This series is a rematch of the first round Division Championship Series from last Summer, as well as the 2011 Summer World Series. Last summer, playing without ace Nicholas DiCrosta, Hitless managed to force a third game before being sent home by Wheelchair. In a season in which Wheelchair has played better, and Hitless has played much worse, it will take more than DiCrosta showing up, which isn’t a guarantee by any means, or Thaman having another baby and not showing up, for an upset here.
Defending World Series Champions Superman’s Wheelchair became just the fourth team to post an undefeated season, shortly before the Barnburners followed as the fifth. Wheelchair has the distinction of being the only team to do it twice though, posting the same mark in Summer 2011. After a couple of seasons with mixed bag rosters trying to fill the gaps left by Mark Nicholson and Pat Hook, Wheelchair solidified this season, signing Kyle Halvordson, a previous season mid-year call up, and free agent Todd Ogg to full season deals. The lineup consistency and slight offensive upgrade has paid off. It also doesn’t hurt them that Joe Thaman, still in disbelief he didn’t win his 5th consecutive Cy Young Award last summer, hasn’t been ejected from the mound once this season. Obviously, Wheelchair needs a backup pitcher, and still doesn’t have one, a lesson they should have learned in the 6th inning of Game 3 of the Spring 2012 World Series when the Barnburners came back from 4 runs down to take the title from them. If it hurts them, it hurts them in the second round, or the World Series more than this matchup. And, Thaman did pitch over 50 innings in a single day over six games in the Summer 2012 DCS before facing an ejection.
At this point, the annual talk of Scared Hitless coming up short in the World Series is starting to feel like picking on the slow kid in class. It used to be fair, they were good teams, had great seasons, and always just blew the World Series in the end. But now, they aren’t good, certainly not great, and almost missed the playoffs after seven consecutive appearances, the current record. We’re not sure how it’s possible, but this team is significantly worth less than the sum of its parts. In a game that can involve as few as three players, Scared Hitless has three first ballot, no questions asked, hall of famers. That’s more than the Barnburners’ two, or Wheelchair’s one. And yet, they struggled to win all season, and had they not gotten lucky on a pitcher ejection forfeit game Week 4, they’d be playing cornhole this Sunday at Brian Ford’s house instead of showing up to take their lashings from Wheelchair at Gravelly. Is it possible rookie Nick Vanderhye is a cancer eating away their talent? What else could explain Joey Davis, a career 331 hitter coming into this season hitting 188? DiCrosta and Filides also had the worst, or next to worst, seasons in their long careers. Manager Matt Dreyfus is a league favorite, a sacred cow for the organization, and played solid this season, but maybe it’s time for a shakeup in the manager’s spot in the off season, which should start for Hitless about 3:15 PM on Sunday.
These teams have met eleven times. We’d call it a rivalry, but in a rivalry, both teams should have some possibility of winning. In five regular season games, Superman’s Wheelchair is undefeated, running up a run differential in those games of 11 runs. They met during Week 1 this season, with Wheelchair taking a 1-0 decision in seven innings. They’ve met twice in postseason series, with Wheelchair winning both series, but Hitless forcing the full three games, winning Game 2 of both the Summer 2011 World Series, and the 2012 Summer DCS 1st Round.
Scared Hitless at Superman’s Wheelchair
Superman’s Wheelchair at Scared Hitless
Scared Hitless at Superman’s Wheelchair
The official scorer will be Andrew Martin. Joevon Stennent will handle public address responsibilities. The umpires will be Mark Dineen and Bill Healey.