Harrah’s Mildmay –
Teams odds to Win 2009 ISC World Championship
By John Thompson
The odds (from Harrah’s Mildmay) of winning the 2009 International Softball Congress are clustered. Fast-pitch softball is a sport that has not yet achieved parity. Consequently, there are favoureds, contenders, pretenders and the proverbial “long-shots”.
FAVOUREDS – If you bet on these teams, your return is marginal as these top four should be undefeated after Tuesday. These quality squads are only separated by the sparsest of key hits, or spectacular defensive gems to win the 2009 crown.
Games on Thursday and Friday will be fast-pitch at its finest.
1. Broken Bow, NE Patsy’s 3:2
With arguably the two best young pitchers in the world, one each from the port and starboard sides, and an All-World batting cast, Harrah’s narrowly favours Patsy’s to rule the week. Patsy’s were shut-out twice last year – not likely to happen in ’09 – but if runs are not produced, there’s an abundance of depth on the bench. Toughest assignment – filling out the pre-game line-up – so many quality players… so little time and so few games.
2. Kitchener, ON Hallman Rivershark Twins 2:1
In any sport it’s tough to repeat with back-to-back championships, however this team has the capability. This is an awesome club – as are others. In 2008, it was heroic hits that carried the day – how many miracles can be in one team’s bat rack?
3. Saskatoon, SK Aspen Interiors 5:2
Defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory last year and this year the road to championship day will be more challenging and difficult – the Aspens deserve another shot at it, but at best, will be bridesmaids once again.
4. Bondurant, IA Midwest Stampede 3:1
Has Steve Kooser learned all the tricks of the game from Doc? On paper this team has what it takes win the crown, but will ascension to the throne of fastball’s elite come this year? Any result lower than 4th will be a disappointing end to the season.
CONTENDERS – These teams will be in the hunt, but will have difficult time getting a “W” on Thursday and Friday.
5. Madison, WI The Farm Tavern 7:2
To rank The Farm at 5th is almost unthinkable, and Rod’s farm boys dug deep to be the comeback team of the year at the ASAs. Farm offence is always present – will pitching be sufficient to crack the final four?
6. Jarvis ON Gamblers 4:1
Jarvis made a significant leap last year, and despite a team of talented senior players, no further advance will be made in 2009. A great team to root for, but last year was the season on which memories are built.
7. Pueblo, CO Bandits 5:1
If Jeremy remains healthy, and Bandits can score, this can be a surprise team. However, the IF is a big one. Not quite ready to crack the final four.
8. Vancouver, BC Grey Sox 7:1
Great team with wonderful array of talented players, but needs to more consistently capitalize on opportunities to move up in the final standings. Exciting to watch and frustrating to analyze at the end of the game.
9. Santa Domingo, DR Dominican Republic 10:1
The sleeper of the contenders – great arms pitching and abundance of skilled fielders and dangerous batters. An enigma team – on any given day should win…. but!
10. Elkhart, IA Albaugh Inc 12:1
Score some runs and help the pitchers. Lack of offence may be Achilles heel. Any slippage and will finish out of the top ten, but is capable of causing grief to teams that regard them too lightly.
PRETENDERS – These teams are capable of an upset, but it will take a miracle for a pretender to knock off a favoured. However, look for upsets when pretenders face the contenders.
11. Midland, MI Explorers 14:1
Re-tooling year will have pains in effort to field a contender for 2010 in Midland. Quality squad that falls short in games served on a platter to win.
12. St. Thomas, ON Evergreen Centennials 16:1
A busy year for Bill Horne’s host squad for the 2009 Softball Canada Nationals in August. A scrappy bunch who thrive on playing with the big dawgs, but success will come later this summer in friendly confines of Tarry Sportsplex in south-western Ontario
13. Appleton, WI Bar of Appleton 17:1
Big question is ability of young Aussie phenom Andrew Blackshaw to adjust to senior batting rosters with depth. In an era seeking promising new throwers, the Bar may have one in their midst.
14. Salinas, CA Taylor Farms California Athletics 20:1
The test! This is it – the gap between ISC II Champions and the renowned, established powerhouse ISC teams will be on display. This team is not just an excellent ISC II team, it is close to being a contender with the big boys of summer.
15. Aurora, IL Dolan & Murphy Shamrocks 22:1
Always in the mix, the Shamrocks will need some Irish luck to improve their ranking from last year.
16. Clifton Park, NY Gremlins 25:1
The topic of choice for many softball pundits who have diagnosed this team as to its legitimacy for the big show or ISC II. The proof will be on the diamond.
17. Fargo, ND Kegel Black Knights 27:1
The Knights may have to wear their armor against the favoureds… too little of what it takes to
make 2009 memorable.
18. Saskatoon, SK Poly Plus Diamondbacks 30:1
Playing in the shadow of the Aspen Interiors will continue this week. Success to be measured in games against other lower ranked teams. Will this be Scheller’s swan song?
19. Owen Sound ON Selects 35:1
The Selects have a new young breed that will start the march to respectability to recall the old days of the former Selects and Tiremen. Frustrating first steps this year, but optimism for the future.
LONG SHOTS – NOT GONNA HAPPEN THIS YEAR – Pitching may provide a couple of good outings, but lack of depth in batting will result in some blowouts. These long shots will not challenge any top four favoureds, however, in the betting parlour, a punter should get good odds for individual games.
20. Davenport, IA Quad City Sox 40:1
Host team will work diligently to be respectable, and will have home-town fans encouragement, but may suffer an early exit.
21. Ashland, OH Mets 45:1
Ashland sends teams who embody the true meaning of amateur softball and the community’s consistent attendance at the ISC should be appreciated by all stakeholders. However, that will do little to score runs and win games – thanks for another year of supporting the ISC championship.
22. Thomson, IL Merchants 50:1
It’s a quantum leap from ISC II - a single game win may occur, but it will be early in the week.
23. Green Bay WI The Bar of Green Bay 55:1
A win early in the week will raise The Bar from this lowly prediction – will it happen.
24. Winterset, IA A’s 65:1
With so many great fast-pitch fans in the Iowa – Illinois neighborhood, it’s truly wonderful to have the Athletics field a team providing more representation for the host community area.