Three CCW studs laid claim to prestigious National Wiffle awards this postseason - a fitting culmination for what was a very successful year for Circle City on the national level.
3 National Awards, 17 National Team selections, 6 Top 100 Players, Top 8 finish at the NWLAT, Most Improved Website.
With the young talent in this league, it’s beginning to feel like this thing might just be getting started.
Central Hitter of the Year, The Drop #76, CCW Silver Slugger
Smithey broke onto the scene in a big way during his 2019 rookie campaign. He led a dangerous Hounds squad to within one half-inning of a World Series appearance, impressing Mike Speek along the way and earning a spot on his team for the CCW Top 40 draft.
Some of the best players in the world, regardless of their sport, fall into the ‘Sophomore Slump’. But some unique circumstances - like the addition of the best Wiffle baller in the country (see Jonkman, Caleb) - somewhat silenced the noise of the mounting pressure that usually accompanies being labeled the next face of CCW. Will Smithey responded with a sophomore surge.
Smithey devoted himself to Wiffle in the summer of 2020 and it paid off handsomely. #1 in slugging, on base percentage and average while turning in top 5 pitching numbers that enabled him to *legitimately* compete with Caleb Jonkman for league MVP.
In his first NWLA Tournament, Will Smithey led the Chasers to their best finish in league history. CCW finished 1st in OBP, T1st in HR, 4th in runs, 2nd in SLG and 5th in AVG. With Smithey leading the way, Circle City Wiffle is going to find itself in the National conversation for years to come.
Alec Buchman, Central Rookie of the Year, The Drop #71, CCW Rookie of the Year
Buchman’s rookie campaign was largely just “fine” until his July 7th outing against the Short Shorts. 0 runs, 1 hit allowed and 12 strikeouts. Boom - it’s on.
Something clicked on that night and Alec Buchman never looked back. His final two starts of the 2020 CCW season? 1 run and 13 strikeouts in a playoff upset of the Yakkers, then 1 run and 17 strikeouts in a heartbreaking loss to the Short Shorts.
Buchman carried that momentum into his first NWLA Tournament appearance, leading the CCW staff with a 0.55 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 11 innings of work.
The velocity, arsenal and investment are all enough to make Buchman a perennial mainstay atop the CCW pitching leaders.
Caleb Jonkman, National Player of the Year, The Drop #2, CCW MVP and Cy Young
While it would be wrong to claim Jonkman as CCW’s own, he’s going in this article due to his impact on CCW, but mostly so the commish doesn’t have to hear it from him for the next 3 months...
It would be a waste of your time to do a recap on Jonkman. If you want the full season-long scoop, go read his write-up on The Drop’s Top 100 list.
There’s no statistical summary needed. No list of achievements, accomplishments or records. What Caleb did for CCW in 2020 was paradigm-altering. He brought a level of competition and discomfort to the league’s best players that will prove to be foundational in the growth and development of CCW for years to come.
In addition to the 3 National Awards, CCW had 17 players earn National Team honors - easily setting a league high, and 6 players listed in The Drop’s Top 100:
Speek Jr - 1st
Sprinkle - 2nd
Smithey - 2nd
Werner - 2nd
McFarland - 2nd
Leffler - 3rd
Smithey - 1st
Dudas - 2nd
Lyon - 3rd
Caughey - 3rd
McFarland - 3rd
Morris - 3rd
Buchman - 1st
Dudas - 1st
Gregory - 2nd
Plourde - 3rd
Hopkins - 3rd
Speek - 98
Smithey - 76
Lyon - 73
Buchman - 71
Speek Jr. - 30
A revamped Circle City board of directors has set the date for the 2021 preseason meeting. 2020, while an amazing year of Wiffle, was not free of missteps. CCW will look to address those issues and move forward with a clear plan of action.
Stay tuned for updates regarding the 2021 season. We look forward to having you join us for another amazing year!
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These articles are written by the talented members of the Dirtyard Dish content team.