South Africa Calling

Midseason Report Card

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South Africa Calling
Eli Ringler
Monday, August 17th 2015

The Polanski division is regarded as the lightweight of the Weaver League, and rightfully so. The six clubs have combined for a grand total of two league championships and have an inferiority problem to their Inferno brethren in the Lockwood. Additionally, given Johannesburg's domination this year, it looks as if the Lockwood will better their League Championship Series record to 13-6.

All this will be important come five days into October, but as of now it pales in comparison to the importance of the division pennant. The Polanski flag is the finish line and Honolulu and Argentina are matching each other stride for stride.

They may be the 98-pound-weakling in the Weaver-wide boxing tournament, but the Polanski division has the pennant race the rest of the league lacks.

Both clubs started things off evenly, Argentina going 13-6 with Honolulu a step behind at 12-7. By the All-Star break the Volcanos had gone up four-and-a-half games on the Archers.

Then Honolulu managed to go on a nine game road-losing streak and was down a game-and-a-half when they visited beautiful Campanella stadium in downtown Cordoba. They promptly swept the Archers right out of first place and looked ahead to October.

Of course, Argentina returned the favor by sweeping three from the Hawaiians a week-and-a-half ago and succeeded in making things just as unpredictable as before. Now both clubs are 8-2 in their last ten and have won three straight, albeit both teams having the good fortune of playing Amity.

Each team has won six apiece in the season series and each team has it's arsenal of sluggers and hurlers to depend on when the game is indecisive.

Honolulu's Mitch McCoy has been gold at the top of the order, his 34 home runs tied for second in the Inferno League. Jake Neel and Al Rosen have both been productive as well. And when Ben Grieve comes back from injury in about a week the Volcanos will be harder to get out.

Staff ace Gail Simons leads the league in strikeouts and is unhittable at times. Fellow rightys Jon Johnson and Red Callahan have been very good whereas Brad Radke has been less-than-stellar (4.48) his 10-8 record shows he can pitch within his run support. Add in Kim Gordon and Julian Tavarez from the bullpen and King Kamachamcha has some arms to work with.

Don Mattingly may not have the power that Kamachamcha has to work with (Vito Bradley's downyear), but the Archers speed on the basepaths mask that shortcoming. Carlos Guillen and Miguel Mejia are both in the top 10 in stolen base leaders and Guillen's bat in the second slot has been outstanding. Bradley may not have the power of when he was setting catcher home run records, but he is still a big threat in the third slot.

Rufe Rollins and Jose Pett have been very good at the top of the rotation (Rollins especially), while lefty Harry Krause has been reliable behind them. Closer Sibby Ohl is one of the best in the game at keeping leads and throwing strikes when the Archers need it the most.

Both clubs have had their peaks and valleys this year and both clubs have been resilient enough to sustain until now. Each one has a three-game series at home against the other one and each one gets to play Amity again. Basically, it's anyone's guess as to which one of these clubs will lost to Johannesburg in the ILCS.

Eli Ringler is a special correspondent for the Weaver Times. He can be contacted at chelseblues21@yahoo.com for questions or comments.

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