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.
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!
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.
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:
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!
|2017 ILLOWA LEAGUE||W||L||PCT||GB||PP|
|Molly Putts Marauders||20||10||.667||0||0|
|Twin Cities Thunderchickens||15||15||.500||5||0|
|Green Rock Bombers||14||16||.467||6||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.
Thanks everyone for a great time!