Despite the 2020 iteration of the League chopped to just a third of its originally intended size, 62 teams down to 20, the shortened season will go forward and still offers some interesting storylines. A pair of defending Division Champions will attempt to repeat, two regular season first-placed clubs from 2019 will have an opportunity to contend for their first title, and eight (arguably nine) brand new teams will take to the field for the first time as a part of the St. Thomas Coed Slo-Pitch League. Let’s take a look at how each division breaks down.
Headlining the top division, the defending D1 Champions Win or Booze will have an opportunity to build on their impressive finish to the 2019 season. A 4th place regular season culminated in an impressive run to the Championship title. It included a win over the previous 3-time silver medalists in the semis and an upset of the multi-time defending champions in the finals.
Also returning will be another contender in New Wave. After multiple seasons as the division’s second-best team, New Wave took a step back last year with a 3rd placed finish in the standings and a loss in the Consolation round for their lowest finish over the team’s first 4 seasons.
Rounding out the Division will be a pair of newcomers in PopATop and Outcasts. Both clubs join the league after finding success abroad in other Leagues and outside tournaments. They will get their opportunity to prove themselves early, as PopATop meets the defending champions and Outcasts faces New Wave in Week 1.
After an impressive 12-2 season, Breaking Balls was unable to parlay their success into a 2019 D2 title. The first-place club lost out in the semis but rebounded to earn the D2 Bronze medal. A team that has made noticeable improvements each season, they will look for their first Championship appearance since moving up to the Division back in 2018.
In 2017, Brokebat Mountain dominated Division 4 and opted to make the jump directly to D2. A strong debut at 9-3-2 gave way to a difficult first-round exit in the 2018 Champion tournament. Their struggles carried over in 2019 resulting in a 6th placed regular-season finish. A solid round-robin effort was not enough to rally the squad beyond the quarter-finals, but in 2020 they appear poised to return to their winning ways.
With the current restrictions set forth by the Provincial Government, both The Outlaws and Balled and Beautiful were slotted into debuts as members of Division 1. Despite tagged as St. Thomas newcomers, both squads join the league having played in the Dorchester league. The addition of these two talented teams sets forth a difficult challenge for the returning squads in their bid for a title.
With the fluidity of mid-division movement, the potential to establish a “dynasty” is limited. The O’s could change that narrative. The aforementioned restrictions and trickled down effect returned the 2019 defending Champions to Division 3 for another season. After capturing the D3 Championship in both 2019 and 2017 to go along with a D4 title in 2016, a fourth victorious season out five, cements this club as one of the best all-time teams outside of the top two divisions.
Attempting to put a halt to the victory parade, Bat Attitudes continue their rise up the ranks in 2020. After a difficult 2017 debut in Division 5, they have dominated the regular season over their last two years with a combined 23-5 mark. This includes a Division 5 Championship in 2018. Despite falling in the D4 quarter-finals, their desire to compete resulted in a request to move up to Division 3. They meet the defending Champions in Week 2.
Another D2 descendent, the Athletics will now make their St. Thomas debut a division lower. Moving from London, this team has found success abroad and hope it will translate to further victories in their new home. Joining them in the role of train town rookies will be the Beer Ballers. Despite entering as a new team, this club boasts multiple members from other St. Thomas squads that will help them to take their shot at a division title.
In arguably the most wide-open division, Division 4 does not offer a returning Division Champion or regular season top team. This opens the door for any one of these clubs to earn their first Division title.
Potentially the division favorite, Elgin Backyard Burgers collected 5 wins in the Division 3 regular season and authored a competitive Mid-Season Classic before bowing out to the almost untouchable Leftovers. In their sophomore season, they will look to grill up a recipe for success in their new home.
With both teams drawing lineage to last year’s Sandlot Slammers, the Tailgators and Strikers will almost certainly come together for a few memorable moments. Scheduled to face off in Week 2, the anticipation between these clubs will be high. That being said, neither team should overlook their opening day opponents.
The B.P. Ballers return for their second showing in St. Thomas. Another club that made their way from a London League, the Ballers debuted in 2019 with a strong start. This included in a first-place round-robin finish in the rain-shortened Mid-Season Classic. Originally penciled in as a Division 5 team for 2020, they will attempt to capture a D4 title before potentially making their move down in 2021.
After starting out as a member of Division 4, I’d Hit That has become an ever-growing force in D5 since making the move in 2018. Increasing their win total by 5 wins each year over the last 3 seasons, this club earned their first top finish during the 2019 regular season. Losses in the Semi-finals and Consultation game were an unfortunate end to a good year. The roster has undergone some significant changes from last season, but a handful of returning players remain to lead the way.
Two more returning D5 stalwarts, Glo-balls and Oddballs will roll their names into the ring as they attempt to earn their first Division title. Over the last two seasons, Oddballs holds a slight edge in head to head games with a record of 2-1-1. They will face each other 3-times during the regular season, starting in Week 2, as they continue their friendly and fun rivalry.
Finally, Pitch Perfect will make their debut in 2020. The club will boast a roster with a solid mix of experience and enthusiasm. With a few connections to Hall of Fame team Power Up and roster additions from the Roadhouse Sinners, this team could very well be the D5 darkhorse.
With the uncertainty of the 2020 Season and tough decisions made by all 62 teams, these 20 clubs will take to the field over August and September to both enjoy the opportunity to compete and prepare for what will hopefully be a full return to play in 2021.