Thanks to some glorious early May weather, week one of the 2015 KFL season is in the books. Let’s take a quick tour around the league to see how the landscape has changed since late September, shall we?
Bulldogs (2-0) – The Bulldogs are off to a quick start, already halfway to their 2014 win total after putting up 16 runs combined in wins over the Athletics and Thunder. They’ve returned a solid, stable core and brought in a couple new faces, as they seek their first A-side playoff appearance in recent memory. If they’re pitching staff can steal a game or two, it’s a goal that may well be within reach.
Selects (2-0) – Not much has changed for the Selects since getting swept by the Diamond Jaxx in the KFL Finals to end their 2014 campaign. There are no new faces here, though offensive sparkplug Kevin Ryrie is back after suffering a scary, season-ending injury in their game one loss to the Jaxx. Expect pitching and defense to be their hallmarks once again; they’ve posted back-to-back shutouts over the Predators and Athletics to start the year.
Smoke (2-0) – The Smoke made a splash in the offseason, adding hurler Marc Geddes to shore up a strong pitching staff. If early-season returns are to be trusted, the offense looks just fine too, posting 16 runs in wins over the Kings and Predators to start 2015 off right. All signs seem to be pointing to another season with the Smoke firmly entrenched in the postseason picture.
Bell Cartage Outlaws (1-0) – Perhaps the biggest offseason development for Bell Cartage was the decision of the Outlaws to leave the South Perth league. While there was significant overlap between the Bell Cartage-sponsored KFL and South Perth squads, the KFL incarnation now boasts even deeper reserves of talent – coming off a season in which they already posted the league’s best regular season record. With a pitching staff of Mel Ross, Kyle Crawford, Doug Hoffman, and Jonathon Baker, they’ll always be a tough out. The 37s saw that last week, as the Outlaws downed them 8-3.
Diamond Jaxx (1-0) – In 2014, the Diamond Jaxx put together an impressive run as co-hosts of the ISC World Championships and followed that up with their second straight KFL crown. Unsurprisingly, that kind of success breeds roster stability, meaning the faces are unchanged as they strive for the first KFL three-peat since the old Phoenix/Outlaws won four in a row from 2004 to 2007. They’re off to a great start, beating the veteran Classics 7-2 in their season opener.
37s (1-1) – In their first season in the KFL, the 37s assembled a young core and fought their way into the A-side playoffs. Over the winter, they added ace pitcher Dan Martin to the mix, joining Team Canada outfielder Ben Wideman to give them arguably the league’s top two players. That’s not a bad place to be when entering just your second season. At this rate, the 37s could be a fixture in the KFL’s upper echelon for many years to come.
Classics (1-1) – There’s no substitute for experience and the Classics have plenty of that – with three KFL crowns in the last seven years – but they’ve also added a few new faces this year. One of them, Andrew Mathies, is off to a blistering start, hitting bombs in his first two games with the new squad, who fell to the Jaxx before beating the Red Sox. Runs likely won’t be an issue for this seasoned group and the pitching staff of Bob Underwood, Martin Mauviel, Sean Geehan, and Larry Cox should have them playoff-bound.
Kings (1-1) – The Kings always seem to be in the mix and there’s no reason to expect anything different in 2015. They’ll be led, as always, by a talented pitching staff; Nick Laurette is back as the veteran anchor, complemented by talented youngsters Greg Hammell and Dan Mitchell. The Smoke managed to edge them 5-4 in their opener, but the Kings bounced back with a 4-0 win over the Jays. The smart money says it won’t be their last shutout this season.
Thunder (1-1) – Entering their fifth year in the KFL, the Thunder are hoping the experience amassed over a few losing seasons will start to pay dividends in 2015. The key for them will be putting more runs on the board. Dan Wakeford and Lucas Crosby are the leaders here, but catcher Ben Reid and speedy outfielder Shane Miller are also players to watch.
Athletics (0-2) – The Athletics are technically new to the KFL, but most of their players are not. James Gallo – the brain trust behind the Phillies squad whose 2012 B-side crown was the highlight of their three-year stint in the league – has called on many former teammates to establish the Athletics’ core. They’re off to a slow start, with losses to the Bulldogs and Selects, but it should just be a matter of time before this group finds its footing. Brandon Viol and J.J. Gallo give them one of the league’s best middle infield pairings.
Jays (0-2) – This is not the same Jays crew that went 15-3-3 before losing to the Diamond Jaxx in last year’s semi-finals. Through two games, only five players from that squad have suited up for the new-look Jays, who also boast a sizable contingent from the now-defunct Moonshiners. They’ve been slow out of the gate, losing to very good 37s and Kings teams to start the year. But they certainly have the pieces to compete, including up-and-coming pitcher Tyler Randerson, veteran catcher Jason Clayfield, and Jeff Kolb, the reigning home run champ.
Predators (0-2) – The 2015 season marks a decade for the Predators in the KFL. Each year seems to see incremental change to a roster anchored by mainstays like Dan Gehl, Jamie Lang, Joel Fleming, and Matt Anderson. This squad possesses the skill to compete with anyone in the league, as evidenced by their 13-9 campaign a couple years back. If they hope to return to the A-side this season, though, they’ll need to improve upon a slow start, having lost to the Selects and Smoke in the opening week.
Red Sox (0-2) – The Red Sox return to the KFL after a one-year absence, led by player-manager Sean Tracy, who will split pitching duties with Pete Albrecht and Chris Baldson. There are other familiar faces here, including Justin Peszleny, Jaron Lefler, and Tristan Lefler, who will look to provide a stable core from which to build. The offense looked okay in the opening week, putting up nine runs over two games, but the Sox nonetheless dropped decisions to both the Thunder and Classics.
All in all, it's shaping up to be another competitive year in the KFL. See you at Budd Park!
- Mike Brown
Team Reps be on the watch for your 2015 Season packages going out shortly..League Meeting and 2014 wrap-ups upcoming.
Congratulations to the Diamond Jaxx on winning the KFL Championship for the 2014 season. The Jaxx completed an undefeated run through the KFL playoffs with a 3-game sweep of the Selects with a walk-off win in the bottom of 7th, edging out the win 4-3 on a base hit by Chad MacQueen.
Very well pitched series by both teams, by Jeff Wise and Kevin Buckley of the Diamond Jaxx, and Shayne Reipert of the Selects.
Photo Credit - Paula Manel
Congrats to the Runners Up, Kitchener Selects on a great season.
Photo Credit - Cheryl Reeve
The KFL Finals between Diamond Jaxx and Selects resumes tonight at Budd Park at 7pm.
Game #1 will be picked up from where it was suspended last week. Will be bottom of the 4th inning, 2 out, 2 on, with the Diamond Jaxx batting, leading 2-0.
Game #2 will start shortly after the conclusion of Game #1.
Please keep Kevin Ryrie in your thoughts as he recovers. Was a very scary incident in Game#1 and the KFL wishes you well.
|Bell Cartage Outlaws||4||4||0||0||8||1.000|
|Ryan Ferber||Diamond Jaxx||3|
|Vice President||Mike Brown|