2021 CT Wiffs Review: Top 10 Teams

Wiffle®Ball is love shared by many people, who play in many different places. In the State where the game was born over 70 years ago, many different leagues brought wiffling action amongst their many teams. 25 teams from Connecticut's major backyards leagues competed in 2021, all with varying levels of success on a personal and team level. Despite every team having its own obstacles, and every league having its own playing formats, we have tried to determine the 10 best teams from this past season.

Before we dive into the list, there a few ground rules that were used in the making of these rankings:

* Teams were selected from known backyard leagues that host games in the State of Connecticut. Active leagues were verified in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to: active social media accounts with post(s)/content pertaining to the 2021 season, active website with updated game scores, standings, statistics, and or article(s); release of season results and/or statistics to the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League in the event that such results are not publicly available

* All information pulled for these lists were current per each league's statistics databases as of December 30th, 2021

* Data used for these rankings may not be complete, as some leagues included in this list have not made any announcement regarding the completion of their season

* Teams from the Connecticut Wiffle®Ball League are NOT included in these rankings; these rankings are to highlight the best teams from the "backyard" leagues that played in 2021

* Teams are based on, but are not limited to, the following: win-loss record, standings finish, runs for (RF)/runs against (RA), notable win/loss streaks during the season, notable impact player(s), postseason results

With ALL of that out of the way, here are the CT Wiffs Recap Top 10 Teams of 2021!

15 - Honorable Mention) CT Gladiators

League: East Coast Wiffle Ball (ECWB)

Team Captain: Cole Usseglio

Standings Finish: N/A*

Record: 6-0*

Team Accolades: ECWB Best Record

Notable Player(s):

* = Season Not Completed

Logo Credit: CT Gladiators - Instagram (@ct,gladiators), East Coast Wiffle Ball - Instagram (@ecwb.official)

Without much information on this team except their record, there is nothing much to say about the CT Gladiators' 2021 ECWB campaign. Being one of the favored teams at the beginning of the season, their 6-0 finish is indicative enough that this team had the talent to be dominant in the regular season.

With the top seed placement in the ECWB playoffs, it would have been interesting to see if this team could have developed a nice playoff run. But again, the lack of updates from East Coast Wiffle Ball will forever leaves us pondering if Cole Usseglio's squad was legitimate or not.

14 - Honorable Mention) Sons of Pitches

League: Compo Wiffle Ball League (CWBL)

Team Captain: Luke Oakley

Standings Finish: 3rd*

Record: 6-6*

Team Accolades: N/A

Notable Player(s): Jack Oakley, Andrew Oppenheimer

* = Season Not Completed

Logo Credit: Compo Wiffle Ball League - Instagram (@cwbl_wiffle), Compo Wiffle Ball League - YouTube

Through their 12 games played in 2021, the Sons of Pitches proved to be a capable, title-competing team in the CWBL. Team captain Luke Oakley has been a fantastic 2-way option, hitting well over .400 and pitching to a sub-2 ERA. When Luke is on his game, the Sons of Pitches have been near unbeatable. Compliments from 2020 Rookie of the Year and the 2021 top draft selection, Andrew Oppenheimer, have been nice, but not quite to the level of production expected of him in his first full season in the league. The same can be said about their second rookie selection, Andy Cerrito, who has yet to give the team a viable third option in their batting order. With some more production from Luke Oakley's supporting cast, the Sons of Pitches could have easily topped the standings in 2021.

Given how competitive CWBL was in 2021 - all teams were within four (4) games of each upon the indefinite season pause in late May - it is tough to place the Pitches higher without any incredible accolades or convincing successes.

13 - Honorable Mention) Fairfield Flame

League: Westport Wiffleball League (WWBL)

Team Captain: Dylan Ward

Standings Finish: 2nd

Record: 19-21

Team Accolades: WWBL Playoffs Runner-Up, WWBL Finals Appearance

Notable Player(s): N/A

Logo Credit: Westport Wiffleball League - Instagram (@wwblwiffleball)

Photo Credit: Westport Wiffleball League - Instagram (@wwblwiffleball)

The Fairfield Flame were another team in 2021 to be engulfed in a tight championship battle. Do not let their under-.500 record fool you, as their worst regular season record provided the perfect Cinderella backdrop to upset the top-seeded and heavily-favored Saugatuck Swordfish in the WWBL Playoffs (more on the Swordfish later).

With a finals trip under their belt, this team has plenty to be happy about, and also plenty to look forward to in 2022 if luck can go their way.

12 - Honorable Mention) Shactown Wiffle Ball

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Team Captain(s): Simeon Doll and Luke O'Connell

Standings Finish: 4th

Record: 7-12 (4-10 Regular Season)

Team Accolades: DWBL National League Runner-Up

Notable Player(s): Simeon Doll, Luke O'Connell, Issac McMullin, Luke O'Connell

Logo Credit: Shactown Wiffle Ball - Instagram (@shactownwiffle), Darien Wiffle Ball League - Instagram (@darien_wiffle_ball_league)

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube

In spite of a poor regular season outing, the postseason magic of Shactown Wiffle Ball has managed to gain them a spot on the Top Teams list for 2021. A team that debuted in DWBL in 2021, expectations for the team were nothing special. That was, until they appeared to their opening series against the Pacific Patriots. The energy, the passion, the charisma was at a level that no team in the State was able to match. The amount of fun this team conveyed in their play was exciting to watch, and I really have a sore spot for this team this year.

As for the actual results themselves, they started off slow, but picked up as the season progressed. Team captain Luke O'Connell and Rookie of the Year Simeon Doll were great all season with the bat, helping the team slug their way into ballgames their inexperienced pitching was not able to control. As O'Connell and Doll continued to find their footing on the rubber, they were able to pick up some impressive victories. Despite their low seed, Shactown were able to get a postseason series victory over the Coastal Cyclones, and pushing the eventual champion Western Warriors to 3 games in the NLCS (series was best-of-3).

Given an offseason of development and improvements to the roster (including the rumored move of Jack Cunningham to Shactown next year), this team is one to look out for in 2022 with a LOT of intrigue.

11 - Honorable Mention) Benchwarmers

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Team Captain: N/A

Standings Finish: 4th

Record: 12-8 (12-6 Regular Season)

Team Accolades: SNWL Co-Regular Season Champions

Notable Player(s): N/A

The Benchwarmers had themselves an honorable 2021 campaign, winning 12 games and a share of the regular season title in the SoNo Wiffle League. Unfortunately, their success did not carry over into the final weeks of the season, as they would be upset in the semifinals of the postseason to the eventual champion Nighthawks.

And now, with the official Top 10 teams in CT backyard Wiffle®Ball for 2021....

10) Piss Missles

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Team Captain: N/A

Standings Finish: 2nd

Record: 9-16 (4-11 Regular Season)

Team Accolades: SNWL Runner-Up, SNWL World Series Appearance

Notable Player(s): Jeb Broyer

Logo Credit: SoNo Wiffle League - Instagram (@snwl_wiffle)

The Piss Missles find themselves in this year's Top 10 rankings for arguably being the biggest cinderella story of the 2021 season in Connecticut backyard wiffs. The regular season was nothing short of pitiful, losing 11 of their 15 regular season contests, and being relegated as the bottom seed heading into the SNWL postseason. With any chance of a result, the a poor finish seemed inevitable for this team.

But then, Most Improved Player winner Jeb Boyer found a groove, and captained his team through the All-Stars in the Wild Card round, and then the top-seeded, defending-champion Lynx in the semifinals. All of this, to somehow land themselves in the SNWL World Series. Had it not been a matchup with another destined team like the Nighthawks, the Piss Missles could have ended their season in frenzy with a miracle title run. But nevertheless, Boyer and his squad should be proud of what they have accomplished this season. Their postseason heroics have constituted themselves a spot in this year's Top 10, and all eyes will be on for a more-expected deep run in 2022.

9) Backyard Bombers

League: Compo Wiffle Ball League (CWBL)

Team Captain: Alex Oppenheimer

Standings Finish: 2nd*

Record: 6-6*

Team Accolades: N/A

Notable Player(s): Alex Oppenheimer

* = Season Not Completed

Logo Credit: Compo Wiffle Ball League - Instagram (@cwbl_wiffle), Compo Wiffle Ball League - YouTube

The CWBL defending champion Backyard Bombers found themselves in a state of flux this offseason. Amidst the shake-up of the league's format, the team was reassembled through their yearly draft. This left them without postseason hero and 2020 Rookie of the Year Andrew Oppenheimer, brother to Team Captain Alex Oppenheimer. But with one of the CWBL's best hitters in Alex, this team did have the foundation to once again compete for a CWBL title.

With the improved pitching performances of Alex on the rubber and with a well-hitting supporting cast, this team was able to use a combination of reliable hitting and solid pitching to stay in just about every game. Had a few more balls landed their way, the Bombers could have been much higher on this list.

Heading into 2022 and the expectation of another yearly re-draft, if Alex can draft himself a similarly-contributing cast, the Bombers will be favorites to contend for another CWBL title.

8) Eastern Elephants

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Team Captain: Sam Donnelly

Standings Finish: 3rd

Record: 12-8 (9-5 Regular Season)

Team Accolades: DWBL American League Runner-Up

Notable Player(s): Sam Donnelly

Logo Credit: Eastern Elephants - Instagram (@easternelephants), Darien Wiffle Ball League - Instagram (@darien_wiffle_ball_league)

A staple in the young Darien Wiffle Ball League, the Eastern Elephants once again entered into the season without a title to their name. Fresh off their 2020 DWBL World Series loss to the Western Warriors, the Elephants sent back much of their roster from the previous season to avenge their thirst of championship glory.

And just like the past two seasons, Team Captain and Cy Young winner Sam Donnelly was playing like a man from another planet. His near untouchable pitching and fantastic hitting prowess led his team to 9 wins in the regular season. Offensive contributions and clutch swings from the duo Theo Naidich and Richie Almy helped the team get the second seed in the DWBL American League, with postseason revenge heavy on their minds.

Despite a scare in the ALDS, the DWBL's most successful pitcher pitched two complete game wins - one in a 9-inning thriller in Game 1 - to send them into the ALCS. But in the next round their luck would run out, as the favored Downtown Dodgers wore down Donnelly and the Elephants lineup. In the series, the Elephants were exposed of their Achilles' heel - a lack of productive, secondary pitching options. With Donnelly on top of his game, the Elephants seemed unbeatable come July. With their ace starting, the Elephants went a perfect 3-0 in the postseason. But with anyone else starting, they failed to win a single game all postseason, 0-3 to be exact.

By a questionable decision-making not starting Donnelly in the decisive Game 3, the Elephants seemed to sell their season short of what could have been their year. With the Elephants rumored to not return in 2022 due to league consolidation, the Elephants may end their franchise with a series of "What-If"s regarding the talent they held with Donnelly, one of the State's best young players. Despite the end of the era, the sustained success of the Eastern Elephants is something not to be scoffed at.

7) Lynx

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Team Captain: N/A

Standings Finish: 3rd

Record: 13-8 (12-6 Regular Season)

Team Accolades: SNWL Co-Regular Season Champions

Notable Player(s): Artie Cocchia, Kam Walker

The 2020 SNWL World Series Champion Lynx returned much of their championship roster with much of the same goal as year's past - WIN. And for much of the season, they did exactly that - WIN. The team thrived thanks to the addition of rookie slugger Kam Walker. Walker, who would go on to win Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger honors, backed up team superstar Artie Cocchia, who had himself a year capped off with Cy Young and MVP honors. The Cocchia-Walker duo powered themselves to 12 wins, and a share of the regular season title for the second consecutive season.

In the face of all that hardware, championship success was the only thing not to carry over from the previous season. Given the top seed in the SNWL postseason, the Lynx found their kryptonite in the destiny-ridden Piss Missles, who dashed a chance at a repeat title over a tight 3-game series.

If the Lynx are able to return much of their 2021 roster into the new year, then the Lynx will likely be a continued fixture in the conversation for the SoNo Wiffle League title in 2022.

6) Saugatuck Swordfish

League: Westport Wiffleball League (WWBL)

Team Captain: Andrew Moy

Standings Finish: 3rd

Record: 24-19

Team Accolades: WWBL Best Record

Notable Player(s): Andrew Moy