Well, it was bound to happen eventually. With the warm weather comes some more hitting. It always happens in the Palisades. Need numerical proof? During Week 4 in rain-shortened play, just (3) homeruns were hit back on June 4th. This past Sunday, with 90+ degree heat and some winds blowing around the park, (19) dingers left all three fields combined. It's always easy to think that pitching suffers in rainy or cold weather, but in the PWBL it's often the hitting that suffers when it's damp, cold, difficult to see, or when the air is chilly and not carrying the ball toward the fences. A few teams (Astros, Cardinals, Brewers, Yankees) came into Week 5 with losing records and needing some offense and some wins badly. In the case of the Cardinals and Brewers, who faced off against each other, wins were almost mandatory in order to stay in the hunt for a Playoff berth. The Dodgers came into Week 5 undefeated (6-0) but were facing off against one of their arch-rivals, a short-handed but always competitive Mariners team.
Who won the important games? Who stepped up in big spots? Who saved his squad, or pushed his team into an even better situation heading toward the second half and the desired chance to play in the postseason? Read on... and find out who were Week 5"s "Palisades Heroes".
BATTING HONORABLE MENTION: Bo "Old Man" Muschinsky
AGE BEFORE BEAUTY...
It never helps to bitch and moan about the brutality of facing PWBL top-level pitching. It's what makes the league a challenge to play in and what many players love about it, including yours truly. That being said, the Yankees thus far have faced: John Istorico, Kyle Vonschleusingen, Ty Wegerzn, Anthony Didio, Tim McElrath/Ryan McElrath in relief, Ryan McElrath (again)... Rob Longiaru twice, and finally Ryan McElrath (3rd time) and Jordan Robles just this past Sunday. It's no wonder that the Yanks have only tallied up 7 XBHs total and the team onbase % stands at a paltry .250 right now. In week 5, it was time for some change. After battling the Giants 0-0 again for 4+ innings, Bo "Old Man" Muschinsky looked for a pitch from Ryan McElrath and managed to put it up into the jet stream and over the left field fence just beyond the reach of Phil Fresiello. The solo shot ended the game, and grabbed Mike Weiner another victory on the carpet without real run support and boosted the Yanks to a 5-4 record.
BATTING AWARD: Devin "the Bank" Torres
Several players hit well in Week 5. However, Devin Torres "took it to the bank" yet again with (3) Homeruns across the doubleheader versus the Astros. In game #1, Devin took a pitch deep in the 4th inning to put the D-Backs up 1-0. Later in that game, Gerard "Modelo Man" Fitzgerald hit his own dinger to even it up. Unfortunately for the struggling 'Stros, the Diamondbacks had a decent advantage in total bases (14-8 TB) and cashed-in the victory in 6 innings by the tied score of 1-1. In game #2, Torres struck again two times, driving two wiffleballs out of Field 1 to raise the Snakes up to a 6-4 record and drive a stake through the heart of the Astros, leaving them at 1-7 so far in the first half. Kudos to Devin Torres, who can "cash it in" with the best of them when it counts.
PITCHING HONORABLE MENTION: Kris Morse
Ty Wegerzn threw another gem of a game this past week, only missing a No-Hitter by a controversial stopped ground-ball call. The guy has talent, no doubt, and has become one of the better arms in the PWBL. But in Week 5, it was Kris Morse who stepped up in a huge way on the carpet, taking the ball against the Brewers for (11) total innings in the doubleheader. Morse pitched extremely well in game #1, holding the Crew to just a run on (3) hits. This allowed the Cardinals to squeak by with the win by the slimmest of margins: tied (12-12) on total bases, but winning via the addition of just one more actual hit than the Brewers. In game #2, Morse went out in 90F heat and took the carpet again, rolling up the Brewers with a beautiful 3-Hit Shutout, the second of his career in (11) PWLB starts. Considering the heat, and the fact that he pitched the entire first game for six innings, Morse's efforts on the mound were pretty heroic, and also totally necessary to give the redbirds any chance of staying viable for a postseason shot.
PITCHING AWARD: Mike "the #1" Weiner
GUNNING FOR A 2ND CY AWARD..?
Mike Weiner has been everything the Yanks could ask for this year on the carpet. He has pitched through adversity, in some cases without his top "stuff", received paltry run-support so far, and has faced-off against opposing staff ace after staff ace this spring. In Week 5, Mike squared off versus Ryan McElrath, and pitched against the formidable 3-man lineup of the Giants yet again. Facing both of the Kingston twins and Phil Fresiello is not the easiest assignment, but "the #1" stepped up another time when needed, tossing a 1-Hit Shutout and allowing only (3) total bases on a relatively windy Field 3. Kudos to Weiner, (4-0, 0.24 ERA, 53Ks, 0.47 BAA) a true staff ace, who is on track for another Cy Young consideration if things go well for him in the second half.
MVP of the WEEK: DUAL WINNERS! Johnny "Rockstar" Costa & Jordan Robles