LA PORTE - Much like their match-up in the ORWBL World Series a year ago, the New Carlisle Newts (12-3) failed to capitalize on their opportunities to knock off the Maple City Magic (12-3) on Sunday afternoon at Magic Park. Maple City took two of three from New Carlisle, 7-10 (F/7), 15-9, and 11-10 (F/10).
Scott Soos got the scoring started early for the Newts in the series opener, belting a solo home run in the first inning. However, the Magic jumped all over Noah Shail to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom half, with home runs from Jared Jonkman, Shane Anderson, and Wes Ellis.
New Carlisle chipped away at the deficit over the next couple of innings. Garrett Curless hit a two-run blast in the second, and Soos followed in the third with a two-run shot of his own to tie the game up at five.
In what became the theme of the day, Ellis would hit two more dingers to give Maple City a 7-5 edge heading into the sixth. New Carlisle would not give up easily, as Soos and Shail went back-to-back to tie the game and force extra innings.
In the seventh, Garrett Ruiz led off with a single, followed by a home run off the bat of Curless. Soos would go yard yet again to pad the lead, and the Newts closed out a 10-7 victory.
New Carlisle got out to a quick 4-0 lead in the second game. Ruiz smacked two home runs in the first inning, while Shail and starting pitcher Aidan Cotter added one each.
But then the Newts defense faltered, as several ground balls were bobbled and misplayed. The Maple City lineup didn't need base runners to do damage, but they got them. Jonkman, Anderson, and Ellis all went deep three times in the game.
Shail and Ruiz also hit three home runs a piece, but it was not enough to keep up with the Magic, who scored multiple runs in every inning and coasted to a 15-9 victory.
The Newts got down early again in the finale, allowing another four runs to start the game. Making his first appearance on the mound this season, Soos did everything he could to keep the club in the game following the rocky start.
After falling behind 5-1, New Carlisle tied the game in the fourth inning. Curless led off the inning with a solo shot. With Soos and Connor VanOverberghe on board, Ruiz blasted a three-run homer to even the score.
Maple City would answer with three of their own in the bottom half, and the seesaw continued in the fifth. Cotter, Curless, and Soos went back-to-back-to-back to give the Newts a slight 9-8 edge.
The teams would go down in order in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, but Caleb Jonkman lined one out of the park to lead off the bottom of the sixth, setting up another extra inning affair.
Soos and Ellis dueled in extras, holding the opposing lineups scoreless in the seventh. In the eighth, a solo shot by Ruiz was matched by Anderson to knot it up at 10.
A scoreless ninth was followed by another one-two-three inning from the top of the Newts lineup in the tenth. After retiring Caleb Jonkman to lead off the bottom half, Ellis finally got the best of Soos again with a home run to center field to end it.
With one swing of the bat, the narrative quickly shifted from a potential upset by the defending National League champions to disappointment. New Carlisle will look to bounce back as they continue interleague play on Sunday, July 5 against the crosstown Bourissa Hills Wildcards at Migley Field. First pitch is set for 1:20pm ET.