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   The Top 10 Games In COWL History     

                                            Numbers 6 - 10    

                                                    by Phill King


            When I began putting the pieces together for this article I had to ask myself: what makes a game great?

Is it rivalry ?   Is it intensity ?   Is a classic game determined by a shining individual performance where a

player straps the team on his back ?  

        Or is a great game made when the stakes are the highest with everything to lose?   I believe you can

find greatness in all of these categories.   So, with these in mind, I began sifting through three years’ worth

of games, looking for performances that matched at least some part of the listed intangibles.

       My findings were significant, and I knew early on that I was in way over my head.   In 2012 alone, I

found 14 games worthy of a top ten list.   I found sparkling examples of players ripping their teams from

defeat, and rivalry games that hinged on final inning fireworks.   

       Most of all, I found gripping games at the height of athletic competition:  The playoffs.

In all, I compiled a list of 35+ pulse-pounding games from the 2010-2012 seasons as well as in the tournaments

we’ve held at our complex.    From there, I began chipping away at the list, leaving only the finest instances of

Wiffle ball excellence. 

       As a disclaimer, I must admit that I haven’t witnessed every game in league history (obviously), nor all of

these games mentioned.    2010 was a time before computers, and all of today’s fancy technology, so most of the

games from that season are somewhat disjointed.   Of course, I’m kidding.   However, bear with me as there

may be small inaccuracies on some accounts.   I attempted to draw from what I do know of these games and put

that towards my list.

       Without further ado, the list.

                              Honorable Mention


10.  Boys, Birds, and a Man Named Beavers

         WHEN :   2011 NWBA Ohio Slow-Pitch Tournament Losers Bracket Semi-Final

         WHO :     Pleasant Valley Boys vs. Dirty Birds

Coming in at number ten is an instant classic delivered to us from the 2011 National Wiffleball Association Ohio

Slow-Pitch Championship Tournament at Legends Park.  To tell you the truth, I can’t even recall the final score of

this game.  The game featured final four pressure, extra innings, and everyone’s favorite; a little controversy.

For those who weren’t there, I will enlighten you.   The game was a see-saw battle from the beginning as the

Pleasant Valley Boys stood toe-to-toe with a top tier team statewide (Dirty Birds).   PVB batted in the top of the

sixth inning with two outs, runners in scoring position, and a tie game.  

A single up the middle turned into a mad scramble as Dave Fisher attempted to score from second.   The ball was

relayed to the Dirty Birds pitcher where he attempted to peg Dave as he crossed the plate.   Needless to say, the peg

attempt wasn't great and bounced between Dave’s legs, leaving a question as to whether the ball touched Dave.

Our umpire, Tim Beavers, saw no contact between the ball and the runner, signaling safe.   A lengthy argument of

choice words ensued between the pitcher and Mr. Beavers to no avail.   The call remained, and PVB went on to win

the game, and eventually claim third place in the tournament.

For what it’s worth (very little), my vantage point from the porch agreed with the call Tim made.


Final: 12-10 (from score sheet) ...PVB wins

Game MVP:  Tim Beavers (The man in blue)


Notes: The Dirty Birds have a .770 winning pct. (47-14) in the London tournament and have been

ranked in the top 10 of the London rankings four of the last five years.  PVB finished 5-2 overall in

the slow-pitch tournament, and 4-3 in the fast-pitch (fourth place).

Editors Note:  The whole Commissioning team was sitting on the back porch swing closely watching this epic

struggle.   From our vantage point - Tim did indeed make the right call - but the play was absolutely wild.   The

big guy was pitching for the Dirtybirds and he was at the 1st base corner edge of the batter's box where the throw

was relayed to.   The ball got to his hands just as Dave leaped for the plate - sort of reminiscent of Michael Jordan,

legs spread, but with white man altitude.   The pitcher caught and flipped the ball violently in one motion.   To

make matters worse, Dave had on very baggy shorts.   The ball showed no deflection in its trajectory and clearly

passed between Dave's legs, from where we were sitting...but it was bang, bang.

The Dirtybirds had the last at bat but could not pull it out.  Dave made one of his running one-handed FTD man

catches to seal the deal in the bottom of the 6th inning.    PVB then lost in a nail biter to Aqua Falls in the loser's

bracket finals for 3rd place.

On a brighter note for the Dirtybirds, they eventually won the NWBA State Fast Pitch Tournament that same

day, so it was not a total loss for them.


9. Red, White, and U


      WHEN :  2011 American League Championship Series: Game 3

      WHO :    The U vs. Redlegs

The 2011 American League Championship Series pitted together two seemingly improbable teams.  The Redlegs

were a first-year team still in the process of tweaking the ins-and-outs of the slow-pitch Wiffle ball game.   The U,

grizzled vets, had begun their 2011 campaign at 3-9 and were basement dwellers for the first half of the season.

Despite winning the regular season series 2-1 over the U, the Redlegs found themselves down two games to none

in the best-of-five format and struggling to produce offense (7 runs and 3 HRs total in Games 1 & 2 combined.)

Another loss would end their inaugural season just short of a World Series bid.


With that in mind, the Redlegs wasted no time jumping out to a ten-run first inning lead on the Woods (TLC) Field.

However, as the game went on the U managed to merely hang around, scratching across runs on base hits.  Through

the next three innings, the Redlegs experienced the power outage that had plagued them all series, producing just

one run.

By the bottom of the fourth, the U had cut the deficit to two runs, trailing 11-9.   Brent Hoover (U) then delivered a

swift knockout punch; a go-ahead grand slam.  By the top of the fifth, the Redlegs trailed 15-11, and simply could

not muster any more offense.



Final:  The U over the Redlegs, 15-11


Game MVP:  Brent Hoover (U) Go-ahead grand slam and pitching victory.


Notes: The victory gave the U their 13th win in the last 19 games, and sent them on to the COWL World Series. 

The Redlegs scored 17 runs in the series, which was a season low for them in a three-game series.

Game 2 of the series was the second-lowest scoring game (4-3, U) of the 2011 playoffs (#1 was GDE over PVB, 5-0).

Editors Note:  I had the distinct pleasure of umpiring this entire series.  Although the games were over in a flash,

due to their low score, there was high drama in every game.   For a new team to be one step away from the COWL

World Series was a significant achievement - and the Redlegs played like they intended to get there.

The air was extremely heavy and I noted on the score sheet I even wore a sweatshirt - it was just a day or two

before the Ross County Fair and the weather was in the 70's all week - beautiful but cool, with balls that died at

the fence for outs instead of normal HRs, even on TLC field.

The real MVP for the entire series were the legs of the U.  In the absence of home runs, they determined

they were not going to stop at the next base.  Nearly all their runs up until the decisive grand slam by Brent were

ground out by challenging the Redleg arms on the base paths - and taking extra bases on the ensuing overthrows

and missed pegs.  On this one night, at least, arms prevailed over legs.


8.  Teach a Man to Fish


       WHEN :    2012 Regular Season Week 5

       WHO :      Pleasant Valley Boys vs. Knights

This week five war between Contender division foes delivered one of the most classic regular season games in

COWL history.  The Knights (4-5) and Pleasant Valley Boys (3-6) each looked to weather a difficult early season

schedule that featured the two winningest teams in COWL history (Legends & Uncle Muscles Hour (GDE)).


The Knights wasted no time giving it to the veteran PVB squad, building a 9-3 advantage on the HR-friendly

TLC Field through the first three innings.    That’s when perennial homerun-threat, Dave Fisher, came to life muscling

four HRs on his own to pull PVB ahead, 11-9, heading to the bottom of the fourth.

The fun was just getting started though.


A seven-run explosion powered by three Knight HRs left the Pleasant Valley Boys trailing 16-11 with only three outs

to work with.    Dave Fisher again strapped the team to his back blasting two more HRs and knotting the score at 16.

With extra innings looming, the Knights could not put the game away.   A mistake that would be their demise as PVB

chipped in five runs in the top half of the sixth.  The theme for the latter innings were things the Knights couldn’t do.

They could not hold the lead, they could not drive in a game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth, and they could not

manage any runs in the sixth.   However, we’ll see that the Knights did eventually get the last laugh.


Final:  PVB over the Knights, 21-16 in six innings.

Game MVP:  Dave Fisher (PVB) 8 HRs and 14 RBIs, including 4 HRs in the fourth inning.


Notes: Dave Fisher’s 8 HR performance is tied for fifth all-time for a single regular season game.  Also, it ranks in the top 10

for regular season single game RBI’s (14).   Dave tallied 17 HRs in the series, which is tied for second-most in a three-game

regular season series.  Corey White (Knights) also belted 13 HRs in the series, tied for tenth all-time.

Editors Note:  Absent a series of our own, I watched from the sidelines this power explosion by Dave.   The air was light

and there was a slight breeze blowing out on TLC field - more than what Dave needed to dominate.

Fireworks - every inning almost.  One of those series where every out, every error, every beat out hit, every runner

left on base took on extra meaning.  Down to the last out of the last at bat this series was a gem.


7.   U Ain’t Got no Alibi; Knights Reign



        WHEN :    2012 Regular Season Week 6

        WHO :      Knights vs. The U

Week 6 netted a great series-deciding game between the Knights and the U.    Disastrous was the only way to describe

the U’s start to the 2012 campaign.   After a switch to the Champions Division, the U had begun the year a dismal 0-9

leaving a lot of questions to be answered.  

However, in true “U” fashion they had started to turn the page in the late season.   The Knights were still licking their

wounds from a series with PVB that slipped through their fingers a week prior.


The U leapt out to an 8-2 lead.  Slowly, but surely, the Knights chipped away at the lead trailing 14-10 entering the top

of the final frame.   The Knights manufactured five runs and extended the game to the bottom half of the fifth where the

U managed to scratch across a single run to send the game into extra innings. 

With the game tangled at 15 apiece, the Knights abruptly untangled it, marching off four runs.   The U struck back for 3

quick runs, then managed to get the tying and winning runs on first and second base with only one out.   However, the U

failed to bring home either falling short by a final of 19-18.    This win gave the Knights a key sweep in route to their

playoff run and was marked off for the U as nothing more than a character building experience.


Final: Knights over The U, 19-18


Game MVP: Corey White (Knights) 3 HR, including a key three-run shot in the fourth inning.


Notes: Each game in the series was decided by three runs or less (11-8, 11-9, 19-18).   The margin, six

total runs, was the smallest between two teams in a sweep in league history. 

Editors Note:  Early in the season I told the Commissioning crew that if we made the World Series again, we would be

playing the Knights.  After an unremarkable year 1 for the Knights, my assertion was met by a number of raised eyebrows.  

Until this series I think my fellow Commissioners were justified.  Something changed in this series for the Knights -

and they began their uphill march to the World Series using this key win as a launch point.  It sort of had the opposite

effect on the U, as they were never able to reorganize and mount any serious threat after the series loss. 


6.  Gookie Outguns Colt 45’s


      WHEN :    2010 Goldstick Classic-Pool Play

      WHO :      Gookie Dawkins Experience vs. Colt 45’s

When I look back at the history of our league, this is a game that has always stood out.   Not necessarily because it was a

riveting game or that there were that high of stakes (being that in was still in the pool play stages).    This marks one of

my favorite moments in COWL history, maybe even my favorite.   

I couldn’t tell you the score, the big plays, or the hero; just the result and the impact.


The fact remains that everyone loves a good upset (except the ones upset, of course) and the Gookie Dawkins Experience

knocked off one of the most respected teams in Ohio, The Colt 45’s.    Gookie Dawkins were merely Wiffle ball rookies,
making the feat that much more impressive. 

Of course, we now realize that Gookie Dawkins (currently Uncle Muscles Hour) was, in fact, a pretty good team.  Nonetheless,

GDE’s win was one of the first, if not the first, marquee win for our league against outside competition.   As much as we love

beating on each other, it is always satisfying to see our teams have success against some of the major teams in the Midwest.


Final: GDE over Colt 45’s (12-11)


Game MVP: Gookie Dawkins and all of his experience.


Notes:  The Colt 45’s won the London tournament in 2006.   In 2011, members formerly of the Colt 45’s

became the Bulldogs and won the London tournament and carried over a year-long unbeaten streak. 

Uncle Muscles Hour, formerly “The Gookie Dawkins Experience”, has maintained a .740 winning

percentage in league play and is the second-winningest program in COWL history (59 wins).


Editors Note:  Phill said it best - a marquee win.  We knew the teams in our league were good - and getting better.

Although we had played this kind of Wiffle ball for just a year or so - and the Colt 45's and London had been

going at it for 10+ years - this single game showed our league could compete.

I think it gave the teams in our entire league confidence.  Within a year teams from our league had finished 2nd

(should have been 1st), 3rd and 4th at the Fast Plastic State fast pitch tournament (Legends/PVB, GDE, the U)

and finished in the top 4 at the Red's Wifflefest (Legends).

Things have only gotten better.   The last couple of years have seen multiple teams from our league compete at

London, with PVB becoming a feared opponent there.   The Legends, with borrowed players from GDE have finished

in the top 8, then top 4, losing to eventual winner the Blue Birds.   Along the way the Legends managed to finish in

the top 4 at Wifflefest and win a Redsfest championship.

The streak Phill mentioned above for the Bulldogs, was snapped at our state tournament last year - when they did

not win a single game in their pool.  That says something solid about how far our league has come.

Someday, soon, one of the teams from our league will break thru and win London.   I believe it started with GDE

showing it could be done with this victory.


Games 1 - 5 to follow shortly.

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   Comment : replies from the Commissioners are in orange
03/19/2013 23:09 - loved this article, can't wait for the top 5
03/19/2013 23:15 - great start, agree with all of these
03/19/2013 23:47 - good mix of teams, our league has gotten better players every year
03/19/2013 23:54 - Just as a note from a player in the GDE game, the score was actually a one run game (I believe 12-11). We got the real fast left handed kid (can't remember his name) to ground out to me in left field with runners on base to end the game. I remember Andy had a great game at the plate and Dave pitched a great game in just his second overall start. Just figured I'd throw some insight on the game as best as I can remember. I truly think a huge part of it was us dressing so ridiculously that they didn't think we had a chance.  Blake
03/19/2013 23:52 - In the London tournaments its been half The U and half PVB playing together the past 3 years. We have a combined record of 11-8 there. We should of placed higher this year but we sat for a long time before the tournament actually started (not making excuses we should of still won), but we ended up losing the first game of the tournament.
03/20/2013 07:01 - Boy, folks were up late last night...I still have nightmares about the shorts and Dave's wrestling headgear.  In some states you can go to jail for wearing shorts that tight and short.

03/20/2013 7:19 - very good article, anticipating the top 5, very good mix of games, saw many of these, wish

I would have been playing in more, Umpired a barn burner between the Legends and the Tigers in one of the tourneys, Levi won with a 3 run HR in the bottom of the 5th, like 20-19, monster game.

03/20/2013 7:24 - good start Phil, keep rollin'
03/20/2013 7:33 - top 5 today Jerry ?  please ?
03/20/2013 9:41 - surprised a little, didn't expect to see so many teams represented, after 3 world series and a dozen good tournaments with London heavyweights coming down to join us.

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