SOUTH BEND - With MVP candidate Noah Shail a late scratch from the New Carlisle lineup, the Newts faced quite a challenge at Parts Unknown on Sunday afternoon.
However, the two-time defending champions were able to manage a split of the opening games of the ORWBL World Series, 8-9 and 12-4.
Despite a sluggish start in Game 1, New Carlisle got on top, 5-4, with a three-run homer by Randy Schuster in the fourth inning. The Newts added three more in the fifth to take a 8-4 lead.
Cult West cut the deficit in half with two in the bottom of the fifth and then trimmed the lead to just one with one out in the sixth.
With a runner on, Matt Soos hit a deep fly ball to left field that was caught by a leaping Schuster to rob the potential game-winning home run. Now with two outs, Newts pitcher Seth Shail needed to get his Muffs teammate Austin Rieff out to clinch the victory. Rieff drove one to dead center field. Schuster once again went airborne, but the ball was out of his reach giving the Warriors a 9-8 victory.
Game 2 started in very similar fashion to the opener, with Cult West striking first and leading 2-0 after two innings. New Carlisle's bats came alive in the third, powered by a Schuster grand slam. The Newts hung up seven in the frame and would never look back. The lead grew to 12-2 before the Warriors rallied for two in the sixth.
With the series tied 1-1, action moves to Migley Field in New Carlisle on Wednesday night. Games 3, 4, and 5 will be played at the Friendly Confines. First pitch for Game 3 is slated for 6:15pm ET.