JAL X might just be the best tournament in JAL history to date.
With so many new players making their JAL debut it was difficult to predict how things would turn out.
Prior to the opening pitch of the tournament here is the order in which teams were expected to finish the regular season....
Here's how things shaked out...
1. Cobras (3-0)
2. Fog (2-1)
3. Lynx (1-2)
4. Rapids (1-2)
5. underdogs (1-2)
6. Bison (1-2)
There was a lot of pressure on the Castle Rock Rapids to win their 1st WWCD Cup after aquiring former MVP Ty Johnson, and Shaun Godinho. The franchise had been in a severe drought, taking last place in the previous three tournaments. However, things started slow for the Rapids, who lost their first two games 0-5, and 0-10.
But going into their final game of the regular season vs Silver Lake hope was still alive to make the playoffs. It was simple, win and the Rapids were into the postseason as the 4 seed, lose and it was all over.
Rising to the occassion was Ty Johnson, who from that point forward gave up only one, yes ONE more hit. The Rapids went on to win the WWCD Cup.
MVP of JAL IX, Jordan Halverson, was aware no team has ever repeated as JAL champions and strived to be the first to do so. The Lynx finished 3rd in the regular season and made a run to the WWCD Cup, just as they did in JAL IX. Unfortunatly for the Lynx Ty Johnson's pitching perfromance was just too much in the title game and Toutle came up just shy of making history.
Since JAL IV the Cobras had one the WWCD Cup every other tournament. With that stat in mind the Cobras were due to win JAL X. After going 3-0 in the regular season and beating their opponents by a combined score of 27-2 their chances looked promising. The Cobras were on a roll and it was probably going to take the best performance in JAL history to slow them down.... And that's just what happened. As stated above Ty Johnson was too hot, and the Cobras went down 0-6.
Bay Area Fog:
Welcome to the JAL, Fog.
Bay Area had low expectations, but they plesently surprised everybody. Was Jacob Rahn's wind-up? Darren Ayoub's soccer slidding kicks? We don't know, but the Fog earned league wide respect with their 2nd place regular season finish.
Silver Lake underdogs:
The u-dogs are now the longest standing franchise to never win a championship. There was optimism going into JAL X as to weither Mason Klingberg and Josh Wall could contend for the title. In the end, Silver Lake finished 5th with a 1-2 record and missed the playoffs. Team owner Cathy Woodruff continues to grow impatient for a championship.
The storied franchise hit rock bottom in JAL X with their last place finish. Mikel Skreen and James French proved to be decent players with potential. Interestingly enough, had the Bison won their final game vs Vancouver they would have been the #1 seed in the playoffs, but their 1-13 loss sunk them to 6th.
The award winners for JAL X will be announced over the next week.
The league is currently planning to play JAL XI around Christmas, but a date is TBD.