June 25, 2012 - Last Thursday Beaver Fever won their 9th game of the season. They are now on an 8-game winning streak that began on May 17th. They've outscored their opponents an average of almost 6 runs per game (58 runs for and 10 runs against for the season). So they not only win games, they defeat opponents by a comfortable margin. Beaver Fever is currently ranked #3 in the country (small leagues division) by the National Wiffleball League Association. So with the world seemingly at their feet, what can we give credit to Bever Fever's success?
First things first - Greg Sowards is hands down one of the best players in the league. He has won Player of the Week twice. Josh Berletich is the only other player in the league who has won POTW that many times. Sowards leads the league in Hits (62), HRs (4), RBIs (46), Batting AVG (.665), & Wins (9). He's a true wiffle Renaissance man. He's good on both offense and defense. He is also an impressive fielder. Not many balls make it past this guy, which is one of the reasons why they have allowed the least amount of runs in the league.
Kyle Hetrick has made himself a valuable asset to the team as well. He's among one of the top 5 hitters in the league with a .591 batting average. He is second in the race for most RBIs (22) and has crossed home plate more than any other player in the league (19). But it's not all good news. Hetrick is tied for 2nd for strike outs (13) and can be seen chasing pitches that are well out of the strike zone. The fact that Hetrick's become such a successful batter despite striking out a lot makes him a rare talent in the league. He has potential to be a phenomenal pitcher since he is a left-hander with a natural fastball that would catch a lot of batters off-guard. So far he's only pitched 4 innings with 3 K's and allowed 1 run. Sowards has the luxury of knowing that if he is wiped out that he has a dependable pitcher standing behind him in the outfield.
The only disappointing aspect of Beaver Fever has been the apparent departure of Josh Cooley. No one knows for sure why he stopped showing up. Cooley struggled at the plate, batting 7-19 (.368) with 5 K's, primarily because of his struggle to adjust his bat speed - a common problem for newcomers to the sport. In the couple of games Cooley played in during Week 2 he was showing remarkable progress but has yet to return to the field. Cooley has left a lasting mark on the team though. He is responsible for the team's only loss this year when he pitched against the Turtles in Week 2. They lost 1-0 even after Sowards took the mound to try to turn the game around. Despite his poor performance on the mound his presence in the outfield would definitely aid the team in keeping any leads they have during the rest of the season.
The league is 7 weeks into the regular season and Beaver Fever have a gigantic lead in the standings. Can they be stopped? With only 3 weeks left of the regular season there is still plenty of time to shake up the standings. The Honey Badgers are adding a new player next Thursday which could provide a much needed boost to a team so plagued by injuries. The Terrorhawks have literally doubled their roster by adding Robert Anastasio and Troy Twisdale to the team. Twisdale's deep fly ball to center field last Thursday was responsible for the Terrorhawks' victory over the Honey Badgers. The victory marked the first time the team had ever defeated the Honey Badgers and was the first win for the franchise in nearly a month. Although their record is under .500 (4-6 record) they are still within striking distance of finishing in second or possibly first if they win a lot of games in the next three weeks.
With the Honey Badgers and Terrorhawks breathing new life into their rosters can Beaver Fever keep the rest of the league at bay to finish the season without suffering any additional defeats? At 9-1 they have rose to #3 in the NWLA small league rankings. If they start losing games they will fall fast from the top of the rankings. The Fever are still favored to finish on top of the standings but they will definitely be feeling the pressure from the rest of the league going into the playoffs. But until the new players get comfortable Beaver Fever will probably continue dominating teams like 1980's tag team wrestlers. Hopefully Beaver Fever have enjoyed their stroll down easy street because the Honey Badgers and Terrorhawks appear to be gearing up for a comeback.