Plethora of Powerline parity prevails
Posted May 23, 2014
After four or five games into the season, it’s clear the league has more parity, and it will be tougher than ever to qualify to make the Powerline Baseball League’s postseason.
The recent 10-9 and 8-2 wins for the Beaumont Angels prove they are right in the mix this year after last year’s slow start. They threw up a 9-spot and held an early lead on the Armena Royals as well on opening day.
The win over early front-runner Holden Blue Jays Thursday night, now puts the Angels in prime position, having a bye Tuesday before playing Armena at home and Ryley and Camrose on the road a week later.
The Blue Jays stumbled Thursday night after a solid start to the campaign. They didn’t even surrender a run in the first two games and had a big offensive outburst in game three, coasting to a 7-4 win over the Armena Royals. Now, they sit in a three-way tie for first with the Royals and Ryley Rebels.
Despite past president Steve Pahl hinting that the old guard of the Bardo A’s and Leduc Milleteers might be in trouble, the dynamic duo who tangled much over the last five-plus seasons has bounced right back. Leduc’s pitching is too dominant not to end up with a winning record again. Bardo, too experienced not to contend. Out of the combined teams’ five losses, four have come by one run.
That leaves the Camrose Roadrunners who you have to feel for. This by no means that bad of a team. They have two or three PBL All Stars on the team and a couple decent pitchers. Losing their star pitcher Alex Roth to the Heisler Cardinals, and catcher Sheldon Petryshen to shoulder injury hurts a lot.
If those two and Kyle Ellis were around full time, I would easily declare this the best the league has ever looked, top to bottom. Eight or nine wins could once again claim first. It reminds me a lot of the Armena Royals teams in 2009-2011. A pretty decent team in a really tough league.
And it might still be that way.
Why the league has improved so much since I joined the league in 1999, I often ponder. Is it because the recreational baseball player from small-town Alberta is disappearing? If you don’t love the game and are committed 80- or 90-percent, it doesn’t seem like you play anymore. I kind of like that.
In the early- to mid-2000s, batters seven to nine on most teams were usually pretty easy outs – even on the good teams. This is how I could claim to be a pitcher in the league. I don’t see too many sure outs nowadays. Hence, why I don’t pitch much anymore.
And speaking of the pitching. It’s solid. Every team has two or three, sometimes more, legitimate, hard-throwing, multiple-pitch hurlers. There were some nights in 2002-2005 that you knew you could have a multi-hit night. That’s not the case anymore.
Early in the year, it looks like we’re in for another fun summer. Will we continue to see teams swapping wins and losses to each other, or will one team pull away. Holden and Leduc seem most apt to do it with their strong pitching staffs.
All I do know is, if you don’t show up ready to play, you can easily be run out of a game against this competition. We’re in for a roller-coaster ride. Where we’ll end up, we won’t know until July.
Once the economy heats up, young guns will chase the jobs. The league will ebb and flow back to where it was, and maybe even disappear. So every year is a win for us all. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Posted on May 23, 2014 by Jason Buzzell