NEW CARLISLE - After battling on the road to win Game 2, the Newts returned to Migley Field on Sunday with a chance to use home field advantage to take command of the ORWBL World Series.
Unfortunately for New Carlisle, their struggles at the friendly confines continued. After an 11-10 victory in Game 3, the Newts dropped the next two games, 17-14 and 23-21.
Maple City now leads the Series, 3-2, as action will shift back to Magic Park next Sunday for the concluding game(s).
In the first game of the day, New Carlisle got off to a great start. Starting pitcher Garrett Curless allowed just a single run in the opening frame, a home run by Caleb Jonkman that was dropped over the fence. The Newts answered back with six in the bottom half.
Maple City fought back to take a 7-6 lead in the third, and the game was tied, 9-9, going into the bottom of the fourth inning.
New Carlisle got a run in each the fourth and the fifth, while Curless slammed the door on the Magic, allowing one run over the final two innings.
In Game 4, it was Maple City who built the early advantage. Magic manager Alex Friedman pulled himself and decided to utilize only four players, despite the ORWBL-style of play being designed to field five.
The rule was intended for teams to avoid forfeits over the demanding weekly regular season schedule, but Friedman used it to his advantage to remove his relatively inexperienced bat from the lineup. Despite the Magic being one of the most active teams in all of wiffleball, Friedman has seen limited playing time over the past several years in tournaments and league play.
Trailing 11-1 going into the bottom of the second, the Newts got back in the ballgame with an eight-run inning to cut the deficit to two.
The Newts and Magic matched runs the rest of the way until the bottom of the sixth. Chasing three runs, New Carlisle was shut out in the final inning and lost 17-14.
With no chance of clinching at home, the Newts entered Game 5 hoping to at least take a Series lead back to LaPorte.
A 10-run fourth inning turned gave New Carlisle a 17-8 advantage. But Maple City immediately answered with a 13-run fifth, reminding Newts fans of The Wiffleball Championship Game against Granger a few weeks ago.
The Newts tried to break the momentum in the middle of the rally, pointing out that one of the bats being used did not follow the specifications in the ORWBL rules. Friedman, who is also the league's commissioner, was unable to answer the Newts' request for a rules clarification.
Maple City was not penalized for the illegal bat, and Jared Jonkman showed off his power regardless of hitting stick, belting out two more home runs following the incident.
Again within striking distance going into the bottom of the sixth, the Newts offense could not generate enough for a walk-off victory, and New Carlisle fell, 23-21.
The Newts now face a tall task, needing to win two games on the road to capture the franchise's fourth ORWBL title.
Only one ORWBL World Series has gone a full seven games, the 2015 showdown between the Newts and Cult West. New Carlisle blew a 3-1 series lead, and the Warriors won their second championship.
Game 6 is scheduled for 1pm ET next Sunday in LaPorte. Should the Newts force a decisive Game 7, it will begin immediately following the conclusion of Game 6.