Take a swing at wiffleball

by Majorand Beacon / Beacon Correspondent • September 28, 2005

correspondent Tyler MacLeod.

"Our job is solely to make sure the league runs smoothly," Velez said.

Last fall semester marked the inaugural season of this newly organized ECWL. Each team consisted of up to five players and played seven regular season games. Beyond this, there was a postseason and trophies for the league's World Series Champions, Most Valuable Player and a Cy Young award for the best pitcher in the league.

The postseason was divided into two rounds. The first involved the top two teams from each four-team division playing each other in a best-of-three playoff format. The winners of each division then faced each other in a World Series, which used the same system.

The trophies were given to each player individually at the conclusion of the regular season.

"The first season was more of a trial and error season," Velez said. "We were testing different ways to change the game of wiffleball. We wanted to figure out what worked and what didn't work to finalize a format that would stay consistent."

One of the main issues was that the games were too low-scoring and pitching dominated the league. McLaughlin, who was last season's Cy Young award winner, did not allow an earned run the entire regular season spanning 18 innings.

"[Wiffleball] was meant to be an offensive game and that was something that we could not change," Velez said.

Velez said the board adjusted the rules of wiffleball so instead of whipping the ball, pitchers could change their pitching speed to allow more action.

Other rule changes, according to Velez, include six balls for a walk this semester as opposed to eight the previous semester. The most drastic rule change was instead of one eight-team league, there are now six teams at a major league level and six at a minor league level.

"The level of competition varied throughout the league," Velez said. "[The league] constructed a minor league system that would separate the [people] that took it to the extreme level of competition to those who wanted to have fun."

Feedback on the ECWL this season has been positive thus far.

"It's a lot of fun," said junior Chris Strickland, who is captain of the D.T. United team. "It gives us a chance to exercise and it is friendly competition."

Strickland said he feels the ECWL is well-organized.

The league has 30 students involved at the major league level and plays during the fall and spring semesters.

With an Emerson league established, Velez said he has ambitions of expanding to schools around the New England area.

"The next step is to move beyond Emerson and create a league that will incorporate other wiffleballers from other schools," Velez said. "It's called the New England College Wiffleball League and it's in the works."

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