while ranking 2nd in AVG at .482.

Their skipper Andrew Karsten has led the team in AVG so far, hitting at a .493 clip. While the power numbers have not been there yet, they have received solid production from guys like Todd Snyder (.449 AVG), and Aaron Hogan (.450 AVG). Zach Christy has assumed a larger role on the mound this season as he holds a 6-5 record along with 8 strikeouts and a 6.26 ERA. Mill Pond have played most of their games on the road so far this year which has allowed them more time to work on their beautiful brand new ballpark. With 4 home series" coming up down the stretch, Mill Pond will get a chance to really get in a groove at their new home of The Panda Den. This week they will get a tough test as they will host the (10-5) Glen Lee Skeeters who have not lost a series since Opening Day.

Green Stem Great Lakes Godfathers (4-11) . Although it has been a slow start for the Godfathers, they have still been able to make some great headlines. Shortly after their Opening Day series, they announced that they had landed Green Stem Provisioning as a sponsor. They have since changed their name to the Green Stem Great Lakes Godfathers in a very unique move that the league has never seen before.

While wins have been hard to come by, the vibes have been immaculate over in Great Lakes. The Godfathers have already had fourteen different players play in a game so they have been piecing different lineups together every week. Despite only playing in 7 games so far, Mark Haase has contributed in a big way with 13 HR and a .500 Average. Reigning National League MVP Andy Sieradzki is having another great season as he leads the team in HR (20), RBI (34), Runs (25), and AVG (.525).

They had some misfortune early on as Matador Smith suffered an injury that has since kept him sidelined. Smith was in the midst of a big season at the plate as he had 7 HR in 6 games while hitting at a .542 rate. There have been rumblings that Smith is on the mend and nearing a return as that would be a huge shot in the arm for these guys going forward. The absence of Matador has left Green Stem trying out different pitching options but they have to be looking forward to getting their ace back out on the mound. With Smith close to returning to action, Green Stem Great Lakes will hope that their fortune changes over the 2nd half of the season. With this squad having that elite superstar in Andy Sieradzki, this is another team that could beat any team on any given day. They get a tough matchup to start the 2nd half as they will host the National League leading (12-3) Twin Branch Billy Goats in Week 6.

Crown Point OTF (3-12) . After picking up their first sweep in franchise history over Warren on Opening Day, Crown Point has since lost 12 straight games as they hit the half way point with a 3-12 record. Crown Point has had pretty tough hitting conditions all year long as they will hope that their luck changes on that front in the 2nd half.

Once their hitting picks up over the 2nd half of the season you should expect this team to turn things around and finish strongly headed into the playoffs, just as they did last year in their inaugural season. They are currently only 1 game back of Green Stem Great Lakes for the #7 seed as they would love to avoid having to play in the play in game. They will take on Green Stem Great Lakes in Week 9 in a series that could have seeding implications.

Last year’s AL Rookie of the Year Parker Huttle leads the team in every category except for Average which is held by Isaiah Williams. Offseason acquisition Jimmy Tumpane has brought some veteran leadership into the locker room and they will certainly be looking to him to lead them on the mound over the 2nd half of the season. Look for this team to start hitting the ball well very shortly once they have some favorable hitting conditions. They will take on the (5-10) Scottsdale Sluggers in a Week 6 interleague matchup.

Warren Desparados (0-15) . The first year Warren Desparados have struggled out of the gate as they are still in search of that elusive first ORWBL victory as we hit the half way point in the season. While this squad has struggled to stay competitive in a couple of series, they have also showed signs of promise in others.

They have not been able to get one of their top players Nathaniel Garcia in the lineup as much as they would like as he fulfills prior baseball commitments. In 6 games played, Garcia has crushed the ball as he has gone 17/25 with 10 HR to go along with a .680 Batting Average. If they are able to get his bat in the lineup more often over the 2nd half of the season, you have to imagine this squad will start to turn it on and pick up some wins. Manager Xavier Garcia has led the charge at the plate as he leads the Desparados in all hitting categories.

They have also received quality production out of Jay Smith who has 9 HR to go along with a .380 Batting Average. With some of the regular Desparados unavailable throughout much of the first half, they have been able to give a lot of playing time experience to their younger players who will certainly use this year as a growing year. All in all, while Warren was held without a win, they gave a couple of teams all they could handle, dropping a couple tight ones early. Warren’s next chance to pick up that first victory will come in Week 6 as they will take on the (6-9) Kingsbury Knights.


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