2021 CT Wiffs Review: Top 20 Players




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 20 best players from this past season.


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

* Players 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

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

* Players are based on, but are not limited to, the following: season statistics - regular season and/or postseason, season awards/accolades, criticism from available game footage


Given that all the preliminary stuff is out of the way, it is time to dive into the CT Wiffs Recap Top 20 Players of 2021!


25 - Honorable Mention) Teddy Callery

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Western Warriors

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Notable Stats: .525 AVG, 11 HR, 2.067 OPS (13 GP)

Awards: DWBL Most Clutch Award

* = Season Not Completed


Coined with the phrase, "Mr. Clutch", Teddy "Clutch" Callery was a vital member of the Western Warriors' defense of the Darien Wiffle Ball League World Series title. Apart of a fantastic cast of players around him, Callery was most impactful with his bats, with several key blasts that got the Warriors crucial wins.



24 - Honorable Mention) Jake Futterman

Photo Credit: Compo Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Compo Cougars

League: Compo Wiffle Ball League (CWBL)*

Notable Stats: .313 AVG, 15 H, 12 RBI (12 GP)

Awards: N/A

* = Season Not Completed


While not being the top-tier player he had been in season's past, Jake Futterman's 2021 performance with the Compo Cougars was more than excellent in the team's hunt for glory. Jake provided a solid backbone to the great 2-way play of his teammate Sam Petrosino, getting hits that allowed for the team to capitalize when facing scoring opportunities.



23 - Honorable Mention) Chris Veneruso

Photo Credit: Westport Wiffleball League - Instagram


Team: Newport Birds

League: Westport Wiffleball League (WWBL)

Notable Stats: N/A

Awards: N/A

* = Season Not Completed


At the heart of every team lies a relentless leader, and the Newport Birds needed their captain Chris Veneruso to guide them well to a 2021 Westport Wiffleball League title. While not much can be said of his exact on-field product, the fact the team was able to accomplish as much as it did proves how much Veneruso was an impact player this past season.


The exact reach of his impact would be more interesting to see with some in-depth statistics. But without those resources, it's hard to place Chris anything higher than an honorable mention for 2021.



22 - Honorable Mention) Joe Druin

Team: Nighthawks

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Notable Stats: 15 SV, 6 HLD

Awards: N/A


Whilst often being in the shadow of his more talented counterparts, the relief pitching of Joe Druin was spot-on in the SNWL's Nighthawks run to a title in 2021. While many leagues do not track saves (SV) - let alone holds (HLD) - the fact that Joe was able to rack up as many as 15 saves says a fair amount about his pitching prowess in short-inning, high-pressure situations.



21 - Honorable Mention) Jack Conway

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Central Conquistadors

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Notable Stats: 14.1 IP, 0.63 ERA, 38 Ks, 1.40 WHIP (7 GP)

Awards: N/A


When examining the year as a whole, Central Conquistadors' Team Captain Jack Conway was not a player that many people - let alone myself - caught onto at the early stages of the season. But as the Darien Wiffle Ball League season progressed, and as the dog days of summer came around, few players in the State had the conviction and execution that Jack Conway had.


At his core, Jack is a masterful pitcher, relying on a slider and riser arsenal to blow by hitters. And using his signature pitch, he was able to make his mark on the CT backyard Wiffle®Ball landscape with his incredible performance in the 2021 DWBL ALDS. Conway was able to battle eventual Cy Young winner Sam Donnelly (whose name may also feature on this list at some point) for 9 innings in Game 1 of the series, keeping the game scoreless before a series of "small-ball" hits led to a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat. Another valiant pitching effort was put on in Game 3, but this too did not go the way of Jack's squad.


Despite this, Jack should look forward to a prosperous, full season in 2022, where he can continue to build on the great foundation he has shown thus far. If Jack is able to diversify his arsenal, and make some tweaks to his hitting approach, Jack could be a dark-horse star in the making for 2022.


And now, on with the OFFICIAL Top 20 Players! They are as follows....



20) Andrew Oppenheimer

Photo Credit: Compo Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Sons of Pitches

League: Compo Wiffle Ball League (CWBL)*

Notable Stats: .364 AVG, 24 H, 21.1 IP (12 GP)

Awards: N/A

* = Season Not Completed


Coming into the season, many already expected Andrew Oppenheimer to do big things in his first full season in the talent-filled Compo Wiffle Ball League. His debut in the 2020 CWBL postseason was nothing short of magical, with a combined hitting-pitching performance that led the Backyard Bombers to the CWBL title.


In 2021, he was quick to be taken, as he was selected with the first overall selection in the CWBL Draft. Playing with the Sons of Pitches under Jack Oakley, Andrew has been a great offensive presence in his first 12 regular season game, batting well above league average (Andrew hit .364), and driving in top-tier levels of runs (17, T-3).


If there was anything lacking from Andrew's game, however, it would have to be his pitching. Andrew's time on the rubber has been worrisome for much of the year, giving up the most runs by any starter through the 12-game slate the CWBL was able to get through in 2021. His inability to let opposing offenses square him up or take a walk, will make Andrew improve his approach if he wants to be a viable number-2 option next season.


Even at his relatively young age, the fact that Andrew has reached these accomplishments while not even through high school is quite impressive. Should he continue to improve, it would not be unreasonable to see him make a jump up the ratings next season.



19) Will Donnelly

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Coastal Cyclones

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Notable Stats: .531 AVG, 1.656 SLG, 4-2 W-L, 2.85 ERA, 1.76 WHIP (14 GP)

Awards: N/A


The season for the Coastal Cyclones was one where improvement was made, but it actuated into little in terms of meaningful wins. While his Team Captain Braden Schenck was a finalist for the DWBL's Most Improved award for 2021, the team's real hero came from Will Donnelly.


Will's stats over fourteen games this season (regular season and postseason combined) are quite impressive for a developing two-way player. At the plate, Donnelly managed to win the DWBL Batting Title with his league-leading .531 batting average. Despite only having 17 hits to back up his AVG, Donnelly's ability to work counts allowed him to be a constant threat to be on base, either by walk or by the bat.


Defensively, Will had himself a respectable year, providing much-needed assistance to the Cyclone's slim rotation options. Will was able to work to 4 wins and a sub-2 ERA. While not with the blow-by stuff of other players on this ranking, Will was able to be efficient and gets out when his team needed him to.


Unfortunately, the team surrounding Will Donnelly just was not able to bear the strength of the rest of the American League this season. Even if the team is better able to support Will, the Cyclones will continue to place much of the load on the ever-improving younger Donnelly brother in 2022.



18) Ryan Smith

Photo Credit: Westport Wiffleball League - Instagram


Team: Flavortown Hogs

League: Westport Wiffleball League (WWBL)

Notable Stats: .563 AVG, 4 HR, 5 RBI

Awards: N/A


Leading his team to the 3rd seed in the 2021 Westport Wiffleball League playoffs, Ryan Smith was one of the more interesting surprises of the 2021 season. While the stats provided by the WWBL are not complete and cover a very small number of games, Ryan Smith's accomplishments still do hold their merit. His 4 HR and over 50/50 batting average in the first handful of games may suggest that Smith went on to have a remarkable campaign.


Even in the face of playoff heartbreak in losing to the eventual-champion Newport Birds, Ryan Smith will head into 2022 as one of the WWBL's best performing players.



17) Zach Demeglio

Team: All-Stars

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Notable Stats: 50 Ks

Awards: N/A


Zach Demeglio was at the heart of the All-Stars' successes in 2021, with a pitching demonstration few others in the SoNo Wiffle League were able to outdo. His lethal strikeout stuff on the rubber led to a league-topping 50 Ks, which helped the All-Stars battle their way through the Wild Card game in the SNWL postseason.


While the All-Stars' season may go down as forgettable, that same attitude cannot be applied when looking at Zach Demeglio in 2021. What will be more interesting, is how much more impact he can have in 2022, for whichever team he finds himself on.



16) Cooper Puff

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube


Team: Western Warriors

League: Darien Wiffle Ball League (DWBL)

Notable Stats: .455 AVG, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 6-1 W-L, 3.71 ERA (16 GP)

Awards: N/A


In 2020, Copper Puff was an unsung hero for the eventual champion Western Warriors' playoff push. Puff had some excellent pitching performances in that previous postseason, a series of excellence that the team hoped he could continue or better upon in the coming year.


In 2021, Puff did not see as much breakout improvement as some critics would have liked. But even with the team around him, that did not leave the good talent he already has to waste. Cooper swung the bat well, hitting well above league average, and driving in a great share of runs for the Warriors offense. If that was not enough, Puff was also featured a 6-1 W-L record, which played a big role in his team's incredible 13-1 regular season campaign.


In examining Cooper's game after 2021, his immediate strengths may hide some of the walking woes and run allowance his pitching stats may suggest. With a high 6.52 BB/3 and 3.71 ERA, the Warriors did often have to win games with their bats when Cooper took to the flat hill.


With an improvement to his pitching game, Cooper still has the potential to be a breakout candidate in 2022, and be a big reason why the team could 4-peat come next summer.



15) Jeff Cocchia

Photo Credit: SoNo Wiffle League - Instagram


Team: Nighthawks

League: SoNo Wiffle League (SNWL)

Notable Stats: N/A

Awards: SNWL World Series MVP


Often compared and lessened to the talent of his brother, Jeff Cocchia had himself a 2021 campaign that ended in much more glory than his counterpart. Taken in by first-year manager Brian Ellhers, the Nighthawks combo of Brian and Jeff were fantastic in the SNWL postseason.


On one side of the tandem, Jeff provided much of the offense, slugging to a league-leading 23 HR over the course of regular season and postseason play. His total blitzed the rest of the competition, proving to be one of the most lethal bats in the SoNo Wiffle League during the 2021 campaign.


If Jeff is able to find another viable pitching option at his side, it may look to be another season raking for this now-champion of the SNWL.



14) Austin Kipphut

Photo Credit: Darien Wiffle Ball League - YouTube