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The New Faces of the SWBL

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Article by: Sam Skibbe

If you were born with the last name of either Skibbe or Spencer, you were almost destined to play wiffleball. For years, these two families dominated the SWBL with Championship wins, awards won, and records in all facets of the game. Combined, they can claim the first 8 SWBL Championships, 26 major SWBL awards, and too many records to count.

But in more recent years, the playing field has continued to rise in skill level and the SWBL has seen new players come from all walks of life to prove their wiffle-worth. With the change in playing style that hit the St. Louis field in 2012, one weekend a year crowns a champion. If a player has just one bad day in the weekend, it could mean the end of their team’s season and any chance for wiffleball glory. This gives more chances for any player to show they can play with the best the SWBL has to offer (including the Spencers and Skibbes).

Below is a list of 5 players, not named Skibbe or Spencer, that have shown in the new Franchise era that they are a wiffle-force to be reckoned with and are the NEW FACES of the SWBL.

-Patrick Gatti: This wiffleballer has already proven his worth as one of the best new recruits the SWBL has ever seen. His powerful swing is becoming one of the most feared and his pitching is constantly improving throughout his young career. PG is also the only SWBL player to be on the National Slow and Fast Pitch rosters every year in attendance. He is becoming a name in St. Louis and around the country that many in the wiffle-community are continuing to hear.

-Chris Meador: Chris has won the past three SWBL Championships and Gold Glove awards, cementing himself as the best fielder in SWBL history and quite possibly the nation. Chris has also planted himself in the conversation nationally, winning the NWLA Wiffy Award for best fielder in the Midwest and the Nation, while also leading off for the SWBL Cardinals team at the NWLA Tournament in Ohio, leading the tournament in hits, in 2014.

-Brian Kenney: Brian has been with the SWBL for many years as a reserve player before finally getting a shot with his buddy, Blake Spencer as one of the most tenured teammates throughout SWBL history. It was not until 2014 though that he finally exploded for his best season yet. Brian led the playoff-bound Rockies franchise in power offense and fielding while being selected to his first All-Star Game in Season 12. With his continued success, BK will be a name in the SWBL that will be remembered.

-Steve Hays: Steve is the Athletics Franchise strongest player and one that is gaining much respect around the SWBL. On both sides of the ball, Steve continues to get better each season. What is most exciting about his game play is his love of the game and his growing popularity among his teammates. Steve is going to be a cornerstone not only within the A’s franchise, but will continue to prove his worth amongst the biggest superstars in St. Louis.

-Ty Butler: Ty took the SWBL by storm in 2014, winning the Rookie of the Year award and finished second in the MVP voting. After his first successful year in the SWBL, he traveled to Ohio with the SWBL National Fast Pitch Team to aid in their 2014 third place finish, and was instantly recognized nationally as the red haired SWBL player. Ty will continue his career with the SWBL Royals in 2015, looking to make a strong push for MVP in Season 13, and begin an exciting young career in the SWBL.

Honorable Mentions:

-Nick Lape: This former SWBL Champion and Rookie of the Year, led the Cardinals Franchise offense to their first SWBL playoff run in 2014. The only reason he did not make the top 5 list was due to his uncertainty year to year in his future with the league.

-Paul Castellano: The captain of the only team to win in the franchise era and probably the best wiffle-leader in recent history. The only reason for not making the top 5 list was either his strikeout rate in 2014, OR the constant unknowing of if the Rays will actually return, but when they do, they always win.

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