Story by Christian J. Stewart (ISN), with files and photos from Jamie Francis (CWL)
Crofton, BC (ISN) – The Championship finals of the only wiffleball league in Canada, the Crofton Whiffleball Association (CWA), happened on Monday night and the North Stars defeated the favoured Rockie team 7-2 and 9-2 to sweep the best of three series.
Established just this past season, the CWA has 4 teams in the league and is recognized by the National Wiffle Ball League Association (http://www.nationalwiffleballrankings.com) which is basically the biggest Wiffle Ball group/community in the world. The CWA is ranked #13 out of 50+ leagues, and is the the ONLY Canadian league.
The league was founded by Jamie Francis and is incredibly well organized and has a top notch web site (HERE) that rivals MLB.com for the level of information and stats that are kept on each of the 4 teams and that rivals the likes of Island Sports News and other sports media outlets in their reporting. They also keep an exhaustive video library of their games and exploits on YouTube (HERE).
For those unfamiliar to the sport of wiffle ball, it resembles baseball in pretty much all aspects, except that there is no base running and as such, the field arrangements and the rules are a bit different and can vary from league to league depending on field constraints and conditions, as well as the number of players on each team.
In Crofton, the pitchers’ mound is set at about 47′ from the strike zone (which is 21×28 inches, 13″ off ground). One defender plays behind the pitcher and can record outs by catching the ball in the air. Hitters place the ball into specific areas marked off on the field for singles (largest area, roughly just in front of the pitcher to before the fence), doubles (a space about 15 feet from the fence, to the fence) triples (hitting the fence), and home runs (over the fence, or in Crofton, hitting a tree branch also known as a ‘tree shot’). While modified for the Crofton league a general wiffle ball field layout is shown below.
Batters get 5 pitches, or 3 strikes, whichever comes first, unless they hit the ball or walk, before they are out. The general rules of baseball scoring apply, with offensive teams using “invisible” base runners as needed. For example if the first player hits a single, his/her team now has an “invisible” player on first. If the next player triples, the runner on first also advances 3 bases and scores, with another “invisible” runner on third, and so on. Each team gets three outs per inning and a full game is a regular 9 inning event.
Back to Monday’s final, the difference in the series was probably the play pitching and hitting of ‘The Commish’ Jamie Francis, but something can definitely be said about Steve ‘Pajamas’ Francis’ play in the field and at bat.
The games were a lot tighter then the scores suggest, as the Stars only got 1 good inning in each game – 6 runs in the 2nd inning of game 1, and 7 runs in the 1st inning of game 2. ‘The Commish’ hit 4 Homeruns in the series, 2 in each game and pitched very well in both games, throwing 11 Strikeouts in 8 innings and most importantly, not giving up more than a double in the entire set. ‘Bean’ Francis and ‘The Dragon’ Bayes for the Rockies just didn’t get there bats going with any consistency.
Steve Francis and Jamie Francis hold up the 2012 CWA Championship Trophy after their wins over the Rockies (Photo Courtesy CWA)
The win was deemed by some as a huge upset, as the Rockies went 13-2 on the season, compared to the North Stars weak 8-7 record. The season series was very close though and the Rockies truly played a great year. This could have contributed to there loss however as they never were really challenged early on. They played a great WinterBall season, and regular season.
The North Stars on the other hand struggled at times. ‘Pajamas’ and ‘Commish’, bickered a lot, even leading to a potential trade earlier in the season. But they battled through, really coming together in the latter half of season and during the Semi-Final win versus the Destroyers.
Charity Tournament September 8th
The CWA is looking forward to another great season in 2013, but before that happens they will be hosting a charity Wiffle Ball tournament in Crofton on September 8th and are looking for teams. If you want to have some fun and support a good cause as well, please be sure to visit their registration page for the tournament HERE. The entry fee is only $20 per team and you are sure to have a blast!