The 4th season of JMS is finally under way and we want to extend a very special thank you to all of the Admin Team. They have spent countless amount of time, personal resources, and effort to help make this league the best with an unreal amount of awesome JMS SWAG this season. Thank you to each and every one of you.
New this year, we wanted to provide a quick summary for the week that just passed, with some key stats and also MVP and Pitcher’s of the day. Additionally, if you go into each game’s box score you’ll see that we have indicated the player of the game with a star. On to the updates
- 41 Innings Played (5.86 per game)
- 104 Total Runs Scored
- 35 Strike Outs… Men’s slow pitch softball… 35 K’s…ARE PITCHERS THAT GOOD?!
- 48 Walks
MVP of the Day
Ali Manek – 5/6 3HR, 6 RBI, 2IBB
Pitcher of the Day
Hussein Allidina – 12.0 IP, 2W, 2.67 ERA, 11H, 4BB, 7K
Like 2017, the Wolves got off to a slow start this season, however with the championship Pedigree they already have, there isn’t a lot to prove this early on. They were without their 2nd pick, Mikael Ratansi, but already have one of the best one-two pitching combos in the league with Mohamed Walli clearly able to handle the mound.
Muzammil Jaffer started the season very strong hitting a homerun however he finished the day with a .167 average and with the inability to get on base, this run producing 1st pick will have to step it up. Imran Virji who is playing through significant injuries showed very little signs of being hurt as he continued to hit the ball exceptionally well finishing the day 5 for 6 with a double and triple to his credit.
Next up for the Wolves is the Falcons and Tigers – both teams coming off losses so it would be a great time for them to rebound. This week rookies Said Samater went 1/6 and Kaunain Taki 2/6. For the Wolves to get a victory this week, some of the risky picks they drafted have to shake off first-week-jitters and hit better.
The regular season undefeated record for the Lions has ended with lucky number 14 as they were unable to continue their regular-season dominance in week one of 2018. They took out the Wolves in game 1 to start the season in very “Lion” like style with stellar defence as they only made one error. However, in the second game they hit a wall called Hussein Allidina.
Altaf Champsi pitched a gem of a game against the Wolves before totally being left out to dry in game 2. The Lions were shutout in game 2, held to only 2 hits all game and committed 8 errors. Of the 11 Eagles runs scored, only 2 were charged to the former pitcher of the tournament.
Next week will prove to be interesting as they will be facing the Owls and then the Eagles for the 2nd time in as many weeks. If guys like Damien Ramnauth can continue to play a strong outfield, expect the Lions to make some shifts to their outfield to start to reward players who made the fewest mistakes on the field.
After what some considered a public outcry for an apology after our season preview about the Eagles, we are not ready to apologize just yet. The first week of the season is more than likely just an outlier to what we anticipate for an Eagles team that seem to have had all things rolling in the right direction on Sunday. Even with 3 home runs, first overall draft pick Ali Manek is still not leading the league in any offensive category other than Home Runs and to be frank, we have seen this show before. He has one good game and rides that stat line for the season. But credit where credit is due, he did get this week’s MVP of The Week honours.
One area that our initial projections may have been off was the outfield for the Eagles. Even more impressive is that they held the strong hitting Wolves to 5 runs with only 3 outfielders all game. The combination of 3rd-4th-5th-6th round picks for the Eagles is a solid group. Hussain Habib, Aqil Najafi, Hussein Champsi & Hasnainali Walli made zero errors in the outfield in their two games.
But none of the offence matters when you have a pitcher who pitched a game of the ages. In game 2 of the afternoon for the Eagles, captain Hussein Allidina pitched a 2-hitter against the Lions on his way to his second complete game and first shutout of his career. Only 4 earned runs in 12 straight innings. This is a pitching performance we don’t think we will ever see again in a slo-pitch softball league. The bad thing is that the Lions who are being ridiculed for their lacklustre performance will have another shot at the bucket next week when the two teams lockup for a rematch. We will be keeping a close eye on co-captain Abbas Allidina who went 0/6 this week and will need to bounce back if the Eagles are going to be considered a contender.
In his captaining debut, Kumail Meghani did not disappoint going 3-3 with 4 walks and a Home Run. The captain was impressive but it seemed as though opposing pitchers were scared to pitch to him. We’ll see if the trend continues on into next week. While he may have performed well, the Owls lost two games in walk-off fashion. They’re at the doorstep but weren’t able to hold the lead in the game against the Tigers or get the lead in the game against the Falcons.
The Owls started game one against the Tigers without their pitcher – rumours are that Asad Nasser was still asleep and will struggle with those 12 PM starts. Ready to take the mound was Sarfaraz Karmali – acquired in a trade with the Falcons. Karmali struggled to get it going but eventually found his groove. The Owls put up two mercy innings in a row to get their young season started led by their two captains Kumail Meghani, Salim Chagani, and 5th round pick Abbas Fazal who swung a hot bat for most of the day. With most of the lineup pitching in where they could. Everyone thought this was going to be a powerhouse of a team, but they only mustered 1 additional run for the rest of the game.
In the second game of their day they started the opposite way, in a hole, but eventually chipped away and held the Falcons at bay with their defence to eventually tie the game at the end. However, closing seems to be a problem that this team will have to focus on.
This week they have early morning games against the undefeated Eagles and recently shutout Lions – both teams that are eager to prove. The question is which version of Irfahn Khimji will show up this week. The one who was projected to get drafted 3rd overall or the one who showed up last week and went 1-5.
We anticipate the Tigers to be hovering around the top of the league all season and if we can see more performances out of captain Vick Vij like we did last week, they are in for a heck of a year.
Vick hit two home runs and drove in 5 as the Tigers edged out the Owls in dramatic fashion in game one. However, a much stronger and balanced Bucks team took the Tigers to school in game 2.
Azad Najfi, who was playing his first JMS League game this week didn’t put up the numbers we expected after seeing him at Al-Wahda. But a lot of the Tigers success is on his shoulders and his 69% strike rate was 2nd only to Sebastian Gianino (76%). So it will be up to the defence who committed 6 errors in the first two games of the season to hold it down for Azad who came into the season touted as the best available pitcher in the draft.
This week if Abbas Chagani continues to swing a hot bat (batting .600) and more importantly, continues to drive in runs (4 RBIs), then the Tigers have really got themselves a huge chance to win two more this week. If teams continue to nullify powerhouses Mahmood Kara and Co-Captain Umair Ali, then they will struggle. The two stars went a combined 1-5 with 3 RBIs and 5 walks.
Unlike the Eagles who are also 2-0, we don’t think the Bucks finishing the day 2-0 was a fluke. They are clearly much more well rounded and the importance of pitching was on full display as the Bucks overcame 10 total errors on route to their two victories.
Sebastian Gianino threw 76% of his pitches for strikes on route to 5 strikeouts but that kind of accuracy is going to prove costly for the Bucks if their defence doesn’t control balls in play.
Having Nadim Rahemtulla in the lineup on opening day was a big boost for sure as on draft day it was rumoured he wouldn’t be available until August. And while it was exceptionally impressive that every single member of the team got a hit this week, without the 10 RBIs from Co-Captain Imran Nasser and former MVP Ali Raza Nasser, the team had a total of 5 RBIs.
While Kabir Molu didn’t get a star next to his name this week, it was clear that his impact was felt on offence. He leads the team in Average (.600) while going 3-5, he leads in Runs Scored, walks and on-base percentage. Granted it is only week one, but this 18th overall pick is looking like a huge steal if he can keep up the solid performance at the plate.
We are going to be on the lookout to see if shades of 2015 Minhal Jaffer emerge and they seem to be. He only went 3-7 however all three went to the fence and after visibly playing more free for the first time without sharing the field with his Jaffer brothers, we’re looking to see if that was what has held him back from the monster season he had in year one.
The Falcons, who drafted 2nd overall for the 2nd straight season took Miqdad Jaffer who came out to try to prove his doubters wrong this week. Miqdad went 4-6 with a double and triple showing off his opposite field power this week. But more importantly, he was able to step in, in relief, to help a struggling Riaz Champsi on the mound. Miqdad pitched just over 1 inning in total, however, was able to secure the victory again proving the importance of pitching in JMS.
We predicted the Falcons to be balanced and they were – allowing and scoring 15 runs apiece this week. The pleasant surprise for the Falcons was Tanveer Husnani who racked up a team-leading 3 RBIs in his first week in JMS. The rookie was spraying the ball across the field all day long and although he is only hitting .333, he does have his first career triple.
10 Errors for the Falcons really didn’t help however a couple of timely hits from their stars is what was necessary to win. If Shane Worthington and Arif Hirji can’t get it together after a 2-11 performance, the Falcons will not be able to win.