How Exactly Are the WSL Playoffs Going to Work This Season?

July 8, 2015

The following is a rundown of the WSL playoff format in 2015 and the reasoning behind it.

Wisconsin State League

The Wisconsin State League introduced a playoff system during the most recent offseason, a first for the league in quite some time. In year’s past, the State League just recognized the regular season champion as the league champion, but that changed in the Fall of 2014 when changes were made to the Wisconsin State League and the Langsdorf League.

During the WSL’s annual fall meeting, the Eau Claire Cavaliers announced they would be taking a leave of absence from the WSL due to budget and travel concerns. Eau Claire’s closest WSL opponent was Oshkosh, which is about 198 miles apart.

Eau Claire’s departure left the WSL with just five teams: Addison (IL), Kenosha (WI), Lombard (IL), Oshkosh (WI) and Sheboygan.

Meanwhile, over in the Langsdorf League of Southeastern Wisconsin, the league announced that their team’s in Burlington and Genoa City were also leaving the league, leaving the LAN with four teams: Kenosha, Northern Illinois (IL), Sheboygan and West Allis (WI).

Talks soon commenced about the possibility of merging the LAN into the WSL, as Northern Illinois and West Allis were both inside of the WSL’s current footprint, and Kenosha and Sheboygan were already WSL members.

While league merger talks were taking place, West Bend applied to the Langsdorf League. They were informed shortly after that there was a possibility of the league merging into the WSL.

Here is where things get tricky.

Both the WSL and LAN were in agreement that it would be in the best interest of all teams if the WSL accepted the existing LAN teams into the league to create one unified league. The only problem, is that those teams had their “non-WSL” games already scheduled, and could only commit to so many league games in 2015. One example is West Bend, who also competes in the Land O’ Lakes league, and had their LOL schedule set prior to the merger, limiting their availability. The existing WSL teams still wanted to play their full league schedule of 28 games, but since not all the teams could commit to that for the upcoming season, a different kind of playoff system was invented.

After some negotiation, the following system was created. The WSL was split into two divisions, the North Division and the South Division, with each division having four teams. The North was composed of Oshkosh, Sheboygan, West Allis and West Bend. The South was composed of Addison, Kenosha, Lombard and Northern Illinois.

It was then determined that there would be two differnet standings kept, regular season standings and playoff qualifying standings. For the playoffs, those standings would be determined by a team’s first three games against each opponent within its own division (nine games total), and its first two games against each opponent outside of its division (eight games in total), which comes out to the 17-game playoff qualifying schedule. At the end of that playoff qualifying schedule, the division leader from the North and South divisions will meet for a best-of-three playoff series to determine the playoff champion. In addition, there was a consolation playoff created. Within each division, the second and third place teams will play each other in a single game playoff. The winner of those matchups from each division will then play in another single game playoff to determine the WSL Consolation champion.

As far as the regular season goes, the pre-existing WSL teams (Addison, Kenosha, Lombard, Oshkosh and Sheboygan) will play out the remainder of the schedule to fulfill their desire for a 28-game regular season, and the team with the best record after that will be crowned the Regular Season Champion.

In summary, the league playoff champion will be determined based on the winner of the best-of-three series between each division’s winner of the 17-game playoff qualifying schedule. The consolation champion will be based off of the 17-game playoff qualifying schedule that sees the number two seed play the number three seed within each division, and those winners meeting for another single-game playoff. And the league regular season champion will be based off of the full 28-game schedule.

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL