The Palisades Wiffleball League continued on with its season on May 7th. Not surprisingly, the weather was pretty lousy, and players had to battle against raw temperatures and damp, misty rain at times. As usual, some guys stepped up when their team needed it the most. That's what this article has always been about: acknowledging players who provided "game-changing" performances in big spots. So, without further introduction, here are your 5x "Palisades Heroes" for Week 2 of the 2017 season.
BATTING "HONORABLE MENTION": Nick Martinez
2x JACKS = ROYALTY
The Royals have gotten off to a good start in 2017... far better than many around the league anticipated. A lot of this has had to do with the left arm of Oliver Avallone, but this team is starting to look like they might surprise some people. In Week 2, Nick Martinez provided an example of just such a surprise. He hit two jacks in the Royals' first game of the day, boosting them over the Brewers to start the season 3-0. One of Nick's shots was a total bomb on Field 3. If Bumpy's guys can start packing some big hits on top of Avallone's pitching... they could become pretty dangerous by mid-summer.
BATTING AWARD: Kyle "K-Von" Vonschleusingen
NEW PADRE POWER..??
Quite a few players hit well despite the bad weather on May 7th. Rob "Wiffman" Piervinanzi racked up 6 hits, drove-in 4 and notched his first dinger of the season in a Dodgers' blowout. However, for several years now, Kyle Vonschleusingen has been known around the PWBL as an Ace level pitcher with nasty stuff, but not much of an offensive factor. Is it possible that a maturing "K-Von" may have turned a corner with the bat a little bit? In Week 2, Kyle hit two dingers in the same inning and plated 4 runners in the process versus the Astros. This offensive outburst pushed the Padres to a 3-1 record to open the season, right on pace. As if that wasn't enough, Vonschleusingen also pitched well that game, blanking the "Stros from the 2nd inning on. Congrats to Kyle, a good competitor who raised his "batting stock" in Week 2 significantly.
PITCHING "HONORABLE MENTION": Anthony "Sensei" Didio
"WATASHI WA GEMU O RIKAI SURU..." (Translated as: "I understand the Game...")
In Week 2 the Expos faced off against the Yankees. As is most often the case, both squads were seeking "W"s to avoid starting the year off in the proverbial "back-seat" of the standings. The Expos came in at 0-2, and the Yanks were 1-1 after a nail-biter in Week 1 versus the Padres. Although Ty Wegerzn set an outstanding tone by fanning 12 Yanks in the first game while only allowing a lone, weak single, it was Anthony "Sensei" Didio with his masterful knowledge of the game of wiff who really put the highlights on this doubleheader. Didio was tremendous, and his understanding of wiffleball and huge tournament experience should never be underestimated. He no-hit the Yankees with a combination of hard risers spotted way down in the zone to go with a good "12-6" drop pitch, and a screwball thrown in for good measure. The Yanks could not touch him, and the "Sensei" also added in a couple hits of his own to drive the Expos to 2-2 overall on his 3-0 shutout.
PITCHING AWARD: Devin "the Bank" Torres
AT THE BANK... IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ZERO$
It's hard not to be a Devin Torres fan. It really is. This guy can play wiff, and when healthy he's probably one of the top 6 players around the entire league. In Week 2 Devin "took it to the bank" yet again, hurling a perfect game versus a no nonsense Mariners squad that was motivated to win. That's not easy to do! Devin is no stranger to pitching great games in the Palisades... but a "perfecto" against the Mariners early in the season sends a message: the Diamondbacks are looking to roll. If "the Bank" can continue to pitch anywhere near this level, and the snakes' lineup continues to be what it is... look out PWBL. Kudos to Devin, a fair and hard-nosed competitor, for tossing a beautiful game in Week 2 which pushed the D-Backs to 3-1.
MVP of the WEEK: Johnny "Rockstar" Costa
Johnny Costa is, most certainly, the "rockstar" of the Palisades. Whether it's showing up with no shirt on, having his phone blow up from too many hotties texting-in, or taking over a wiffleball game on pure athleticism... Costa is the Robert Plant of the PWBL. No doubt about it. In Week 2, all Johnny did was put the Dodgers on his back by dueling underrated hurler Rob Longiaru 0-0 across 5 innings, then hammer a solo shot in the top of the 6th, and then seal the Dodgers' 4-0 season start by finishing his own gem in the bottom of the inning. The only minor knock on Costa over the past two seasons is occasional inconsistency, more often at the plate than even on the carpet. If Week 2 is any indicator, the 2017 Johnny Costa may resemble the 2015 Johnny Costa... and that does not bode well for the other teams around the Palisades this summer.