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     2011 Stats       2011 Review      2012 Outlook      2012 Championship


                                                           The Dirt Dogs

                                                               2012 COWL Preview                                                                        


           AKA :   Eric Cox, Tyler Depugh, Lucas Detty, Ryan Ankrom, Jason Smith, Jerimee Lovely,

                                           Nick Easterday, Lance Stoneking, and Brandon Dunn



                                                               Inside the Numbers

  2011 Season:


  League and Place:                                 Not available (NA) – New team

  Post Season Record:                             NA – New team

  Previous Experience:                            2009 Inagural Wide Open Wiffleball Tourney

  Win/Loss Record:                                  4-3 (2-2 in tourney)

  Pythagorean Record:                            NA

  Win/Loss vs. teams above .500:           0-2

  Win/Loss vs. teams below .500:            4-1

  Win/Loss in games decided <5 runs:    1-1

  Win/Loss in last 10 games:                   4-3

  Avg. Runs scored in games won:          14.7

  Avg. Runs scored in games lost:           11.8

  Runs For/Against:                                  90/97

  Avg. Runs scored in all games:             12.85

  Avg. Runs allowed in all games :           13.85

  Homerun Total:                                       56

  Avg. Homeruns per game:                      8.0          

  Homerun Leader:                                    NA

  RBI Leader:                                            NA

  Wins Leader:                                           NA

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                                                             2011 Season Recap


              The Dirt Dogs are a new team for 2012, having played in the inaugural Wide Open

  Wiffle ball benefit tournament for Matt Howe in 2009.   This event was a “swung what

  you brung” event with Big Jack and Nerf Vortex Thunder bats being the bats of choice.

  The field was also much larger than today’s fields with 135’ fences to center and 115’

  down the lines.


        The Dirt Dogs represented themselves quite well in this event, going a very

respectable 2-1 during pool play and then 2-2 in the 10 team tournament, eventually

being eliminated in the semi finals of the loser’s bracket – thus making it into the top 5.


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                                                         2012 Season Preview


        As a new team, many of the Dirt Dogs strengths and weaknesses are just plain unknown, so

  we will highlight the challenges facing them in their 1st year of COWL competition.


  The Known Knowns:   


  •         Their Brains : Eric Cox and his crew know baseball, and softball for that matter, of which Wiffle ball

                   is a hybrid.  They have played, and coached, teams before and know all the ins and outs of where to

                   throw cut-offs to, how to hit behind runners, when to chance getting thrown out – all of the intricacies

                   of operation in a game that can take years to master – but eventually are responsible for winning close

                   games.  In this regard I would put the Dirt Dogs near the top of the league.  Their baseball knowledge

                   will be second to none.


  •          Their Brawn :  Eric and his crew are sizeable lads.  This can be both a plus and a minus.  On the plus

                    side (no pun intended), they will have no trouble swinging a 4.5 ounce yellow Wiffle bat very hard.   On

                    the minus side, you don’t have to be very big to swing a 4.5 oz Wiffle bat at its terminal velocity –

                    any 8 year old can do it. 

                    The key is position and velocity at the exact moment of contact – at the proper position on the bat – none

                    of which have anything in the world to do at all with strength or size.


                    Will Eric & Crew be able to master the intimidating process of striking a small ball with an even skinnier

                    yellow bat ?   Those of us who have played for a while understand this can be difficult while throwing the

                    ball up and hitting it yourself, let alone when there is a pitcher attempting to keep you from hitting the ball.


                    I expect there will be a steep learning curve for the Dirt Dogs resulting in a difficulty scoring runs at the

                    beginning of the season.  Like most teams, they will improve dramatically by seasons’ end.


  •         Their Block :  The Dirt Dogs, as a new team, will be in the Contender’s Division – a great place for a

                   new team to land.   2/3 of their games will be against teams who were below .250 last year.  The only team

                   with established stars in the Contenders Division is Abusement Park with their mad trio of The Hill boys

                   and Joey Votto clone Ron Anderson.  The rest of the league will be dog-eat-dog and 5 runs may win any

                   given game.

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                                      Essentials for a Young Gun Championship Run

 The UnKnown Knowns:   


  • On the Defensive :   Can they play it ?  They will appreciate and master the pitcher’s hand rule quick

           enough, but D in Wiffle ball is about getting to line drives and fly balls.  Will the bulk of the Dirt Dogs prevent

           them from getting to those inning stopping plays ? 

           Likewise, ground ball outs are crucial in Wiffle ball – and there are basically 2 strategies.  The first is to play a

           shortstop – someone in the position where the most ground balls occur – who can scoop them up and get easy

           pitcher’s hand outs.   GDE with Eric Lewis and the Legends with Phill King employ this strategy superbly.  

           Almost all ground balls on the 3rd base side of the infield result in easy outs against these 2 teams.  

           This strategy is particularly effective when a team has a standout shortstop player.  Teams using strategy often

           play an outfielder somewhere behind the shortstop and then one other defender to cover the rest of the field.  

           This results in base hits to the 3rd base side of the field being extremely difficult to come by and is very effective

           against teams which do not hit to the opposite field much.  The danger to this strategy is there is lots of open

           space to right and center for line drives and flies to fall into.


           The second method is for all 3 defenders to play at medium depth in left, center and right field.   This puts them in

           position to catch almost all line drives and flies to the outfield – making sure of easy outs.   Ground balls must be

           charged and a hurried throw made to the pitcher to retire runners.  The U is a good example of how this strategy

           can be used effectively. 

           The danger in this method is many ground balls wind up as basehits as it puts a lot of pressure on the defenders

            to make pickups and throws on the run and the pitcher to catch curving fastballs under duress.


            So, which method will the Dirt Dogs employ – I will wager plan B, which puts a premium on catching every fly ball

            and line drive possible – getting all the easy outs. 


             How will the Dirt Dogs react to being able to peg runners ?   Probably like every one else – if they’re dumb enough

             to run, light ‘em up.   The only downside here is chasing balls after missed pegs – a question of foot speed and

             quickness which is in question.


  •    Being Offensive : Let’s be honest - brutally honest.  Wiffle Ball is about Home Runs.  Everyone wants to him

              ‘em, even the few girls who play in our league.  Heck, the majority of complaints we get are about the Little Leaguers

              and girls being allowed to hit sold balls.  Why – because they hit more HRs with them than us old guys.  The website

              analytics show the HR totals is the first place people visit on our website during the season.  

              Everyone loves Big Mac vs Sammy. 


              That said – can the Dirt Dogs hit ‘em ?   I will wager, not to start.  Hitting with that ultra skinny 1.5 inch diameter

              bat can be maddening – even for grizzled veterans.   There is no denying their importance – on Carroll and Shelley fields

              it is nigh impossible to score 10 runs without them.   A cursory look at the stats show that the teams that hit the most

              HRs – win the most.  I am certain there is a cause and effect there somehow. 

              So, how will the Dirt Dogs compete until the spigot opens on the HRs ?  That is the $64 question.   With the break even

              point at 10 runs per game - if you can score 10 on average, you will win more than you lose - how canan the Dirt Dogs

              get 10 per game ?  

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 The UnKnown UnKnowns:   


                        The Dirt Dogs plan is to play by committee.  Regulars Eric Cox, Tyler Depugh, and Lucas Detty, all great guys,

              will form the bulwark of the team.  The 4th and 5th members will be cast from the lineup of Ryan Ankrom, Jason Smith,

              Jerimee Lovely, Nick Easterday, Lance Stoneking, and Brandon Dunn (no relation to Adam).


                          History has shown the most successful teams tend to have the same 4 guys on a regular basis – it provides the

              continuity and camaraderie required for winning.  However, some of the cast listed have experience with COWL

              previously and may actually provide some veteran leadership for the new team.

                          How will the Dirt Dogs fare ?   We are about to find out.   

               In any case, we are thrilled to have them joining us for the 2012 COWL season and trust they will have a great time !



           Editors Notes are emphasized in italics.

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