NEW CARLISLE - You can put all the Jellysticks jokes to bed, as the Cult West Warriors have returned to their spot on top of Wiffle®Ball’s highest mountain.
One year after losing to the Jellysticks in the Round of 32, the Warriors took back the Hometown Cup for the fourth time in five years with a 7-6 victory over the Maple City Magic in The Wiffle®Ball Championship Game at Migley Field.
Captain Scott Soos, Matt Soos, Jay Ryans, and Danny Hernandez have been on board for all four Championships. It is the second title for Wes Ellis, a key addition to the squad in 2015.
In the most tense title game in recent memory, the Warriors established a 7-3 lead and were able to hold off a late Maple City charge to capture the Cup. Scott Soos snagged a fly ball in left field to end it.
“Sunday at Migley can only be experienced, not explained,” said Soos of the atmosphere at the Hometown Cup Finals. An announced crowd of 310 took in the semifinals and Championship Game.
Cult West went 9-1 on the weekend, bouncing back from a 13-9 pool play loss to the Super Stache Bros on Saturday afternoon.
The upset threw off the balance of the Hometown Cup Playoff bracket, as the Warriors entered Sunday as the 5-seed in the Bourissa Hills Regional. This created an early Sweet Sixteen match-up with top-seeded and defending champion Son of a Pitch. Powered by a five-run third inning, Cult West knocked off SOAP, 7-2.
The Warriors were in typical Sunday form, rolling through the regional with lopsided scores of 23-3, 25-8, and 23-5 in the Elite Eight over Homerun or Bust.
They didn’t really slow down once they got to Migley either, coasting to a 17-4 win over the Clutch Players in the semifinals.
Ryans took home the Kaylor Trophy, awarded to the Marquee Player of the Hometown Cup Finals.
Besides Cult West, the story of the tournament was the run of Speedy’s Chickenheads. Making their record 11th appearance in the Championship, Speedy’s re-emerged into title contention this weekend, going 4-0 in pool play and reaching the semifinals. It was their first trip to Migley since their 2009 title.
Speedy’s knocked off the Granger Panthers, 3-2, in the Sweet Sixteen before squaring off with the Great Lakes Godfathers in the most electric Elite Eight game in tournament history.
With a raucous crowd on hand at NCBCA Field, Speedy’s pulled out another 3-2 victory in eight innings to end the magical Godfathers run.
Great Lakes eliminated a trendy Hometown Cup Finals pick, the White Lightning, in the Round of 32, creating all kinds of mayhem in the Olive Township Regional.
The final four teams were no strangers to Migley Field. Cult West and Maple City have each reached the Hometown Cup Finals five times, while the Clutch Players and Speedy’s have made four trips to Wiffle®Ball’s Grandest Stage.
The field of 80 teams was the largest in Championship history, besting last year’s 75 team tournament. Sixteen teams went 4-0 on Saturday to claim division titles. The 2018 Championship is set for July 28-29.
JONKMAN WINS DERBY
With the wind howling in at Migley Field on Friday night, 34 competitors stepped up to the plate for the annual Home Run Derby.
Only seven sluggers were able to lift at least one ball out of the ballpark. In the end, Jared Jonkman defeated Seth Campbell, 3-2, in the finals to win the Golden Bat.