Panthers win streak at 15 after sweep of Billy Goats
GRANGER- Fresh off of an HD Classic championship win, the Granger Panthers hosted their cross town rival Twin Branch Billy Goats at Snead Field.
Earlier in the week the Panthers shocked the wiffleball world as they traded long time Panther Tyler Serosynski to the Goats.
Tiki has established himself as a solid wiffleball player on both sides so Twin Branch has to be feeling great about that trade. The trade definitely added a little extra flare to what was going to be an already entertaining series.
The Goats were excited to show off their new addition as Tiki took the mound in Game 1 against his former team.
With the wind calm headinginto the series, both teams knew that each run would be crucial. Twin Branch came to play early as they scored 2 runs in the Top of the 1st.
The Panthers quickly went 1-2-3 before the Goats added 2 more to take an early 4 run cushion. No lead is safe against Granger as the Panthers immediately responded with 5 runs of their own, taking a 5-4 lead heading into the 3rd.
The game was a back and forth battle throughout as both teams were pretty evenly matched. National League MVP candidate Alex Zarazee led the hitting charge for Granger as he tallied 7 out of the 10 Granger RBI's.
Behind Zarazee's bat and the Panther defense, Griffin Smith picked up his league leading 11th win on the mound as Granger took Game 1 by the score of 10-8.
Game 2 was another evenly matched affair as both teams traded multiple solo shots throughout the game. In the top of the 5th, Twin Branch scored a pair of runs to take a 7-6 lead.
The Panthers would then go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 5th as Twin Branch was starting to taste what would have been a huge victory.
Griffin Smith did a nice job holding the Goats scoreless in the 6th as Granger headed into the bottom of the 6th needing 1 to tie and 2 to win.
With their undefeated season on the line, Granger knew it was now or never. After a long battle at the plate, Panthers rising star Daivyn Davis tied the game at 7 before Griffin Smith finished off the Goats, hitting a walk off Home Run to clinch the series win by the score of 8-7.
In Game 3, Smith took the mound once again while Peyton Doran took the hill for Twin Branch as they looked to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season.
It was a battle throughout the first 3 innings as Peyton Doran and Griffin Smith did a nice job of slowing down the hitters.
However, the Panthers would finally have their big inning in the 4th as they scored 5, giving them an 8-3. lead. That would pretty much end things as the Goats were only able to plate 1 more run off of NL Cy Young favorite Griffin Smith.
Smith picked up his league leading 13th win of the season in the series finale while Peyton Doran took the loss.
Granger had to be pleased with the performance from Daivyn Davis as he was the big standout on the day out in center field. Davis robbed a couple of home runs while also playing a couple of balls off the wall with ease, getting the ball to Smith in time to make the out.
After the series, Manager Griffin Smith met with the media where he made the case for Daivyn to win the National League Gold Glove award. Smith also had the following to say when asked about if his team is thinking about 24-0.
"There is no question we are definitely thinking about 24-0 in Granger. It would be awesome to do something like that in one of the most highly skilled leagues ORWBL has ever seen. That being said when playoff time comes around, 24-0 won't matter.
We really just need to lock up the 1 seed and make sure we are playing our best wiffle in August. After last season's early exit in the playoffs, another early exit would make the 24-0 season irrelevant.
We have our sights set on the World Series, not the regular season champions."
Smith was also asked about their upcoming opponent (BFAM) as he talked about the challenges of being undefeated.
"Every week is going to be tougher and tougher when we have not lost yet. The 0 at the end of the record means that every team is going to be giving us their best effort as they want to be the ones to hand us that first loss, as if teams didn't already want to beat us enough since we are Granger.
BFAM looks to be our toughest challenge yet. They're young, they have last years NL MVP (Brandon Terry), and it's not easy playing on the road in ORWBL. I am never going to say I expect us to lose next week, but I expect all three games to come down to the wire and I hope we are on the winning end of it."
As mentioned, the Panthers (15-0) will travel to Manor Field to take on Elkhart BFAM (7-8) this coming Sunday.
Meanwhile, Twin Branch must have short term memory as they continue their toughest part of their schedule.
The Billy Goats will travel to County Line on Sunday as they will take on the Kings (10-5) who have won 10 of their last 12 ball games.
The Goats will then close out the season with a 6 game homestead against Maple City and Flat Rock.