NEW CARLISLE- Maple City and Hudson Lake squared off on Opening Day in a rematch of last season's American League Championship Series. From the early looks of it, both teams have improved from last season after their offseason acquisitions. Maple City signed the Jonkman and Rieff brothers while the Heat signed Doug Benner, Levi Miller, and Dustin Curl.
While Hudson Lake hopes that their signings can move them ahead of Maple City in the AL, Opening Day showed that Maple City still has the edge over Hudson Lake. The Magic were without John Arndt for the series, but the Magic's lineup still proved to be too much for the Heat. While Hudson Lake was able to salvage the series by taking Game 3, Maple City cruised to victories in Games 1 and 2.
With Wes Ellis and Zach Liberatore back hitting 1 and 2, the acquisition of Caleb Jonkman now has the Magic in a very favorable position with arguably the best 1-2-3 punch in the league. Jonkman had a memorable Magic ORWBL debut as he went 18-22 on the day while hitting 11 Home Runs and driving in 16 runs. Ellis also had a great day hitting leadoff as he hit 11 Home Runs while also striking out a very impressive 12 guys on the mound.
Alex Friedman was very pleased with Zach Liberatore's performance as well as he is determined to rebound from a down 2016 season. As for Hudson Lake, their MVP Bob Bushman picked up right where he left off as he hit over .700 on the day while also making some great plays in center field. Jared Monhaut had a quality day at the plate while also making an incredible catch, laying out for a foul ball down the left field line. After the series, Monhaut was quoted saying: "We will be just fine, Ben McDonald's down day was a fluke and he is much better than that."
It is always fun when these 2 teams square off but unfortunately this is their only matchup of the season, but they could of course meet up again in the postseason for a 3rd time in 4 years. After Jet City's disappointing start to the season, the Heat still remain as the most likely team to take down the Magic in the American League. However, Magic skipper Alex Friedman stated: "This is easily the best team that we have had and I am incredibly confident and excited to see what special things we can do this season."