NEW CARLISLE - Two of ORWBL's most iconic franchises renewed their historic rivalry on Saturday night, as the New Carlisle Newts (11-1) took two of three from the Rolling Prairie Emery's Army (3-9), 10-13, 25-8, and 12-6.
It was a huge crowd and party atmosphere at Migley Field, typical for the series which dates back to 2009. The Newts now lead the all-time series, 36-26.
After spending the past three seasons in New Carlisle, Danny Hernandez left for Rolling Prairie this winter. Hernandez got the scoring started early with a solo home run in his first at bat of his return to the Friendly Confines.
Two home runs by Garrett Ruiz, along with long balls by Matt Soos, Ryan Galiher, and Sean Touhey put the Newts up 6-1 after the second inning.
With the wind howling out, the wheels fell off for Newts pitcher Garrett Curless in the third. After allowing a solo shot by Ryan Murphy, Curless did a good job of keeping the ball in the yard to record the first two outs of the inning.
But then came the Emery's Army assault. After a Matt Serge RBI single cut it to 6-3, Jake Lawrence and Hernandez went back-to-back to tie the game up. Curless again grounded the aerial attack, but the Newts defense was not in position to stop three consecutive singles. With the bases loaded, Serge delivered the big blow. The four-time ORWBL Champion belted a grand slam into the left field bleachers to give EA the lead, 10-6.
EA would hit three more consecutive home runs to cap a 12-run inning and make the score 13-6. Jay Ryans came out of the bullpen for New Carlisle to silence the Rolling Prairie bats over the final three innings.
The Newts slowly chipped away at the deficit, Curless homered in the third and fifth innings, while Ruiz and Soos went deep in the fourth. However, New Carlisle's comeback attempts ended as the final out was caught in deep right-center field with the tying run at the plate.
Shuffling in a new lineup for game two, the Newts avenged their first loss of the season immediately. After a Lawrence home run to lead off the game, the Newts coasted to a 25-8 victory.
Aidan Cotter got the win on the mound, but was even better at the plate. He went a perfect seven for seven with five home runs.
In total, the Newts hit 13 home runs in the game and pounded out 31 hits. New Carlisle had their own third inning explosion, scoring 16 runs in the frame.
Matt Went had three home runs, Connor VanOverberghe hit two, while Scott Soos, Koby Keck, and Ruiz each added one a piece.
As the sun set over Migley for the rubber match, the pace of play picked up significantly. Cotter was efficient on the mound to get his second win of the night, 12-6.
Ten Newts played in the finale, with the offense being led by three home runs each from Ryans and Curless. Cotter and Galiher each hit two dingers, and the Soos brothers added one a piece.
New Carlisle hits the road next week for a World Series rematch with the Maple City Magic on Sunday, June 28 at Magic Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00pm ET. The Newts will return to Migley Field to face their crosstown foes, Bourissa Hills, on Sunday, July 5. That series will begin at the customary 1:20pm ET.