Team of the Week: Granger Panthers
Team Of the Week: Granger Panthers
Why They Can Win:
Granger is the new team to ORWBL in 2017. They aren’t a new team to wiffle though as they have played ORWBL teams all over Indiana in tournaments. In 2016 the Panthers went 8-5 against ORWBL teams in tournaments. Also notable is that they went 3-3 combined against the World Series Champion Newts, and runner up Maple City Magic. If the Panthers can carry this over into league play they could have a chance of being the new champion.
Panthers manager Brett Shepard is very optimistic about the team’s inaugural ORWBL season, as he said, “This team is very determined. We truly believe if we play our best every day, there isn’t a team out there that can beat us.”
When asked about who sticks out as being a big time player for this team in 2017, Shepard also said, “This team is really deep and there isn’t just one guy that’s clearly better. I’ve named Griffin Smith captain because I feel like his teammates respond well to him. But Tyler Serosznski, Austin Williams, Seth Campbell, and even the rookie Alex Zarazee are all Rookie of the Year or even MVP type guys.”
The Panthers Captain Griffin Smith is also very confident in the team, and had a bold statement saying “If we don’t make it to NLCS this year I would be very shocked.” Luckily for Granger they start off with what seems to be a pretty easy matchup against Lynn Street at home.
If Granger can take that series and get off to a hot start, who knows how far they could go in their inaugural season.
Why they can’t:
Of course in their first year ever there are many doubts that they can win the title. No league experience can surely be rough, especially since the league has expanded to 30 games. The Panthers are used to only playing on a couple Saturdays during the summer. They will now have to try to bring a talented team every Sunday to the ballpark which could really question their depth.
When asked on what could hold the Panthers back this year Captain Griffin Smith said “The only thing that could hold us back is injuries. We have been plagued by injuries ever since we started wiffling. Tyler and I have both had multiple surgeries while Austin and Seth have had a constant ankle problem. If we can overcome these injuries I think we have a good chance at winning it all.”
Another reason some people believe the Panthers can’t win is because of a lack of pitching. After a devastating offseason loss of their starting pitcher, Cameron Snead, the Panthers will have a void gap on the mound. They will most likely start Griffin Smith when he is healthy, but even then there isn’t much pitching experience on the team. As Lynn Street and Great Lakes showed us last year going a combined 8-40, an inaugural season can be pretty rough. We will see if that's the same case for Granger.
Projected record: 19-11