Five Sweeps Highlight 2019 Opening Day
NEW CARLISLE- The 13th season of ORWBL action kicked off on Cinco De Mayo with a new league record of 16 teams competing. With clear skies teams couldn't have asked for a better opening day.
Opening Day was marked by five series sweeps. In the three series that weren't sweeps: the Mechanics ousted the Newts 2-1; Scottsdale took 2 of 3 from Saugany Lake; and the LaPorte Cyclones shocked the Hudson Lake Heat by taking the series 2-1.
Now let's break down the 5 sweeps that we saw on Opening Day:
(3-0) County Line Kings @ Union Mills Goon Squad (0-3)
In a series between two first year franchises, not too many people knew what to expect coming into this one. The Kings picked up the sweep this weekend to start their inaugural season 3-0! Game 1 was a solid game on both sides, but the Kings outplayed Union Mills and picked up an 8-3 win in Game 1.
In Game 2, the Kings bats really came alive as they piled on 15 runs en route to a 15-4 victory. In the final game of the series, Union Mills gave County Line all they could handle but it was the Kings who prevailed in our first extra innings game of the year in 9 innings by the score of 10-8.
Kings Manager Mike Forrester had a debut to remember as he hit .778 on the day which is good for tops in the league after Week 1. He belted 9 Home Runs and also was striking guys out left and right as he finished the series with an astonishing 11 K's which is also tied for the league lead.
After the series, Forrester stated the following: "I thought our defense was outstanding today. We hit when we needed runs and got the job done. I am proud of the guys this weekend as we were down a couple guys."
The Kings will look to keep their hot start going in Week 2 against the winless Godfathers. Union Mills will look to pick up their 1st ORWBL win in Week 2 in a very tough matchup against the 2 time defending Champions, Maple City Magic.
(0-3) Bourissa Hills Wildcards @ Twin Branch Billy Goats (3-0)
In their first series as a member of the American League, the Billy Goats made it clear that they will be a World Series threat no matter which league they are in. The Goats came out red hot as they easily won Game 1 by the score of 8-1.
The Wildcards picked their game up and gave the Goats all they could handle in Games 2 and 3 but the Goats were able to prevail winning 4-2 and 4-3. Despite getting swept, it was encouraging to see the Wildcards hang with the Goats for 2 games as they were just a couple of plays away from a different narrative.
Twin Branch will look to stay perfect in what should be a very intriguing Week 2 matchup against the La Porte Cyclones who turned some heads by taking 2 out of 3 against the Heat in their ORWBL debut. Meanwhile, the Wildcards will look to take down the Heat as well.
(0-3) Elkhart B.F.A.M. @ Granger Panthers (3-0)
The defending National League Champions welcomed in another 1st year franchise as the Elkhart B.F.A.M. traveled to Granger to take on the Panthers.
Since entering the league in 2017, the Panthers are a combined 9-0 on Opening Day after sweeping away Elkhart (10-5) (8-0) (7-5). The Panthers were in control for the majority of Games 1 and 2 but B.F.A.M. gave Granger a run for their money in Game 3.
Seth Campbell etched his name into the Opening Day record books as he ended the series with a walk-off Home Run to complete the sweep. After missing the majority of last season due to shoulder surgery, Panthers ace Griffin Smith returned and picked up all 3 wins on the mound.
Smith struggled at the plate which is pretty rare but will certainly be due for a bounce back series in Week 2. The Panthers will look to continue their perfect record in Week 2 as they will travel to take on the Scottsdale Sluggers who are coming off of an impressive series win over the Saugany Lake Landsharks.
As for Elkhart, this young team has little to worry about as this team has a lot of talent but they just so happened to run into one of the best teams in the league Week 1. B.F.A.M. should feel good heading into Week 2 with a very favorable matchup against the Sage Road Sinners who were outscored by 38 runs in Week 1.
(0-3) Sage Road Sinners @ Lynn St. Leprechauns (3-0)
For the 2nd consecutive season, the Lynn St. Leprechauns picked up an Opening Day sweep as they welcomed the Sage Road Sinners to the league with no remorse.
The Leps put the beatdown on Sage Road picking up 3 wins by the score of (10-2) (10-2) and (22-0). The new look Leps have to be ecstatic with the run production as this team has struggled to hit in years past.
Leps' ace Matt "Mookie" Smith had a day to remember on the mound as he picked up all 3 wins and struck out a ridiculous 11 batters which matched Mike Forrester of the Kings for most K's in the league.
Lynn St. will look to keep rolling as a matchup with the talented Mechanics looms in Week 2 in what should be a very entertaining series. Sage Road will look to pick up their 1st ORWBL win in their Home debut against another winless first year team as Elkhart comes to town.
(0-3) Great Lakes Godfathers @ Maple City Magic (3-0)
In the final sweep of the day, the Back 2 Back Champs had their way with the Godfathers on ring night. The Magic had a memorable day as they enjoyed a 2nd straight ring ceremony over the PA system.
Former US Senator of Indiana, Joe Donnelly tossed out the ceremonial first pitch before handing the ball over to Zach Liberatore who made a surprise return from Baylor Law School.
Caleb Jonkman and Zach Liberatore led the way at the plate, each hitting 4 Home Runs while Drew Luther had a productive day at the plate as well.
The real story of the day was the stellar defense from Maple City as Caleb Jonkman, Drew Luther, and Shane Anderson were as perfect as you could get in the field. Luther made 5 diving catches as the Godfathers kept hitting the ball to Centerfield.
All in all, it was a perfect start for the Magic as the Godfathers hitters could not get anything going offensively as Zach Liberatore only allowed 3 runs in the entire series. Liberatore leads ORWBL with the best ERA after Week 1, posting a sterling 1.00 ERA.
Maple City gets a favorable matchup in Week 2 as they travel to take on the young Union Mills Goon Squad. Great Lakes will look to put this one behind them and get back to their winning ways as they host the County Line Kings who will come in with a 3-0 record.