NEW CARLISLE - As the New Carlisle Newts prepare to open up the 15th season of ORWBL play at Migley Field this Sunday, we take a look back at the previous 14 home openers in franchise history.
The first ORWBL series ever played, the Newts hosted the Lil' Saints on Sunday, June 3. Afternoon rain pushed first pitch back to an evening start. Final scores are not on record from the series, but the Lil' Saints took the opener before the Newts bounced back to win the final two.
Jeff Szczypiorski hit the first home run in Newts and Migley Field history.
New Carlisle sat atop the National League standings at 14-5 when the remainder of the inaugural season was abandoned due to participation issues.
With their eyes on the National League pennant, the Newts again opened the season with the Lil' Saints at Migley Field on Sunday, June 1. This time, New Carlisle swept their rivals from Mill Creek, 5-2, 20-3, 3-0.
The series marked the Newts debut for former Banana Slugs Marc Lindsey and Adam Rehlander, who shook up ORWBL by coming across town to play at Migley.
Lindsey went four for five in the opening game, and drove in seven in game two. He picked up the win on the mound in game three.
Matt Flagg hit .722 on the day, going 13 for 18 out of the leadoff spot. Flagg also got a victory on the mound in the opener.
The Newts started the season on a nine-game road trip and carried a 7-2 record into the home opener against Phat Dong on Sunday, June 14.
Migley Field sparkled as a new scoreboard was unveiled. The board, which still stands today, replaced the original chalk-operated scoreboard.
Led by Garrett Curless and Koby Keck, New Carlisle easily swept Phat Dong. The Newts went 15-0 all-time against the futile franchise before the team was contracted in 2010.
For third and final time in the rivalry's history, the Newts began the 2010 season against the Lil' Saints on Wednesday, June 2.
The Newts won a 2-1 pitcher's duel in the opener before the bats for both teams woke up. New Carlisle won two more slugfests, 15-13 and 17-15. The hot start continued, as the Newts rattled off nine consecutive wins before suffering their first defeat of the season.
New Carlisle swept their fourth consecutive opening Migley series, defeating the La Porte Bombers on Wednesday, June 1.
The Newts won 10-6, 2-1, and 8-5.
The 2012 season of Newts wiffleball is often referred to as a train wreck, and the train was completely off the rails by the time New Carlisle played their first home games at Migley Field.
The Newts went 0-9 on the road before finally opening the Friendly Confines against the Federalists on Sunday, June 10.
However, just like the season opener at Old Rock Field ten days prior, the Newts were swept by scores of 36-25, 27-26, and 29-24 to fall to 0-12 on the season.
New Carlisle welcomed the Federalists back to Migley for Opening Day on Sunday, June 2. It was also Marc Lindsey Day at the ballpark, as the Newts retired #2.
Lindsey, one of the founders of ORWBL, played for the Newts from 2008-12. While most of his time came before the stat-keeping era, he was one of the most dominant players in the league's history. Lindsey hit for average and power and was a Cy Young caliber pitcher. He retired from wiffleball to pursue a career in professional baseball umpiring.
The highlight of the day was the pregame ceremony, as the Newts lost all three to the Feds, 2-0, 4-1, and 10-4.
Sunday, June 1 marked perhaps the best Opening Day in Migley Field history, as the play on the field matched the pregame ceremony. Prior to the series, the Newts raised their 2013 ORWBL World Series banner and received their first championship rings.
On the field, New Carlisle dominated the Hudson Lake Heat, 31-25, 30-12, 29-19. Rolling a lineup of four, every Newt that appeared in the series hit over .500, led by Koby Keck who went 29 of 34 on the day with 18 home runs.
The 90 runs on Opening Day would be a sign of good things to come in Migleyville, as the Newts won 11 of 12 regular season games played at the Friendly Confines en route to a second consecutive ORWBL title.
After receiving their rings, Garrett Curless and Noah Shail each launched three home runs in the opening game against Emery's Army on May 24. The Newts were victorious in the first game, 12-7.
Shail would blast three dingers in each of the next two games, but it was not enough to keep pace with Jake Lawrence who hit four in the second game and three in the finale.
After dropping two of three, New Carlisle looked up at their rivals in the standings for the rest of the year, and would not reclaim bragging rights until the Newts eliminated EA from postseason play on their way to a third consecutive World Series.
A new-look roster met a new-look ballpark on Sunday, May 22 when the Newts opened up against the South Bend Muffs. The Newts acquired Danny Hernandez, Jay Ryans, Matt Soos, and Scott Soos after the Cult West Warriors folded. The team also dramatically altered Migley Field, moving home plate south 15 feet, enlarging the field and sodding over the dirt infield.
The new dimensions and a strong wind out of the north (which would hang around most of the season) made quite an impact, as only five total runs were scored in the series.
New Carlisle took the first and last game by a score of 1-0, while South Bend took the middle contest, 2-1.
Jared Emmons made his return to Migley Field on Friday, May 12 bringing his Taco Puncher squad to the ballpark he called home from 2012-15.
As the Newts celebrated the 2016 World Series championship with rings and another banner, they were quickly reminded of the previous year's opening series.
New Carlisle scored three runs in the first inning, holding on to win 3-2 in the opener. But the Newts bats went silent for nine scoreless frames, and the Taco Punchers reversed the score to take the second game.
In the rubber match, the teams traded runs in the fourth inning and nothing else. The game went into extras and in the bottom of the eighth, Matt Soos singled home Danny Hernandez to walk it off.
While 2018 turned out to be a losing season for New Carlisle, it got off to a great start when the Newts defeated a solid Twin Branch Billy Goats team two of three on Sunday, May 6. With the home run out of play, the Newts scraped together seven hits in the opener to back Garrett Curless on the mound, winning 5-1.
The drama came in the second game. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Curless and Scott Soos started the inning with back-to-back singles. Noah Shail tied it with a double, advancing Soos to third base. With his brother in scoring position, Matt Soos gave the Newts the most productive ground out in team history to end it.
Twin Branch salvaged game three, 4-3, powered by a late two-run homer by Andrew Doran.
The Newts invited some friends over to play wiffleball on Sunday, May 5, as the Mechanics came to the Friendly Confines to open up the season. After helping the Newts win the Hometown Cup in 2018, Mechanics manager Aidan Cotter returned to assist in the unveiling of the championship banner.
WSBT's Adam Derengowski was on hand to do a story on New Carlisle wiffleball, featuring a mic’d up Scott Soos. The Newts did not play particularly well. After New Carlisle won game one 6-3 against Nate Arndt, Cotter took the mound and held the Newts offense to one run in 13 innings of work. Olive Township won easily in game two, 9-0, and used a five-run seventh inning in the finale to win the series.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the ORWBL season by nearly a month, and the Newts didn't open up Migley Field until June for the first time since 2014. It was well worth the wait, as New Carlisle swept eventual National League champion Elkhart, 8-6, 7-6, 11-9.
After winning the opener, New Carlisle trailed 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth in game two. The Newts put together six straight hits for quick six spot for a ferocious comeback. Jay Ryans started the rally and finished it with walk-off solo blast.
In the finale, the Newts turned on the power, belting eight home runs to finish off the sweep, 11-9.
New Carlisle (6-3) will face the first-place Granger Panthers (8-1) on Sunday, May 30. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20pm ET.