2022 Hometown Cup Manifesto

2022 Wiffle®Ball Championship Preview

It will have been 370 days since Hometown Cup wiffleball was last played at historic Migley Field, but our long wait is finally over. The last full weekend of July has arrived again which means it’s time for the greatest wiffle event on earth: The Wiffle®Ball Championship.

Last year, hall-of-famer Wes Ellis and his Maple City Magic hoisted the Hometown Cup for the second consecutive year. The Magic are just the third team to win The Championship in back to back years (New Carlisle Newts '07-08 and Cult West Warriors '13-15).

The Magic bested the Granger Panthers in the championship game. Prior to the final, the Magic defeated GP Black, while the Panthers took down the Mechanics. As is customary at The Championship, the top performer of the Finals is awarded the Kaylor Keck Marquee Player Award. Last year Magic left fielder Caleb Jonkman was awarded the Kaylor Trophy.

What is the event?

The Wiffle®Ball Championship is a slow-pitch wiffleball tournament set up by New Carlisle Newts manager, Koby Keck, and his slew of volunteers. The tournament coincides with the New Carlisle Hometown Days summer festival, taking place at the adjacent little league complex.

To learn more about the festival, click here: https://www.hometowndays.net/.

The wiffleball tournament has occurred yearly since 2005. Pool play occurs across the New Prairie Little League fields on the last Saturday of July. The tournament occurs the following day with the top four teams advancing to Migley Field to play in the Hometown Cup Finals. The 2022 Championship is slated for July 29-31.

To learn more about the history of The Championship, click here: https://www.hometowncup.com/history

The tournament’s Home Run Derby is held at Migley Field on the Friday before pool play. Maple City Magic slugger Jared Jonkman won his fifth consecutive Golden Bat last year. Derby prelims will be open from 5-6:30pm (ET). From there, the top 8 qualifiers advance to the bracket finals at 7:15. The cost to enter the Derby is $5 per person and is open to everyone.

Following the Derby, the annual Hall of Fame Game will take place featuring some of the best wifflers the tournament has ever seen. First pitch is slated for 8:08pm (ET). Here are the teams:

Team Matt Soos

Matt Soos (Captain)
Garrett Curless
Wes Ellis
Jared Emmons
Drew Luther

Team Scott Soos

Scott Soos (Captain)
Jay Ryans
Koby Keck
Seth Shail
Shane Anderson

Immediately after the Hall of Fame Game, players and fans alike are encouraged to migrate to the New Prairie Little League Fields and watch a postgame firework display.

The 2022 tournament will feature 85 teams duking it out over the course of Saturday pool play and then a single-elimination tournament on Sunday. Pool play will consist of 4 games, with 17 pools of 5 teams. At the end of pool play, the top 48 teams will be seeded and the tournament will follow on Sunday. The last team standing will be declared the 2022 Champions of Wiffle®Ball and will receive t-shirts, hats, and their names etched into history on the Hometown Cup.

Now that we’re through what the tournament is, let’s look at who will be playing in it. Keep in mind I am just one person. This is for fun. I try to touch on as many teams as I can, however, I don’t necessarily know every single player and team in this tournament. If you think I’m sleeping on you or your team, let me hear about it on twitter… just make sure you share the post.

Without further ado, the 2022 Wiffle®Ball Championship Preview:

The Wiffleball Power Index (WPI) Top 15

  1. Maple City Magic
  2. Granger Panthers
  3. Woo Crew
  4. Queso and the Chips
  5. Cult West Warriors
  6. Mechanics
  7. New Carlisle Newts
  8. Grandmother's Quilt
  9. White Lightning
  10. Billy Goats
  11. Maple City Purple
  12. Bourissa Hills Willdcards
  13. South Bend Truffle Butter
  14. Pokeballs
  15. CCW Skullcrushers

The Wiffleball Power Index (WPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward. WPI represents how many runs above or below average a team is. Game predictions account for opponent strength, BAC levels, field, and rest between games and are used to simulate the tournament 10,000 times to produce tournament projections.

Game of the Hour

10 am: CCW Skullcruschers @ Pink Pandas (Field 14)

11 am: New Carlisle Newts @ The Naturals (Field 8)

12 pm: Magic Purple @ Mechanics (Field 11)

1 pm: Dirtbags @ Big Sticks

2 pm: MO-WIFF Miracle @ Queso and the Chips (Field 8)

3 pm: C-Slugs @ Homerun or Bust (Field 20)

4 pm: Godfathers @ Malort (Field 14)

5 pm: Hudson Lake Heat @ Homisexuals (Field 2)

Division Preview

Anderson Division

Pokeballs        14th in WPI
  • 3rd Appearance (10-3)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 1 Division Title
  • 2021 Result: 5-2, Sweet Sixteen

Magic Lime
  • 1st Appearancs


  • 6th Appearance (8-16)
  • 4 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Big Sticks
  • 4th Appearance (3-9)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 1-3, Missed Playoffs

Bad Boys 2
  • 2nd Appearance (0-4)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 0-4, Missed Playoffs

Starting things off, we have the Anderson Division. If this division is any indicator of the rest of them, we are looking at one of the more competitive fields in recent history. Leading off, we have the Pokeballs. The Pokeballs are composed of players from the Skibbe Wiffleball League (SWBL) from St. Louis, MO. Captain Sam Skibbe has a track record of bringing a very solid team to The Championship, and this year should be no different. Both Sam and his brother Gus are among the top players in the SWBL. The younger Gus currently leads the SWBL in home runs (26) while maintaining a .792 !!! batting average. Gus brings along his Yankee teammates Kevin and Scott Pohle - making SWBL (probably) the only team in the field to have two sets of brothers on the same team. Both Pohles are fine players in their own right, hitting .655 and .505 respectively. Oh, and the lone non-brother on the squad? Two-time SWBL MVP Spencer Bogad. After a tough loss to Cult West in the Sweet Sixteen last season, the Pokeballs certainly have the chops to make an even deeper run this year.

The third Magic team is the first one we’ll talk about today, as the Magic Lime are next up. Some will think this resembles the late Team Combat more than Maple City as both Evan Sibbet elected not to bring their Minnesota-based squad in favor of the Magic Lime. Sibbet along with Ian O’Connor are standouts in the Minnesota HRL:Twin Cities league. The two Magic players readers may be familiar with are captain Jeremy Ross and Bo Hofstra. Ross has had a solid season with the Magic ORWBL team in his return to full-time action. Appearing in all 30 games, Ross hit .457 and belted out 28 home runs while proving to be a playmaker in the outfield. Although Hofstra appeared in just 5 games this year, he was an integral part of the Magic’s first round playoff win over the Godfathers last weekend and will be a solid addition to Magic Lime. All in all, Lime is well-positioned to make a Sunday appearance but it remains to be seen how far this mix-mash of wifflers can go in the tournament.

The Dirtbags enter 2022 with high hopes of finally escaping the first round of Sunday’s tournament. Led by presumed ORWBL Rookie of the Year Sam Bull, these freshly-graduated teens have plenty of experience at The Championship. Bull is the name to watch for the Dirtbags, as he quickly found his footing in his inaugural ORWBL season and has become one of the better home run hitters in the game. Between himself and captain Jacob Meyers the Dirtbags won’t be satisfied with just an appearance on Sunday. Outfielder Hunter Groves is a solid, albeit streaky hitter at the plate with potential to really break out in this year’s Championship. Speedster Brenden Daisy and big-hitter Ben Fronk round out the Dirtbags’ lineup. All five of these guys are great athletes but they’ll need to find some consistency both at the plate and on the mound if they want to avoid yet another first-round exit.

Is this finally the year for the Big Sticks? Entering their fourth Championship, this squad of New Prairie High Schoolers are seeking their first Sunday bid. Mikey McLaughlin leads the way for these soon-to-be seniors who have seen their fair share of chances at 2-2 slip away over the years. With sluggers like Gabe Konya in the lineup, the Big Sticks could be a surprise Sunday team. Similarly to Bad Boys 1, the 2nd iteration of the Bad Boys is similarly inexperienced and youthful. One name to look out for on this Beef Barn-lite squad is Jon Woodham. Despite his youth, the Woodham name is one not unfamiliar to the slow-pitch style of the Championship.

Sunday locks: Pokeballs

On the bubble: Magic Lime, Dirtbags, Big Sticks

Best shot at Migley: Pokeballs

Player to Watch: OF Sam Bull (Dirtbags)

John Arndt Division

Cult West Warriors        5th in WPI
  • 12th Appearance (70-11)
  • 11 Playoff Appearances | 8 Division Titles
  • 6 Hometown Cup Finals | 4 Championships (2013-15, 2017)
  • 2021 Result: 6-1, Elite Eight

Hudson Lake Heat
  • 8th Appearance (29-14)
  • 7 Playoff Appearances | 4 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-1, Second Round

  • 2nd Appearance (4-2)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 3-2, Second Round

Beef Barn
  • 5th Appearance (9-12)
  • 3 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Bad Boys 1
  • 3rd Appearance (1-6)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 0-4, Missed Playoffs

The John Arndt Division is shaping up to be one of my favorite pools in the entire tournament. The team that immediately catches your eye is Cult West. The most decorated team in The Championship’s history returns in 2022 with some added motivation having missed the final four for just the 3rd time in the last 9 years in 2021. As usual, Cult West is led by the Hall of Fame brothers Matt and Scott Soos. Captain Scott, arguably the wiffle GOAT, is one of the best all-around players in the field. Despite extensive hair loss in recent years, Scott remains one of the most feared hitters in the game and has some of the surest hands you’ll find in the outfield. Matt brings with him a combination of base-hitting and clutchness few in the game can match. Alongside these two is the man with the best knuckleball in wiffle, Jay Ryans. Although Jay has stepped out of the limelight in the broader wiffle world he remains one of the best pitchers The Championship has to offer. I mean, let’s call an ace an ace! Outside of these three Cult West staples, wiffle journeyman Anthony Rieff will help patrol the outfield. Rieff has become one of the best all-around players in the game, giving Cult West another powerful lefty in their lineup. The X-factor for Cult West, though, has to be newcomer Michael Forester. Forester was a surprising add to the Warriors as he debuted for the squad in the World Wiffleball Championship. The lengthy pitcher helped lead CW to a final four finish two weekends ago and brings with him some much-needed youth to this aging cast of legends. Forester’s play will largely determine how far Cult West will go in this year’s tournament. Although the Warriors haven’t hoisted The Cup since 2017, they have as good of a chance as any to be the last team standing come Sunday afternoon. If Cult West can get the bats rolling, it would surprise no one to see them come out on top.

Along with Cult West, the Hudson Lake Heat are no stranger to The Championship. Appearing in their 8th tournament, the Heat will once again be riding their bikes down Bray Street still seeking their first Final Four run. Captain Ben McDonald is the heavy hitter for the Heat. A constant in the ORWBL All-Star game, McDonald is known for his smooth swing and deep homeruns that come from it. Long-time manager Jared Monhaut and former ORWBL MVP Bobby Bushman patrol the outfield for the Heat in what has to be one of the longest running defensive alignments in the tourney’s history. They’ll be doing everything they can to keep pitcher Jake MacMillan’s ERA at a low number. Jmac covers a lot of ground off the mound and on the basepaths, as this is a team that can win any style of game. All four of these guys can play any position, giving the Heat a lot of options on D. Rounding out the lineup is the place-hitting Darian Luther. Outfielders beware, Luther will put the ball right down either line at a moment’s notice, aiding the Heat’s proficiency in low-scoring affairs. While Hudson Lake has yet to make a run to the final four, it’s only a matter of time before the Heat are storming Migley on a Sunday afternoon.

After battling it out in one of the more surprising pools last year that saw the Magic lose to the American Giants, the tournament rewarded the Homisexuals with two more experienced teams to face. Something tells me that Captain Brayden Flagg and company are up to the challenge. Flagg was one of the breakout players in last year’s field, giving both the Magic and Woo Crew a run for their money. The Olivet Nazarene University hooper is joined by Trine baseball standouts Rylan McBride and Noah Brettin. But wait, this team has even more college athletes in University of Saint Francis slugger Zach Trojanowski. These athletes are long, tall, and probably most importantly, in shape. Despite this, the lack of full-time wiffleball experience could be a factor here as they’ll need to round back into form quickly given their Saturday opponents. If the Homiesexuals can have a big Saturday showing they could be in for a cinderella run once Sunday rolls around.

Beef Barn returns as one of the more well-known and experienced Hometown Days teams. Captained by New Carlisle native Brad Bashaw, Beef Barn is no stranger to Sunday morning games having earned Sunday bids in three of their four Championship appearances. Although they were defeated in the first round last year by Malort! I’ll Have Another, Rod Colanese and co. are the definition of a solid Hometown Days squad. Not too flashy, but certainly a formidable opponent.

Composed of a younger group of New Carlisle kids, Bad Boys 1 hail from the Beef Barn dynasty. While they may not be contenders in this year’s Championship, these teenagers are approaching the age where they could give teams a scare if they don’t come prepared.

Sunday locks: Cult West Warriors

On the bubble: Hudson Lake Heat, Homisexuals, Beef Barn

Best shot at Migley: Cult West Warriors

Player to Watch: OF Anthony Rieff (Cult West Warriors)

Nick Arndt Division

Maple City Magic        1st in WPI
  • 12th Appearance (69-15)
  • 11 Playoff Appearances | 8 Division Titles
  • 8 Hometown Cup Finals | 2 Championships (2020, 2021)
  • 2021 Result: 8-1, Champions

Smokin’ Bunts
  • 1st Appearance

  • 1st Appearance

Milwaukee Beers
  • 1st Appearance

Dayton Gunners
  • 2nd Appearance (4-2)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles

The Maple City Magic enter this year’s tournament as the clear-cut favorite to hoist the Cup on Sunday afternoon. Winners of the last two championships, the Magic boast perhaps the game’s best combination of hitting, pitching, and fielding. Hall of Fame pitcher Wes Ellis projects to take the bump by Sunday, bringing with him his infamous knuckleball. Ellis is arguably the most well-rounded player in the game, providing elite production at every position. His four Hometown Cup championships is tied for the most all-time and that experience will surely aid the Magic in their quest for a 3-peat. In recent league seasons the Magic have relied on homerun hitter Jared Jonkman to pitch, too, giving the reigning champs multiple options in the event of a shootout. His low-arching curveballs have a way of bending both the hitter’s mind and the Championship’s rulebook itself. In the field Maple City is led by the highly decorated Caleb Jonkman in left. Jonkman is no stranger to wiffle success, having put together an all-around wiffleball resume that few across the country can rival. The three-time National Player of the Year is as feared at the plate as they come thanks to his ability to place the ball all over the field from the left side of the plate. With that big three carrying the way, the Magic are the odds-on favorite.

While the Magic project as the favorite in the Nick Arndt Division, their opponents are chalk-full of experience and solid performers. Smokin’ Bunts (clever) is a mixture of the Lynn St. Leprechauns and Hudson Lake Heat ORWBL teams. Captain Dustin Curl and pitcher Evan King come from the Heat, while speedster Ryan Moser and HR-guy Jordan Peck bring their talents from the Leps. These life-long friends are an interesting sleeper to say the least. Peck provides the power for this squad, as he is known as a serious home run threat for the Leps. King has quietly become a strong pitcher in slow pitch wiffleball thanks to his nasty curveball. Moser and Curl will look to be the on-base guys for a team with Sunday aspirations readily available for the taking.

Hailing from Valparaiso, Indiana, the Alcoballics enter their first Championship. However, they are not without wiffleball experience. Captain David Dravet is an up-and-coming player in the Leroy Wiffle Associationand (LWA). In 20 games for the Buschleague Badgers Dravet hit .320 and knocked out 9 home runs. Notably, Dravet and the Alcoballics secured a late addition in wiffle journeyman Collin Babcock. A long-time member of John Arndt’s Looney Wifflers, Babcock played in 20 games for the FlatRock Cyclones in ORWBL play, while hitting .495 across 15 games in the LWA. With these two leading the way, a Sunday bid seems likely.

Another first-year team, the Milwaukee Beers make the trip to New Carlisle following an impressive showing at the World Wiffleball Championship two weekends ago. While maybe not a serious threat for Migley, the Beers are what make wiffleball fun. Surely the jello-shots will be flowing from these sluggers, but if they want to stay around for Sunday they’d be wise to hand out more than they take. The Dayton Gunners look to battle it out with the Alcoballics and Beers for a spot in Sunday’s bracket. Fresh off an impressive 4-2 showing last year, expectations have to be high entering their second tournament. Any of these squads would be formidable foes on Sunday morning.

Sunday locks: Maple City Magic

On the bubble: Literally everyone else

Best shot at Migley: Maple City Magic

Player to Watch: P Wes Ellis (Maple City Magic)

Curless Division

Granger Panthers        2nd in WPI
  • 9th Appearance (48-9)
  • 8 Playoff Appearances | 7 Division Titles
  • 3 Hometown Cup Finals | 1 Championship (2019)
  • 2021 Result: 8-1, Runner-ups

Clutch Players
  • 9th Appearance (40-13)
  • 8 Playoff Appearances | 4 Division Titles
  • 4 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

  • 1st Appearance

Chicago Handshakes
  • 2nd Appearance (2-3)
  • 1 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Dead Last
  • 1st Appearance

2019 Champs the Granger Panthers start things off in the Curless division. Last year the reigning ORWBL winners fell in a tight championship game to the Magic. This was their second time finishing as runner ups at The Championship. What happened the last time they finished 2nd?

*Checks Notes*

Oh, right. They came back the next year and won the whole damn thing. Granger will hope to replicate their 2019 revenge tour this season and have the fire-power to do so. Coming in as WPI’s 2nd rated team, the Panthers are as solid as they come. Captain and 3-time ORWBL Cy Young winner Griffin Smith carries the load for Granger on the mound, while former Gold Glover Seth Campbell patrols the outfield. In right, the sure-handed Austin Williams rounds out arguably the best defense in wiffle. Former MVP Alex Zarazee provides the power at the plate, as Z continues to fly under the radar as one of the best hitters out there. Last year, the Panthers were a water bottle away from perhaps bringing The Cup back to Granger but a late injury hampered the backside of their lineup. This year, though, it seems as if Granger learned their lesson - adding their ORWBL Center Fielder Daivyn Davis to the mix. Daivyn is an incredibly versatile fielder, being able to play any of the four positions. Back problems from Smith and a toenail injury from left fielder Seth Campbell could be cause for concern, but with the added depth from the aforementioned Davis, Granger should be able to grind through any durability issues. Granger is a lock for Sunday, but they’ll head into the tournament knowing full-well anything can happen once you get to bracket play.

The storied Clutch Players enter 2022 without their best player, as former ORWBL MVP Andy Seradzki is noticeably missing from Clutch’s roster. Despite that, Clutch has as much wiffle experience as anyone, having made four Hometown Cup finals in their time in New Carlisle. While this isn’t the Clutch of old, these experienced wifflers still have enough left in the tank to give opposing squads a scare. Dustin Tyte brings a roster very familiar with the plastic game, headlined by slugger Zac Cook and the sure-handed Tommy Sinkiewicz. Clutch may not be a favorite to Migley for a 5th time, but it would surprise no one to see this accomplished squad make yet another run.

The second team from ORWBL franchise Mill Mond Pink Pandas, PP4L enters their 1st Championship by technicality only. These young sluggers have plenty of wiffleball experience both here and in outside tournaments. The Strauch brothers (Brycen and Clayten) and HR-guy Avry Plonka have become regular fixtures in the Pink Pandas ORWBL lineup and are the core of the squad. However, the late addition of Brody Traxler is something worth keeping an eye on. One of the younger brothers of ORWBL journeyman Austin Traxler, Brody has flashed real potential despite his youth. Youth does seem to be PP4L’s biggest question-mark, but if there is one place to break out onto the wiffle scene it would be at The Championship.

Another in a long line of Chicago wifflers, the Chicago Handshakes are a second-year squad eager to build on last year’s playoff berth. Making the Sunday tournament in your inaugural season is no small feat, but the Handshakes will need their ample baseball experience to translate a bit more in 2022 if they want to make a deeper run in the tournament. It’s hard to tell how teams will progress past their initial Hometown Cup appearance but the Handshakes are a team worth keeping your eye on during Saturday's pool play… at the very least last year taught us they can handle their Malort.

Despite Dead Last’s status as a first-year team, this squad of New Carlisle kids is no stranger to the tournament. Captain Tyler Graeber has been a staple at the Homerun Derby for years and the duo of himself and Bobby Siford give Dead Last two powerful bats at the top of their lineup. In seeking a Sunday spot, Dead Last will need big days from youngins Jacob “Bill” Rypma and Hayden Whitenack. It may be a stretch to consider Dead Last true contenders to raise The Cup, but they certainly have the firepower to make it to Sunday.

Sunday locks: Granger Panthers, Clutch Players

On the bubble: PP4L, Chicago Handshakes, Dead Last

Best shot at Migley: Granger Panthers

Player to Watch: C Alex Zarazee (Granger Panthers)

Ellis Division

New Carlisle Newts        7th in WPI
  • 16th Appearance (85-18)
  • 15 Playoff Appearances | 12 Division Titles
  • 8 Hometown Cup Finals | 3 Championship (2007-08, 2018)
  • 2021 Result: 6-1, Elite Eight

Scottsdale Sluggers
  • 4th Appearance (9-8)
  • 3 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles

The Naturals
  • 7th Appearance (25-13)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 5-2, Sweet Sixteen

MC Mud Flood
  • 1st Appearance

  • 1st Appearance

The hometown New Carlisle Newts arrive in the Ellis Division fresh off a Championship run in the World Wiffleball Championship two weekends ago. However, only the iconic duo of skipper Koby Keck and Mr. Newt Garrett Curless remain from their World’s Championship run. While the lefties give New Carlisle a stable foundation, the absence of regular outfielder Noah Shail left a hole in the defense. The pair of Hall of Famers turned to the Schuster brothers to solidify their outfield. Hailing from the Funky Plastic Offspring dynasty, Randy and Joey will form one of the most sound defensive alignments you’ll see this weekend. Joey is no stranger to success with the Newts at Hometown Days having been an anchor in left field during New Carlisle’s 2018 championship. Rounding out the lineup is long-time ORWBL veteran Sam Zucker. Zucker saw great success with Hall of Famer Jared Emmons during their Taco Puncher days. These 5 form perhaps the most experienced team in the entire field. There will be no Sunday jitters for the Newts, but New Carlisle will have to avoid the offensive drought that’s plagued them in ORWBL play this season. Last year was just the second time the Newts weren’t playing at Migley on Sunday afternoon in the last 9 years. It would surprise no one to see these guys back on their home turf once again when Sunday rolls around.

Entering their fourth championship, the Sluggers were noticeably absent from last year’s Championship. However, that may be just what the Scottsdale Sluggers needed to turn their fortunes around. Despite being a formidable ORWBL squad in recent years, Scottsdale hasn’t been able to find sustained success during Hometown Days. The play of slugger Dan Schafer this season certainly gives hope that this is the year for the Sluggers. The University of Dayton alum has had a career year in ORWBL, belting out 43 home runs and maintaining a .523 batting average. Schafer was not the only slugger with a big home run year, as catcher Connor Mowers and outfielder Nate Marino both eclipsed the 40 home run mark. With all the firepower the Sluggers bring to the plate, it will be up to the combination of Schafer and Adam Cseh to hold things down on the mound. Cseh is a former ORWBL MVP candidate, but that primarily was because of his prowess in the box. If Scottsdale wants to finally have a Sunday run, they’ll need to limit the damage on defense. If they do, it could be bombs away for the Sluggers.

The Naturals have quietly become one of the more seasoned teams in The Championship and last year they finally found some Sunday success, making it to the Sweet Sixteen. Entering their 7th Championship, this group of Illinois wifflers are primed for another successful Hometown Days. Captain Anthony DiNardo and his squad battled ORWBL squad Truffle Butter in pool play and were one of the two 6 seeds to take down a 3 in the second round when they upset Team Combat. Although they later fell to the County Line Kings, The Naturals proved last year they are a tournament team worth paying attention to. After tasting playoff victory twice now, 2022 could be the year The Naturals make an even bigger leap on Sunday.

MC Mud Flood will be participating in their first Championship as a team, but have a good amount of experience. Both Steve and Joe Pravecek have league experience playing with Jared Emmons’ Taco Punchers, and Matt Mender has become a frequent player in Hometown Days. In a competitive pool, they’ll need all the experience they can get but a Sunday bid is certainly in the realm of possibilities.

Sunday locks: New Carlisle Newts

On the bubble: Scottsdale Sluggers, The Naturals, MC Mud Flood

Best shot at Migley: New Carlisle Newts

Player to Watch: Garrett Curless (New Carlisle Newts)

Emmons Division

Homerun or Bust
  • 8th Appearance (31-11)
  • 7 Playoff Appearances | 4 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

  • 3rd Appearance (8-4)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

Busch League
  • 6th Appearance (6-16)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 1-3

Dundee Classic
  • 1st Appearance

Wiffle Daddies
  • 1st Appearance

Captain Matt Went’s Homerun or Bust are one of the most consistent teams year in year out at The Championship, making the playoffs in all 7 seasons and winning their division in 4 of those years. Matt is also the commissioner of another local wiffleball tournament, the HD Classic (plug for the HD Classic - it’ll be August 27th this year at Rose Park in Mishawaka, IN and registration is still open… check it out here: https://www.hdwiffleballclassic.com/). For The Championship, though, Homerun or Bust is well positioned to have another great showing. Both Forslund brothers are well-rounded players with plenty of experience playing slow-pitch wiffle. These two and Went have all appeared in a fair amount of ORWBL games, too. Neal Hickle rounds out a lineup who will give any team a fight. A long-time team on the tournament circuit, Homerun or Bust has plenty of success and is not going to beat themselves. Despite their consistency on Saturday at Hometown Days, HR or Bust is still seeking their first Final Four appearance. As is the case every year, the sight of these wiffle vets making a deep run would not surprise me.

Few teams in The Championship match the wiffleball experience that the C-Slugs bring to the table. Co-founder of the ORWBL Jared Emmons captains this squad, bringing with him his signature curveball on the mound and trips to Migley in both 2009 and 2012. The New Carlisle Wiffleball Hall of Famer is joined by fellow HOFer Seth Shail. Shail is one of the greatest two-way players our game has ever seen, serving as a force both at the plate and on the bump. Shail, too, is no stranger to Migley; having led long-time contender The Muffs to a final four run back in 2010. Accompanying these two legends are a trio of vets with impressive resumes in their own right. Outfielder Jordan Smoroske joins his long-time running mate Emmons in hopes of replicating some of their Hometown Days magic of old. A name we cannot forget is Adam Rehlander. The ORWBL legend is still the all-time Batting Average leader, having hit .620 over his wiffleball career. Although the C-Slugs’ best wiffleball may be behind them, they’re a team worth watching given their past success. It’s hard to tell how much they’ve played leading up to the tournament, but we know this much: the C-Slugs will be playing on Sunday; and they’ll be a tough out for whoever draws them.

Owners of 2 playoff appearances in 5 tries, the Busch League enter 2022 eager to improve upon their 6-16 all time record. Busch League is captained by New Carlisle native Jeff Szczypiorski. Although they missed the Sunday tournament last year, Hometown Days is where these natives come to shine. They’ll be battling it out with two relatively inexperienced squads for 2-2, as both Dundee Classic and the Wiffle Daddies don’t intend to make the trek out to New Carlisle for nothing. Dundee Classic will be making the trip all the way from Omaha, Nebraska and I find it hard to believe they only booked their AirBnb for Friday night. Although a shorter drive, the Wiffle Daddies too won’t be looking for a one-and-done. Chesterton, Indiana is no stroll down the street, so look for both of these squads to contend for the third spot in this pool.

Sunday locks: Homerun or Bust, C-Slugs

On the bubble: Busch League, Dundee Classic, Wiffle Daddies

Best shot at Migley: Homerun or Bust

Player to Watch: Seth Shail (C-Slugs)

Flagg Division

Bourissa Hills Wildcards        12th in WPI
  • 11th Appearance (31-25)
  • 2 Division Titles | 9 Playoff Appearances
  • 2021 Result: 5-1, Sweet Sixteen

GP Black
  • 4th Appearance (18-4)
  • 3 Playoff Appearances | 2 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 7-1, Final Four

Wiffing Balls
  • 1st Appearance

Don Curlers
  • 10th Appearance (3-32)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles

The Fellas in Paris
  • 1st Appearance

The Bourissa Hills Wildcards are the latest ORWBL team to crack the top 15. The ‘Cards are chalk full of star-power with a former ORWBL MVP in DJ Hill holding down left field and a duo of vets with a combined 17 years of league experience in Zach Rehlander (who also happens to have the best mullet in wiffle) and Luke Stanisci. Throw in the booming bat of Cody Carlisle and you have yourself a recipe for Hometown Days success. The Wildcards have been respectable in bracket play in recent years, reaching a sweet sixteen and two second rounds in recent years. Despite that, Bourissa Hills is still looking for their final four run with this group of guys. If the Wildcards can build some moment with a 4-0 record on Saturday, this is a group who could very well play their way to Migley Field.

Despite a breakout Final Four run last year for GP Black, only manager Brett Shepard and Outfielder Brandon Campbell return from last year’s squad. That is certainly not a bad start, however, as Campbell is a solid contributor for the Granger Panthers ORWBL team and Shepard has established himself as one of the premier closers in the entire sport. Though they’re losing usual captain Daivyn Davis to the Granger Panthers, the additions of Andy Migas and Tiki Seroczynski have to give GP Black some hope they can repeat the success even with the roster changes. Migas has played a major role in the Scottsdale Sluggers ORWBL franchise this year, while Tiki has long been a player in big games across the Granger affiliates. The boys will need to get the bats rolling to return to Migley, but it’s in the cards.

Both Wiffing Balls and The Fellas in Paris will be entering their first Championship, but like many New Prairie students these kids are no stranger to the game of plastic. Grady Lapczynski is the name to watch for Wiffing Balls. The standout high school basketball player is a proven athlete who has some serious wiffle potential. Alongside him, West Virginia Wesleyan baseball player Jake Mauzy projects as an impact player for a first year squad eager to make a Sunday appearance. For The Fellas in Paris, look for captain Kaleb Lewandowski and home run guy Trenton Walls to show out and avoid a one-day tournament.

Oh, Don Curlers. Changing your name won’t change your track record at The Championship. One of the more lovable Saturday squads, Jordan Colanese and company have made just one playoff appearance in their 9 attempts. I’m rooting for you guys, but regardless I have a feeling you’ll leave this weekend in high spirits.

Sunday locks: Bourissa Hills Wildcards, GP Black

On the bubble: Wiffing Balls, Don Curlers, The Fellas in Paris

Best shot at Migley: Homerun or Bust

Player to Watch: LF DJ Hill (Wildcards)

Hernandez Division

Queso and the Chips        4th in WPI
  • 1st Appearance

MO-WIFF Miracle
  • 2nd Appearance (4-2)
  • 1 Playoff Appearances
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

Boss Blasters
  • 1st Appearance

Force Out
  • 1st Appearance

  • 2nd Appearance (1-3)
  • 2021 Result: 1-3

Don’t let that “first appearance” under their name fool you, Queso and the Chips are very much contenders for The Cup this year. Made up of four players for the ORWBL franchise the Cityless Wiffle Dees, Queso and the Chips have been a popular betting pick at the Black Cat to raise The Cup on Sunday. Two players from this team helped lead their squads to Final Four appearances last year, and the other two just missed out on the fun. Left fielder Garrett Ruiz led off for the Mechanics in their Final Four Run last year, while ORWBL MVP candidate did the same for GP Black. Ruiz is known for his two-way game, with a knack for robbing opposing hitters home runs defensively, while sending out an array of homers himself at the plate. Shupert has been red-hot the last two seasons, and is the betting favorite for the ORWBL MVP award. His ability to place the ball all over the field (including over the fence) makes him a dangerous hitter regardless of the conditions. Former Triple Crown MVP winner JP Kehoe and powerful pull-hitter Mason Ryans round out the lineup. You can be sure these two will be eager for a taste of the Hometown Cup Finals after narrowly losing to the Magic in the Elite Eight last season. All in all, this is one of the best hitting teams in the field and they’ll look for their bats to carry the way on Sunday. They’re legit contenders.

MO-Wiff Miracle had so much fun in their Hometown Cup debut they decided to make the long drive back from Saint Louis, Missouri. These guys play in the same league as the Pokeballs, the Skibbe Wiffleball League (SWBL). Captain Cam Smith and Cole Layton are standouts for the Astros, while Josh Rogers and Jordan Smith play for the Athletics. Notably, Layton was the Rookie of the Year in the SWBL back in 2020. Although a potential Sunday run was cut short thanks to the buzzsaw that is Cult West, MO-Wiff Miracle did more than get their feet wet in their first year. Expect an improved squad this season: one that will give teams fits on Sunday morning.

In their inaugural campaign, the Laporte-based Boss Blasters will look to slide in as the 2-2 playoff team from the Hernandez division. They have some age on the two other teams in the division, as both Force Out and the Sharks are still just high schoolers. Force Out, too, is playing in their first Championship but the Sharks got some valuable experience in their first year last summer. Although the Sharks are the only of these three with a Hometown Days victory in their pocket, these three should all have an equal shot to make it to Sunday.

Sunday locks: Queso and the Chips, MO-WIFF Miracle

On the bubble: Boss Blasters, Force Out, Sharks

Best shot at Migley: Queso and the Chips

Player to Watch: LF Garrett Ruiz (Queso and the Chips)

Jedrysek Division

Mechanics        6th in WPI
  • 7th Appearance (27-11)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 3 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 8-2, Final Four

Maple City Purple        11th in WPI
  • 6th Appearance (19-10)
  • 4 Playoff Appearances | 3 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 1-3

Mo Mookie Mo Problems
  • 5th Appearance (7-8)
  • 3 Playoff Appearances | 1 Division Title
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Chaw Dawgz
  • 3rd Appearance (4-6)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Midwest Acez
  • 1st Appearance

The only pool with two teams in WPI’s top 15, the Jedrysek division will feature one of the more enticing pool play games when the Mechanics square off against Maple City Purple. After a shutout loss to White Lightning in pool play last year, the Mechanics made a Cinderella run to the final four. The first non-division winner to make it to Migley since Clutch Players in 2015, the Mechanics are geared up to build off last year’s surprise run. The Mechanics feature an elite defense thanks to the black-hole that is Left Fielder Kody Webb. Kody is the premier outfielder in the slow-pitch game, possessing an ORWBL-record 3 Gold Glove awards. Webb and ORWBL teammate Kadin Abegg have brought it on offense and defense for the Cityless Wiffle Dees this season. Abegg is a favorite for the Cy Young this season, mixing a nasty knuckleball and sharp breaking ball to form one a dangerous arsenal on the mound. Rounding out the lineup, captain Aidan Cotter and Colton Boren will look to put their ORWBL seasons out of sight in hopes for a better Championship showing. Notably, Webb and Cotter are recent winners of the World Wiffleball Championship, at least proving they still have the legs to make a prolonged Sunday run. The bats will be the deciding factor in whether or not the Mechanics can return to Migley. (This is also the team I am on so if you want to give someone shit for this write-up, check our schedule).

Despite the Mechanics run last year, Maple City Purple has just as good of a chance as their pool play mates to make a run to Migley. Maple City Purple is captained yet again by long-time vet George Stainko. The Horse, as they call him, has struggled with roster consistency at The Championship but has shown he can bring formidable teams in the past. This iteration of Magic Purple could very-well be the best team Stainko has fielded. 2-time ORWBL MVP Tony Koch leads the way at the plate for Purple. The Doctor is among the all-time ORWBL leaders in every hitting category, putting together one of the more impressive wiffle resumes out there. In his return to league play this year, Koch helped turn the Twin Branch Billy Goats around pacing them in batting average en route to their 2nd place National League finish. While Koch is still searching for a tournament title, teammate Drew Luther brings with him championship as he held down right field in the Maple City Magic’s 2020 winning run. Luther is a rock-solid two way player, possessing clean hands in the outfield and a powerful bat at the plate. The ample wiffle experience doesn’t stop with these three, however, as former ORWBL MVP Zach Liberatore and OG wiffler Brian Lockhart round out the Purple lineup. Liberatore is a lockdown left fielder, while Lockhart possesses an array of crafty pitches on the mound. Although these two have played less wiffleball in recent years, their track record speaks for itself. Maple City Purple has all the pieces to make a Migley run, with experience rivaling any team in the tournament. The noon game with the Mechanics could be a major indicator in just how far these vets can go on Sunday.

After a mysterious name change last year (what the hell is the Dumpster Panda Mob), Mo Mookie Mo Problems return for their 5th Championship Appearance. An ode to wiffletarian Mookie Smith, Mo Mookie is what The Championship is all about. They try, they have fun, and they’re not assholes (except for Swain). Mo Mookie Mo Problems is a staple Hometown Days team. However, don’t let their celebratory status take away from their play on the field. Ross Strieter is cousins with both Webb brothers and certainly takes after them in the field. Pitcher Mikey Smith boasts a killer knuckleball and clean swing, while catcher Chad Swain exclusively hits nukes. Throw in the all-around game of Mo Burke, and Mo Mookie Mo Problems is always a threat at The Championship.

The Chaw Dawgz face an uphill battle in their quest to make their third Sunday appearance, but if their track record says they’ll find a way. Owners of two Sunday bids, these Chicago wifflers have proven capable of giving anyone a game at Hometown Days. The Midwest Acez, however, may be in for an unkind welcome to their first Championship given the depth of this pool. As is the case with most teenage teams, they’ll look to utilize the element of surprise to catch teams off guard in their inaugural Championship.

Sunday locks: Mechanics, Maple City Purple

On the bubble: Mo Mookie Mo Problems, Midwest Acez

Best shot at Migley: Mechanics

Player to Watch: LF Zach Liberatore (Maple City Purple)

Bob Keck Division

White Lightning        9th in WPI
  • 8th Appearance (32-11)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 4 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 6-1, Elite Eight

Emery’s Army
  • 14th Appearance (41-28)
  • 13 Playoff Appearances | 2 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals

The Easy Ones
  • 3rd Appearance (2-6)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances

Lil’ Saints
  • 7th Appearance (3-20)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 0-4

Swamp Donkeys
  • 1st Appearance

White Lightning just missed out on their second trip to the Final Four last season, falling one round short of the promised land to GP Black. These long-time wifflers are back in 2022 eager to make up for their disappointing finish. White Lightning boasts arguably the best defense in the entire field. Former ORWBL Gold Glovers Jasen Webb and Levi Miller patrol the outfield for this small-ball team known for suffocating opposing offenses. Ground balls are as good as strikeouts against these guys, as speedy pitcher Doug Benner flies around the diamond on defense either diving on ground balls himself or making spectacular grabs on his Gold Glovers’ flips. Throw in the big mouth of catcher Bailey Rhed and WL is the absolute last team you’d want to see on a wind blowing in field. Make no mistake, though, this former ORWBL franchise isn’t a one-trick pony. Benner has been a force at the plate for the ORWBL Hudson Lake Heat this season, finishing 6th in the league in batting average (.559). Alongside him, right fielder Levi Miller has carried the load for the Lynn Street Leprechauns in league play and slugger Bailey Rhed is one of the more feared HR guys in the field. Even if this squad gives up potential runs, the athletic prowess of the edler Webb in left field is a sure bet to rob double digit homers this weekend. What makes White Lightning a dangerous foe is their ability to play in any conditions. That gives them a pretty good chance to make yet another deep Sunday run.

Returning for their 14th Championship, Emery’s Army is yet another former ORWBL squad eager to prove they have something left in the tank. Hall of Famer Matt Serge remains arguably the best place-hitter in the field, but he truly shines on the mound. As one of the most accomplished pitchers we’ve seen, Serge will be aided by a sure-handed outfield of Jake Lawrence and Ryan Murphy. Offensively, EA will need to dust off the bats quickly on Saturday. Only Lawrence and captain Kevin May have played league experience this season, with Law in particular being a major factor in the Twin Branch Billy Goats’ success this ORWBL season. That isn’t to say the rest of their roster won’t be hitting though. Murphy has long been one of the more underrated hitters in The Championship. Between himself and OG HR guy Eric Johnson have found quite a love for the long-ball during their time at Hometown Days. As one of the most seasoned squads in the field, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them turning heads on Sunday afternoon.

Outside of those two former ORWBL franchises, there isn’t a lot of proven success at The Championship. Although the Lil’ Saints have as much experience as anyone in the field, they have just 1 playoff appearance. Similarly, The Easy One’s will be no stranger to Saturday but they’re still looking for their first Sunday bid. This isn’t just a two-team race, as the Swamp Donkeys feature a young roster oozing with Wiffle potential. Look for Dalton Anastos and company to give the rest of the pool all they can handle in their innagural Championship.

Sunday locks: White Lightning, Emery’s Army

On the bubble: The Easy Ones, Lil’ Saints, Swamp Donkeys

Best shot at Migley: White Lightning

Player to Watch: P Doug Benner (White Lightning)

Kaylor Keck Division

South Bend Truffle Butter        13th in WPI
  • 3rd Appearance (11-2)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 2 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 5-1, Sweet Sixteen

Zone 3 Cyclones
  • 6th Appearance (24-8)
  • 5 Playoff Appearances | 2 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-1, Second Round

Febreze Brothers
  • 3rd Appearance (3-6)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 1-3

  • 6th Appearance (5-16)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles

Little Frickers
  • 8th Appearance (4-24)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances

The Kaylor Keck division features a pair of ORWBL franchises in the South Bend Truffle Butter and the Zone 3 Cyclones. Truffle Butter in particular has had a breakout ORWBL season, as captain Ryan Galiher led his squad to the best regular season record in the entire league. Galiher has a great two-way game, as he is among the ORWBL league leaders in every hitting category and picked up double digit wins on the mound. Galiher has championship-winning experience, too, as he helped the New Carlisle Newts bring home The Cup in 2018. Alongside the MVP candidate, sluggers Jeremy Ratajczyk and Ryan Voges have plenty of wiffleball experience. These three have all been mainstays in the fast-pitch wiffle world in both the Griffleball League (GBL) and the Leroy Wiffleball Association. They were integral players in Griffleball’s 2021 National Wiffleball Tournament victory, the first for their league. The X-factor for Truffle Butter, though, is outfielder Josh Trim. Trim wears his emotions on his sleeve, making diving plays in the outfield while bat flipping (or bat breaking) early and often at the plate. In ORWBL play, Trim has become a staple in the Truffle Butter outfield thanks in large part to his sure hands. Rounding out Truffle Butter’s lineup is Kyle Lidster, a player who wasn’t available for much of Truffle Butter’s regular season but who is a feared hitter in his own right. We know these guys will be able to mash with anyone and if they can lock down the defense we could be in for a buttery Final Four.

The other ORWBL franchise in this pool, the Zone 3 Cyclones have seen a great deal of success in their time in New Carlisle. Austin Howell brings a squad eager to make former captain Mark Richards proud since Mark’s illustrious Cornhole career will keep him out of this year’s Championship. The Satoski brothers will look to do just that. Owen and Sam both were among the Cyclones' leaders during ORWBL play this year, with Sam in particular turning heads with his play belting out 31 home runs in just 24 games. Former Union Mills Goon Squad manager projects to take on the pitching duties, a role he has filled well in ORWBL en route to 8 wins. Offensively, look for the combination of Howell and HR guy Collin Froedge to bring their teammates home. Both sluggers have the power to send balls flying over the fence early and often this weekend. Zone 3 is one of the more underrated teams in this year’s Championship. After a division win last year, the Cyclones couldn’t find any luck on Sunday morning. Make no mistake though, this is certainly a team capable of winning games in bracket play.

The rest of this pool is not without experience here, either as all three are returning squads to Hometown Days. The Febreze brother would be our bet to finish 2-2 in this division, as they’ve shown a lot of promise both on and off the diamond in their 2 appearances. However, the e-LEMON-ators and Little Frickers have the advantage longevity-wise, having played in 5 and 7 seasons, respectively. It’ll be a blood bath for that final playoff spot and it wouldn’t be a shock to see any of these 3 showing up hungover on Sunday morning.

Sunday locks: South Bend Truffle Butter, Zone 3 Cyclones

On the bubble: Febreze Brothers, e-LEMON-ators, Little Frickers

Best shot at Migley: South Bend Truffle Butter

Player to Watch: OF Josh Trim (South Bend Truffle Butter)

Luther Division

Billy Goats        10th in WPI
  • 6th Appearance (25-7)
  • 4 Division Titles | 5 Playoff Appearances
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

The Muffs
  • 12th Appearance (49-18)
  • 11 Playoff Appearances | 4 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 4-1, Second Round

Slappin’ Pitches
  • 3rd Appearance (6-5)
  • 2 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles

Dong Whackerz
  • 1st Appearance

Rather Be Golfing
  • 1st Appearance

Since their Cinderella run to Migley and fabled upset of Cult West in 2018, the Billy Goats have not escaped the Sweet Sixteen in Sunday’s bracket. Make no mistake, though, this ORWBL team is knocking at the door of another Migley run. The ‘Goats have had a resurgent year in league play, finishing second in the National League. Former ORWBL Cy Young Andrew Doran gives the Billy Goats a true ace on the mound, while the sweet-swinging Lucas Oletti has some of the surest hands in the tournament patrolling left field. Joining the usual Billy Goat 4 is ORWBL mainstay Riley Smith. In extended playing time in ORWBL, Smith has had somewhat of a breakout season thanks to his defensive versatility and love for the long-ball. Frankie Minerva and Keigan White’s powerful bats round out one of the streakiest lineups in all of wiffleball. A lock for Sunday, if the ‘Goats can get hot at the plate and keep their composure in the field they are certainly a contender for the Cup.

The ‘Goats won’t be the only team in the Luther division with experience in the Final Four, as flagship South Bend squad The Muffs enter their 12th Championship eager to replicate their 2010 Migley run. Long-time captain Austin Rieff brings with him a group of wiffle vets who have grown accustomed to Sunday bids. The Muffs feature a stellar defense led by the criminally underrated Erick Mintock. Both Mintock and Rieff offer sure hands in the field - aiding The Muffs hopes for yet another Sunday run. Catcher Conner MacMillan is one of the best characters in The Championship, but is no slouch at the plate either. If his powerful bat is rolling The Muffs could have just enough offensive firepower to make a sustained Sunday run.

With two first-year teams in the Dong Whackerz and Rather Be Golfing in this pool, 2-time playoff squad Slappin’ Pitches will be doing their best to ensure these rookies will be one day teams. Slappin’ Pitches haven’t missed out on the Sunday fun in any of their appearances, and are the favorite to round out this pool. However, Dong Whackerz in particular could be a threat for the 2-2 playoff spot here. Speedster Anthony Bukowski and slugger Jackson Turley lead the way for a squad containing more than a few members of the fabled Cable Cutters Intramural basketball team. Look for these recent high school grads to give the Luther Division all they can handle in their first season. As for Rather Be Golfing… goodluck on Sunday. I’m sure the golf course will be gorgeous this weekend.

Sunday locks: Billy Goats, The Muffs

On the bubble: Slappin’ Pitches, Dong Whackerz

Best shot at Migley: Billy Goats

Player to Watch: LF Lucas Oletti (Billy Goats)

Ryans Division

Woo Crew        3rd in WPI
  • 7th Appearance (28-7)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 5 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 5-1, Sweet Sixteen

Glen Lee Skeeters
  • 2nd Appearance (2-3)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles

Read About It
  • 3rd Appearance (3-6)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Wiffle Sweat Jets
  • 1st Appearance

The Chicken Bros
  • 1st Appearance

The Woo Crew kicks off the Ryan’s division hoping to find more sustained Sunday success after an upset loss in last year’s Sweet Sixteen. ORWBL MVP candidate Walter Griffin III leads the way, as his athleticism on the mound and prowess at the plate make him one of the tournaments best players. Himself and fellow ORWBL journey Brandon Terry give the Woo Crew an incredibly impressive duo. Terry will patrol the outfield with reigning ORWBL MVP Andy Seradzki for a squad who’s firepower isn’t just reserved for the top of their lineup. In addition to Walt, Woo Crew can turn to either captain Jimmy Tumpane or Wiffle journeyman Austin Traxler for pitching relief. Jimmy and Seradzki are World Wiffleball Championship legends but have made their names known in the wider wiffle world in recent seasons. As for Traxler, he is in the midst of perhaps his best ORWBL season as a member of the Mishawaka Meatspins. His all-around game is a welcome addition to the Woo Crew given his experience playing with Walt and BT. This 5-man team has no holes. They can field, hit, and have a number of options to throw at you on the bump. They’re our 3rd rated team for good reason and anything shy of a Migley appearance would be a shock to fans and the betting market alike.

Despite this being just the Skeeters 2nd appearance at The Championship, these Granger wifflers have plenty of experience on the tournament circuit in addition to their status as ORWBL members. Twitter darling Kade Stone serves as the Skeeter’s ace on the mound but doubles as Glen Lee’s HR guy at the plate. Stone is coming off perhaps the biggest hit of his young career as his 2-run homer in last weekend's ORWBL playoffs advanced the Skeeters to the next round. This isn’t just a one-man show, though, as both the Skeeter outfielders have made names for themselves this summer. Left fielder Alec Holland has quietly become one of the more sure-handed fielders in the ORWBL, while right fielder Nolan Crail took a huge leap at the plate in his 2nd season. Crail’s place-hitting could be a major weapon for a Skeeters team who excels with the wind blowing in. Behind the plate, captain Peyton Doran boasts arguably the best hair in the game to go along with his stellar all-around play. Although they haven’t yet made a run in The Championship, if the Skeeters bats are rolling they have shown the ability to play with anyone in the field.

Another in the long line of Granger wifflers, Read About It enter their 3rd Championship eager to last more than just one game on Sunday. Having turned heads in the tournament circuit the last two seasons, captain Will “Bones” Bartus and company will look to build on last year’s solid showing. Bartus and Twin Branch Billy Goat Justyn Foxy give Read About It a solid foundation which we expect will translate to Saturday success. It’ll be up to the rest of the lineup to ensure that carries over to Sunday. With two first year teams in the Wiffle Sweat Jets and The Chicken Bros, the bottom of this division could be an all-out brawl as they fight for a coveted playoff spot.

Sunday locks: Woo Crew, Glen Lee Skeeters

On the bubble: Read About It, Wiffle Sweat Jets, The Chicken Bros

Best shot at Migley: Woo Crew

Player to Watch: Walter Griffin III (Woo Crew)

Serge Division

CCW Skullcrushers        15th in WPI
  • 6th Appearance (20-10)
  • 5 Playoff Appearances | 2 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

Pink Pandas
  • 2nd Appearance (2-3)
  • 1 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

  • 3rd Appearance (5-6)
  • 2 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Prestige Worldwide
  • 1st Appearance

Diamond Kings
  • 3rd Appearance (4-6)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Fresh off their National Wiffleball League Association (NWLA) tournament championship, the CCW Skullcrushers reign from Indianapolis, Indiana and are composed of players from the Circle City Wiffleball League (CCW). Leading the way for CCW is captain and CCW commissioner Brenden Dudas. A member of the New Carlisle Newts ORWBL team, Dudas, a 3-time MVP of CCW is no stranger to the slow-pitch style of The Championship. By Dudas’ side is NWLA tournament hero Will Smithey. Smithey blasted a walk-off homerun in the NWLA championship to win CCW the tournament and will certainly be looking to carry his recent heroics into this year’s Hometown Cup. Rounding out this star-studded roster are vets Thomas Hopkins and Nick Bundy. Both Hopkins and Bundy rank in the top ten in CCW in both hits and homers, providing a powerful end of the lineup. Some rough Sunday draws have prevented CCW from making a deep tournament run thus far, but if the bats are rolling there aren’t many teams in the field capable of matching the Skullcrushers power at the plate. CCW is as good of a candidate as any to make a run at Migley.

The Pandas are the lone team in this pool with ORWBL experience, as the Mill Pond boys are enjoying their most successful season to date in league play. Zach Christy has backpacked the Pandas throughout the regular season, as the pitcher will look to do the same this weekend. However, it was outfielder Andrew Karsten who led the team in batting average. The speedy lefty has become one of the tougher outs in the game thanks to his precise placement and jets down the line. Speaking of jets, gold glove candidate Todd Snyder is no snail himself. Snyder is a great left fielder for the Pandas. His quick flips ensure minimal base hits will be had when facing off against the Pandas. Notably, the Pandas will be joined this weekend by David Ooms of the ORWBL affiliate OTF. With OTF electing not to participate in this year’s tournament, Ooms could be a major player in a potential Pandas run. Consistency could be an issue for the Pandas, but given their stellar play this summer it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make a deep run on Sunday.

Another Circle City Wiffleball group, the Outlaws enter their third Championship attempting to continue their perfect run of Sunday appearances. Captain Aaron Rogers (not the football player) brings with him a solid squad who certainly won’t beat themselves on the diamond. An early matchup with the CCW Skullcrushers could be a major indicator in whether or not the Outlaws will have success past Saturday, as the Outlaws have yet to make it out of the first round in bracket play.

Prestige Worldwide will be participating in their first championship, but the Sinka name is very familiar with the plastic game. Captain Scott brings with him his eldest son Brock, a star football player for New Prairie. Brock is joined by future Division 1 football player Tayvion Ortman and knucklehead Blake Morse. All three of these stellar athletes project to be major players for Prestige Worldwide. Ortman and Brock Sinka could quickly develop into heavy hitters at the plate. If that’s the case, Prestige Worldwide could certainly find themselves with a Sunday morning playoff bid.

The Diamond Kings are another in long line in former New Carlisle kids reaching the age where it's hard to call them “kids”. This squad is headlined by captain Garrett Calvert and his running mate Nate Lloyd. These freshly-turned 21 year olds have the bats to lead their team to another Sunday berth, as they have yet to miss the tournament in their two years of play. Being 21 at the tournament can be a recipe for disaster, however, as they’ll need to make sure they secure a Sunday spot before the extra-curriculars of Saturday get the best of them.

Sunday locks: CCW Skullcrushers, Pink Pandas

On the bubble: Outlaws, Prestige Worldwide, Diamond Kings

Best shot at Migley: CCW Skullcrushers

Player to Watch: P Zach Christy (Pink Pandas)

Shail Division

Grandmother’s Quilt        8th in WPI
  • 7th Appearance (32-9)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 5 Division Titles
  • 2 Hometown Cup Finals
  • 2021 Result: 5-1, Sweet Sixteen

Warsaw Whitecats
  • 12th Appearance (42-17)
  • 8 Playoff Appearances | 5 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

Lynn Street Leprechauns
  • 6th Appearance (11-14)
  • 4 Playoff Appearance | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

  • 8th Appearance (2-26)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances
  • 2021 Result: 0-4

  • 4th Appearance (8-8)
  • 3 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

In one of the more well-rounded pools, the infamous Grandmother’s Quilt leads the way for the Shail Division. The Quilt have a long history with the slow pitch game, winning numerous tournaments throughout the summer circuit. They have a 5-man roster rivaling anyone in the field. Captain Dan “The Cat” Zeiger is the definition of a gold glover behind the plate, as he and pool play opponent Sean Touhey are widely recognized as the two best defensive catchers in the game. Forgiving his Xavier basketball affixation is tough for us, but the team Zieger brings with him is hard to ignore. Full of World Wiffleball Hall of Famers, Granny’s Quilt is one of the best hitting teams you’ll see this weekend. Ryan Warmoth is the base-hitter teams will need to worry about thanks to his precise placement and absolute wheels down the line. Pitchers Joe Stratton and Erick Woodrich may take turns on the mound, but they take no time off at the plate serving as Granny’s primary HR guys. That isn’t to say they’re Adam Dunns though, as each of these wiffle vets can hit the ball all over the field. Oh, and we can’t forget the durag of outfielder Nick Thoman. Thoman will be heard regardless of whether he’s hot at the plate thanks to his seemingly never-ending shit talking. Despite an early exit in last year’s playoff, Grandmother’s Quilt is as good of a bet as any to return to Migley and perhaps even raise The Cup. Just make sure you’re staying hydrated guys. You’re getting old.

Whit Huffer and his Warsaw Whitecats never seem to get the respect they deserve from WiffleTalk, and this year is no different. Coming in just outside WPI’s top 15, these wiffle vets are well positioned to have another successful Championship. Led by the aforementioned Huffer and the stellar outfield of Chaz Boyd and Nick Fritz, the Whitecats are a team no one will want to see in their path on Sunday. Containing a number of players from the Godfathers ORWBL franchise, the Whitecats are fine-tuned and ready to roll this weekend. The stellar pitching of Huffer and walking web-gem that is Chaz Boyd seem to always keep Warsaw in games but it will be up to their bats if they’re to make an extended Sunday run.

The Lynn Street Leprechauns may be without usual captain Nick Brassell this weekend, but with two big additions the Leps could be positioned to have their most successful tournament yet. ORWBL ace Luke Armstrong captains the ship for the Leps this year and brings with him his patented curveball. Armstrong has enjoyed a strong season at the plate, too, aiding the Leps hope for a Sunday run. Alongside Armstrong are ORWBL teammates Dylan Kegley, Bryce Bloode, and Jacob Hughes. Kegley has been a long-time member of the Leps and is a feared power hitter in the plastic game. Bloode, on the other hand, is a new addition to Lynn Street. Despite him not playing much during league play, he helped lead the Leps to a strong showing at the Cam Snead Wiffleball tournament earlier this summer. Rounding out the Leps lineup is the sweet-swinging lefty Jacob Hughes. Hughes made it to the Final Four last year on the Mechanics and will look to use that experience and his love for the long-ball for a Leps Sunday run. If these four can click on Saturday they could be a surprise team once bracket play comes along.

Snapper and CREED round out this pool with varying levels of success. While the long-time Newt Sean Touhey has yet to lead his squad to Sunday, his strong ORWBL season could be just enough to push them to a Sunday bid. CREED, on the other hand, was done no favors by the committee as they’ll be hard pressed to maintain their perfect playoff appearance record in such a competitive pool.

Sunday locks: Grandmother’s Quilt

On the bubble: Warsaw Whitecats, Lynn Street Leprechauns, CREED

Best shot at Migley: Grandmother’s Quilt

Player to Watch: Ryan Warmoth (Grandmother’s Quilt)

Matt Soos Division

  • 9th Appearance (8-26)
  • 2 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 1-3

GSPGL Godfathers
  • 8th Appearance (20-17)
  • 6 Playoff Appearances | 0 Division Titles
  • 2021 Result: 2-3, First Round

Malort! I’ll Have Another
  • 10th Appearance (40-14)
  • 9 Playoff Appearance | 4 Division Titles
  • 1 Hometown Cup Finals | 1 Championship (2011)
  • 2021 Result: 4-2, Second Round

Can O’ Corn
  • 3rd Appearance (0-8)
  • 0 Playoff Appearances
  • 2021 Result: 0-4

NC Sliders
  • 1st Appearance

Last but certainly not least, we have perhaps the biggest toss-up pool in this year’s Championship as we close things out with the Matt Soos Division. Starting things off for this top-heavy pool are the Knights. Contrary to their status as 8 year Hometown Days veterans, the Knights are full of young talent with most of their roster having just graduated high school. These New Carlisle kids took their talents to the ORWBL this summer and had an impressive rookie season. Their outfield of Gavin Peters and Cade Skornog is solid enough to limit any damage done by opposing hitters, while their pitching staff got a major upgrade with the addition of ace Jared Michael. Both Michael and captain Camden Bashaw had ORWBL experience prior to this summer and they’ll serve as the veterans on this budding team. The guy to watch for the Knights, though, is slugger Adin “Lob” Newman. Lob got off to a blistering start in league play, showing the ability to hit the ball to all fields successfully. Additionally, Newman got some valuable experience on the tournament circuit this summer having finished on runner-up teams at both the Cam Snead tournament and the World Wiffleball Championship. After missing the Sunday fun last season, a greatly improved Knights team has a chance to rebound with a division title this weekend.

We can’t get ahead of ourselves with the darling Knights in the Matt Soos division though, as two seasoned veteran teams stand in their way. The GSGL Godfathers hail from ORWBL, too, and will look to build on last year’s tournament bid. Captain Matador Smith brings a big bat to the plate as the lone ORWBL ‘Father on this Godfathers roster. He’ll be joined by a trio of Bourissa Hills Wildcards regulars in Allen Ament, Mason Monhaut, and Evan Layman. The 2020 ORWBL Cy Young winner Layman gives the Godfathers a real ace on the mound, while Ament and Monhaut are proven hitters in their years of wiffle experience. With a dense fog projected in each of their pool play games, Layman’s slicing curveball could be a major factor in the Godfathers’ success.

Between the fog from Great Lakes, and the Malort from Chicago, there will be no shortage of obstacles in the Matt Soos division. Malort! I’ll Have Another clock in next and have a resume few across the field can match. Entering their 10th Championship, World Wiffleball Championship commissioner Nate Hansen captains the ship for these long-time wifflers. Hansen is one of the greatest two-way players this game has seen. Known for his stellar pitching and elite defense off the mound, Nate is no slouch at the plate, either. By his side will be a trio of long-time wifflers in Grant Duncan, Dan Lowe, and John Premetz. The World Wiffleball legends made their names known throughout the 2000’s and have maintained relevance two decades later. Having hoisted The Cup under a different alias in 2011, this fearsome four is as solid a team as they come. However, it is the addition of Brody Traxler that could really push this team forward in 2022. Another younger brother of Austin Traxler, Brody’s youth and athleticism are perhaps the only traits Malort was missing in past years. They’ll certainly be playing on Sunday, and possibly for more than just a few games.

Sunday locks: Malort! I’ll Have Another

On the bubble: Kights, GSGL Godfathers

Best shot at Migley: Knights

Player to Watch: Adin Newman (Knights)

This concludes the 2022 Hometown Cup Manifesto. Thank you for reading if you made it all the way through. If you felt like I slighted you or your team or wished I would’ve included more stuff about your squad, come chat me up on Saturday. Chances are I’m just not very familiar with your team and would be happy to learn more to improve for next year. Goodluck this weekend in your quest of #SeekingMigley but more than anything have fun out there. Throw strikes, swing the bat, and drink a beer (if you’re of age and obviously not on school property). I’ll see all you wifflers on Saturday morning.