American League Back On Top After Series Win Over National League
NEW CARLISLE- The league's brightest stars aligned at Migley Field on Friday night for the 16th annual ORWBL All Star Game. Heading into this year, the National League had won three out of the last four meetings. The National League was managed by 2021 World Series Champion Manager Griffin Smith, while Alex Friedman managed the American League for the 6th consecutive season.
In Game 1, the American League had their way with the National League. After going scoreless in the top half of the first, the American League scored 2 runs or more in each inning the rest of the way. The Maple City trio of Caleb Jonkman, Wes Ellis, and Jared Jonkman combined for 7 Home Runs while South Bend's Walter Griffin III joined the party with 3 of his own. The leadoff man Caleb Jonkman went 6/6 as he was paining both the left field and right field lines all night. Wes Ellis was the HR guy as he had 4 while Jared Jonkman helped himself out on the mound with 2 of his own.
Jonkman allowed solo shots to Daivyn Davis, Garrett Curless, and Adin Newman in the first 3 innings before he was able to hold them scoreless the rest of the way to clinch the Game 1 victory.
In Game 2, it was the Sam Bull show as the Knights' Rookie phenom went 5/6 with 3 HR. Scottsdale's Nate Marino went 4/5 with a pair of HR while Glen Lee's Kade Stone added 2 of his own. New Carlisle's Scott Soos provided the other NL Home Run while Granger's Austin Williams scored a run. Kade Stone showed the American League why NL teams have been struggling against him in 2022. Stone's only run allowed was on an Alex Friedman sacrifice fly to bring in Brandon Terry. Stone picked up the win while South Bend's Walter Griffin III took the loss on the bump.
This was the 5th time in which the AL and NL played each other in a 3 game series to decide the All Star Game. In each of the past 4 meetings under the new format, the series had been decided after the first 2 games, setting up a final game that is normally played with some different rules. That was not the case this time around as Game 3 would decide the winner of the 2022 All Star Game.
The American League still had a few reserves to get in so there were 0 original starters in the Game 3 lineup. Griffin Smith was able to get most of his players in the first 2 games which allowed him to start 4 of the original NL starters. After Walter Griffin III struggled on the mound in Game 2, AL Manager Alex Friedman had a tough decision to make as the American League lacked depth in the pitching department with Kadin Abegg and Luke Stanisci both ruled out.
Enter 2020 American League MVP, JP Kehoe. Kehoe told Friedman that he wanted the ball and that is exactly what he got. Kehoe kept the National League out of the hit column for the first four innings as the American League held a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the 5th. At this point, the best of the best were back on the field for both sides with the series on the line.
The American League was in cruise control, up 4-0 before the NL finally got to Kehoe. After Home Runs by Austin Traxler, Sam Bull, and Daivyn Davis, the game was all of a sudden tied at 4 with only 1 out in the inning. Maple City's Caleb Jonkman relieved Kehoe after a phenomenal start when the American League needed it most. Jonkman was able to get Curless to fly out to end the inning and keep the game tied at 4 heading into the 6th.
Caleb Jonkman got the inning started with a go ahead Home Run before Brandon Terry added his 3rd HR of the game. JP Kehoe made it back to back to back Home Runs for the AL as it was Kehoe's 2nd long ball of the game.
Maple City's Wes Ellis allowed 1 run in the bottom of the 6th before closing the door on the National League as the AL was able to win a highly entertaining rubber match by the score of 7-5. Wes Ellis was named All Star MVP for the 2nd time in his career after going 5/6 in the opener with 4 HR, before picking up the series clinching save.
All in all, it was another great ORWBL All Star Friday night out at Migley Field with all 18 teams represented in both the Home Run Derby and All Star Game. We saw one of the most competitive All Star Games yet while the best of the best were back out on the field with the series on the line!
Thanks again to all of the players, teams, and fans for coming out to Migley and thanks as always to Koby Keck and the New Carlisle Newts franchise for hosting! We will be back next week to recap the Week 9 results before looking ahead to the final week of the ORWBL regular season.