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The 2007 Season Awards

League Review

The Pitcher of the Year, UL: Nathan Yan, Daly City SP

With his 5th straight award in 5 seasons, it may be getting to the point where the award is just retired and re-named after Yan. Daly City’s ace was masterful again this season, pitching a heavier 34-game load and compiling a 33-1 record, 0.91 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, and an own-record-shattering 602 K’s over 296 innings (that’s 18.3 K/9, besting even last year’s 18.0). He hit the 20-K mark twelve times in 34 games, and performed perhaps his most impressive feat yet – pitching his first and second PERFECT games in the same season (they’re just the 5th and 6th Perfect Games in league history).

Trailing Yan was a bevy of Daly City pitchers that dominated the Pitcher of the Year voting. Whitney Esguerra, Daly City’s #2, was also the league’s #2, finishing second to Yan in nearly every statistical category, ERA, bOBP, bSLG, K/9; despite only 30 starts in DC’s 6-man rotation, she placed top 3 in most of the counting stats too, from Wins to K’s to Shutouts to Quality Starts. Last year’s #5, Samantha Chin, placed 3rd this time, after a steadily improving season that saw her post a well-rounded, almost flawless season – 21-3, 2.66 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 209 K’s in 210 innings over 28 starts. Fourth was Microsoft’s ace, Kernel Tyranus, who regressed back from his outstanding 2006 campaign to his career norms – he posted an 18-8 record, 2.80 ERA,  1.10 WHIP over a workhorse 257+1/3 innings. Though he didn’t quite dazzle overwhelm opposing batters (only 6.8 K/9, and a .253-.272-.371 opposing line), Tyranus was helped by his amazing control (1.0 BB/9, 4th in baseball). In a surprise win for the Apple Septic Tanks, it was actually a reliever, 21-year-old Padme Amidala, who would edge out languishing Daly City starter Terrence Zhao. She saved 38 games in 62 outings for Apple, throwing 74+2/3 innings and striking out batters at an amazing 12.7 K/9 rate.

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Nathan Yan Daly City 33-1 34 33/29/15 296 602 0.91 0.02 0.43 18.3
Whitney Esguerra Daly City 24-1 30 28/10/6 235 289 1.88 1.18 0.83 11.1
Samantha Chin Daly City 21-3 28 24/9/5 210 209 2.66 2.06 0.98 9.0
Kernel Tyranus Microsoft 18-8 35 22/9/5 257 1/3 195 2.80 2.54 1.10 6.8
Padme Amidala Apple 8-4 62 RA 38 SV/44 SVO 74 2/3 105 1.81 1.89 0.88 12.7

The Batter of the Year, UL: Ted Kwong, Daly City LF

Unlike in 2005 and 2006, this year’s award was no shocker – Daly City’s budding young star was right in the thick of the Batter of the Year race from the onset of the season, and only tapered off slightly at the end as he missed some time with injuries. He led the league in Runs Created per 27 outs at 12.7, and posted a .357-.444-.704 line to lead the league with a 1.148 OPS, and posted some impressive traditional counting stats – 48 homers (4th), 135 RBI (8th), 142 Runs (2nd), 184.3 Runs Created (2nd).

Putting up a strong challenge was Microsoft’s Rightfielder Jango Fett, who didn’t rack up any astonishing homerun numbers (just 28, T-17th in the league), but still managed to lead the league in total bases through prodigious gap power and durability – he placed 2nd in the league with 60 doubles, and 17 triples, and led the league overall with 228 hits, finishing 1st in AVG (.368), 2nd in OBP (.453), and 3rd in SLG (.655). His RC/27 was just a hair off of Kwong’s at 12.3, and since he played a full slate of 160 games without injury, he led the league in cumulative Runs Created, with a staggering 197.2. He also stole 39 bases, although got caught 22 times, for a 63% rate that may have hurt more than it helped.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Asia’s Benjamin “Fritz” Trepanier, broke out in a big way in 2007. The German God of Walks continued to lead the league with a .461 OBP, 134 walks, and placed 3rd with 17 HBP’s as well. The formerly light-slapping rightfielder bulked up over the season as well – after hitting just 18 homers and slugging .492 in his rookie season, Trepanier blasted 40 out of the park (8th in UL) for a .606 SLG (5th), and placed 3rd again in RC/27 with 11.9. The United States’ catcher Andrew Amey had one of the best seasons for a catcher ever, hitting .311-.410-.654 on the strength of a massive 46-homerun outburst. Trepanier’s classmate and 3rd-place rookie of the year candidate, the Caribbean’s LF Clifford Alfano, had a similar breakout season, hitting .349-.446-.584, though he continued to be held back by spectacularly bad base-running ( a lead-leading 27 times caught stealing, for a miserable 40% success rate), earning him a 5th-place finish.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Ted Kwong Daly City 668 41 6 48 135 142 87 23 7 .357 .457 .704 184.3 12.72
Jango Fett Microsoft 720 60 17 28 112 132 98 39 22 .368 .453 .655 197.2 12.30
Benjamin Trepanier Asia 705 24 8 40 100 135 134 10 17 .316 .461 .606 177.5 11.86
Andrew Amey United States 633 44 1 46 133 99 91 0 0 .311 .410 .654 144.8 10.08
Clifford Alfano Caribbean 737 34 10 31 91 123 104 18 27 .349 .446 .584 184.0 11.16

The Rookie of the Year, UL: Ted Kwong, Daly City LF

It’s not often that the Batter of the Year is also the Rookie of the Year. In fact, it’s only happened once, but the precedent is a great one: in 1935, a young catcher by the name of Kenton McClinton exploded onto the scene, hitting .352-.443-.806 with 71 homeruns, 203 RBI, and 150 Runs to sweep both the Rookie and Batter of the Year awards, and would go on to win 7 more. The rest of the voting was also dominated by Daly City’s crop of newcomers, with the speedy Kuo hitting for high average and dominating the basepaths (2nd with 89 steals), Skyler Reid providing a solid hitting .327-.379-.506 season from DH, and spark plug Salgu Wissmath hitting .318-.387-.420 with 24 steals in a super utility role. Microsoft’s long reliever Wayne Stephens rounds out the ballot, appearing in 59 games, and chewing up 117 innings (2nd among UL relievers) with a 3.46 ERA.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Ted Kwong Daly City 668 41 6 48 135 142 87 23 7 .357 .457 .704 184.3 12.72
Jessica Kuo Daly City 558 15 5 2 69 103 30 89 17 .346 .382 .405 89.1 6.38
Skyler Reid Daly City 456 29 6 11 74 79 33 13 3 .327 .379 .506 82.6 7.59
Salgu Wissmath Daly City 421 11 3 7 47 66 44 24 6 .318 .387 .420 66.0 6.52


Name Team Record Games SVO/SV/HLD Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Wayne Stephens Microsoft 7-4 59 20/2/10 117 87 3.46 4.46 1.39 6.7

The Pitcher of the Year, SWL: Kyle Katarn, Paris SP

Katarn thought he might have had it easier when he bolted out of the hellish UL Galactica Division and moved into the comfy confines of SW World Cities for the Paris Forfeiters (the 7-year, $26.7M/yr contract didn’t hurt either). Instead, Katarn got shelled around and put up his worst season yet, going 19-11 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 298 K’s in 294 innings. Nonetheless, outside of the UL and the shadow of Nathan Yan, he still outperformed his SWL competitors by a large margin and emerged with his first Pitcher of the Year award. There weren’t many standouts in the rest of the pitching field, as the year belonged to SWL Batters…

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Kyle Katarn Paris 19-11 36 22/16/4 294 298 3.34 2.40 1.05 9.1
Augusto Figueroa Pentax 14-10 32 16/11/0 237 172 3.76 3.62 1.29 6.5
Josue Berrero Nikon 14-11 32 18/10/1 234 1/3 162 3.88 3.20 1.16 6.2
Gerald Freeman Venice 13-16 36 19/11/2 277 2/3 258 4.08 3.52 1.26 8.4
Justin Pucci Apple 14-11 34 19/2/1 244 119 3.84 3.69 1.19 4.4

The Batter of the Year, SWL: Gates Skywalker, Pentax LF

It was his 3rd slam dunk year in 3 seasons, as Skywalker had his award wrapped up before the all star break (Richard Eager placed 2nd with 52 homeruns. Skywalker hit that mark on June 25th.) Though Pentax’s star leftfielder seems to have plateau’d in his contact and on-base abilities, there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how far his power can grow – this season he slugged .981 (his SLG alone would have placed him 8th in OPS) and hammered a staggering 105 homeruns, erasing Kenton McClinton’s mark of 88 in his magical 1942 season. Interestingly, teams that lost their stars to free agency in the past offseason rebounded quite well – Nikon, which lost star Richard Eager to the Las Vegas Valleys, found a more than suitable replacement in Maul Foundation and the continued development of their young 1B/DH Brandon Wroten. While no player (or even two) could replace Skywalker’s production, Canon didn’t do too badly either in finding the aging but still productive Mathew Glenn, who put up a career season after moving to the SWL.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Gates Skywalker Pentax 691 54 0 105 200 168 94 0 0 .359 .444 .981 250.9 16.73
Maul Foundation Nikon 722 61 11 44 163 122 41 37 28 .367 .403 .687 199.6 11.39
Mathew Glenn Canon 710 34 8 44 131 125 87 4 2 .338 .414 .638 171.2 10.85
Hector Valdivieso Las Vegas 620 62 6 25 112 103 78 9 3 .354 .434 .633 152.2 11.23
Brandon Wroten Nikon 730 55 0 44 144 130 84 2 0 .322 .405 .615 159.1 9.50

The Rookie of the Year, SWL: Theron Russell, Paris OF

There wasn’t much competition in the rookie SWL field this year, as Theron Russell took the award simply on playing time alone – no batter amassed enough plate appearances to qualify for any of rate statistic titles, and Russell was the only one batter who had even 300 plate appearances. Aside from playing time, Russell was decidedly averaging, hitting .269-.309-.363, though he did steal 31 bases (against 11 CS and a 73.8% – some might call it a wash).

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Theron Russell Paris 453 21 2 5 33 61 23 31 11 .269 .309 .363 52.7 4.29


Name Team Record Games SVO/SV/HLD Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Samuel Green Canon 1-1 37 4/0/2 58 2/3 37 2.45 3.46 1.40 5.7
Sammy Shumake Sony 2-2 29 5/0/3 60 65 4.80 4.77 1.32 9.8
Jesus Pardo Nikon 3-2 33 1/0/0 72 61 3.75 3.89 1.29 7.6
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2007 Midseason Review (League)

League Review

Just like the summer heat, Daly City baseball has only heated up as we hit the midpoint of the season.  After a solid April start, the Montis have shifted into full gear with a 21-4 June record (.840).  The offense has been humming along at a slightly slower pace (just 6.51 runs per game in May/June, vs. 7.18 in April), but the rotation in particular has really come into its own, and their dominance has kept the team at the top of the standings.

The standings after 81 games:

Universe League (UL)Shinto-World League (SWL)
Galactica DivisionPhotomaker Division
TeamWL%Games backTeamWL%Games back
Daly City Montis6417.790-Pentax Shake Reducers4833.593-
Microsoft Longhorns4635.56818Nikon Vibration Reducers4437.5434
Mozilla Firefoxes4338.53121Canon Image Stabilizers4140.5067
Apple Septic Tanks3546.43229Sony Super Steadyshots3546.43213
Terran DivisionWorld Cities Division
Europe Cricketeers3843.469-Las Vegas Valleys4437.543-
Caribbean Pirates3546.4323Tokyo Samurai4338.5311
Asia Giants3348.4075Paris Forfeiters3645.4448
United States Patriots3051.3708Venice Carnivale3348.40711

Team Summary

Galactica Division

Microsoft Longhorns

The deep-pocketed Longhorns (their $137.5M payroll is tops in the league) are once again in solid contention, and while they don’t have a chance of catching the dominant Montis, they have a firm hold on the wildcard slot, with the third place team, the arch-rival Apple Septic Tanks, a distant 11 games back.

The Longhorns have got the power hitting – the extraordinary Jango Fett is having an MVP-caliber season, batting .390-.464-.673, setting the table nicely for Jabba Desiljic Ture, who leads the league in homeruns and RBI with 30 and 75, respectively.  While the pitching staff has been horrid, it’s anchored by Kernel Tyranus, who is once again having a solid season (10-1 so far, with a 2.47 ERA and 1.01 WHIP).  What they lack in overall excellence, the Longhorns are making up with star power, and they seem poised to be a playoffs threat.

Runs scored: 440(7th)
Runs allowed: 426 (7th)

Mozilla Firefoxes

The low-budget Firefoxes are showing how to get things done, non-profit style, putting up a solid .531 record with the smallest budget ($45M) in the league.  Mozilla is 3rd in the league in runs allowed, where ace Rober Krogert (3.89 ERA) and breakout star Ferdinand Castro (2.95 ERA) are keeping games to a low-scoring affair, but the offense is hurting.  They’re sorely feeling the loss of superstar  Mathew Glenn, who signed an outrageous contract (4 years, $21.7M per) to be Gates Skywalker’s replacement at Canon.

Runs scored: 425 (10th)
Runs allowed: 393 (3rd)

Apple Septic Tanks

What’s happened to Apple?  A year removed from a 92-win, .568 season, production has all but dried up for the Septic Tanks, who rank dead last in the Galactica Division (although they’d remain first if they played in the lowly Terran Division).  They’re neither hitting (13th in runs scored) nor pitching (13th in runs allowed), and about the only thing they’re doing is stealing bases (Ben Kenobi is third in the league with 35).

While the rotation saw the loss of dominant ace Kyle Katarn, the offense  just doesn’t seem to be clicking, despite retaining the core of their 4th-ranked 2006 lineup.  There’s still plenty of baseball left from July through September however, and the 3-4-5 trio of Ben Kenobi, Hans Blik, and Chewie Gonzales could very well turn the fortunes of the Septic Tanks around in the second half.

Runs scored: 425 (10th)
Runs allowed: 393 (3rd)

Terran Division

Europe Cricketeers

The Terran Division hasn’t been dominant since the inception of the league, having failed to produce a .500 club in any of the two and a half seasons thus far.  This time, the 2005 Division Champion Cricketeers are back in the driver’s seat, but with an 8-game seperation from 1st to 4th, it’s still anyone’s division.

For their part, the Cricketeers have been thriving based on pitching, with a decent performance across the board.  The offense has been anemic, however, without star catcher Rolland Hochstetler, who’s been out nearly two months after tearing his abdominal muscle in mid-May.

Runs scored: 371 (15th)
Runs allowed: 421 (5th)

Caribbean Pirates

Loaded with star power, many experts predicted this would be the year the Pirates broke out from the bottom of the division, but so far they haven’t lived up to the hype, with many of the franchise stars even regressing.  Though they’ve put up just 407 runs (12th in baseball), the Caribbean has seen the emergence of 2006 first-round pick Clifford Alfano, who has already hit his way into the cleanup slot with a .358-.442-.584 line in just his second season.  First baseman Luis Devitt and RF Simeon Sarvis have also improved, forming a fearsome trio of hitters in the 3-4-5 slots.

The rotation has been where the Pirates have disappointed – innings eater and ace Wilfredo Raposa, stolen away from the Cricketeers, hasn’t been able to find a groove in his new digs at the cavernous Hiram Bithorn stadium, where he’s allowing baseruns at a 1.52 WHIP rate.  Perhaps suffering from an ego hit, former ace David Barnett hasn’t seemed to be his old self, going 6-7 with a 6.12 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, and failing to make the all-star team for the first time in his career.

Runs scored: 407 (12th)
Runs allowed: 464 (12th)

Asia Giants

The 2007 Giants once again lean heavy on offense, and unlike their 2006 run to the top of the division, the bats just aren’t enough to overcome the horrid pitching this time around.  Not a single starter has an ERA lower than 5.50, and the fielding has been worse, committing 69 errors (2nd highest in baseball).

The Giants’ core of superstar hitters is keeping them in the hunt, and they are raking like perhaps no other middle of the lineup:

Benjamin Trepanier: .320-.443-.676
Alex Quiros: .304-.402-.640
Tom Clark: .277-.362-.559

The young Trepanier is quickly becoming a star – the 2006 first overall pick and rookie of the year,  has kept up career highs in batting average and on-base percentage, and has developed a newfound power stroke.  He ranks 3rd in slugging percentage (1st outside of Daly City), and has 25 homers – already surpassing the 18 he had all of last season!

Runs scored: 430 (9th)
Runs allowed: 524 (16th)

United States Patriots

The Patriots are dwelling in the cellar of the Terran Division, although with a -4 Pythagorean differential, their performance is right in the pack with the rest of the division.  Their offense has been led by the classic American Truex-Amey duo, but their supporting cast has been absolutely dreadful – just one other member of the starting lineup is slugging over .400, and just two others have an OBP over .300, leading to just the 14th-ranked offense in the game.

Pitching has been a relatively bright spot for the Patriots, however.  Though they’ve run a revolving door of starters (10 different pitchers have made starts), the group has performed surprisingly well, with three of five of the current rotation sporting ERAs below 4.

Runs scored: 378 (14th)
Runs allowed: 439 (8th)

Photomaker Division

Pentax Shake Reducers

When the Shake Reducers finished just one game back of the division champion Image Stabilizers last season, things were looking bright for the team – they had improved steadily on their 3rd-place finish in 2005, had a strong core of middle-of-the-order hitters, and one of the game’s true aces in Augusto Figeuroa.  Then things began to fall apart – the best two hitters, 1B Walter Vanish and RF Simeon Sarvis, both bolted in free agency, but in turn the payroll flexibility allowed the Shake Reducers to land the biggest fish of all – the disgruntled two-time MVP and record-breaking slugger Gates Skywalker.

Skywalker has almost single-handedly willed this team to the division lead – his monstrous .347-.441-.990 line is the stuff legend is made of, and he’s fully healthy so far, having played in all 81 games and setting himself on pace for 110 homeruns and 208 RBI’s, which would absolutely shatter the all-time record (88 HR’s by Kenton McClinton in his magical 1942 season).

Runs scored: 482 (3rd)
Runs allowed: 376 (2nd)

Nikon Vibration Reducers

Two middling seasons stuck far away from the division-leading Image Stabilizers, and any decent playoff hopes, combined to scare away the league’s second-most prolific hitter, Richard Eager.  From there it looked as though the team – 162-162 (.500) the past two seasons, would be dead in the water, but the Vibration Reducers have played splendid ball and find themselves in a prime position just 4 games back of the division lead, and leading the wildcard race.

The key has been solid on-base fundamentals – the team is getting on at a .353 clip, 2nd best in the game – and the signing of Microsoft shortstop Maul Foundation, who is doing his best Eager impersonation with a .374-.408-.694 line, not so far off from the .347-.433-.679 clip of the man himself.

Runs scored: 471 (4th)
Runs allowed: 425 (6th)

Canon Image Stabilizers

The Image Stabilizers made perhaps the worst front-office decision in baseball history by letting their franchise face Gates Skywalker, waltz over to a division rival, but the Stabilizers have hung in the thick of things with their signing of Mozilla hero Mathew Glenn, who is putting up a season for the ages (.385-.457-.702), and a solid but not spectacular supporting cast (Francis Cote and Francisco Amaral putting up OBP’s over .400).

The true weakness of the team lies in their pitching, where ace Justin Ramage seems far removed from his Pitcher-of-the-Year-winning glory days of 2005 (he’s got a 4.07 ERA and just 6.3 K’s per 9), and none of the other rotation members seem particularly inspiring for a postseason run or even a strong September push.

Runs scored: 492 (2nd)
Runs allowed: 487 (14th)

Sony Super Steadyshots

After looking strong in 2005 (an even .500 finish), the Super Steadyshots once again find themselves back in the cellar.  While all of their division rivals picked up new MVP-caliber sluggers, the SSS stayed pat and have found themselves unable to score any runs.  Despite their league-worst scoring ability, Sony has been doing fairly well for itself on the pitching front, led by free agent signing Johnny Bussell (3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and bolstered by last season’s trade acquisition Justin Pucci (4.35 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) and longtime starter Lee Cassidy (4.20 ERA, 1.23 WHIP).

Runs scored: 344 (16th)
Runs allowed: 409 (4th)

World Cities Division

Las Vegas Valleys

The Valleys reloaded big time in the offseason in their bid for a repeat division championship, sparing no expense to acquire Nikon’s superstar Richard Eager for an unheard-of $38.3M per year, 5-year contract.  Eager hasn’t disappointed, and he joins the aging Las Vegas great Hector Valdivieso (.345-.427-.647) to form perhaps the most fearsome batting duo in baseball.

Runs scored: 459 (6th)
Runs allowed: 462 (11th)

Tokyo Samurai

With the key acquisition of Pentax slugger Walter Vanish, the Samurai seemed off to a hot start, compiling a hot 33-24 record (.579) by the end of May.  Tokyo nosedived in June however, posting an 11-14 record (.444) on a string of bad luck, despite strong months by Ronald Peterson (.287-.386-.609) and a monstrous month by Vanish (.411-.486-.642).

The Samurai did take a huge blow, however, when centerfielder Kevin Harwell, having a breakout (.398-.479-.605) season at age 38, broke his foot in mid-June, putting him out for the entire season.

Runs scored: 464 (5th)
Runs allowed: 440 (9th)

Paris Forfeiters

It’s been a tough break for the Forfeiters, who played admirably in 2005 to finish 2 games behind Tokyo, and played to a bitter tie (losing the tiebreaker) against the Las Vegas Valleys in 2006.  The Forfeiters may find themselves out of even that kind of luck in 2007, where the wheels seem to be finally falling off of OBP machine Lamont Sanchez (.245-.366-.447).

Paris paid big dollars to lure away ace Kyle Kataran to the SWL, and his mediocre performance so far (3.44 ERA, compared to 2.43 heading into the season) is what’s barely keeping the Forfeiters in contention

Runs scored: 411 (11th)
Runs allowed: 446 (10th)

Venice Carnivale

There’s been little to root for in the small baseball town of Venice, and the Carnivale have been quietly clogging along to another last-place finish.  The lone bright spots are Wilbur Phillips, who has developed into a star this season (.282-.367-.601), and the ever reliable #1 starter Gerald Freeman, who is quietly putting up yet another solid season (3.88 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.1 K’s per 9).

Runs scored: 433 (8th)
Runs allowed: 511 (15th)

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The 2005 Playoffs: Divisional Series Review

Game Recaps

10/10/05 – After 7 games, the divisional playoff round comes to a close, abound with some absolutely shocking results.

U.S. takes Daly City down to the wire in 3-3 showdown!
Perhaps the most heavily one-sided matchup in the playoffs, the Daly City team, bolstered by both the best offense and pitching in the league, got clobbered by the Patriots in game 1.  With ace Nathan Yan resting from pitching the last game of the regular season, #2 Josiah Leong took the mound against the Patriot’s John Coyer, a 10-14 starter with a 5.08 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over the regular season.

The results were disastrous – Leong took a heavy beating, giving up 4 runs in the 1st inning.  Meanwhile, the offense was unable to muster much of anything, going scoreless for the first 6 innings.  Leong appeared to take smooth control thereafter, but hit trouble again in the 6th inning – he gave up 2 runs of his own and 2 more on errors, allowing the U.S. an 8-0 lead. Daly City clawed its way back up to 6 runs, mostly on the strength of back-to-back homers by Joey Wong and Derek Lew, but ultimately fell short, suffering a shocking 12-6 defeat at the hands of the Patriots.

The next three games saw strong pitching performances from Terrence Zhao, Nathan Yan, and Sean Wade, who went on to lead the team to 9-3, 14-1, and 19-1 victories, putting them just a game shy of advancing to the next round.  Around this time, the offense also exploded, with huge games by Derek Lew, Rudy Puzon, Cristian Ortiz, and most surprisingly, Francis Chen.

With Josiah Leong up for another turn, the Daly City Montis suffered another lost, although this team Leong pitched a decent game, throwing 7 1/3 innings while giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks.  However, it was the hitting that did the team in – the Patriot’s Camilo Belmonte shut out the team, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks, and emerging with an 0-4 win.

The next game, with Terrence Zhao pitching against the lowly Craig Oberle, seemed to be a lock.  Daly City jumped out to a lead early, scoring 5 runs in the first four innings.  The U.S. answered back with 2 runs, but scored FIVE more in the 6th, where Terrence Zhao got shelled by an Andrew Amey 2-RBI double and a couple of triples.  With Daly City down 5-7, they put in 2 runs in the 8th from an Aubrey Cubilo double and Joey Wong HR to tie the game up at 7-7, and bring the game into extra innings. Samantha Chin, who had come in after Zhao’s disastrous 6th, gave up a homerun in the 10th to Juan Truex, and as all seemed lost, Kelvin Chang is replaced with Sam Lau, who successfully draws a walk to first, and gets replaced by Cristian Ortiz.  Cubilo advances him to 2nd on a single, and they both double-steal to get on 3rd and 2nd.  With the game on the line, Francis Chen of all players knocks in a sacrifice fly to bring Ortiz home, and tie the game up.  Daly City is unable to score another run, however, and in the 13th the United States scores a run off of a William Brown double, giving the United States a 9-8 win in 13 innings, and just like that, tying the series up at 3-3.  With the team’s entire playoff hopes on the line, Daly City’s Nathan Yan steps up to the mound for game 7, delivering a beautiful 1-hit, 2-walk shutout for a 3-0 win, and moving Daly City (just barely) onto the league series round.

Over in the other Universe League series, Europe delivered not only a surprising upset over the Apple Septic Tanks, but swept Apple with a 4-0 series win.  Europe delivered on the pitching, with an excellent win by #1 Wilfredo Raposa, but also two solid starts by #2 Justin Pucci, who won both of his games and pitched 15 1/3 innings, with a 2.35 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.  Closer David Avila also pitched extremely well, closing out all four games while not giving up a single run.

Things were a bit more predictable in the Shinto-World league – with an absolutely abysmal performance by Richard Eager (.105-.227-.158, 2 RBI, 1 Run), Nikon could hardly muster any offense, and the Vibration Reducers lost the seriese 1-4.  The Tokyo-Paris game, as expected, was a tight one, which drew out into a full 7 game series, which included three 1-run games and an extra inning game that was won 12-3 on 9 Tokyo runs in the 10th inning.

The next series sees a Europe vs. Daly City matchup, and Paris vs. Canon matchup as we progress to the Final Four league series round.

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The 2005 Playoffs Preview

League Review

With the end of September comes an end to the hopes and dreams of many a team.  16 teams in the league, but the playoffs hold only room for an elite eight.

There weren’t many huge surprises in the last month of the season.  The Daly City Montis, who dominated the league, emerged with a 125-37 (.772) record and 29 games ahead of runner-up Apple Septic Tanks, who finished with a 96-66 (.593) record.  The Microsoft Longhorns, who went 19-7 (.731) in the last month, came up just a bit short, two games behind Apple, although a whopping 17 games of the Terran Division winner, the Europe Cricketeers, and 24 games over the Terran wildcard, the United States Patriots.

Over in the Shinto-World League, Canon ran away with the Photomaker Division crowd and finished with a 96-66 record, 14 games over wildcard and archrival Nikon.  In the World Cities Division, Tokyo emerged victorious from the season-long Tokyo-Paris struggle – the two teams were tied for much of the season, all the way until the final two games – Tokyo won both games and Paris lost its two games, making Tokyo the division winner by two games, although both teams will be in the playoffs.

A season recap will come later, but it’s time for the postseason – an exciting postseason preview comes your way!

Here’s how the things look on the Universe League side:

Daly City Montis, 125-27, .772, Team ERA: 2.94, Team OPS: .853
United States Patriots, 70-92, .432, Team ERA: 4.85, Team OPS: .708

This matchup looks a bit lopsided – Daly City possesses a 55-game lead over the United States in regular season play.  In the regular season, Daly City faced the United States 23 times, winning 18 of the contests.  Looks to be a cakewalk for Daly City, but let’s look at the projected lineups and staff:

US Hitting: The United States is led by sluggers Juan Truex (.297-.361-.574) and Andrew Amey (.280-.391-.537), but aside from those two solid hitters lack much of any supporting cast – the only other decently high OBP on the team is .354, and no one else slugs over .500.  It’s part of the reason why no player on the Patriots has amassed more than 85 RBIs or Runs this season.

DC Pitching: Daly City looks to go to a four-man rotation, or possibly even three – the masterful Nathan Yan, followed up by the mercurial Josiah Leong and the dominating Terrence Zhao, and finally the consistent rookie, Sean Wade.  With luck, it could be a 1-2-3-4 shutout series, with strong starting performances.  If not, Alvina Chu is well-rested and ready to pitch from the bullpen, although the shakiness of Zubeda Khan (5 blown saves out of 34 opportunities) means that a few of the close, late games might slip away.

US Pitching: The US pitching staff doesn’t look much better, either – no one on the pitching staff is under a 4.00 ERA, or even remotely close.  Closer John Galey has a 5.57 ERA and setup man Isaias Rodrigues has a 6.90 ERA, and based on those gaps in the bullpen alone, the US doesn’t seem like they’ll ever be able to close out a win over Daly City.

DC Hitting: The Daly City lineup ended the season on a declining note – after an explosive start to September, many of the veterans slowed down, in particular stalwarts Joey Wong and especially Derek Lew, who tanked with a .176-.211-.308 September, easily one of his worst.  Several other players have stepped up, however – Rudy Puzon, Henry Nghe, and Jonathan Chee all had solid performances in September.  Overall, the team looks to be in good shape, with explosiveness coming from one player or another, and the is after all still the #1 offense in the league, by a wide margin.  It should have no problem handling the weak US Pitching staff.

Apple Septic Tanks, 96-66, .593, Team ERA: 4.00, Team OPS: .747
Europe Cricketeers, 77-85, .475, Team ERA: 4.33, Team OPS: .724

EUR Hitting: Europe, unsurprisingly, lacks much punch in the offensive department.  They have one true star, catcher Rolland Hochstetler, who was one of the top hitters at .327-.430-.559 this season, and another decent slugger in Renato Trujillo (.281-.312-.534).  The #.276-.367-.456 Frank Cristobal is also a decent on-baseman.  All-in-all, the batting isn’t horrible – certainly not as bad as many other Terran Division teams, but their ability to score runs consistently will be severely tested when they face Apple’s strong pitching staff.

MAC Pitching: The Septic Tanks had one of the strongest pitching staffs in the league this year.  They were led strongly by Kyle Katarn, who at 22-8, 2.45 ERA (1.01 WHIP), would have been Cy Young any other year.  He’s followed by two fairly capable starters in #2 Wedge Antilles, and #3 Jeffrey Reese.  The bullpen is also one of the stronger ones in the league, with long reliever Ambrose Ackbar, as well as Mohammad King and quite possibly the best closer in the league, the 2.26 ERA Padme Amidala.

EUR Pitching: The Cricketeers are led by staff-ace Wilfredo Raposa, who ranked among the top pitchers this year with a 3.49 ERA and 8.7 K’s per 9 innings.  After him are mediocre pitchers Justin Pucci and Joshua Hack, who have on occasion pitched extremely well.  Europe has also got one of the better bullpens in the league, with Napoleon Chien (3.67 ERA) and Dwight Fenton (2.84 ERA), and 3.40 ERA, 28 save David Avila as the closer.

MAC Hitting: Unlike many other teams, the Septic Tanks have composed an extremely well-rounded hitting lineup.  They have a few star players, notably RF Chewie Gonzales (.327-.362-.547), 3B Hans Blik (.290-.345-.528).  Raposa aside, the Europe pitching staff might have a tough time taming the Septic Beast.

Overall, the series seems heavily slanted in Apple’s favor – even Europe’s star Raposa seems as if he’ll be neutralized by starting against Apple’s Kyle Katarn, who pitched at a full one run lower per game than Raposa.  Over the course of the season, Apple leads the series 13-10.

Canon Image Stabilizers, 96-66, .593, Team ERA: 4.04, Team OPS: .798
Nikon Vibration Reducers, 82-80, .506, Team ERA: 4.32, Team OPS: .768

As the 1st and 4th seeds in the Shinto-World league, the two archrivals waste no time in duking it out in the divisional playoff round.  The two have butted heads all season, and while Canon seems to have a dominating regular season lead, Nikon actually leads the regular season series between the teams 13-12.

NIK Hitting: The Vibration Reducers are led by Nikonian CF Richard Eager, who was a dominant force in the league with a .355-.437-.705 line, not to mention 21 steals and a low 44 K’s.  He’s backed up by fellow superstar and youngster Brandon Wroten, who started the year off slowly but caught fire at the end of the season.  The two players more or less carry the team, however – three other players set the table with OBP’s in the .340 range, but no other players has a higher OBP than .350 or a SLG higher than .500.  The Vibration Reducers will rely heavily on the back of Richard Eager to provide the offensive production needed to overcome Canon’s heavy-hitting lineup.

CAN Pitching: Canon is led by star pitcher Justin Ramage, who posted a 2.48 ERA and 273 K’s in 272 2/3 innings this season.  Beyond him, however, Canon is sorely lacking – the rest of the rotation seems extremely awful, save perhaps for Max Allen, who seems to have enormous potential with a 1.95 September ERA.  Canon also has the best closer bar-none in Lee Thornton, who saved 27 games with a 1.62 ERA.  Justin Ramage certainly has the right stuff, but it’s an open question as to whether any of the pitchers will be able to contain Nikon’s Richard Eager.

NIK Pitching: The pitching staff is about average – they’re led by Tim Barnes, who put up a good 20-win season and 3.59 ERA, but most of his success came early on – he’s posted consecutive 4+ ERA months in August and September, and at this point looks like a very vulnerable starter.  The rest of the staff doesn’t exactly bleed confidence – they have a strong closer in William Brunetti, who saved 30 games with a 2.81 ERA, but there doesn’t seem to be any other dominant force on the staff, which looks like it’ll bode well for the Image Stabilizers.

CAN Hitting: The Canon lineup is led by none other than the infamous Gates Skywalker, who dominated the league with a .328-.452-.737 line this season.  Skywalker alone would be enough of a force to level many other teams in a 7-game series, but in this he’s matched up against no other than Richard Eager, who more or less equalizes Skywalker’s production.  Skywalker, however, is surrounded by a couple of star hitters in catcher Francis Cote (.316-.393-.516) and RF Wilfredo Martinez (.314-.358-.550) – Nikon has a tough task if it hopes to limit Canon’s core lineup enough so that their one-man offense Eager can score enough to win the game.

Tokyo Samurai, 90-72, .556, Team ERA: 3.98, Team OPS: .743
Paris Forfeiters, 88-74, .543, Team ERA: 4.41 ERA, Team OPS .751

PAR Hitting: Paris is led by SS Lamont Sanchez (.322-.450.-.565) and is a high-OBP offense – their .331 OBP was 2nd in the SW league behind Canon, and third overall behind Canon and Daly City.  The Forfeiters also have 2B Cristian Lee, and two >.360 OBP men, although they’re missing a big table setter in their CF James Talmage, who went out in early September with a broken wrist, and will be out of the playoffs.

TOK Pitching: Tokyo has a strong pitching staff, that’s led by Willard Weiler (3.29 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), but also includes a #2 in Michael Contreras that’s as good as many others #1.  It’s anybody’s guess who will win out in a battle between consistent OBP hitting and lights-out pitching domination.

PAR Pitching: Paris has a decent pitching staff, filled with starters who middle around the 4.00 ERA mark.  However, their #1 starter Rex White, a 21-year old rookie, has been steadily improving all season, and closed off with a 2.98 ERA in September.  Paris also has a dominant closer in the 39 save, 1.96 ERA Garfield Yocom.

TOK Hitting: Despite Ronald Peterson’s 51 HR season highlight, the Tokyo offense is about a lot more.  Kevin Harwell (.297-.397-.470) is a strong force alongside Peterson (.307-.393-.615).  Tokyo also boasts a rash of inexperienced half-season players, who have put up good numbers so far, although it’s anybody’s guess how well they’ll stick.

It’s an all-out battle between two very good teams that have duked it out all season.  For what it’s worth, Tokyo leads the season series 15-8, although Paris, relying on consistent OBP production rather than Tokyo’s individual flair and flash, could pull off a series win, especially if Tokyo’s season-long reliance on unproven half-season players backfires.

Update in about two weeks (game time!) with round two of the playoffs.

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