2012: The Creation of the Tournament and First Champion

The NWLA Tournament was created out of jealousy. WSEM founder and former commissioner, Carl Coffee, brought a team to the 2011 London Slow-Pitch Tournament and saw the Potomac Wiffleball League and Kalamazoo Wiffleball League play in an exhibition for the second year in a row, after they played the previous year in a game to determine who could keep the Scared Hitless name. Carl wanted his new WSEM league to be involved, so he came up with an idea.

Carl knew that PWL commissioner Chris Gallaway was looking to create a big tournament, as he sent out an invite to leagues to come to Northern Virginia, but no one seemed interested. Carl sent out an email to Chris with his vision for the NWLA Tournament, Chris emailed him back with a way better vision, and the tournament was created. Kind of.

Chris knew how to run a tournament, but he didn’t know what kind of format would work. The two commissioners sent countless emails to each other and talked on the phone, and the original rules were created. Most of the rules are still used today, so the next step would be finding a location, and recruiting leagues to play. Wiffler’s Digest creator Josh Smith, and Ryan Winfield from the KWL were added to the tournament host committee as well.

In that first year, the NWLA Tournament was played around the London Tournament. Eight teams signed up for the NWLA Tournament, and five of them brought guys for the London tournament, with many playing in both tournaments. The round robin games for the NWLA Tournament were all played at night after the London tournament ended that Saturday. The location for the first NWLA Tournament was at St. James Lutheran Church in Hilliard, OH. The fields were across the street from the hotel the teams were staying at. It was very convenient, but that Saturday was a long day of wiffleball.

The next day, the tournament jumped right into the double-elimination playoffs. The #1 seed, OCWA Freaky Franchise, won their first three games to secure a spot in the championship. TBW Lightning came out of the loser’s bracket and forced a do-or-die game against OCWA, but OCWA won that game 11-1 to take down the first NWLA Tournament Championship Cup.

Team Record
OCWA Freaky Franchise 6-2
TBW Lightning 6-3
WSEM Big Wood 5-3
WWL Warriors 3-4
GBL Griffleballers 2-4
PWL Nationals 2-4
SWBL Cardinals 2-3
KWL Aces 1-4
2012 Tournament MVP: Ryan Bush, OCWA

2013: Off to Soccer First in Dublin

It wasn’t easy to get eight leagues to travel to the middle of Ohio in the dead heat of July the year before. However, all eight were glad they did. The first tournament was a success, and the next year the tournament had five new teams sign up. It was going to be a 13 team tournament, but unfortunately, Washburn had to drop out due to a tragedy involving one of their league players.

Josh Smith and Ryan Winfield left the host committee, and they were replaced with Sam Skibbe from SWBL, Jeremy Ratajczyk from GBL, and Brian Meyers from KWL. The early plans were to return to the St. James Church, but it didn’t work out. It turned out to be a blessing, as the tournament was then moved to the Soccer First facility in nearby Dublin.

The tournament was still planned the same weekend as the London Tournament, but it wasn’t planned around it. Also, the host committee added Friday Night festivities which included a home run derby and an all-star game. They also added a Dangerfield Tournament for the teams who went 0-2 in double elimination play.
The 2013 championship was a rematch from the year before, however, this time Tampa won.

Team Record
TBW Lightning 7-0
OCWA Freaky Franchise 7-2
SWBL Cardinals 4-3
HRL Touched by an Uncle 4-3
KWL Aces 4-4
PWL Nationals 3-4
MYWL Landsharks 1-5
HWL Maroon Squad 1-5
CWBC Clubbers 3-3
WSEM Big Wood 2-4
MWLWI Mequonderers 0-5
GBL Panthers 3-2
Tournament MVP: Chris Harley, TBW
Home Run Derby Champion: Ryan Bush, OCWA
ASG MVP: Jay Moore, MYWL