LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The Calicos and Snappers faced off in the Premier League Wiffle® championship series on Thursday night. This best of three finals would not disappoint, as each game would come down to a single swing of the bat. There was a breeze blowing out to center field on and off all night long at The Hideaway, so both teams would have to make adjustments. The Calicos pitching tandem of James “FJ” Stein and Alex Carrasco would go toe to toe with Snappers superstar Taylor Bryner, and each at-bat was a battle all series long.
Number one overall pick in this season’s draft, Manny Santillanes, started the first game off with a bang, hitting a home run off FJ to put the Snappers up 1-0 before Bryner even took the rubber. “Game one I think I was more focused on pitching. I felt like the wind was blowing harder, so it was harder to get pitches over the zone, and Manny gave us an early lead, so I was just trying to hold the lead.” remarked Bryner after the game. The second batter for the Calicos, Matty Levine, would also spark a rally in the first inning. He doubled off Bryner, and manager Nick DiVella followed that up with a two-run homer to give his team a 2-1 lead. After FJ struck Bryner out to start the third inning, Santillanes hit another solo shot to tie the game at 2-2. The Calicos would answer again, with a triple from Alain Fernandez followed by an RBI single from FJ to help out his own cause. Bryner hit a triple of his own in the fourth inning, and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Shane Weber to tie the game at 3-3.
Jonathan Wilson led off the fifth with a walk to chase FJ from the game, but Carrasco would get out of the inning, giving the Calicos a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the fifth. Bryner had other plans, as he sat the Calicos down 1-2-3 to send the game to extra innings, then hit a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. After Bryner retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning, Levine reached on an error, bringing DiVella to the plate representing the winning run because a runner is placed on second base in extra innings. DiVella hit a shot out to center field that would have been a walk-off three-run homer, but Weber made a miraculous leaping catch at the wall to end the game, and the Snappers held on to win 5-3 in an exhilarating game one. After the game Bryner said, “Off the bat I thought it was one hundred percent gone, and the game was over, so when he caught that, that was as happy as I’ve ever been playing Wiffle® ball.”
In game two DiVella was able to draw a walk against Bryner in the top of the first, and a second free pass would make him ineligible to pitch for the rest of the game. In the bottom of the inning FJ walked the second batter he faced, and was relieved by Carrasco with just one walk, so he would be eligible to re-enter the game. In the second inning, Michael Agwara drew a walk against Carrasco to put him one walk away from being removed early in the game as well. With two on and two out, Carrasco floated a curveball to Bryner that caught too much of the plate, and Bryner took full advantage of it, hitting a three-run blast to give the Snappers a 3-1 lead. Stein, Levine, and DiVella hit three straight two-out singles in the third inning to bring the Calicos within one, but Bryner would shut them down for the rest of the game, closing out a 3-2 win, and making the Snappers the first ever PLW spring World Series champions!
The Premier League Wiffle® summer season try-outs will be held next Thursday, May 13th at 6pm PDT, followed by the home run derby at 8pm, and the draft at 9pm. Tune in LIVE on Twitch for the home run derby and draft!