Lucas’ Hitmen win IAL championship; Sanchez goes #1

2017 ial draft-2011

Last weekend the Illowa APBA League held their 42th annual Draft weekend in Downers Grove, Illinois.  The weekend was quite busy with playoffs, the IAL World Series, rookie draft and the start of the season.  Each team got in 30 games played to start the 2017 season. 

First of all, congrats to Northside Hitmen manager Chuck Lucas (above left with Commissioner Mike Bunch) who battled it out seven games against Molly Putts Marauders skipper Don Smith in the Illowa World Series.  Down 3 games to 2, Hanley Ramirez gave Molly a second life with a walk-off homer in game six.  Shelby Miler outlasted Johnny Cueto to give the Hitmen the game and the Series. 

Congrats Chuck! 

2017 ial draft-2016

Chuck wasn’t the only manager to come home with some hardware.  First place Marcus Bunch of the Moline Upperdeckers was voted Manager of the Year based on his 95-67 record.  Not only did he get to take home the official traveling plaque but was awarded a Joe Maddon bobblehead. 

Nice going, Marcus! 

Draft time!

2017 ial draft-2030

The draft took place Friday night after the postseason but there is a story to be told.  See, I had the first pick in the draft (again).  I was ready to deal and my buddy John Brandeberry wanted it.  We had talked about dealing my first pick for his first which was the third pick overall. In return, he would give me outfielder Joc Pederson. 

While I was sitting on that, Rob Moore was asking about Jung-Ho Kang.  With the potential of Pederson in the outfield, I could keep Kris Bryant at third.  Kang was expendable.  Rob was ready to deal his 3rd round pick for him. 

It happened so fast.  Within ten minutes, I made those two deals. 

2017 ial draft-2020

Long story short, catchers were picked in the first picks, Sanchez and Contreras.  That’s Brando above holding his first pick proudly.  With my newly acquired third pick, I took outfielder (and soon to be shortstop) Trea Turner.  I now have a leadoff man!

The first round in the 2017 IAL draft:

  1. Sanchez
  2. Contreras
  3. Turner
  4. Fulmer
  5. Story
  6. Bregman
  7. Maeda
  8. Gray
  9. Davies
  10. Devenski


2017 Season

Most of us got started playing the 2017 season on Saturday morning but Brando and Don Smith couldn’t wait.  They played late into Friday night. 


The bulk of the rolling was done on Saturday.  We even had a special guest come to visit us. Chicagoland tournament organizer Rob Spatz stopped by and helped manage a few games!  Watch out Rob, that’s how Scott Fennessy got into the league.  Truth be told, it already sounds like Spatz is going to help Montana resident Brando play a few local games. 


The standings are already out for March and it looks like Marcus’ Upperdeckers are off to another good start.  Max Scherzer had a pretty memorable game for him against the Kentucky Kernels.  Scherzer (an AKZ pitcher) gave up just one hit in 9 innings and struck out a total of 18 batters! 


Moline Upperdeckers 20 10 .667 0 0
Molly Putts Marauders 20 10 .667 0 0
Colona Hustlers 18 12 .600 2 0
Northside Hitmen 17 13 .567 3 0
Kentucky Kernels 15 15 .500 5 0
Twin Cities Thunderchickens 15 15 .500 5 0
Green Rock Bombers 14 16 .467 6 0
Missoula Rattlesnakes 14 16 .467 6 0
Chicago Highlanders 10 20 .333 10 0
Des Plaines Dragons 7 23 .233 13 0

My Twin Cities Thunderchickens went a very acceptable 15-15 for the weekend.  We’re tied for fifth place!!

I may not have that first pick in next year’s draft.

More photos here

Thanks everyone for a great time! 


  1. In the photo depiction above, White Sox fans Chuck Lucas & Rob Spatz seem to be having a spirited discussion. Perhaps they are arguing whether former Angel farmhand Peter Bourgos can beat out the non-hustling Avasail Garcia for the RF spot in 2017.

    • The last time we took an Angel reject it was the very forgettable JB Shuck…just say no to Angel rejects! (If they can’t make THAT team…we don’t want ’em!)

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