National League First Half Recap
Twin Branch Billy Goats (12-3) After taking two out of three from the defending World Series champs on Sunday, the Twin Branch Billy Goats moved into 1st place atop the National League as they own the tiebreaker over Granger. The Goats have been one of the top stories so far here in 2022 as Twin Branch is having a lot of success in their first season moving back to the National League where it all started for them in 2018.
The Goats have successfully utilized a two man rotation early on as Andrew Doran and Jake Lawrence are both able to mix things up. Lucas Oletti has been leading the charge at the plate as he is making a strong case for NL MVP so far here in 2022. The offseason acquisition of Tony Koch is already proving to be a good one as Koch is hitting .563 with 12 HR through 9 games played. Twin Branch has already picked up series victories over the Newts and Panthers and they have been beating the other teams on their schedule that they need to beat.
They have tough 2nd half matchups against the Magic, Skeeters, and Meatspins but this team has already been tested early and they continue to pass each test. The Goats get a favorable interleague matchup in Week 6 against a Godfathers team that has dropped 8 straight and they will look to get a little help from Maple City as they will take on the Panthers.
Granger Panthers (12-3) The Granger Panthers dropped out of Wiffleball News’ top spot in the power rankings for the first time in 2022 after dropping 2 out of 3 to the Billy Goats on Sunday. The Panthers have now gone 3-3 over their past 6 games as they are currently going through the toughest part of their schedule.
The Panthers will look to quickly rebound from their series loss as their attention now shifts to the Maple City Magic for a 2021 World Series rematch. Panthers’ young slugger Daivyn Davis continues to impress as he has been the top Panther hitter so far this year. His .514 AVG leads the team while his 20 HR’s have him 2nd in that category behind former NL MVP Alex Zarazee.
Meanwhile, Griffin Smith had himself quite an impressive first half on the mound as he finished with an 11-2 record to go along with a remarkable 2.37 ERA. Runs have been extremely hard to come by against the champs so far as they are allowing only 2.60 runs per game. Granger's defense of Seth Campbell, Austin Williams, and Daivyn Davis continues to play at the highest level as Smith has had a black hole behind him. Meanwhile, 2021 National Closer of the Year Brett Shepard appears to be making another run as he leads the National League in Saves with 9 while sporting a dominant 0.85 ERA. All eyes will be on their next series as they head to Magic Park where they will look to replicate their performance from last August when they took both World Series games from Maple City on their home turf en route to their 1st World Series title.
Mishawaka Meatspins (10-5) One year after making a run to the NLCS, Mishawaka appears to be in position to make another deep run. This squad full of veteran players has performed well so far this season as they sit at 10-5 half way through. Another 20 win season for the Meatspins is well within reach as they are just starting to play their best wiffleball.
In Week 4, they gave Granger everything that they could handle as they were able to take one game before sweeping the Godfathers on Sunday. They will get a tough matchup right out of the gate in the 2nd half as they will take on their rival South Bend Truffle Butter in what should be a very entertaining series.
It has been the Joey Shuster show so far for Mishawaka as he leads the Meatspins in Hits, HR, RBI, and Runs through their first 15 games. His .444 Batting Average only trails Nick Thoman for the team lead as he has hit at a .478 clip so far. Reigning National League Cy Young winner Anthony Rieff continues to evolve into one of the top pitchers in our league as he has an 8-4 record to go along with a 4.75 ERA. With offseason acquisition Austin Traxler also in the mix, there is no doubt that Mishawaka has their eyes set on making a World Series run this year.
Glen Lee Skeeters (10-5) The Glen Lee Skeeters have been the talk of the league so far here in 2022 as this 2nd year team continues to grow in front of our eyes. Glen Lee made a huge statement in the postseason last year as they eliminated the New Carlisle Newts and Great Lakes Godfathers before falling to the eventual World Series champion Granger Panthers in the NLDS.
The Skeeters kept that momentum rolling into 2022 as this squad is currently on pace to win 20 games this year. Their most impressive performance so far came against the New Carlisle Newts as Glen Lee went into Migley Field to pick up their first sweep in franchise history with Kade Stone tossing the first perfect game in franchise history.
Glen Lee’s Kade Stone is having a breakout season as he is blossoming into a young ORWBL star. On top of leading the team at the plate, Stone has also been a difference maker on the mound as he holds an impressive 9-3 record to go along with a 6.06 ERA while being tied for the league lead in strikeouts with 11. They had a couple huge series’ out of Bryce Lesher and if they can get his bat in the lineup more often, that would add some pop as Lesher has 15 HR through 6 games played. Glen Lee will take on the Pink Pandas in Week 6 as they will look to pick up yet another series victory.
New Carlisle Newts (7-8) After dropping 2 out of 3 at Migley to Hudson Lake, New Carlisle hits the halfway point just one game under .500. The Newts have played pretty well so far as they have outscored their opponents by 57 runs through 15 games.
They played in one of the craziest ORWBL series’ to date as they played in a 27 inning marathon against the Skeeters. ORWBL legends Scott Soos and Garrett Curless both have had hot starts as they combine for 50 of New Carlisle’s 98 Home Runs so far.
Despite a 3-8 record, Aidan Cotter has pitched quite well as he holds one of the top ERA’s in ORWBL at 3.90. The Newts will close up a 12 game homestand against Bourissa Hills before they kick off a 9 game road trip starting at Lynn Street in Week 7. All in all, you can expect this team to once again head into the postseason as a threat to make a World Series run just as they have done so many times before.
Kingsbury Knights (6-9) The first year Kingsbury Knights have been a great addition so far as they finished the first half of the season with a respectable 6-9 record. They have been very competitive all season long and it looks like they are just getting better and better as the season rolls on.
Kingsbury finished the first half of the season by taking 2 our of 3 from the Sluggers in some Friday night Wiffleball in Week 5. Rookie phenom Adin Newman has been making a name for himself early on as he has led the way for Kingsbury. Newman finished the first half hitting at a .559 clip to go along with 22 HR’s. He currently leads the Knights in all hitting categories as he has been the clear frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year while also turning some heads in the MVP race.
They have also received quality pitching performances out of Jarrod Michael as he boasts a 4-0 record to go along with a very respectable 5.33 ERA. First year Manager Cam Bashaw has his squad playing inspired Wiffleball and they have hopes of improving their playoff positioning as best they can over the second half. If Newman and the rest of the Knights can continue to improve, this team has the potential to surprise some people come playoff time. The Knights have a prime opportunity to start the 2nd half with a bang as they will get a chance to climb back to .500 with a sweep over the Desparados who are still in search of their first ORWBL win.
Scottsdale Sluggers (5-10) The Sluggers have been living up to their name so far here in 2022 as they are 2nd in ORWBL with 118 team Home Runs. Scottsdale has been hitting the ball with the best of them in their return to the league as their entire roster is putting up great numbers so far.
Former Granger Panther and World Series Champion Daniel Shafer has excelled as a Slugger as he leads the team in Batting Average at .554. He also ranks 2nd on the team in HR with 20 as he trails only Conner Mowers total of 27. Shafer also picked up some valuable pitching experience at the Cam Snead Tourney as he helped lead the Sluggers to a pool play win over the eventual champion Maple City Magic.
Shafer looked like he had been pitching for years so it is likely that he picked up a thing or two from watching Griffin Smith during his time in Granger. It will be interesting to see how Scottsdale utilizes him going forward as he has also served as their top fielder. With Adam Cseh, Andy Migas, and Nate Marino all playing well, this team can truly take down any team in this league on any given day. If the Sluggers are able to tighten things up on the defensive end, their hitting should power them to many more victories over the 2nd half of the season as they look to improve playoff positioning.
Lynn Street Leprechauns (5-10) After a brutal 1-8 start, Manager Nick Brassell signaled that he had had enough. Lynn Street made some headlines ahead of their Week 4 matchup as they signed a couple of former County Line Kings players to the squad in Michael Forrester and Bryce Bloode.
Both players played large roles for the County Line Kings during their successful run over the past few years but remained unsigned. Brassell and the Leps' knew that they could use some extra ammo and it is already paying off. The Leps have since gone 4-2 as they head into the 2nd half of the season looking to be much more competitive down the stretch.
Forrester picked up all 3 wins on the mound in Week 4 and if he is able to serve as Lynn Street’s primary pitcher down the stretch, you have to imagine that this team will climb out of the 8 spot, avoiding the play in game. Lynn Street will be tested right away to begin the 2nd half as they will host the Cityless Wiffle Dees who just dropped 2 out of 3 to Mill Pond. They will then host New Carlisle and Granger in back to back weeks as they will get a chance to pull off a couple of upsets.
Hudson Lake Heat (3-12) After spending each of the last six seasons in the American League, the Hudson Lake Heat have made the jump over to the National League where the majority of the New Carlisle based teams now play in. The Heat have not had the most favorable hitting conditions to start the year as they have been rather unlucky in that department for a couple years running now.
As the weather warms up and the wind shifts out at Lynn Williams Field, you can expect this group of veterans to start hitting the ball at a higher rate. Although it was a disappointing first half of the season as a whole, Hudson Lakes actually hits the mid way point riding some momentum after making an Elite 8 run at the Cam Snead Tournament this past weekend.
Hudson Lake finally had former MVP Bob Bushman in the fold as he was also able to make his ORWBL season debut on Sunday. Just one day after making an Elite 8 run at Cam, the Hudson Lake boys came together and picked up a series win at Migley Field over the New Carlisle Newts. It was a statement win for a group of guys that needed just that. They will now look to continue playing at that level in Week 6 as they kick off the 2nd half with a road trip to The Barnyard to take on the Flat Rock Cyclones who will be looking to improve to .500 or better.