Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages! At long last, after a season of aches and pains, sweat and tears, blood and swelling, the moment you have all been waiting for is finally here! The trash has been talked, the practicers have practiced, the butterflies are swirling, THE PLAYOFFS ARE HERE!
Here is your 2018 JMS Playoff Preview!
Quarter Final 1 – (4) Eagles vs (5) Owls
Going way back to the draft, the Captain Allidina brothers had the luxury of selecting both first and third. After firmly deciding to select Ali Manek first overall, the choice in the third pick was extremely difficult as they narrowed their selection to an aging slugger in Abbasali Kermalli or the Owl’s first draft pick, Irfahn Khimji. The ultimate decision came down to veteran leadership (but really it was an inspirational video that inspired even Ali Raza Nasser’s son, Kaiden) and the final results will come down to this matchup.
The Owls have dominated the season series winning both head to head matchups 11-5 and 8-4. One consistent theme is the fact that Asad Nasser gets under the skin of most of the Eagles players. Nasser takes pride in keeping sluggers like Manek and Kermalli subdued, which should be much easier on the large playoff diamond so look for the sluggers to adjust their swings to find open grass in the opposite field.
On the other end, Captain and starting pitcher Hussein Allidina will look to subdue a hungry Owls lineup. Abbas Fazal will be looking to repeat his four inside the park home run performance from the last time the Owls played at Bayview Reservoir, while Captain Kumail Meghani is excited to get his first taste of JMS Playoff ball since 2015.
This game is going to come down to which team can keep their egos in check both on the offensive side of the ball not trying to go for home runs, as well as during the constant trash talking sure to be heard between Nasser and the Eagles bench.
Prediction: 11-8 Owls
Quarter Final 2 – (3) Tigers vs (6) Wolves
This game is probably the most difficult one to preview. On one hand, it is very difficult to count the Wolves out, yet on the other hand, they have not shown up all season. In previous years, Captains Ali Merali and Imran Virji have gone into the playoffs strong and simply dominated. This year, however, it’s the Tigers who are red hot entering the playoffs. Both Captains Vick Vij and Umair Ali, along with first round pick, Mahmood Kara, are melting the face off the softball.
In addition to this, the Tigers have dominated both head to head matchups this year winning 14-6 and 12-9. With Mikael Ratansi batting so well this year, his pitching seems to have taken a back seat, so look for the middle of the Tigers order to continue to take advantage. One saving grace for Ratansi and the Wolves will, again, be the large diamond. The Wolves boast one of the best defensive outfields in the league, so the added space should give them plenty to work with if the Tigers continue to mash the ball.
Hopefully the Wolves have spent this break practicing, because they are going to need all they can get going into what could be their final game of the season.
Prediction: 13-8 Tigers
Quarter Final 3 – (2) Bucks vs (7) Falcons
The best thing about the playoffs, for the Falcons at least, is that the season doesn’t matter anymore. Everyone’s statistics reset, and it’s just about winning that first game. Way back at the beginning of the season, the Falcons did just that: they won the first game of their season. If there is any message from Captains Abbas Nasser and Shane Worthington to their team, it’s that it doesn’t matter what position you enter the playoffs, it’s where you end it! (In the case of their first round draft picks, they ended the season on different teams.)
The Bucks, meanwhile, progressively beat up on the Falcons more and more as the season went on beating them 7-6, 11-5, and 15-2. If we look back to see what kept the Falcons in that first game, it was pitcher Riaz Champsi. When the Falcons can field a full team, they can be a formidable opponent. If there is one pitcher that can extinguish the fire in the Captain Nasser Brother’s eyes, it’s Champsi.
With the Bucks in a slump entering the playoffs for the second year in a row, a rookie pitcher in Sebastian Gianino entering his first JMS playoff combined with Worthington starting to find his batting stroke, this could spell yet another early exit for the Bucks.
Prediction: 9-8 Falcons
That’s it for our quarter final review, but just to keep things interesting we’re also going to predict the rest of the playoff bracket. Share your bracket prediction using the comment area below or on comment on our story on Instagram (@jmsleague):