GRANGER- As the National League Championship Series shifted to Panther Park knotted at a game a piece, both the Billy Goats and Panthers were looking to advance to their first ever World Series.
Due to the competitive nature of these two teams that basically grew up with each other, fireworks were anticipated. Quite a few players from other ORWBL teams made it out to watch the drama unfold including Commissioner Alex Friedman. The two teams had just met recently in the final four of the Wiffleball Championship at Migley Field with the Panthers winning in a rather lopsided affair despite a fight from the Goats till the finish.
Early on in Game 3, the Billy Goats silenced any naysayers and slayed some personal demons from that Final Four game by lighting up the scoreboard. With the wind blowing out, the Goats took pitcher Tyler “Pharaoh” Serosynski deep time and time again. Opposing pitcher and 2018 NL Cy Young winner Andrew Doran and leadoff man Lucas “Hoodie” Oletti led the charge but it was really a team effort. Granger couldn’t get anything strung together and lost in a blowout.
In Game 4, Griffin Smith and Brett Shepard stuck with their guy on the mound and sent the Pharaoh back out and this time around he worked a 1-2-3 inning which was huge for Granger. Soon, the Panthers took the lead thanks to some home runs by stalwarts Seth Campbell and Austin Williams. After struggling in Game 3, Shepard gave a pep talk to two-time ORWBL MVP and former Cy Young winner Tony Koch which paid big dividends as Koch went into beast mode, not recording an out until late in Game 5. With a big inning already in the making, Koch launched a grand slam to dead center, which put the nail in the Billy Goats coffin for game 2. The final score ended up being 23-11.
The decisive Game 5 started very tight as both teams knew it was win or go home. Serosynski playing in his final game of the season before heading off to college had a fine last showing both on the mound and at the dish. Ultimately, despite more heroics from Olleti and a fine game by Brandon Campbell Granger started to surge ahead thanks to a well-rounded offense and home run barrage.
In the top of the sixth with the Pharaoh on the mound, Granger was on the cusp of an NL pennant. After a few homers from Doran, Keegan White, and Brandon Campbell the score was 13-11 with two outs. In what can only be described as a coincidence, former Panther Daivyn Davis who had a nice NLCS made the final out as he grounded out to the gold glover in left field Campbell.
Granger punched their ticket to the World Series but sadly lost their huge mid season acquisition Andy Seradszki to a back injury as he swung his back out in his final at bat. In the end it took a total team effort from Granger and sent Serosynksi off to college a very happy man! Regardless of the outcome it was a well-played series between two young teams that figure to be perennial pennant contenders for years to come.