2016 Champaign – PLAYOFFS (Nov. 9-10)

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Updated: November 15, 2016

On Wednesday and Thursday Night, we had a two-part Opening Week to the Champaign League Playoffs.  16 Total Teams (10 in the Men’s Division and 6 in the Co-Ed Division) started off on Playoff journeys and after all the Games were played, exactly half from each League remain.  This coming Wednesday Night 1 of 5 Teams left will take the Men’s Crown and 1 of just 3 Teams left will win the first Ever C0-Ed Championship.  This week’s wrap-up is going to Review all of the action from last week and set the stage for the final night in Champaign for 2016!

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Co-Ed Playoff Review

Opening Round Kickball

4. Team Gphi/Sammy’s 18s (Spare Time) v. 5. Team Alpha Phi/ZBT (Sushi Kushi)  

Winner plays 1. Team Gphi/SAE 17s in Final4

Just a night after their annual get together, ZBT and Sammy’s were at it again and this time they were helped out by their partners in crime, Alpha Phi and Gamma Phi, respectively.  A lot was on the line in this Game.. Obviously, it’s win or go home.. Obviously, the Rivalry.. However, the Winner could also always claim they won the very first Champaign Co-Ed League Playoff Game.. No matter what happened, the rest of the way they’d have that.. The Winner would also go on to face #1 Team GPhi/SAE 17s in the Final4 immediately following this one..

These two teams tussled all the way back in September and that saw Team Gphi/Sammy’s 18s grab a narrow Victory on the Flag Football field.. This one would be a completely different ball game with the arena switching to the kickball diamond. As was the case in all of the Kickball Games this season, this one came down to Defense.. Runs were very hard to come by and the Team that would make the fewer fielding errors would likely be moving on.. Megan Erickson and Rori Westerlund were able to get on-base and score runs for Alpha Phi/ZBT.. Would 2 runs be enough?  Yes it would be! Ryan Mass scored for the Gphi/Sammy’s 18s squad but it wasn’t enough.. 5. Team Alpha Phi/ZBT would advance to the Final4!

For Gphi/Sammy’s 18s, they had a very stellar run at their first All Sports Series as a unit.  They clearly have a lot of talent on the squad (the guys finished 2nd in the Regular Season of the Men’s League) and if they choose to continue to play together in 2017, we could be looking at the eventual Champs during their Senior campaign. Thanks for playing!

 

Final4 Kickball

1. Team Gphi/SAE 17s (Schweitzer Title) v. 5. Team Alpha Phi/ZBT (Sushi Kushi) 

The Winner here would move on to the first ever Champaign Co-Ed League Championship Game.. Both Teams certainly felt the pressure.. #1 Gphi/SAE 17s had been at or near the top of the Standings all season as they excelled in just about every sport.. They certainly entered as the favorites. However, #5 Team Alpha Phi/ZBT was just coming off the first Playoff Win in Co-Ed League history and the momentum that they were carrying was unmatched..

This was another low-scoring affair.. Runs were hard to come by and that put even more pressure on the Defense with each passing inning. Co-Captain Chris Valvassori would hit a home run in this one for the #1 seed but that was the majority of the Offense on this night.  Co-Captain of Alpha Phi/ZBT Alyson Wiemken and Heidi Killinger both got hits in this one for their club and helped spring board their group to their second (and most surprising) Playoff W of the night! 5. Team Alpha Phi/ZBT would advance to the Co-Ed League Championship!

For Team Gphi/SAE 17s, they will definitely leave a bit disappointed. They had their sights set on the Crown. Yet, they shouldn’t over look everything they accomplished this Fall. They finished on top of the very first Co-Ed League Regular Season and really were dominant much of the way. Hopefully this group can stick together post-Graduation and play in one of All Sports Series’ Chicago Co-Ed Leagues this Summer. Thanks for playing!

 

2. Team Tri Delt/SAE (SLA Insurance) v. 3. Team KKG/Phi Delt (Houlihan’s)

This Game will take place this coming Wednesday Night with the Winner moving on to face Cinderella 5. Team Alpha Phi/ZBT in the first ever Champaign Co-Ed Championship Flag Football Game.

 

Men’s Playoff Review

Opening Round Softball

8. Team Sammys 19s (Farm Lake Barn) v. 9. Team SAE 17-18s (iHotel Navy)

A year ago, we saw #8 AKL v. #9 ATO in this very spot.. Opening Round Softball and the Winner would immediately take the field against a dominant #1 seed that basically ran the table.. That #1 seed was Team Sammy’s 18s (who are this year’s 2 seed).. The reason for bringing this up is that, #9 ATO would go on and Win not just one but TWO games on that night to stun the Champaign League en route to the Final4.. History shows there will be an upset or two along the way.. So not only are Sammy’s 19s and SAE 17-18s competing for a spot in the Elite8, they are competing to become the potential Cinderella that the whole League would be buzzing about…

Similar to most of the Playoff Games, this one was all about Defense. It seemed every run was a monumental occurrence as each Team’s Defense routinely retired the side without letting anyone cross home.. Captain Bradley Kaplan went 2 for 4 and drove in the lone run for his Sammy’s 19s squad.. Unfortunately, Jack Fitzpatrick and Antoni Hansdorfer would do enough at the plate for their SAE squad to earn the 2-1 W!  9. Team SAE 17-18s would advance to the Elite8 and take on #1 Team SigEp.

For Team Sammy’s 19s, they walk away from their first season as a unit without a Playoff W but some much needed experience. If you look across the board at the League most of the top Teams have put in their time and have learned how to Win over the course of a few years.. This group has a lot of talent and it’s easy to see them taking the leap as Juniors next Fall. Thanks for playing!

 

Elite8 Softball

1. Team SigEp (Meijer) v. 9. Team SAE 17-18s (iHotel Navy)

The 2x Reigning and Defending Champs of the Champaign world just managed to go absolutely undefeated and claim the #1 seed in 2016.  Safe to say, #1 SigEp entered the Playoffs with high expectations and a great chance of claiming the first 3peat in the 7-year history of All Sports Series. Enter their first Challenger.. #9 SAE 17-18s, who were fresh off of a big Playoff W in the Opening Round over #8 Sammy’s 19s.. This would be the final chance for many of the SAEs on this squad, including Captain Chris Valvassori.. Could they pull the upset?

During the Game.. SigEp would strike first, as they so often have done throughout the years.. They got the lead and then sat back and let the other Team try to overcome, which usually would result in unforced errors. The 2x Defending Champs showcased great D over the course of the entire Game and when the dust settled they would earn a 5-0 W. Michael Barrett would go 3 for 5 from the plate and score twice as well. 1. Team SigEp would advance to the Final4 for the 3rd straight season.

For SAE 17-18s, they have had a really stellar run in the Champaign League over the past few years.  They happened to play at the same time as the SigEp Dynasty and they didn’t win any Crowns as a result but they won a bunch of Games including some Playoff Games.  Many of them will be moving on including Captain Val, however some of the Juniors will get one last ride next Fall and try to bring a Crown to SAE!  Thanks for playing!

 

4. Team AKL (Biaggi’s Purple) v. 5. Team Pikes (cea Study Abroad)

While most of the action took place on Thursday Night, we had the 4/5 Match-up for the Men’s Elite8 take place on Wednesday. What we know for sure at this point, that they didn’t know then, is that #1 SigEp locked up their spot in the Final4 and would take on the Winner of this evenly matched Playoff Game… Both of these squads came into the Playoffs riding high from really great regular seasons that saw both of them finish in the top half of the League. Unfortunately for them, only one of them get to move on with a chance to pull the shocker against SigEp in Final4 Flag Football.

Where most of the Playoff Games thus far have been about Defense, this one bucked the trend.. Both Teams came out swinging the bats, early and often. For the entirety of the Game it felt like who ever came up with one more big hit would take the W.  On the Pikes side.. All Sports Series vet Herbie Marks would go 4 for 5 at the dish, and he was helped by John Parise who went 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2 more runs scored. Tanner Przybysz also had a nice night for Pikes going 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored.. Team Pikes in total would score 8 runs on the night.. So how about that AKL Offense? Could they top it?!  Captain Dana Torres would go 3 for 4, score a few runs and knock another in.. Austin Kim was huge on the night with a couple hits that brought in 4 runs. Chase Carnahan also had 2 hits and scored a run.. When all was said and done, Team AKL would score 9 runs and earn the slugfest W!  4. Team AKL would advance to the Final4 and will take on #1 Team SigEp.

For Team Pikes, they had a really really nice season. It was a year where everyone was chasing Team SigEp (again) and they were one of the prime candidates to take them down.. Captain Alex Merritt formed a very nice squad here and we hope to see them again in Champaign soon. Thanks for playing!

 

2. Team Sammy’s 18s (Schweitzer Title) v. 7. Team SAE 19-20s (Biaggi’s Gold)

Tale of two very different stories entering this one… Let’s go with the #7 seeded SAE 19-20s first.. They enter their first Champaign League Playoffs this Fall. They have had some success during the season including a Softball Win over Team Pikes all the way back in Week 2. They are confident and totally playing with house money. On the flip side, you have #2 Team Sammy’s 18s who have been the second most successful Franchise in the League since the start of 2015.  Only SigEp has seen more Wins.. However, all of that success has been during the Regular Season.. They have waited a full year to undo the upset they suffered a year ago in this very same situation as they lost in the Elite8 Softball  Round as the #1 overall seed…  They wanted to make sure history wouldn’t repeat itself..

On a night where Defense was really the story in just about every Game.. The Team Sammy’s 18s bats came alive as they were simply on a mission and couldn’t be stopped. They would total 12 runs and many of them had great nights at the plate.. Ryan Mass, Captain Justin Gerszonovicz, Charlie Kogan, Sean Katz and Brett Werner all came up huge at different times on this night.. It was just too much for the young SAE 19-20s to keep down.. #2 Team Sammy’s 18s would advance to the Final4!

For SAE 19-20s, they fought hard and just came across a determined Championship-type squad in the Elite8. They have a very bright future and Captain George Frolik will now have experience to fall back on when building the Team out once again for next Fall. This is a group with enough athleticism to be a front-runner this time next Fall. Thanks for playing!

 

3. Team ATO (Starr Limo) v. 6. Team ZBT (iHotel Gold)

This Game will take place this coming Wednesday Night with the Winner moving on to face 2. Team Sammy’s 18s in the Final4 Flag Football Game.. The Winner here would need to Win three times on Wednesday Night to grab the Crown!

 

That’s it for last week’s Playoff Review. Thanks for playing to those who have finished up and good luck to the remaining Teams for this coming Wednesday Night!

-Holden