Maple City Magic goes back 2 back after sweeping the Granger Panthers in the 2018 ORWBL World Series
GRANGER- After dropping Game 3 on their own home turf, the Granger Panthers knew that they would have to rally off 4 straight wins to make history and become ORWBL World Series Champions.
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the ORWBL World Series so the injured Panthers knew that it was not going to come easy. Just as Maple City did in Game 1, the Magic jumped out to an early lead which is exactly the opposite of what the Panthers were hoping for.
The entire Magic lineup really played a role throughout the game as Magic Manager Alex Friedman opted to bat 6 and insert George Stainko into the lineup. All 6 Magic players reached base safely in Game 4 and Jared Jonkman had himself quite the game at the plate and behind the plate, making one of the better plays a catcher can make in slow pitch wiffleball.
The Magic continued to slowly tack on runs throughout the game while the usual sluggers from the Panthers continued their struggles. With Griffin Smith, and Andy Seradski out due to injury as well as "Tiki" off to college, the Panthers lack of depth was something that would really end up being a major factor in their World Series struggles.
For the majority of Game 4, the Magic were in control and they never looked back as there was just a feeling in Panther Park that the Magic were going to pull off the sweep. Tony Koch supplied the only run support for the Panthers as he hit a solo Home Run to put the Panthers on the board as he was able to sneak one past the lanky Caleb Jonkman.
With Maple City up big heading into the bottom of the 6th, the Magic bench could sense a big celebration coming. The final out was made when Panthers star Seth Campbell grounded out to Wes Ellis and the celebration began for Maple City at Panther Park.
It certainly was Maple City's year as they finished with a 29-4 record including the playoffs while going 9-0 in the postseason. Wes Ellis picked up all 9 victories on the mound in the playoffs and finished off another AL Cy-Young season with a 21-2 overall record including the 9 playoff wins.
Ellis was announced as Co-World Series MVP's with Caleb Jonkman who concluded his first American League MVP with another World Series Championship. Meanwhile, Jared Jonkman exploded onto the scene in 2018 as he led the team in RBI's while also showing up to every series.
Another big story line in this 2018 Championship run was the return of former Magic players Drew Luther and Shane Anderson. Both players started their careers with the Wills Township Federalists before signing with the Magic before the 2013 season.
Luther ended up being traded for John Arndt in 2016 while Shane Anderson left the Magic in the 2016 offseason to join the Jet City Junkballers. After the Junkballers folded at the conclusion of last season, Manager Alex Friedman welcomed back Luther and Anderson with open arms and it surely paid off.
For Anderson and Luther, this is their first ORWBL World Series Championship, something that these two have been chasing for a decade so it was quite a special moment for those two ORWBL journeymen to win a World Series.
After 6 years of ups and downs, the Magic have now won back 2 back ORWBL titles as they join the South Bend Sour Wowers and New Carlisle Newts as the only teams to repeat as ORWBL Champions. Maple City will look to make history in 2019 as they will look to become the 1st team to 3-peat.
With the Maple City core still very much in their prime, they will head into the 2019 season as the favorites to do it again, but first comes what is always an intriguing offseason filled with free agent signings across the league.
For now, Maple City will enjoy this one as repeating as champions in any sport is no easy task. On that note, the 2018 ORWBL season has come to an end. Congratulations to the Maple City Magic on winning another one and prepare for what should be a very interesting offseason!