NWBL Division Previews
The 2012 campaign ready to kick off, and it is almost a given that the current status of the National Wiffleball League will be the one seen throughout most of the season. With the Spring Classic played long ago, the rest of the NWBL teams are set to begin play after May 10. With the clock ticking down, here is a final preview of what to expect from each NWBL division.
In the NWBL East, the Rapids have to be your odds-on favorite to take home yet another division title. They have won the East every year since 2006, a whopping seven division titles. With the same roster that took the team to the championship last season returning, the Rapids only worry will be their offense.
The Highview Skyhawks, who already gave a great showing at the Spring Classic, brought in Joe Calandriello for some additional power. Good hitting from Calandriello and Peluso will be key, as both had bad second halves last season. The Hawks can pitch, and with Casey Hanley and Shawn Maguire, there worries on the mound are very limited. You can expect a good season from the Hawks.
The Paterson Bombers, the newest addition to the league, will need to test the waters and figure out their style of play. The Bombers have put together a decent roster that will compete with any team, but making sure all of the pieces work is the main problem. The Vetrone Cutters have a similar problem. Nick Pezzano is one of the league's best hitters, plus Pezzano and Glen Wilke are some of the top fielders in the league. If the Vetrone can continue to hit strong and fix their problems on the mound, the Cutters can be deadly.
In the NWBL West, the team with the biggest problems may be the defending champions. The Capalbo Captains lost Brandon Galorenzo to a torn ACL, Rookie of the Year Steve Coral (who finished 6-1 with a 2.12 ERA last year) will not pitch as much this season due to surgery, and Mike Spatafora will have issues making most games. The Captains will need another huge year from Vinny Plateroti and one more decent piece to the puzzle before they can be considered division favorites.
The Dowling Bobcats, who bring back the same roster that earned them a 20-18 record and a playoff berth, are in good shape. Tom Gaccione will be considered the team ace. A good season from Gaccione on the mound will be the difference maker. Making sure they have lights out pitching with some run support will be the key for the Cats.
A good season from the Filippone Heat will make them division favorites. Jack Mulroony and Nick Swangler had below-average seasons, yet the team still won 21 games. Zaleski should be fine on the mound, but if Mulroony can pitch anywhere near .500 ball, the Heat will win alot of games.
The Garret Mountain Lumberjacks have retooled. Despite a close loss in the 2012 Spring Classic, the team showed promise. New additions to the team will undoubtedly improve the franchise following a disasterous 1-37 season. While most players are new to the league and will have to test the waters, the Lumberjacks should take 2012 as a learning experience and aim to make a huge splash in 2013.
The 2012 National Wiffleball League season is almost a single week away. The off-season has been long and sometimes tiresome, but the NWBL is ready to get back on its feet again.