MIDLOTHIAN - The long drought is over and the celebration begins. The New Carlisle Newts are the 2021 World Wiffle®Ball Champions.
The Newts defeated the Ohio Knuckleheads, 12-4, in the title game to cap a perfect 9-0 weekend and add the final piece to the storied franchise's trophy case.
It was a long time coming for New Carlisle, which has reached the final four in six of their seven appearances at the tournament. After years of piecing together a roster for the WWBC, the Newts finally ran back the same squad in consecutive years.
With knuckleballer Mark Richards on the mound, who did plenty to help himself at the plate, the Newts lineup of Noah Shail, Zarek Finley, and Koby Keck belted home run after home run during a dominant pool play run on Saturday. Three of the four games ended after three innings via the mercy rule, and the Newts racked up a +51 run differential to earn the #2 seed in Sunday's finals.
Garrett Curless checked in on Sunday morning, adding yet another powerful bat to the potent New Carlisle offense. Shail and Finley were flawless on defense, and the Newts knocked off 2020 runners-up Twin Branch Billy Goats and The M.O.B. to reach the final four yet again.
Facing a familiar foe in the Granger Panthers, New Carlisle broke through the semifinal round in a 26-6 mercy rule rout. The Newts put up 11 runs in the top of the first inning while Richards held the Panthers scoreless in the bottom half, and New Carlisle ran away to their first title game appearance.
The Knuckleheads defeated five-time defending champion Cult West in their semifinal, assuring a new champion would be crowned.
Following a scoreless first inning, the Knuckleheads struck first going up 2-0 in the second inning. The game's first scoring play came on a fly ball to left that was batted back into the field of play by Shail and caught by Finley. However it was ruled a home run, as Shail's momentum carried him over the outfield fence. The Newts would answer immediately and the game was knotted 2-2 after two innings.
Ohio went up again, 3-2, in the top of the third. New Carlisle again answered, this time putting up five runs to flip the score to a 7-3 advantage. After Richards tossed an egg in the fourth, the Newts piled on another four runs to break the game open.
The teams traded a run in the fifth, before Richards slammed the door with a perfect sixth inning to clinch the World Championship.
Hear legendary Chicago Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes call the final out below:
While the title was the Newts' first World Championship, it was the franchise's seventh overall tournament win.
New Carlisle is now 44-7 all-time at the World Wiffle®Ball Championship in seven appearances. The Newts have won their division in pool play and have reached at least the Elite Eight round in all seven years.