NEW CARLISLE - After sweeping their Opening Day opponent for the second consecutive year, the Lynn Street Leprechauns came in excited for a Week 2 show-down with their division rival, the Olive Township Mechanics. However, it was the Mechanics, fresh off a series victory over New Carlisle, who came out on top by taking two of three in ORWBL's lone Mother's Day affair.
The series started well for the Leps as they were able to hold the Mechanics to just three runs in the opener. Matt "Mookie" Smith pitched all 6 innings for Lynn Street in what looked like a pitcher's duel with Mechanics ace Nate Arndt through 3 innings.
In the fourth, however, the wheels fell off for the Mechanics defense. Lynn Street was able to capitalize on various defensive miscues from Olive Township in a four run fourth inning. A Bailey Rhed three run home run was followed by a solo shot from Dylan Kegley to extend the Leps lead to five, giving Mookie plenty of runs to work with. The Leps cruised to a game one victory, 8-3.
Olive Township's offense woke up in the second game however, as the Mechanics exploded for 23 runs. The assertion of Hunter Groves into the lineup fueled the Mechanics offense, as the rookie blasted three yabos in his first career start. Nate Arndt was able to help his own cause at the plate, with the pitcher crushing five of his ten home runs in game two.
Lynn Street did their best to slow Olive's hot bats, pitching four different players. It wasn't enough, however, as the Mechanics proved too much to handle, taking game two, 23-5.
In the rubber match, Lynn Street did not go down easy, keeping it tight through five innings. ORWBL veteran Kevin May battled Arndt on the mound for the Leps and the two had things tied at 5 heading into the sixth.
The sixth proved to be Lynn Street's downfall, however, with Olive tacking on six runs in the top of the inning. Nate Arndt pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth, as Olive Township took game three, 11-5.
With their game three victory, the Mechanics moved to 4-2 on the season. After taking two of three from both their division rivals, Olive has put themselves in nice position in the NL East moving forward.
Nate Arndt was the workhorse for the Mechanics, pitching all three games. He helped his cause at the plate by blasting 10 home runs, bringing his season total to 14. After a disappointing 2018, it must be encouraging to see the youngest Arndt starting the season strong.
Outfielder Kody Webb was able to bounce back against the Leps following a rusty opening week. The 3-time All-Star found himself with 12 hits on the day, including 8 in the Olive's game two outburst.
Despite dropping two, the Leps still find themselves sitting at 4-2 on the season. Although Olive posses the tie-breaker in the NL East, the Leps' proved this would indeed be a three-team race for the divisional crown.
Lynn Street fans can take pride in their squad's stellar defense against their division rivals. Playing left field this season, Bailey Rhed has had it going on both sides of the plate. The reigning MVP knocked out 4 home runs in the series and had his team in it from the get-go, amassing 9 hits in just 14 at-bats.
Other than Rhed, it was former All-Star Dylan Kegley who provided the offense for the Leps. Kegley belted 4 homers of his own and made a number of impressive plays in right field.
For Olive Township, they will conclude their divisional games next week when they take on the Sage Road Sinners (0-6). Next week's series is set to be the home opener for the Mechanics, beginning a nine-game home stand lasting until mid June.
On Lynn Street's side, things don't get any easier from here. Next week they will visit the reigning NL champion Granger Panthers (3-0) in their first games away from Rocko's Park. That match-up will be the first of a grueling twelve-game road trip, as Lynn Street won't return home until June 23rd.