Panthers avoid Leps' upset bid, advancing to NLCS
GRANGER- The 2020 ORWBL Postseason kicked off on Sunday with all 14 teams in action at four different sites across the league. Let’s take a look at what happened over in the Granger Region as the top seeded Panthers hosted a Wild Card game before their National League Division Series.
To kick things off, the 4th seeded Lynn Street Leprechauns took the field against the 5th seeded Rolling Prarie Emery’s Army in a rematch from the 1st Round of Hometown Days in which the Leps prevailed.
Playing a man down, Rolling Prairie headed into this one at a disadvantage from the beginning. Despite only having four, Rolling Prairie hung around with Lynn Street for half of the ballgame as the score was nodded at zero heading into the 4th.
After the Leps’ played some small ball, slugger Dylan Kegley smashed a 3 run HR that would end up providing all the run support that they would need.
With Lynn Street’s Luke Armstrong dealing on the mound, EA had a tough time getting anything going from start to finish.
Rolling Prairie did not go down without a fight as Jake Lawrence hit a solo HR to get EA on the board. Unfortunately for the Army, it would not be enough as they saw their 2nd ORWBL return come to a close.
For Lynn Street, it was their first postseason win in franchise history in what is now their 5th season in the league. With that under their belt, they headed into the NLDS looking to pull off an upset of epic proportions over the Granger Panthers.
With the wind blowing in, both teams were forced to play some small ball as runs were tough to come by at Snead Field. Despite the unfavorable hitting conditions, Panthers skipper Griffin Smith led off the Panthers bottom of the 1st with a solo HR.
Both squads traded runs via base hits throughout the rest of the ballgame but the top seeded Panthers did just enough to avoid the upset, winning Game 1 by the score of 5-4.
In Game 2, Lynn Street came out fighting for their playoff lives as they began to lock things down on the defensive end. Leps’ starter Luke Armstrong carried a no-hitter into the 4th inning before Brandon Campbell broke it up with a double to right field.
However, Armstrong was able to get out of the jam as the Leps’ took a 1-0 lead heading into the 5th inning. With Lynn Street inching closer to forcing a Game 3, Granger outfielder Austin Williams belted a game tying solo HR which seemed to give some much needed life to the struggling Panther lineup.
After both teams went scoreless in the 6th, 2x Cy Young winner Griffin Smith held the Lynn Street bats scoreless, setting the stage for a Panther playoff walk off in the bottom of the 7th.
Following a Panther base hit, 2017 NL Rookie of the year winner Seth Campbell sent the fans at Snead Field into a frenzy, blasting a walk off series clinching 2 run HR.
Overall, Lynn Street has to not only be happy with picking up their 1st postseason win in franchise history, but also giving the Panthers a run for their money in what was a very competitive series.
After failing to reach the NLCS in 2019, the Panthers return in hopes of clinching their 2nd National League pennant in franchise history.
Granger will once again return to Snead Field where they will square off against the 3rd seeded Elkhart BFAM with a trip to the ORWBL World Series on the line. If motivation to win the pennant wasn't enough, Granger will certainly be looking to seek revenge on Elkhart after getting swept on the road in Week 6 of the regular season.