Playoff preview; This week is the Palisades minor leagues playoffs. The first round will have the Dragons vs Boyz with Feelings. The winner will go on to play the winner of the Storm vs. Stugotz in the championship game on the game of the week.
Dragons (8-6) at Boyz with Feelings (11-3)
The Dragons are a young bunch lead by the hitting and pitching of Vinny Lea. Vin ended the season with a .458 avg. (4th in the league) and led the Palisades minor leagues in home runs (11) and RBI’s (29). On the carpet he ended the season with a 1.67 ERA and led the league in wins (7) and pitching K’s (71). Vin had a majors call up during the season and held his own in his lone start. Vin ended the season 7-2 on the carpet, one of those loses coming from Tim Caulfield (Boyz with feelings).
As a team the Dragons had the most hits and homers and will be tested as they face the fiercest pitcher in the minor leagues (Tim Caufield). Mike Bucci and Vin Lea were among the top 5 league leaders in batting avg., hits and home runs.
Boys with feelings ended the season as the #1 seed with an 11-3 record. As a hitting team “’Boys with feelings” are in the middle of the pack within the league but the team does not need much offence when Tim Caulfield is pitching.
Tim Caulfield ended the season with a 5-0 record only giving up 1 run in 23 innings. He is averaging 13.07 k’s per game (61 k’s in 23.1 innings) which means out of 70 outs– 61 were via strikeouts. He has given up only 3 hits all year. (Nick Anez had 2 in week 2 and Vin Lea had the other in week 3). Tim improved on his 2016 final numbers by cutting down his walks from 5.75/game to 2.14/game. Tim had a midseason call up with the Brewers and was dominating in his Majors outing but opted to say down in the minors and make a bid for a championship with “Boys with feelings”.
Storm (9-5) at Stugotz (10-4)
The Storm are a wiffle veteran team, who compete together in just about any tournament they can get their hands on. They are led by the pitching of Mike Quezeda who is a big game pitcher and steps it up when it counts. Mike can also log a lot of innings, last year it was common for him to pitch a game in the minors to then get a call up and pitch for a Majors team. Quezeda had a share of the league lead in wins (with 7) on the carpet (two of them via shutout). Quezeda is also is a big game hitter, doing his best when it counts. He has 64 AB’s in the majors the past two years and is experienced batting against real deal pitchers. Mike Quezeda had a midseason call up to the Majors early in the year and shutout his opponents over 5 innings.
The key to trying to beating the Storm is simple, you have to get Quezeda out at the plate and score runs off Quezeda.
Stugotz last year were a middle of the pack team with a 7-7 record. Mike Grey had a 5-1 record on the carpet but he needed some help to get Stugotz over the hump and into the playoffs. Last year Stugotz had 12 batters play for them and used 7 different pitchers. That changed this year with the addition of Anthony Pace. All innings this year with the exception of 1.1 innings were pitched by Pace and Grey. The combination gives Stugotz the deepest staff in the minors. Both Pace and Grey are capable of pitching shutouts every time out. Stugotz led the league in shutouts (6). The strength of Stugotz is the pitching depth which gave up the least team runs. If Stugotz wins in the first round, they have the ability to march out that second rested Ace pitcher against a pitcher probably going for the his second game of the day in the championship round.
Anthony Pace lead the Palisades minors with 35 hits (tied with Mike Bucci – Dragons), lead the league in Shutouts with 4 (tied with Vin Lea- Dragons) and was 2nd in pitching K’s (68). He ended the season with a 0.86 ERA.
Mike Grey didn’t have as many innings pitched as Pace but he did end the season 4th in the league in ERA (3.30).
For those of you who have not tried it yet, reach out to Brett Bevelacqua and check out the Palisades minor leagues. It’s a place where old stars extend their golden years, young future stars learn how to throw and hit wiffle pitches and a place where incoming established stars make their showcases before joining a major’s team.