7/8 7/12 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/13 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 7/27 8/2 8/3 8/3 8/9 8/9 8/16 8/23
FS 3|3 FS 0|0 HB 0|2 BW 0|4 EL 1|1 ON 0|0 IS 0|13 EL 1|1 IS 0|0 WW 0|0 ON 3|0 KF 6|3 KF 0|1|0 FS 0 BW 1|2 EL 1|2 R★ 2 BW 0 The
WW 0|0 WA 1|1 KF 1|3 KF 1|10 HB 0|0 WA 3|3 WO 11|8 WA 0|2 WA 3|3 ON 3|3 WW 1|1 WO 0|0 EL 4|0|1 BW 2 WA 0|1 BW 0|0 G★ 0 EL 2 Thrill

Unveiling Big Wood

Choosing a team to represent WSEM on the national stage is not an easy task. I look at more than just stats or talent, but how I think a player can handle the pressure. Last year everything was new and a team was just thrown together. Not knowing what to expect in 2012 seemed to help us stay loose en route to a third place finish and 5-3 record. With the league aware of the legitimacy of the NWLA tournament, many players were interested in going to the 2013 tournament.

Two players will make their return to Columbus representing Big Wood, captain Alex Shore and Austin Bischoff. Both of them showed leadership qualities last year and were welcomed back with open arms. Also joining Big Wood are second year WSEM players who will all be making their NWLA tournament debuts. Those players are Craig Skinner, Chandler Phillips, and Dakota LaDouceur of El Diablos, and Joel Crozier of the Whiteford Wicked Aces.

It is hard to plan the exact rotation and lineup this early, as things change and adjustments are made. Last year we went in with four pitchers, but only two were able to adjust to the 48’ distance. The plan this year is to give three different pitchers a start in the three game round robin, and then go with a two man rotation in the double elimination playoffs with the third guy on relief.

As I introduce each player I will highlight their qualities and how I plan to use them in the tournament. Without further ado, meet Big Wood.

Chandler Phillips #1  P/OF
 El DiablosBats: R   Throws: R  
For the longest time, I had five players picked out for the team with one spot open. I knew I needed a pitcher who could hit, but I really didn’t want a third El Diablo on the team. Combine that with a loud mouth and a guy who turns 18 just days before the tournament and I kept fighting if I really wanted Chandler on the team. Well, I grew to enjoy Chandler’s unique approach to the game. Also, I can’t deny the guy can play, so he earned the final spot on Big Wood. Chandler gives Big Wood a lot of weapons- speed, power, hitting for average, pitching, and defense. His pitching earned him the #3 spot in the rotation and he will get the start in our 3rd round robin game. The plan right now is to use him in the bullpen during the playoffs, but that may change. He will also get some time in the OF while also being a DH. Chandler will bat 5th in the lineup.
 Dakota LaDouceur #5  OF
   El DiablosBats: R   Throws: R  
Last year it was Bortmas and Hatt of the Manchester Punchouts playing for Big Wood. This year it will be the third of the ‘Big Three’ former Punchies, Dakota LaDouceur representing the team. Scoring runs was a problem last year for Big Wood, so when I needed to add someone with a big stick I didn’t have to think hard to find it. Dakota batted .339 last year, and tied for the league lead in home runs with 20. He also led the league in RBIs with 64. Those numbers not only earned Dakota a spot on Big Wood, but they also earned him a spot batting 3rd. On a very young team, Dakota is the elder of the bunch at the ripe age of 20. His quiet no nonsense presence will balance out some of the louder cockier players on the team. Dakota will play in one of the two OF positions while occasionally being a DH.
Joel Crozier #13  OF
 Whiteford Wicked Aces Bats: R   Throws: R  
Joel Crozier was the first of the four 2013 new players to be offered a spot on Big Wood as he has represented and helped WSEM greatly in his time with the league. Don’t get me wrong though, he is not on this team for that, he is on this team for his leadership and more importantly for his skills. Joel is the prototypically leadoff man, and we need that after losing Sam Hatt. Joel was voted as a hitting All-Star last year in the tough Ringler division, and is making a case to be a two-time All-Star this year. He does have occasional power, but he knows what his role will be on Big Wood, and that is to get on base. Although I don’t plan on starting Joel as a pitcher, he is capable of giving Big Wood some relief innings if need be. He will mostly be in the OF though.
 Austin Bischoff #24  P/DH
   Whiteford Wicked AcesBats: R   Throws: R  
Austin Bischoff came in to the 2012 NWLA tournament as one of four pitchers, and emerged as our #2 going 2-2 with only Hatt pitching better than him. The new pitching distance gave him some struggles, as he finished with a 4.00 ERA and gave up 35 walks. Those are not Austin Bischoff numbers, and I expect a big improvement from him. Austin is slated as our #1 this year and will pitch Game 1 of our round robin. At the plate in last year’s tourney, Austin held his own batting .267 with eight RBIs and a team leading two doubles. In league play this year Austin has been crushing the ball, so he will enter the NWLA tournament as a dual threat player. Austin will bat cleanup for Big Wood and when he is not pitching he will DH.
Alex Shore #33  OF
 Westside WarriorsBats: L   Throws: R  
Alex Shore has been my right hand man for Big Wood, as he is both a leader on and off the field. Last year Shore decided at the last minute he could play, and he made quite the impression on the national stage with his signature stare at the batter’s box. Shore hit .250 with six RBIs and was second on the team with a 1.092 OPS. In all eight games in last year’s tournament, Shore batted 2nd for Big Wood, and I plan on once again putting him there. On the field, Alex will play in one of the two OF positions while occasionally being a DH.
 Craig Skinner #69  P/DH
   El DiablosBats: L   Throws: R  
Craig Skinner flew under the radar in his rookie season, while receiving very little accolades. 2013 has been very different for El Diablos ace as the entire league now knows what he is capable of. Skinner went 5-2 last year for the Belgian Wiffles with a 0.45 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP. He is once again on pace for similar, if not better numbers even with the new pitching distance and bats. At the plate last year Craig didn’t turn any heads, but this year Craig has been a new hitter as he in near the top in most offensive categories. Anything Craig does for Big Wood at the plate is a bonus, as he is ultimately on this team for what he does on the mound. Moving to 48’ hasn’t fazed Craig at all, and he was the first pitcher I wanted on this team when I needed to add one. Craig will be the #2 pitcher for Big Wood and will start Game 2 of our round robin. He will also bat 6th, and when he isn’t pitching he will DH.

Last year a make-shift coaching staff was unexpectedly put together during the tournament. Many WSEM members who made the trip got involved and helped the team in a variety of ways. Whether it was warming up our next game’s pitcher or coaching one of the bases, Big Wood became more than just the guys playing the game. This year will be no exception. Our coaching staff will equal the size of Big Wood, and we plan on making a lot of noise once again. The only question remains, will ‘Dad’ make a return? Here is the planned coaching staff.

Manager - Carl Coffee
I will be making the lineups, pumping up the team, jamming, and drinking heavily.

Pitching Coach - Brandon Corbett
Corbett is a Big Wood veteran who will help with the pitching staff while also drinking heavily.

3rd Base Coach - Nick Coffee
Nick Coffee had a blast last year as our 3rd base coach, and will return to that position. He will be drinking heavily as well.

1st Base Coach - Nick Braden
Nick Braden was a big help in 2012 as he occasionally coached 1st base and also would help retrieving balls while falling into the backstop. He will have the same role in 2013.

Bench Coach - Josh Nagorski
Josh was a blessing last year as anything I needed done he would do with a smile on his face. He will be my bench coach this year and will give out a lot of high-fives.

Coaching Intern - Evan Bischoff
Evan will take Josh’s role as lowest on the totem pole. He will do annoying things like getting water and Gatorade for the team, feeding balls to our pitcher, and being the bullpen catcher.