American League Team by Team First Half Reviews
#1 Flat Rock Cyclones (18-0)
The Flat Rock Cyclones were the talk of the offseason after they signed both Brandon Terry and Walter Griffin III shortly after both players made a World Series run with the Elkhart BFAM. Despite receiving some criticism for their decision, it has certainly proved to pay off as this squad has been rolling over all of the teams on their schedule as they have outscored their opponents by a league leading 170 runs through their first 18 games. Tyler Shupert headed into this season as the presumed #4 but Shupert has made some major improvements as he appears to be the front runner to win the American League MVP and will definitely get a chance to earn it down the stretch. This team continues to get more and more comfortable playing with each other and they have become immediate World Series contenders. After finishing 2nd in the AL Cy Young vote last season, Mark Richards is doing all he can to leave no doubt this year as he holds a perfect 13-0 record. They have a huge series in just two weeks with the Maple City Magic in a series that will have major implications for home field advantage. As long as these guys stay healthy, they have as good of a chance as anyone to end Maple City’s championship run.
#2 Maple City Magic (16-2)
The four time defending champs are putting together yet another quality season of wiffleball as their 16-2 record has them in 2nd place in the American League. While the Magic undoubtedly have a massive target on their backs, one could say that the forming of the Flat Rock Cyclones has actually taken a little bit of the target and attention off of the Magic as they have just been able to go out there and play their game week in and week out as they know it’ll be what happens in August that ends up defining this team. 3x National Player of the Year Caleb Jonkman has returned to MVP form as he is certainly in the race despite missing one series. Wes Ellis continues to do his thing both on the mound and at the plate while Jared Jonkman has been a mainstay in the middle of the lineup all season. While the top 3 bats in the Magic lineup have all been great, the big story for the Magic has been the re-emergence of both Drew Luther and Alex Friedman. After missing a chunk of last season due to a back injury, Drew Luther looks like he is back to full health as his 39 HR and 58 RBI lead the Magic. Luther’s play has him right in the heart of the American League MVP race as he is playing some of his best wiffleball of his long established career. Meanwhile, the Magic have received some major production out of their skipper Alex Friedman as he holds a .533 batting average to go along with 19 Home Runs as he has hit a homer in every 2.37 At Bats. With Friedman looking like his old self again, the Magic will have plenty of options come playoff time with Hernandez and Anderson also in the mix. The Magic start an all important six game road trip on Sunday against the Granger Panthers before their huge AL showdown in Week 8 against the Cyclones at The Barnyard.
#3 County Line Kings (12-6)
For the second consecutive season, the County Line Kings look like they are a legitimate threat to win the American League crown as they are off to a solid 12-6 start. This team appears likely to finish the regular season with the #3 seed unless they are able to make up some serious ground on either the Cyclones or Magic. 2020 AL Gold Glove award winner Kody Webb leads all of ORWBL in runs scored with 59 as many of the Kings players are putting up some solid numbers across the board. The Kings had a memorable series a few weeks ago as they swept the South Bend Truffle Butter to bring them back to earth a bit. Next up for the Kings is a big interleague series against the Mishawaka Meatspins who have won 12 straight games in what figures to be a highly entertaining series.
#4 Bourissa Hills Wildcards (9-9)
The Bourissa Hills Wildcards sit right at the .500 mark through their first 18 games. Interestingly enough, the Cards have been outscored by 46 runs so far which shows that they have been losing big in the games that they lose. Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year DJ Hill is doing everything he can for the team as he is the only player on the team with double digit Home Run totals. While Hill’s 38 Home Runs is impressive, he is definitely going to need some more help from the rest of the lineup down the stretch if the Wildcards are going to be a serious threat to compete for the American League crown this year. These final twelve games will be important for this team to continue to work through some things so that they are ready to roll come playoff time as this team has the talent to win. This team will be looking to hit their mid season stride in Week 7 as they will travel to Union Mills to take on the Goon Squad.
#5 Hudson Lake Heat (6-12)
The Hudson Lake Heat are right in the middle of the AL standings through 18 games as they hold the 5 seed with twelve games left to play. In a somewhat mind blowing stat, the Heat have actually outscored their opponents by 7 runs as they hold a +7 run differential despite holding a 6-12 record. That should tell you that this team might just be better than their record suggests. As the lone team in the league to not take stats, the Heat have somewhat turned into a bit of a mystery team. You have to assume that Jared Monhaut, Bob Bushman, Ben McDonald, and Bailey Rhed are all contributing along with Doug Benner doing his thing on the mound. The fact that this team holds a +7 run differential through 18 games is definitely reason to keep an eye on this team down the stretch.
#6 Mill Pond Pink Pandas (5-13)
After a really tough start to their first season in ORWBL, it appears that this Pink Pandas team is starting to put things together. This squad has momentum on their side as we get ready for the stretch run after they took 2 out of 3 from their rivals, the Union Mills Goon Squad before the break. The Pink Pandas were nearly impossible to get out in Game 1 of the series as Mill Pond exploded for 40 runs, taking some anger out along the way in what has truly blossomed into an ORWBL rivalry. The dynamic duo of Zachary Christy and Andrew Karsten is proving to be a good one as those two players are definitely the leaders in the clubhouse. Mill Pond will look to build off of their recent momentum against the Great Lakes Godfathers in Week 7.
#7 Twin Branch Billy Goats (5-13)
After taking a step back in 2020, the Twin Branch Billy Goats struggles have carried into the 2021 season. Just two years removed from being just one win away from a World Series appearance, the Billy Goats sit in 7th place in the American League through their first 18 games. This team continues to be a curious case as their roster is full of talented players who made a great run all the way to the World Wiffleball Championship game just last year! This squad has shown that they can beat anyone on any given day as they were able to take a game from the Maple City Magic at Magic Park just a few weeks ago. With the exception of their win over the Magic, the Billy Goats haven’t had a whole lot to get excited about this year. However, with the talent and experience on that roster, you have to think that they are going to turn this thing around over the final twelve games of the season.
#8 Crown Point OTF (2-16)
After an 0-12 start to the season, this first year team has taken some strides over the past couple of weeks as they were able to win a game in each of their previous two series against the Skeeters and Godfathers. They have been playing much more competitive games over that stretch as well as their hitting is starting to come together. Manager James Ooms hopes that now that his team has picked up that elusive first win that they can just relax, have fun and play their game. They picked up that first win over the Great Lakes Godfathers in what was their first true home game as they were able to find a spot for their field just a few weeks into the season. The remaining teams on their schedule were all gracious and agreed to make the trip to Portage to take on OTF. Now that they have their home field along with some wins under their belts, this team will look to continue to make improvements over the final twelve games before they hope to surprise some people come August!