NEW CARLISLE - Already destined for the Granger Regional in the 2019 ORWBL Playoffs, there was not much on the line for the New Carlisle Newts (12-12) in their regular season finale against the Granger Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
The Panthers took two of three at Migley Field, 8-6, 6-2, 2-4.
In the opener, New Carlisle put themselves in position to knock off ORWBL's best team. After Granger's Daivyn Davis hit a home run in the second inning for the first score of the game, Danny Hernandez and Garrett Curless answered with their own long balls to give the Newts a 2-1 advantage.
Alex Zarazee tied it back up in the third, but New Carlisle again regained the lead when Hernandez hit his second dinger of the game. Matt Went tacked on some insurance with a two-run bomb, scoring Sean Touhey, to put the Newts up 5-2.
Starting pitcher Matt Soos was consistent, allowing just a single run in each of the next two innings. Clinging to a one-run lead in the fifth, Curless blasted his second homer of the day to give the Newts some breathing room, and a 6-4 lead heading into the final frame.
But the wheels fell off for the Newts defense. A pair of botched ground balls led to a pair of two-run home runs, giving the Panthers four in the top of the sixth to flip the score to 8-6.
New Carlisle went quietly in the bottom half to drop their seventh consecutive game.
Soos again took the ball in game two and held Granger scoreless through three innings. But he received minimal support from his offense. New Carlisle only mustered three hits in the loss. Curless and Went accounted for two of those, each with a solo home run.
Granger slapped out nine hits in the game, most of which came in a four-run fifth inning.
Looking to snap an eight-game skid, Koby Keck took the mound in the finale. After Griffin Smith singled to lead off the game, Austin Williams went deep to give Granger an immediate 2-0 lead.
That was all the Panthers would put on the board, as the skipper and solid defense behind him scattered four hits the rest of the way.
Facining an early deficit, Curless chipped away to tie the game with solo home runs in the first and second innings. Hernandez followed with a blast in the second to give the Newts the lead they needed.
Curless homered again for good measure in the fourth, his third of the game and 21st of the season.
With the win in the finale, New Carlisle avoided their second consecutive losing season and maintained the fourth-seed in the National League playoffs. The Newts will be the home team in the Wild Card game against the Saugany Lake Landsharks in Granger on Sunday, July 7. Winner of the Wild Card round will advance to play a best of three NLDS with the Panthers.