LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – After just two weeks of play, there is not a single undefeated team in Premier League Wiffle®, and each of the ten teams has a win through two series as well. In the coming weeks, the top teams will look to break away from the pack, and the teams at the bottom of the standings will fight their way up the standings to stay out of relegation territory. Every team has the tools to win, so being able to execute in pressure situations will likely be the key to making the playoffs. If you didn’t tune in last week, here’s what you missed:
The Ones Sweep Warbirds
It was a windy night at Hideaway Field on Monday, but despite the harsh conditions, Jim Dodos & Ryan Chen were able to have a pitcher’s duel in game one. Both starters would go the distance, and they each allowed less than a handful of hits, but Chen and manager Scottez Dobbins would hit a pair of home runs in the bottom of the third. Buck Burner would also hit a bigfly on the Warbirds side, but that was all they’d muster off the former Cy Young winner, as The Ones took game one by a score of 3-1.
Game two was a different story. The Ones put up seven runs against three different pitchers in the first inning, and Adrian Gutierrez held down the Warbirds offense in three innings of work, giving up a solo shot to Jim Dodos, and a RBI single to KJ LaCroix. Dobbins, Austin “Bird” Bull, and Cody Schmidt each hit longballs in the three inning 12-2 rout. Each team tallied seven hits, but The Ones were able to push runs across, winning a mercy-shortened game.
The Ones would put up double-digits again in game three, putting up another seven-spot. Dobbins, Adam Koutz, Gutierrez, and Chen (2) each hit home runs, but the Warbirds offense would come to life as well. Dodos hit a pair of homers, Shawn Mersiel hit one as well, and Buck Burner had three RBI, but that wasn’t enough, as the Warbirds would fall 10-7 in the final game of the series.
Sandvipers Slither Past Cajuns
The wind continued to whip through The Hideaway on Tuesday night as the Cajuns took on the Sandvipers. Tom Gannon took advantage of the wind early, hitting a two-run shot in the first inning that was popped into the jetstream. Cajuns rookie Will Morris answered with a solo shot in the third, but manager Adam Tanic responded by knocking in a run in the bottom of the inning. The score remained 3-1 until Cajuns manajer Andrew Ledet hit a two-run homer to tie the game at three apiece in the top of the fifth, but vipers rookie Kenny McDowall hit a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. The Cajuns plated a pair in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, but Justin Hicks would drive in the tying run in the bottom of the inning to send game one into extras. A pair of extra base hits from Ledet and Morris would give the Cajuns a one-run lead, and that’s all Ryan Ruesch would need, as he closed out the 6-5 extra-inning victory.
Game two would be another wild ride, as the vipers went deep into their bullpen for the first time this season, utilizing seven different pitchers, while the Cajuns threw five. Adam Tanic, Justin Hicks, Ethan Winer, Trench Picone, and Michael Dean all walked out of the game, leaving Kenny McDowall to close it out. After the Sandvipers took a commanding 9-1 lead, the Cajuns put together a rally to get back into the game, led by an eight RBI performance from Ledet. Anthony Michael hit a deep drive to center field with two on in the sixth, and it deflected off Gannon’s hands as he jumped up to take a home run away, but Michael Dean was there to make a game-saving catch off the hands of Gannon to record the final out, as the vipers eked out a 10-9 win.
Although the final score may not show it, the final game of the series was a pitcher’s duel between Ryan Ruesch and Trench Picone. Both pitchers would go the distance, and Ruesch held the Sandvipers to two runs through the first four innings, but the wheels fell off in the fifth as the vipers put up a five-spot. That would be more than enough for Picone, as he threw a complete game shutout, striking out six, and allowing just four hits to take the rubber match.
Night Owls Offensive Woes Return
The Night Owls ended last season with a lengthy scoreless streak, and their offense was reminiscent of the lineup that struggled down the stretch to end their fall campaign when they faced the Vaderz on Wednesday night. They had their work cut out for them in game one, facing the current Cy Young favorite, knuckleballer Billy Santiwan. Knuckle-Bill diced up the Night Owls lineup, allowing just two hits in a complete game shutout. Ethan Ibarra and Gio Battistoni both hit home runs off Brandon Maio in the 4-0 victory.
The owls would only manage to get a pair of hits again in game two, this time going up against reigning Rookie of the Year Tanner Roundy, manager Sesaí Alarcón, and rookie Scott Burley of the Vaderz pitching staff. Ibarra went deep again in game two, and Kyle Eder also hit a bigfly, going for six RBI in the game, as the Vaderz jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the second inning. They wouldn’t get to double-digits until the fifth, in their final chance to shorten the game via mercy rule, and took game two by a score of 12-0.
In the third game the Night Owls offense wouldn’t fare any better, getting just one hit off Burley before he handed the ball over to Santiwan in the fourth inning. Ibarra and Eder both hit home runs yet again, and Santiwan didn’t allow a baserunner for the final three innings of the game. With just five hits in the series, and not a single extra base hit, the Night Owls could be in trouble if they don’t bounce back in their next series.
Snappers Win Series with Two Runs
Runs were hard to come by on Thursday night in a matchup between the Bombers and Snappers. There was a breeze blowing in from center field, and game one saw a pitcher’s duel between Max Fernandez, and the Snappers pitching tandem of Brandon Gregg & reigning Cy Young winner Taylor Bryner. Both sides would strike out eight, and allow just one hit, but the Snappers were able to push across an unearned run in the second, winning 1-0.
Manager Alex Fernandez took the ball for the Bombers in game two, throwing a complete game shutout, and surrendering just three base hits. The Bombers would push a pair of runs across in the 2-0 win, but those were all the runs they’d score all evening. Bryner and Mateo Fernandez would trade zeros for the first five innings of game three, striking out 12 and 11 batters respectively. In the bottom of the sixth, with a runner in scoring position, Jonathan Wilson was the hero for the Snappers, hitting a single to center field to walk it off, as the Snappers escaped the series with two 1-0 wins.
Legends Win Their First Series of the Season
The Legends and Lightning squared off in the final series of the week. Rookie Cody Runnalls put the Lightning on the board in the second inning with a RBI double off Casey Taravella, but Derrik Corral tied it up in the fourth with a home run off Devlin Daniel. Taravella and Alex Garcia hit back-to-back RBI singles with two outs in the sixth to put the Legends up 3-1. The Lightning loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but Billy Osgood was able to escape the jam and close out the win.
The Legends would strike first in game two, as Nick Sansone drove in a run with a base hit up the middle in the second inning. The score remained 1-0 until the fifth, when Taravella hit a two-run bomb to dead center, giving the Legends some insurance. Those insurance runs would prove to be valuable because in the next inning Jayk Purdy hit a two-run double to bring the Lightning within one, but James Church was able to get the final two outs to shut the door, and the Legends held on for the 3-2 win.
The third game of the series would be another close one, as the game remained scoreless through the first three innings. The Legends were able to string together a few hits in the fourth, taking a 2-0 lead, but in the bottom of the last, Kyle Loman led off with a walk, then Purdy, Daniel, Tony Daly, and Bruce Huson hit four straight singles to walk it off.
Player of the Week
Player of the Week honors for week three went to Cajuns manager Andrew Ledet. He hit to a .667 average, with ten hits, three home runs, and ten runs batted in to go along with a 2.306 OPS. Tune in LIVE on Twitch Monday through Friday at 6pm PST for more PLW action!