By Peter Mocabee:
I am the owner of the only team representing the west at this year’s OPEN National Championships in Boston, MA. In fact, we are the only team west of the Mississippi River. Furthermore, we are the only team west of West Philly… the home of the Fresh Prince and BOYZIIMEN . So how do 5 guys, traveling on 4 different flights to Boston, staying in a sketchy motel win a championship? No idea! But here is my preview of the OPEN teams, from a west coast perspective.
Great West Gunslingers (14-1) - My team is coming off their first full season. Dating back to the summer of 2011, this team is a combined 19-1. We stormed out in front of the GSWL West Region going undefeated until we ran into the veteran Jim Dalbey, who pitched and defended like Ryan Wood (minus the velocity). Road to Top 8: Remember the Name, State of Mind, 603 Allstars.
Blue Razrs (38-12) - My top ranked team going into the tournament and they finished the season in first place. Kevin Norris is one of the craftiest pitchers around. A team with 4 great pitchers, and 5 great hitters, and experience to boot… I think they are the team to beat. Road to Top 8: Sticks/Wiffzilla, Doom, Untouchables.
Sticks/Wiffzilla – This play-in game is thanks to the O-Bombers not being able to make the trip. These teams are very thankful and this 3-inning game starting at 8am will bring out both aces. These two teams records are wiped clean come Saturday morning. I’m going to give the nod to the Sticks who won a Hump game against the Diablos. Road to Top 8: Blue Razrs, Doom, Untouchables.
Doom (18-13) - The defending national champs come in with the same lineup and the same experience. They will battle to win every game, even if they are down by 7 runs in the 1st… Lead by ace and last year’s OPEN MVP Zack Thompson and reigning Ultimate Wiffler, Dallas Mall. Road to Top 8: Phenoms, Blue Razrs, Untouchables.
Phenoms (12-12) - I see a tough draw for the Phenoms. I’m always scared of a team that has tasted victory in the past. Pagano and Eadie’s pitching will keep this team in games all weekend long. They’ll need big hits, and probably some walk-offs to run deep in this tournament, but they have the experience to do just that. Road to Top 8: Doom, Blue Razrs, Untouchables.
Diablos (24-24) - This team looks like they have a few holes in the lineup, but 48 games of wiffle since March cannot be overlooked. Should get through the first round, but there road might be tough after that. I have them beating K9′s, losing to Untouchables, then losing to Wiffaholics/Savvy. They will then have to win 2 in a row… I think they will be the lowest seed not make it to the Top 8. Road to Top 8: K9′s, Untouchables, Blue Razrs.
K9′s (18-15) - A team that wins 4 out of 6 Hump games says something… but with only 1 win after those 4 exposes they’re weakness, pitching. With how things line up for their draw, I see them starting the day 0-2. They will need to pullout an early upset against Diablos to have a shot. Road to Top 8: Diablos, Untouchables, Blue Razrs.
Untouchables (15-7) – A Double Double from In ‘n Out comes to my mind when I think of this team. Melted Cheese! 2 guys who throw in the 90′s… And Handahl is the vanilla shake. I have this team ranked 5th in my pre-OPEN rankings. First round game versus Piranhas will be one to plop your beach chair down to watch. Road to Top 8: Piranhas, Diablos, Blue Razrs.
Piranhas (21-15) - I hate 3 man teams, especially when all of them can hit. No holes in this lineup. More power to ‘em. They have a tough draw and I see them as a 1-2 team with their backs up against the wall. I do not want to face them when that happens. Road to Top 8: Untouchables, Diablos, Blue Razrs.
603 Allstars (25-3) - Won 3 out of the 4 events they entered. Losing Russ Heim to injury could effect their late tournament run, but I don’t think it’s going to matter. Donahue is a great pitcher and they can all hit. I think they will roll through their first two games and face my squad for a 12:30 showdown. Road to Top 8: Muscadines, Super Savvy Psychos, Great West Gunslingers.
Muscadines (11-9) - I hear Greg Edwards is a beast! When a team has the hardest throwing lefty in the tournament… Good things can happen. Just look at Doom last year. Playing the Savvy Psychos all summer long will help them know what they are up against. Their offense looks like it will struggle. Road to Top 8: 603, Savvy, Gunslingers.
Super Savvy Psychos (16-4) - David “Road Toast” Wood is an ace! All the great teams have one. I see them winning 3 games before losing 3. They’ll have to piggyback on Bragg and Bozeman’s early pitching. Batting practice against Toast will help them square up on any pitcher they see. Road to Top 8: Wiffaholics, 603 Allstars, Gunslingers.
Wiffaholics (23-11) - 1st round matchup versus Savvy will test them right off the bat. Wes Filkins reminds me of a cheeseburger from In n Out! American Cheese! They didn’t win a single event which is surprising. But they know how to win! Road to Top 8: Savvy Psychos, 603, Great West Gunslingers.
State of Mind (21-7) - Sean Steffy. Best pitcher in the country! How will they play in order to get to him? Even though they got to draft, they came out with the toughest 1st round game out of the top 4 teams. Bad Chem will give them a game to remember. I wouldn’t be surprised by a first round upset, but they’ll still be a top 8 team on their way to top 4. Road to Top 8: Bad Chemistry, Gunslingers, 603 Allstars.
Bad Chemistry (24-17) - Robles is good (49 IP/8 BB). Longiaru has experience. This team is my cinderella team. Of course, not until losing to us first! I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the Top 8 but the decks are stacked against them. Road to Top 8: State of Mind, Gunslingers, 603 Allstars.
Remember the Name (24-10) - I got to admit, I wish we were playing someone else in the first round. Smart move by SOM’s captain, Danny Lanigan for making us square off in round 1. All of them are capable of coming up with a big hit. I think I’ve seen Matty Griffin and Ryan O’shea on YouTube since 1999… If that was possible. I have this team ranked 6th. A top 8 team that will bounce back from a 1st round loss (I have to believe that!). Road to Top 8: Great West Gunslingers, State of Mind, 603.
My pre-OPEN predictions:
Top 8: Blue Razrs, 603, Gunslingers, State of Mind, Untouchables, RTN, Savvy Psychos, and Doom.