2015 was the first year that saw Hess Field Wiffleball enter the NWLA National Wiffleball Tournament. In order for the Hitmen from Hess Field to make it to Ohio to compete for the National crown, they first had to prove their worth in Wilkes-Barre, PA in the regional tournament.
It’s more than safe to safe that the Hitmen arrived on the scene in dramatic fashion. Then Dodgers Ace Matt Butrym brought with him a tank filled with gasoline, and he proceeded to fire on all cylinders winning the tournament MVP with ease as he and fellow pitcher Brian Kelly refused to give up even a run.
This year the Hitmen will roll into their second regional with a target on their back. As defending Region champions they will be the team everyone wants to beat, but it won’t quite be the same cast of characters. So, who will HFWB bring to the 2016 BWBL Regional?
Several familiar faces will return to the team. Those who followed Hess Field’s run through regionals last year will remember the former commissioner Chris Hess, “The Boss” Brian Kelly, and coaches Corey Zeh and George Stegmann. Both Hess and Kelly will return to the roster, while Zeh and Stegmann will once again hold the keys to the lineup. However the rest of the players set to appear at the regional tournament weren’t anywhere near Wilkes-Barre this time last year. Anthony “AuSSy” Auspelmyer will return to the Hitmen after his run with the National Team that placed third in Ohio last July, but the remainder of the roster has yet to don the popular pink and black.
The final three additions to the Hitmen regional roster may be unfamiliar names to those who pay attention only to the NWLA Tournament, but to those in the HFWB community they are veteran players that are more than deserving of their spot.
Tadd “T.O.” O’Neil - If there were a Mt. Rushmore for HFWB pitchers, T.O. would be one of the first to have his grill chiseled in stone. No-Hitters, World Series Appearances, Awards, he has it all. As a matter of fact, O’Neil was selected by his peers to become the 2nd inductee into the HFWB Hall Of Fame. Does that tell you enough?
Jason Blond- Blond is a bonafide stud from the left hand side of the dish. Not only can he crush beers, he can crush balls. For several years he has been the offensive leader of Pirates, and his lefthand power will be of great use in Wilkes-Barre.
Alex Kelly – AK is arguably the best contact hitter in the game today. He has the ability to hit the best pitchers in any league, at any time. Don’t be surprised if he becomes the breakout star of the Hitmen offense this year.