NEW CARLISLE - A week after being swept at home by the Bourissa Hills Wildcards, the New Carlisle Newts (15-6) were right back at a blustery Migley Field on Sunday afternoon to face the Great Lakes Godfathers (6-15).
After scoring only six total runs in the three-game series against the Wildcards, the Newts put up a mere nine runs against Great Lakes. This time around though, it was enough for three victories, 2-1, 3-2 (F/9), and 4-1.
"If I had to play in wind like this every week, I wouldn't want to come," said Godfathers manager Mark Haase.
To their credit, the Fathers were able to cut through the wind for two home runs in the series, a solo shot by Matador Smith in the first game and a two-run blast by Andy Sieradzki in game two. The Newts went without a home run for their second consecutive series.
Matador's home run came in the first inning of the opener off Scott Soos. It was the only blemish for the right-hander, who allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.
New Carlisle changed their approach from the previous week, beating ground balls into the Migley turf and creating a lot of traffic on the base paths.
The Newts tied the game in the bottom of the first when Koby Keck singled to center field to score Matt Soos from second base.
The scoring stopped until the bottom of the fourth inning.
Connor VanOverberghe led off with a single. With one out, Matt Soos singled to put runners on first and second. After a line out by Garrett Ruiz, Keck delivered another RBI single to give the Newts the 2-1 advantage.
In game two, New Carlisle struck first with a Noah Shail sacrifice fly that scored VanOverberghe from second base. Ruiz followed with an RBI single to score Garrett Curless, and the Newts led 2-0.
Aided by two double plays by his defense, pitcher Aidan Cotter faced the minimum through three innings. His only mistake was the home run by Sieradzki in the fourth, which tied the game at two.
For the third consecutive week, the Newts found themselves in a marathon game. But the fortunes were reversed this time. In the bottom of the ninth, after singles by Cotter and Curless, Shail delivered the game-winning single.
In the finale, the Godfathers played small ball to manufacture the game's first run. Daron Krichbaum and Sieradzki singled to start the top of the second. After Haase grounded out to advance the runners into scoring position, Matador grounded out scoring Krichbaum from third.
The Newts responded in the third inning with one of the quirkiest wiffle plays you will ever see. Three straight singles by Curless, Scott Soos, and Shail loaded the bases for Matt Soos with one out. Soos flew out to right field, allowing Curless to tag up and tie the game. The errant throw allowed Scott Soos to score from second and Shail to score from first for a three-run sacrifice fly.
Matt Soos would add a little more insurance for himself in the fourth inning with an RBI single that scored his brother and gave the game its final score of 4-1.
With the home schedule wrapped up for the regular season, New Carlisle will hit the road for the final series of the season next week at Granger (17-4). One win or a loss by Elkhart would secure the Newts a bye into the National League Division Series and homefield advantage for that round. A sweep of the first-place Panthers would give New Carlisle the top-seed in the National League and run the entire road to the World Series through Migley Field.