2017 Team Recap: Maple City Magic
9 games through the 2011 season, the Mill Creek Minutemen folded. Within a day span, Alex Friedman purchased the team, came up with a roster, a home field and a new brand. Friedman came up with the Maple City Magic who would finish their first season with an 8-34 record.
After years of building the team from the ground up, the Maple City Magic became a legitimate threat in 2012 and made their World Series debut in 2013. Maple City dropped the 2013 World Series which started a downward trend for the team.
That all changed in 2016 upon the arrival of John Arndt. Maple City finished the 2016 season 17-1 but were swept away by the New Carlisle Newts in the World Series.
Just as Friedman had done in previous offseason's, he aggressively pursued big name free agents. Therefore once Anthony Rieff announced that he and his brother Austin would be joining Maple City, Friedman knew that his rebuild may finally be complete.
The news that the Rieff brothers would be signing with the Magic overshadowed the offseason signings of Caleb and Jared Jonkman.
The Jonkman brothers proved to be difference makers for this Maple City team who cruised to a 22-8 regular season record. Looking to find the right lineup, Friedman decided to move Caleb Jonkman up to the leadoff spot and have Wes Ellis and Zach Libertore follow him up.
The mid season change surely paid off as the Maple City lineup was in full swing come playoff time. Maple City had its toughest playoff matchup with the Hudson Lake Heat in the ALDS as they sweated out a 2-1 series win to advance to the ALCS.
The Magic dominated Jet City en route to a 3-0 ALCS sweep as the Magic won their 3rd American League Pennant.
The only thing that stood between Maple City from finally winning their elusive 1st ORWBL Championship was none other than the New Carlisle Newts.
The Newts had won 19 of the previous 22 matchups headed into 2017 as they have dominated the rivalry over the past few years.
This Maple City team proved to be different this time around as the Jonkman-Ellis-Liberatore-Jonkman-Rieff World Series lineup was one of the more potent offenses this league has ever seen.
After 7 years, the Maple City Magic were able to finally break through and win their 1st ORWBL Championship. This was a very special team full of veterans who were searching for their first Championship.
When Anthony Rieff caught the final out to clinch the World Series, the Maple City bench erupted and the champaign showers begun.
It was a celebratory scene for Maple City at Migley Field who had gone through years of suffering at the hands of the Newts. Alex Friedman was quoted after the game saying the following: "To do it on this field against the Newts is something that I will never forget. We have so many guys like Lib, Wes, George, B-Lock, John, Wiz and the crew who were so hungry to get a ring and to do it like this is extra sweet!"
Friedman's words sum everything up as this Maple City team showed that with patience, a plan, and teamwork, anything is possible.
Maple City figures to head into the 2018 ORWBL season as the favorites to repeat as World Series Champions.