Kings spoil Magic's party
LA PORTE- It was a day of celebration in LaPorte for the 3-time defending Champions as the Maple City Magic received their 2019 ORWBL Championship rings in a ceremony prior to the series.
It was also the first game for the Magic at their home Magic Park which is currently undergoing renovation. While the renovation is not complete, they now have a brand new wooden outfield wall that is a major improvement from their chain link fence from the past.
Although the paint job is not complete, Magic Park was still looking great for Opening Day. They also added a hand operated scoreboard that is attached to the Maple tree near the Maple City dugout.
The momentum from the ring ceremony carried over into Game 1 of the series as County Line struggled to get anything going off of Wes Ellis. Jared Jonkman and Wes Ellis led the way with 3 Home Runs in Game 1. The Magic also received solo shots from Caleb Jonkman, Drew Luther, Shane Anderson, and Alex Friedman before closing the door in the 6th to pick up the 11-5 win.
From that point on, the celebration stopped and the party was over as the Kings would send Maple City a hardcore reality check. The normally sure handed Magic defense imploded in the 1st inning of Game 2 as the County Line bats began to wake up.
The Kings made Maple City pay dearly for those errors as County Line plated 7 first inning runs. After the top of the 1st in Game 2, the momentum for the series had shifted entirely in County Line's favor as the Kings played with a lot of energy and made little to no mistakes on the defensive end.
Meanwhile, Maple City let their poor defensive play carry over into their At Bats as most of the Magic players struggled in Games 2 and 3. Magic star Caleb Jonkman showed that he is human after all as he had a uncharacteristic 5-14 series which was the worst outing in his 3+ year ORWBL career so far.
While Caleb struggled to play at the level we are used to seeing, it was his brother Jared Jonkman who was the lone bright spot of the day for Maple City as he went 9-15 with 9 Home Runs. After 2 weeks of regular season play, Jared Jonkman leads the league in Home Runs and Runs scored.
Magic Manager Alex Friedman is thrilled with the younger Jonkman's start to the season as he had the following to say regarding his starting catcher: "I said it before this season and I will say it again, Jared Jonkman is ready to explode onto the scene as he is only 21 and still getting better."
While Jared has certainly been in the shadows of Caleb Jonkman so far in his career, it looks like he is taking the next steps to establish himself as one of the best hitters in the league. There is no doubt that his hot start to the season is already turning heads.
On the other side of things, County Line was able to get much more consistency from the top to bottom of their lineup
While the lineup of Colten Boren, Mike Forrester, Bryce Bloode, and Kody Webb did their thing, it was actually JP Kehoe who led the offensive charge for County Line as he had his way all afternoon long. Kehoe belted 8 Home Runs on the day to lead the way for the Kings.
It was truly a breakout performance for Kehoe as he tormented the wiffleball even with 2 time Cy Young winner Wes Ellis on the opposing end.
Behind Kehoe's big day at the plate, County Line was able to fend off a pair of Magic comeback attempts in both Games 2 & 3.
Games 2 & 3 had very similar feels to it as the Kings pounced on Maple City early which left them playing from behind the rest of the game. The Magic fought back like they normally do but it wasn't enough this time around as County Line jumped out to large enough leads in both Games 2 & 3 to be able to hold on.
As Kody Webb secured the final out of Game 3 in Left Field, the Kings players went into a frenzy as they had just spoiled Maple City's party on their own home field.
Overall, it was a much needed statement win from County Line after getting swept on Opening Day. Their series win showed that they can beat the best of the best on any given Sunday and that they are a team to be reckoned with despite their rough Opening Day performance.
The Kings (2-4) will look to build off of their momentum as they will travel to the Palace in Week 3 to take on the Bourissa Hills Wildcards (0-6).
Meanwhile, Maple City (4-2) will look to bounce back against their former teammates Ryan Murphy and Eric Johnson as the Magic will pay a visit to Rolling Prairie to take on Emery's Army (2-4).