The All Stars of the Potomac Wiffleball League are once again headed back to Columbus, Ohio, in mid-July to battle for the national championship of wiffleball, the National Wiffle League Association Tournament. The team will play as the PWL Nationals.
This is the third annual tournament, which is co-hosted by the PWL and largely organized by Commissioner Chris Gallaway. The field has expanded to 16 leagues from around the country battling for wiffleball fame in a fast pitch, base running, official yellow bat and ball tournament. A preliminary round of games will seed all 16 teams in a double elimination tournament to determine the champion.
The rules committee expanded the rosters from six players to eight players for this year’s tournament. The PWL team will feature five returning players from the 2013 tournament, and three new additions. Nicholas DiCrosta is the only player not returning, though rumors of the shower incident playing a part are widely exaggerated.
The PWL held open tryouts Weeks 2, 3 and 4 of this season to help build the newly expanded roster.
Commissioner Gallaway returns as manager of the team again.
“Last season we were pleasantly surprised at our improvement. This season, with the open tryouts, and adding three new pitchers, I’m confident we’ll continue to improve. Let’s be clear though, beating either WSEM or KWL is a victory even if we lose every other game.”.
To help prepare for the tournament, the defending National Champions the Tampa Bay Wiffleball Lightning will be in town for a three game series just before the World Series on June 22nd. Read the full story about the TBW visit below.
“We wanted to prepare in the best possible way for this tournament. Having the team that won it all last year come to DC, and scrimmage against our guys was the best way to do that i think,” Gallaway said.
| Andrew Flowers
Flowers makes his second appearance, replacing Joe Thaman from the original squad. A solid defender the hope is his second time around he can contribute with his bat.
Constantly overlooked in awards voting, mostly because everyone hates his team, and his teammates, Flowers has quietly put up stellar numbers at the plate and dominates in the field.
Flowers will play one of the two outfield positions, and is the emergency, emergency, emergency mop-up pitcher.
His favorite pony: My Little Pony and Friends.
| Matt Gagnon
Gagnon returns for his third go around as the innings eater on the mound for the PWL. With the roster expansion and addition of arms he might find his role on the mound diminished, but he’s a valuable guy in the clubhouse if this team is going to be successful.
In the PWL, the Moose Knuckles have played a stellar season, at one time being ranked #1 in the county. Their only loss was when Gagnon was’t there. No one in the PWL plays the game harder, and no one is less liked for it.
Gagnon will be pitching and leading the team in enthusiasm.
His favorite fountain: Water Fountain.
| Kevin Higman
Higman is the PWL All Star at this tournament, and two stellar NWLA’s have proven he’s indispensable for the Nationals.
After a 2013 with a dislocated elbow, (we still wake up sometimes seeing him seize on the Blue field between 1st and 2nd base), and a temporary out of town move, he’s solidly back in top playing form and leading the Janitors to the playoffs.
Higman will be covering one of the two outfield positions and getting as many at bats as possible.
His favorite house: Bounce house.
| Jim Shannon
Jim Shannon became twitter famous with the umpire ball shot heard round the world. They even mentioned his name on ESPN, which made it hard to drop him from the team, as his numbers suggest we probably should.
Shannon is a two time batting triple crown winner, and member of the five time World Champion Blandsford Barnburners.
He will be an extra hitter or designated hitter, and may play some backup time in the outfield, but he really hates to play the field, especially when it’s hot.
His favorite nut: Macadamia.
| Jack Shannon
The Shannon’s are normally known for their bats, but Jack keeps his spot on this team because of his arm. As the ace of the Nationals he’s the closest thing we have to an un-hittable pitcher. If only he could hit the board more often.
Obviously less famous than his twin brother, he’s generally more beneficial to both his PWL team and his NWLA team and this season is leading the league in HR and RBI.
Shannon will be pitching, and serving as an extra hitter when he’s not on the mound.
His favorite number: Infinity.
| Spencer Howard
When you think about former collegiate pitchers in the PWL the first name that comes to mind is NOT Spencer Howard. He’s no Joe Thaman by a long shot, but he’s going to give his surgically repaired labrum a work out this season for the PWL All Stars.
Howard was robbed of Rookie of the Year during the summer voting, but has put up a stellar sophomore effort. He was nominated for three player of the week awards, out of six weeks, and claimed one of them.
Howard will be pitching and playing outfield.
His favorite monument: The rock.
| Stephen Crawford
Crawford has always been a good PWL pitcher, but his addition to the NWLA roster will see if he can transition to a faster paced game.
In the PWL he basically carries the DC Twits, and usually is able to give up fewer runs than the Twits manage to drag across the plate.
Crawford will be pitching.
His favorite appliance: Egg cooker.
| Chris Fantasia
Chris Fantasia is the only rookie on the squad, and will probably end up being the biggest regret of the tournament. Let’s be clear, he can throw the ball with velocity. That’s why he’s going.
In the PWL he had such promise, but it’s all quickly faded away. A quick ejection as a pitcher (under 1 inning in half his games) has him longing for the NWLA’s more relaxed walk rule. When he’s not imploding on the mound, he’s doing it at the bat, and the One Hit Wonders are heading for a sub-500 season in their over-hyped rookie debut.
He will be pitching and likely kept away from sharp things with which he could hurt himself.
His favorite move: Footloose (the remake).