*All playoff games are from 7-9 pm Friday @ Riverside Park, Kelso. Every round is a 3-game series.
#2 Wrecking Crew (4-2) vs #3 Express (4-2) is going to be a battle.
When the two teams met earlier this season the Crew came out on top 1-0 in 3 extra innings. We expect this series to be similar in terms of tight win margins.
Since joining the league in JAL 13 Washougal has steadily improved one step at a time. In their first season they didn't make the playoffs, but showed potential. Their second season ended by taking 2nd in the conference, but losing to the Express in the Conference Semis. This season, they are once again the #2 seed from the AC and are about to take on the Express again in the same round.
Many consider Washougal to still be a season away from trip to the WWCD Cup, but that's not what they think. Everyone on the Wrecking Crew believes this is their season to win it all. Team owner/player Aaron Deister said back before JAL 13 that Washougal would have a title by the end of their 3rd season.... Yesterday he said that's still the plan.
As for Missouri, seeding doesn't matter anymore like it once did. The Express are a polished championship franchise that's won 2 titles in the last 3 seasons - one of which was last season as the #3 seed out of the AC....
Missouri's playoff confidence is centered around their star pitcher Kyle Godinho, who has quite possibly the best playoff resume of all time in the JAL. To go along with his 2 titles, Godinho has only ever lost 1 playoff game in his entire career (6-1). But to fully emphasize his postseason greatness you have to look at his numbers in those games... In total, he's only given up 5 runs in his 7 career playoff games. Incredible.
For Washougal (a team that has been criticized for not batting well) the outlook on paper doesn't look good. But as this season has progressed, Washougal has improved offensively, which takes us to the "Keys to Victory" for this series...
For Washougal to win: They have to rotate pitchers. Neither Scott Coleman, nor Sean Guthrie are players with proven great stamina. After one game they become less effective. During this season the Crew have developed a bad habit of sticking with just Coleman in consecutive games because he's preformed well right out of the gate. The Crew can't forget that their decision to pitch Coleman in 3 straight back-to-backs last Friday almost lost them a game vs the Mafia and did get them upset by the Fog right after. Coleman was great in his first game (1-0 win over Express) but in the other two games following he allowed 21 and 10 runs. Washougal has to trust in Guthrie's abilities this Friday... Even if Coleman starts hot.
For Missouri to win: They need to think of the game like quick sand offensively. Coleman and Guthrie are pitchers that will pile up walks if you stay patient. Deyo and Sullivan are big time home run hitters that will be looking to put runs on the board instantly, but it will be a lot easier if they force Washougal to pitch the zone to them. If Missouri's batters can keep from getting overly aggressive early in the games and make the Crew's pitchers work out of some jams it will pay off in the end. Trying to fight it, and get early leads in games by swinging recklessly at balls on the corners will be like trying to get out of quick sand desperately. Let the Crew beat themselves by walking too many people and pitching long innings.
The bottom line is that this series will likely come down to which team can force the other to play the game "on their terms" when Washougal is pitching and Missouri is batting.
Game 1: Express win 2-0
Game 2: Express win 6-1
Express win series 2-0