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PATRICK RAYL

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YEARS ACTIVE: 2013-2018

BIRTH PLACE: HUNTINGTON, WV

BIRTH YEAR: 1988

PRIMARY POSITION: OUTFIELD

BAT/THROW: RIGHT/RIGHT

CONTRIBUTIONS: TEAM CAPTAIN, COMMISSIONER, LEAGUE COMMITTEE MEMBER, NWLA TEAM MANAGER AND TOURNAMENT ORGANIZER

TEAMS PLAYED FOR:

PITCH SLAPPERS (2013)

WEE WILLY WIFFLE (2014)

SIT ON MY BASE (2015)

MAKE WIFFLE GREAT AGAIN (2016)

THUNDER DUCKS (2017)

ACHIEVEMENTS: 

ORGANIZED THE HALLOWIFFLE CHARITY WIFFLEBALL TOURNAMENT, LEAGUE COMMISSIONER (2016)

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To say that Patrick Rayl saved the Huntington Wiffle League from itself in 2016 would be a gross understatement. He took a league that was quickly heading for a cliff and on the brink of disaster and turned it into a new and exciting endeavor that some would consider to be the league's high-water mark. His commissioner career was short-lived and only lasted one season but it was a pivotal season for the league and one of the most memorable. He proved himself to be a visionary and had revolutionary ideas that changed the league in many aspects that outlasted his own career, something any good leader would hope for.

 

But before he rose to his historic leadership role within the league, he was a "new guy" involved in the 2013 Fall Ball season where he captained the hilariously named Pitch Slappers. He had a clear knack for team building by introducing the league to stand out talents such as Jacob Dunkle and Nick Kappra in that program. He became a vocal advocate for the league almost immediately by promoting the league within the kickball association in town and was one of the most effective recruiters the league has ever known. In 2014, he returned with the same franchise but renamed it Wee Willy Wiffle and finished the season with a .500 record but were a constant contender and were it not for dominant pitching on rival teams - they could have easily made a run in the championship. Later that summer, Rayl joined the team on the journey to Columbus for the national tournament and quietly observed the spectacle - no doubt noting 'what could be' as he was known for always coming up with ways something could be better or improved.

In 2015, he joined the famous Sit On My Base squad which he co-ran with Jeremy Ray and led the team all the way to the championship prior to falling to Breaking Balls. As a player, he had his most impressive year hitting .453, 5 HRs, and 22 RBIs. After that season wrapped, then commissioner Joshua Smith decided to step down and hand selected Rayl to fill the position. He noted Patrick's dedication to the league and noticed he made himself available for whatever task was required to be done and there certainly was no better fit for the job other than Rayl. With the guidance of Greg Sowards, Rayl entered the 2015 off-season with many players scratching their heads wondering what direction the new commissioner would take the league in.

The 2015 off-season would prove to be a quiet one but soon erupted into one of the noisiest after Rayl announced his new format idea in January 2016 on Episode 17 of the HWL Podcast. Realizing the weekly grind of the season was difficult to manage on an administrative level and was just as challenging for teams to wrangle their rosters, he unveiled his monthly tournament idea to combat the scheduling woes of the former system. It was a radical idea, but one that was met with general acceptance. But there was a second part to the idea, switching from fast-pitch to slow-pitch. This idea was not met with the same enthusiasm and left many players wondering if they would participate or not as many had become accustomed to a certain level of competition but Rayl countered that it was not sustainable as the league was not growing and was struggling to even maintain the same amount of teams year-to-year. His ideas passed the committee and his vision was realized.

The 2016 season saw 10 teams participate on/off in an exciting and fresh format that saw a rise in player turnout and featured the most new players to enter the league since 2014. The format enabled teams from further away to participate such as Mason WV's Mothmen and Columbus OH's Dinger City and made every day feel like something was on the line as a tournament champion was crowned each month. There was also a points system in place to determine who the overall season champion was that kept players engaged in the 'long game.' Rayl joined up with the notorious and raucous Make Wiffleball Great Again team and was the third best hitter on the team and go-to second pitcher in the rotation. He also came up with some of the most inventive jeers the team hurled at opponents and even at his own teammates.

 

As if running the league was not enough, he also took over manager duty for the 2016 NWLA regional team the league had built to send to Morenci, MI to compete for a spot in the national tournament. The task proved to be stressful and he took the squad to Michigan and watched the team struggle to compete with some of the most talented leagues in the country playing in a completely different format. The team ultimately did not qualify for the nationals and it would be one of Rayl's final commissioner duties that he carried out. At the conclusion of the 2016 season, he was visibly worn from the experience and it was no surprise as he threw three years worth of work in one season. Later that year the league committee would be created to split up the duties normally thrown on one person (the commissioner) and Patrick was the natural first choice to be on the committee. The committee would go through some personnel changes during the 2017 season but under Patrick's guiding hand, they were a success as the league entertained yet another revolutionary idea: a player draft.

While the results of the 2017 draft league were...mixed, the idea and execution could not have been more extraordinary. He tried his hand at podcast hosting and narrated the legendary draft in real time. The season would prove to be a difficult one as the league was literally half the size it was from the season before and some teams had drafted poorly and at times struggled to field teams. After the 2017 season concluded, Rayl announced his intention to step down from the committee and selected Joshua Smith to fill his position in an almost poetic gesture passing the torch back to the man that had passed it to him. In early 2018, he announced his retirement as a player. Were it not for the contributions of Patrick Rayl there is little doubt that the league would have likely ended prematurely and the league is forever in his debt for any success during and since his tenure at the helm of the league. He is an extremely deserving inductee into the league hall of fame.

MANAGER

MANAGER

COMPETITOR

COMPETITOR

TEAM MATE

TEAM MATE

COMMISSIONER

COMMISSIONER

VISIONARY

VISIONARY

FRIEND

FRIEND

CAREER STATISTICS

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