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Newts dodge rain, upset Panthers

NEW CARLISLE - With the threat of strong thunderstorms looming over New Carlisle on Sunday afternoon, the Newts and Granger Panthers agreed to move first pitch of their showdown to 11:30am. The scheduling change worked like a charm, as the final out of the series was made at exactly 1:20pm - the original start time - and the heavy rain began falling shortly after that.

On the field, the Newts (9-3) came out on top, winning two of three against their long-time National League foes, 9-6, 2-7, 12-6.

Historically, Granger has dominated the Newts in ORWBL regular season play. Heading into Sunday's series, the Panthers had won eight of the last nine match-ups.

The teams exchanged a pair of runs in the first inning of the opener, and Alex Zarazee gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead with a solo home run in the second. The Newts countered with back-to-back-to-back home runs from JP Kehoe, Garrett Curless, and Tyler Shupert to flip the score to 5-3.

The following inning, Curless and Shupert went back-to-back to pad the lead a little more. In the fourth, Curless hit his third home run of the game to give the Newts a 9-4 advantage.

After allowing the customary runs in the sixth, Aidan Cotter closed out a complete game victory on the mound.

The Newts did not fare as well in game two, as the Panthers scored the contest's first five runs. Zarazee homered in each of the first three innings, and Griffin Smith kept the New Carlisle bats quiet.

Sean Touhey and Cotter both went deep, but that was all the Newts offense could muster.

In the rubber match, Granger picked up where they left off in the second game, scoring three off Cotter in the first inning. This time, the Newts lineup woke up.

New Carlisle put up six in the first inning on two trios of homers. First Curless, Shupert, and Matt Soos went back-to-back-to-back. Then one batter later, Cotter started another barrage with Kehoe and Curless.

With Cotter in line to get the victory after one inning of work, the Newts went to the bullpen. Curless slowed the Panther attack, allowing just three runs in a five-inning save.

In the second inning, Curless lined another home run over the right field fence. It was his third of the game and his 500th of his ORWBL career.

Once off the bump, Cotter hit two more bombs to help the Newts seal the series victory.

The annual marathon homestand continues next Sunday, June 2 against the Hudson Lake Heat. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20pm ET.

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