Renbargers monopolize 2016 playoff berths

Chew on this: Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend a particular sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum, but only three out of five Renbargers in the I-75 League made the playoffs this year.

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Compare that to the performance of the non-Renbargers in the league. There’s 10 non-Renbargers in the league, and only three of them (30%) made the playoffs. Ray would be proud.

The postseason qualifiers are set, though the playoff pairings are not, as October play brings an end to the 37th regular season of play in the I-75 League. And when the dust settled, here’s what we were left with:

Mike Renbarger’s Superior Titans, who by most accounts underperformed for the first five months of the season before going 45-15 over the final three months, captured the Westbound Division crown, league’s best record (101-59) and top seed in the playoffs.

Jason Renbarger’s New New York Hypnotoads, in their inaugural season no less, posted the best intradivision record of any team in the league (43-17) to reign supreme in the Southbound Division at 94-66. Thirty-five of those wins came against Savannah, West Atlanta and Dyersville.

With a 14-win October, the Hypnotoads tied the Northbound Division champion Springfield Isotopes, piloted by Dave LaMont, for the league’s second-best record. At plus-216, Springfield had the best run differential in the league, as well as a homers-for vs. homers-against of 269 to 165 in favor of Homer.  Springfield will host a one-game playoff with New New York by virtue of its better record in head-to-head play to determine which of the two teams gets the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, and which team must play a first-round series.

The fourth seed goes to John Renbarger’s Boulder Tree Huggers, which matched Springfield and New New York with 94 wins, though sputtering to the finish line with just seven wins in October after leading the West for much of the season. Living by the homer or on occasion dying by the lack of one, Boulder mashed a circuit-best 285 bombs, 55 of them coming from league leader Mike Trout.

Emerging from a furious West Division scramble to claim their first postseason berth, Mark Gergel’s Destin Beach Bums won a dozen clutch games in October to finish with 89 victories and the fifth seed.  And Garth Lewis’ South Grand Prairie Warriors spoiled the potential four-teams-from-the-West-in-the-playoffs scenario with an 11-win October to finish with 87 wins and claim the sixth seed. The final-month scheduling of intradivisional play doomed playoff hopefuls Applegate and Satellite Beach, as teams from the West beat up on each other while SGP worked into playoff position.

Applegate’s streak of consecutive winning seasons advanced to five when it finished with a 10-10 record and 84 wins, but it fell short of a playoff berth by three games. Satellite Beach also fell short, managing just seven wins in October to post an 82-win total.

Despite putting “just” three teams in the playoffs, the West boasted five clubs that pretty much had their way with clubs outside their division: Boulder was 65-35 (.650), Superior 63-37, Destin 61-39, Satellite Beach 56-44 and Applegate 55-45.

Standings are not yet final, subject to review of player usage and that Game 161 between Springfield and New New York to break the tie for No. 2 seed.

Congrats to all of the playoff participants!

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