1. Minutemen: 6-0
The PA Minutemen left Week One with three-digits of cash, incalculable confidence, and a well-deserved spot at the top of the PA Power Rankings. Ed Packer, Sean Steffy, and Kyle Kaminskas added bouts of impressive game-play, to an already high preseason-expectation, by beating every team that stood in their way in their first week.
They are after more than cash and regional recognition though.
The Minutemen seek to prove themselves as national contenders this year, suffering still from a disappointing reputation exhibited at 2013’s OPEN. With powerful New York teams expected to attend in Week Two, the Minutemen will have their opportunity to showcase an inherently increased national capability.
2. Way Too Beautiful: 3-3
Way Too Beautiful is a scrappy squad of veterans worthy of the number two spot in Philly, despite a currently .500 record. They can battle with any of the league’s elite, as shown through victories over powerhouses like the NY Enemy and the PA Quartersticks (2013); but their inability to take home a consistent gold has plagued their attractive name with an underserved self-doubt.
Team owner Ian Crosby needs to will his team toward a few big game wins to help breathe life back into their bats and the Philly region’s reputation. Before anything though, they must acquire the self-confidence necessary for their undeniably Beautiful skill set.
3. Swine: 8-3
This rookie team is helping show promise for the PA Yard league. With an extremely talented top of the lineup, the Swine have played tight games with the league’s best this year. They’ve jumped a few spots from preseason veteran assumptions based on a vastly unexpected ability to contend.
If the Swine’s ace Eric Primavera can improve, mix, and keep hitters off balance, this team will be able to squeeze past the slow rolling Hooligans, qualify for the OPEN, and exit a week or two with some D1 cash.
4. Hooligans: 7-5
Despite their rip-roaring field presence, this Hooligans squad has yet to hit stride in 2014. With Walters’s arm still flailing around like a wounded duck, this team’s initial PRO ranking has proven itself to be a true assumptive mistake. They boast a winning record in 2014 and are still evidently growing, but, if the monkey of Expectation continues to weigh down their featherweight backs, the Hooligans may struggle themselves into a fourth place finish.
Look for this team to get hot at some point in 2014, but, if their rotation can’t proceed with three talented arms—as opposed to the standard two—then the heat may extinguish with a collective disappointment.
5. High and Inside: 3-3
High and Inside has improved immensely. This formerly inexperienced Red Rooster squad has added both a veteran pitcher and arguably the best free agent bat in 2014. Greg Burgwald has proven himself a clear success in his first week, swinging a team high .485 and winning two games on the carpet.
If Bill Kerins can increase his on-base percentage to an above-average level, he could provide a threatening-enough presence to force opposing pitchers to give Burgwald the strikes he so regularly devours. High and Inside’s depth must prove deep enough if they are going to drown any careless PA players this summer.
6. Gashouse Gorillas: 2-4
Dan Erhardt has resurrected his old Gashouse franchise with the help of medium pitch connoisseur Bryan Weiss and veteran W2B fourth-man Mike Baumhauer. Their week one performance put them in serious contention with the PA Swine for the Division Two championship; they kept it close until late in the game. Unfortunately, though, their wheels were blown off in the wind, and they ended up losing by more than a few.
Mike Baumhauer must shed his shell of mediocre batsmanship for the Gorillas to become a regular D2 champion. With the new three man lineup instilled in the Golden Stick Wiffleball® League, it means that, yes, Dan Erhardt (and his .429 avg) will bat every inning but, then, too, so will the struggling Baumhauer (at .194). Hopefully a large number of at bats can push this team from Consolation losers to Comeback Cup contenders.
7. Blue Dragons: 0-5
The Blue Dragons’ disappointing entrance into Golden Stick stems from regularly seen wiffle® ailments. This rookie squad came together through single man sign-ups, and week one was their first introduction. While the Blue Dragons got to know their strengths and weaknesses, the rest of the league bullied them with team chemistry to gather early points.
Veteran Anthony Colicchio is the pilot for this rookie squad. He will be depended upon as the consistent and powerful bat in the lineup, as he awaits rookies Ben Stant and Vince Camiolo to get acquainted with Golden Stick pitching. Colicchio hit .417 with two homeruns in week one, and, if he hopes to scrap together a few wins this year, he may need flashes of improvement from his recently hatched dragons.
*8. Bombers: 0-0
The PA Bombers couldn’t make it to the field in the first week, so their spot at the bottom of the power rankings lies with an asterisk. It is unknown if they are better or worse than 2013, but, what is known, is that they have not yet mastered the upper-level gameplay in Golden Stick Wiffle®. Bob Trobola is the player to watch on this (technically) second year squad, and, if they are to go anywhere this year, it will most likely be on the shoulders of this bearded giant.