American League Postseason Preview
The 2022 ORWBL Postseason begins on Sunday with our new look playoff format! All eighteen teams will be in action as the #8 and #9 seeds in each league will square off in the Play-In Game. There will then be eight different Wild Card Round Best of 3 Series', with the winners advancing to the Divisional Series (Best of 3) which will take place on Sunday, August 7th. Let's take a look at each playoff matchup on the American League side of the bracket.
Play-In Game: #9 Warren Desparados @ #8 Crown Point OTF (Hosted by Truffle Butter)
The American League Postseason kicks off with the play-in game as the winner of this one will advance to the Wild Card Round to take on the top seeded Truffle Butter. These two teams met up all the way back on Opening Day just as the Leprechauns and Sluggers did on the NL side. Crown Point was able to pick up their first ever series sweep as they won all three against Warren to start the season.
Crown Point then went on a 21 game losing streak before taking two out of three from the Godfathers in a surprise series win. OTF is hoping to carry over some of that momentum from the Godfathers series into the postseason. Crown Point kept battling all season long despite losing David Ooms to a knee injury early on in the year.
With David going down, it was Andrew Ooms who stepped up with 18 HR as he represented OTF in the All Star game. OTF’s Parker Hurtle developed into a quality pitching option as he ended up leading all of ORWBL with the lowest ERA in the league at 4.50. It will be interesting to see whether OTF opts to start Hurtle or Tumpane on the mound.
As for Warren, they will now shift their attention to the postseason where they will hope to find their first win as a franchise. After getting swept by Flat Rock to close out the season, Warren became just the 2nd team in ORWBL history to go winless, joining Phat Dong.
Despite a tough season, the Desparados continued to show up and give it their all as they had a few opportunities to win some tight ballgames that just didn’t end up going their way. They were able to get a lot of younger players some valuable playing time and it will be interesting to see what their playoff roster is able to do. One thing is for certain which is that one of these teams will be picking up their first postseason win in franchise history.
Wild Card Round (Best of 3) Desparados/OTF Winner @ #1 South Bend Truffle Butter
It was an all around phenomenal season for the second year South Bend Truffle Butter. South Bend finished their inaugural season 15-15 last year playing over on the National League side. They made the jump to the American League this year and put together a remarkable year in which they finished with a league best record of 27-3. They made the biggest splash of any team over the offseason as they signed Brandon Terry, Walter Griffin III, and Josh Trim.
All three players ended up playing all 30 games as Terry and Griffin put up MVP caliber numbers. Griffin III ranked 5th in AVG (565), tied for 2nd in HR (65) 2nd in RBI (98) and 2nd in Runs (91). while also going 14-1 on the mound, earning some Cy Young attention as well. Meanwhile, Terry ranked 7th in AVG (.553) 6th in HR (52) 8th in RBI (70) and tied for 3rd in Runs (86) while also leading the charge in the outfield as he put together yet another Gold Glove caliber season.
Truffle Butter Manager Ryan Galiher also had himself an MVP caliber season as he led all of ORWBL with 75 HR, 92 Runs, and 110 RBI to go along with a. .572 AVG with ranked third. The Truffle Butter also received quality production out of other role players like Jeremy Ratajczyk, Ryan Voges, Ian Garavalia, and contact hitting machine Kyle Gagliardi. South Bend picked up a statement series win early on as they took two out of three from Maple City at home in a series in which they had their whole squad.
All in all, it was a memorable regular season for these guys who will now look to do some damage together in the postseason. The Truffle Butter went a combined 6-0 against Warren and Crown Point as they will await the winner of that matchup with the game taking place at Payton’s Yard.
Wild Card Round (Best of 3) #5 Bourissa Hills Wildcards @ #4 Mill Pond Pink Pandas
The Mill Pond Pink Pandas will host their first ever home playoff series after snagging the 4th seed from Bourissa Hills on the final week of the season. These two teams met up earlier on in the year as the Wildcards took two out of three at The Panda Den.
This matchup features a pair of teams that have been heading in the opposite directions of late. Bourissa Hills started the season 9-3 as it looked like they were well on their way to another winning season. They then finished their final eighteen games with a 5-13 record. The Wildcards struggled to field their normal lineup as they were scrounging for guys towards the end of the season. If they are going to make a run, they are going to need their core guys there as they can hang with anyone when that is the case.
As for Mill Pond, they started the season with a 4-8 record before going 12-6 over their final eighteen games. Their 7-2 record down the stretch helped move them over the .500 mark while passing the Wildcards in the process. They will now get to host their first ever home playoff series as The Panda Den should be rocking on Sunday.
We knew that the Pandas were going to receive consistent production from All Stars Andrew Karsten and Zach Christy, but knew that they were going to need some more help to take that next step in their 2nd year. That is exactly what they got from Todd Snyder who ended up leading the team in HR (30) and RBI (67) while hitting at a very productive .431 clip.
Mill Pond also saw major growth from Aaron Hogan who finished with the 3rd highest Batting Average on the team at .522 as he has assumed the lead off role. The Pink Pandas will now look to have some postseason success after falling short in the Wild Card Game last year to County Line. The winner of this series will then move onto the ALDS to take on either South Bend, Crown Point, or Warren.
Wild Card Round (Best of 3) #6 Green Stem Great Lakes Godfathers @ #3 Maple City Magic
These two teams opened up the season against each other back on Opening Day as Maple City picked up a three game sweep at The Hideout. Green Stem Great Lakes will now travel to Magic Park as these two teams begin their postseason journeys. Maple City put together another solid season in which they finished 22-8. The Magic now shift the focus to the postseason as they would love to get back on top after falling short last year for the first time since 2016.
The Maple City roster swung a hot bat all season long as they led ORWBL in HR and Batting Average. Caleb Jonkman put together an MVP caliber season in what was a career year for the 2018 AL MVP winner. Jonkman led the Magic in every hitting category while leading all of ORWBL in both Batting Average (.675) and Hits (114). He finished tied for 4th in HR (57) tied for 3rd in RBI (86) and 5th in Runs (83).
Maple City also received great production out of Wes Ellis and Jared Jonkman as Ellis finished the year with 38 HR in 20 games while Jonkman hit 45 over 24 games. Jonkman assumed a major role on the mound as he finished 2nd in all of ORWBL with 16 wins.
The Magic also received great production out of their skipper Alex Friedman as he smacked 33 HR to go along with a career high .532 Average. He finished 4th in AB/HR as he hit a Home Run every 2.85 At Bats. Offseason signing Jeremy Ross made a strong case for Comeback Player of the Year as he hit 28 HR while hitting at a .457 clip after spending the last four years in the Marines.
Drew Luther had another professional season while he also assumed the closers role, finishing the year with 15 Saves which ranked 2nd in ORWBL. It will be interesting to see who handles the bulk of the pitching duties in the postseason as they have a few weapons at their dispel.
As for the Godfathers, they had an up and down season in their return to the American League. They had a tough first half of the season as they went 4-11 to start the year. Green Stem Great Lakes then hit their stride to open up the 2nd half of the season as they went 7-2 before heading into Week 9. The Godfathers then suffered a surprising series defeat at the hands of Crown Point who had lost 21 straight games prior to the series.
Overall, they ended up going 9-6 over the 2nd half of the season as they definitely hit their stride. Reigning National League Most Valuable Player Andy Sieradzki put together another phenomenal season as he led the Godfathers in all hitting categories. He ranked 9th in all of ORWBL in Batting Average (.545) 9th in HR (46) and 6th in RBI (73). Sieradzki put on a clinic all season long as he put the team on his back to win a handful of games. He showed why he is one of the best players in the league and will now look to try and lead Green Stem Great Lakes to an upset playoff victory over Maple City.
The Godfathers also saw Tommy Sinkiewicz develop into a quality arm as he finished his Rookie season with a 7-2 record on the bump. Scott Bartley also had a nice season as he represented the Godfathers in the All Star Game, replacing teammate Andy Sieradzki.
While these guys know that the odds are against them, they have to like the fact that they have Andy Sieradzki on their side. He showed throughout the year that he is a player who can truly. Carry the load. The Godfathers have seen their lineup cycle a lot throughout the season as they had fourteen different players take at bats throughout the year. It will be interesting to see if Manager Mark Haase is able to make it as his bat adds a massive presence to the lineup.
Wild Card Round (Best of 3) #7 Flat Rock Cyclones @ #2 Cityless Wiffle Dees
The Flat Rock Cyclones will travel to The Garage for the first time in 2022 as these two teams met up in Flat Rock back in Week 4. The Cyclones surprised some people as they were able to take a game from the Dees. All in all it was an up and down season for the Cyclones as they won four series while getting swept in three. They played .500 ball over their final twelve games as they have been picking up some steam heading into the postseason.
This Flat Rock roster was full of guys who patiently waited for their opportunity and they made the most of it this year. Owen Satoski led the team in HR with 31 as he was also voted in as a member of the American League All Star team. Sam Satoski picked up a first round upset victory over JP Kehoe in the Home Run Derby and finished the year with 24. The Cyclones received great power numbers out of Collin Froedge as he hit the long ball on 29 different occasions.
Offseason signing Jake Osburn provided sure hands in the field while he also supplied 18 HR. He also led the charge on the mound as he finished the year with an 8-9 record to go along with a 7.30 ERA. Manager Austin Howell added in 15 of his own as he did a great job leading the Cyclones after they lost a lot of talent over the offseason. This group already proved themselves that they could beat the Dees once as they will now look to win a couple at The Garage.
As for Cityless they put together a great inaugural season as they finished the year with a 22-8 record. They swept Maple City to close out the regular season as they were able to swoop on in and snatch the two seed from the Magic. If both teams are able to take care of business this weekend, that series would now be played at The Garage thanks to that Week 10 sweep in which Tyler Shupert really raised his MVP chances. After finishing 2nd in the AL MVP voting in 2021, Shupert put together another MVP caliber season as he led the Wiffle Dees in all hitting categories.
He ranked 2nd in all of ORWBL in AVG (.636) Tied for 2nd in HR (65) and tied for 3rd in Runs (86) and RBI (86). Cityless also received elite production out of Manager Kadin Abegg who took on a much larger role than he did in previous years as a member of the County Line Kings. Abegg ranked 3rd on the team in AVG (.519) and 2nd in HR (39) while also making a case for the Cy Young Award by going 15-4 with a league leading 23 strikeouts on the mound.
The growth of Abegg has been a big reason for this team’s success as their lineup is dangerous from top to bottom. After a slow start to the season, All Star Garrett Ruiz really turned it on as he finished the year with 36 HR while hitting at a .506 clip. 2020 AL MVP JP Kehoe added 22 HR in 18 games as he was voted in by the fans as the American League Last Man In. Kehoe then put on a show as he hit a pair of HR in the American League’s All Star win while he also took a perfect game into the 5th inning. The Dees also received quality production out of Brayden Ruiz who played a huge role in their Week 10 sweep over Maple City.
And of course you can’t forget about Mr. Gold Glove Kody Webb who leads the charge for this team in the outfield. He ranked 2nd on the team in AVG at .520 while smacking 24 long balls on the year. All in all, this Wiffle Dees squad is a team that has had loads of tournament success together.
They decided to team up and bring the Wiffle Dees to ORWBL and they head into the postseason with as good of a shot as anyone to win the World Series. They are playing their best wiffleball at the perfect time of the year and will look to take down the Cyclones in the Wild Card Round on Sunday.