NEW CARLISLE - It was supposed to be a welcomed reunion between the New Carlisle Newts (8-10) and The Palace of Bourissa Hills on Sunday. The Newts, who have played more games at The Palace than any other visiting ORWBL ballpark, have only played one series at the historic park since 2015.
It turns out the Newts forgot how to play there.
The Bourissa Hills Wildcards (9-9), defended their home turf, winning two of three, 15-9, 10-5, 1-9, and snapping the Newts' 14-game winning streak at The Palace that dated back to 2012.
Things unraveled very quickly for New Carlisle. The Newts scored two early runs on RBI singles by Garrett Ruiz and Matt Soos. However with two runners on, an Aidan Cotter flyout turned into a double play after confusion on the number of outs.
In the bottom of the first, the Wildcards slapped the ball around the dirt infield of The Palace, and the Newts defense was ill-prepared to say the least. The frequent traffic jams on the base paths were cleared only by the bat of Cards slugger D.J. Hill, who belted three home runs in the first inning, driving in seven.
After the 10-spot in the first frame, Cotter settled down on the mound to throw three scoreless innings. The Newts chipped away slowly, adjusting to the small ball style themselves. Koby Keck, Soos, and Cotter all drove in runs on singles, and a Noah Shail fifth inning homer cut the lead to just four.
But the Cards struck back again with five in the fifth. Hill delivered the back-breaker, a three-run homer, to put the game out of reach.
The Newts looked as if they finally acclimated themselves when they took early command of the second game. Shail homered to lead off the game, and Scott Soos followed it up with a double. Soos held at third on a double by Ruiz, and Keck singled him home one out later. A Shail sacrifice fly made it 3-0, and Cotter was working with a lead on mound.
Bourissa Hills put up a single run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Luke Stanisci. The Newts immediately countered when Keck lined a two-run dinger over the center field fence to make it 5-1.
The wheels would come off again in the bottom of the third. After a string of singles which cut the Newts lead down to one, Allen Ament blasted a three-run homer to put the Cards up, 7-5.
After the Newts went in order in the fourth, Stanisci put the game out of reach with a three-run moonshot that just snuck inside the leftfield foul pole.
Looking to salvage one, New Carlisle sent Jay Ryans to the mound in the finale. Ryans's knuckleball baffled the Bourissa Hills batters. Ryans allowed just five total hits and one run, a Stanisci homer, in a complete game effort.
Ryans helped his own cause in the first inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Shail, and a three-run home run in the fourth that gave the Newts the lead for good. He later singled home another run in the fifth for added insurance.
Matt Soos knocked in a pair of runs, while Ruiz and Shail also drove in a score for New Carlisle.
New Carlisle has a week off for Father's Day before heading to The Barnyard on Sunday, June 27 to face the undefeated Flat Rock Cyclones (18-0). The series is scheduled to start at 1pm ET.