NEW CARLISLE - One week after being swept by the Granger Panthers, the New Carlisle Newts (7-8) faced another tall order as the Maple City Magic rolled into town on Sunday afternoon. The Magic took the first two, 21-13 and 26-16, but the Newts were able to pull off an upset in the finale, 17-16.
Another huge crowd gathered at Migley Field for the series, but the buzz was taken out of the ballpark immediately as the Newts defense dropped two fly balls, misplayed another, and booted a routine grounder. Maple City (13-2) pounced on the four extra outs to score four runs in the first inning off starting pitcher Aidan Cotter.
With the wind howling out at the Friendly Confines, Cotter did all he could to keep the home team in the ballgame. Despite the ugly first frame, Cotter held Maple City to just eight runs through four innings, and the Newts offense was able to keep pace for a while.
Garrett Curless led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot to get the Newts on the board. After Cotter threw a shut-out second, New Carlisle took the lead, with home runs from Koby Keck, Curless, Scott Soos and Zarek Finley.
Maple City regained control with two runs in each the third and fourth innings, but the Newts would rally again. Cotter helped his own cause with a two-run blast, and Curless followed with his third of the game to knot it at 8-8 after four.
Then the wheels off, as the Magic hit six consecutive home runs to blow the game open with an eight-run fifth inning. Noah Shail replaced Cotter in the inning. Although he stopped the bleeding, Maple City eventually got to Shail with five runs in the sixth.
New Carlisle would not answer the snowman on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth, but did put up five runs in the sixth inning. Curless hit his fourth homer of the game off Wes Ellis, who picked up the win. The Newts would get four more off Greg Gierling, who came in for the save.
The Newts fared no better in the second game, as Maple City ran out to an early 18-2 lead before the New Carlisle offense showed signs of life.
Jared Emmons was greeted rudely in his return to the Newts roster. The southpaw lasted just 2.1 innings on the mound, giving up 13 runs.
Despite being blown out, the Newts still belted 12 home runs in the contest. Scott Soos led the way with four, Shail hit three, Matt Soos and Curless each hit a pair, and Finley added one.
Prepared to go down with his sinking ship, the Skipper took the mound for the finale. Keck worked a perfect first inning, retiring Caleb Jonkman, Ellis, and Jared Jonkman in order.
The top of the Newts lineup responded with back-to-back-to-back home runs from Curless, Shail, and Garrett Ruiz. Sean Touhey would tack on a fourth run in the opening frame, and the Newts were playing out in front for the first time all day.
The Magic would score the game's next six runs, three in the second and three more in the third to take a 6-4 advantage.
But the Newts finally punched back, as Curless, Ruiz, and Matt Soos flipped the score to 7-6. After a Cotter single, Touhey roped a liner down the left field line for his 100th career home run and a 9-6 New Carlisle lead.
Keck would allow five homers in the next inning, including four in a row, but the Magic could not unplug the Sean-O-Meter.
In the bottom of the fourth, Touhey blasted a three-run bomb to put the Newts up 12-11. Curless, Shail, and Cotter provided some insurance, and the Newts went to the fifth with a five-run lead.
Four more Magic home runs in the fifth would trim the lead down to 16-15, but Shail again provided some breathing room with a solo shot to make it 17-15.
Holding on to dear life, New Carlisle made the slim margin hold up, as another solo shot would be all the Magic could get in the final inning.
Now tied for fourth place in the National League, the Newts continue interleague play next week with a crosstown series against the Bourissa Hills Wildcards (7-8) at The Palace in New Carlisle. First pitch is slated for 1:00pm ET.