BFAM upsets Panthers advancing to first World Series in team history
GRANGER- The ORWBL postseason continued on Sunday as the top seeded Granger Panthers hosted the number three seeded Elkhart BFAM with a trip to the ORWBL World Series on the line.
These two teams met up against each other back during Week 6 of the regular season over at Manor Field in Elkhart. It was quite the memorable series for Elkhart as they were able to pull off the three game sweep while also handing the Panthers their first loss of the season.
Ever since then, these two teams had been trending in opposite directions as BFAM surged while the Panthers stumbled towards the end of the season. Despite losing six of their last nine games the Panthers were able to lock up the top seed in the NL after taking down New Carlisle in the final game of the season.
Meanwhile, BFAM was just starting to heat up at that time as their series sweep over the Panthers vaulted them to have the run that they are having. Elkhart went into that series with a 7-8 record after underperforming throughout the first half of the season.
After picking up that sweep, Elkhart continued their surge, winning 9 straight games to close out the regular season. With Granger sweeping Lynn Street and Elkhart getting past New Carlisle, the stage was set for the National League Championship Series as these two young and talented teams were set to square off.
With the ORWBL regular season being postponed by 1 month, the managers were forced to get creative with the schedule making. The managers decided that the league would move forward with a 1 day League Championship Series with all five games being played at the higher seeded teams home ballpark. With that being said, Granger headed into this one as the designated home team for Games 1, 2, and 5 if necessary.
This matchup featured the top two vote getters in the National League Cy Young vote as Granger's 3x National League Cy Young award winner Griffin Smith was opposed by Walter Griffin III of Elkhart.
The Panthers ace came out red hot as he did a great job silencing Elkhart's bats, only allowing 6 runs to score in Game 1. With Smith doing his thing on the mound, the Panthers were able to put together a comfortable lead early as they were able to hang on to a 9-6 victory.
The intensity heated up a big in Game 2 as both offenses traded blows throughout. When it was all said and done it was the 2020 National League MVP Alex Zarazee who provided the big blow, belting a walk off HR that sent the fans at Snead Field into a frenzy. The Panthers picked up the Game 2 win, 11-10 as they moved to within 1 win shy of a trip to the World Series.
Now with their season on the line it was time for Elkhart to buckle down as they knew that they would need to win 3 straight games at Snead Field to win the pennant. While that may seem like a daunting task, this Elkhart squad was ready for the challenge.
Despite being down two games to none, Elkhart Manager Brandon Terry was adamant that his team keep their heads up and remain focused as they brought a ton of energy into Game 3.
Now playing as the home team, Elkhart managed to gain some comfort knowing that they had final at bats. In Game 3 Elkhart's star sluggers shined as Walter Griffin III and 2019 NL MVP Brandon Terry put the team on their backs.
Elkhart was able to take an early lead as you could feel momentum beginning to shift at Snead Field. Now playing with the lead, BFAM pitcher Walter Griffin III was able to lock in as he held the Panthers to only two runs as Elkhart picked up their first win of the National League Championship Series.
With Elkhart once again playing as the home team, BFAM was able to grab an early lead in Game 4 as Griffin III and Terry began blasting out long ball's with ease. The dynamic Elkhart duo shined once again in Game 4 as Elkhart picked up another commanding victory, this time by the score of 11-3.
With both teams splitting the first 4 games everything was on the line in the decisive Game 5 as the home team won the first four games of the series. Sticking true to the 2-2-1 format, that meant the Granger Panthers would serve as the home team for the finale.
While games 3 and 4 were extremely one sided in favor of Elkhart, Game 5 was tight from start to finish. Both teams offenses began to take off in Game 5 as both sides traded their share of homers in this one.
There was no shortage of drama in the finale as both offenses really began to heat up as the stakes grew higher and higher. After a back and forth dramatic affair, Elkhart took a 3 run lead heading into the bottom of the 6th.
Just 3 outs away from advancing to their first World Series in team history, BFAM ace Walter Griffin III took the mound once again as he looked to close the door on the top seeded Panthers.
Considering it was such a high scoring affair, Granger headed into the 6th well within reach.
With their season on the line Griffin III allowed only 1 run in the 6th inning as the BFAM defense held their own, escaping with a dramatic 17-15 Game 5 victory. It was an incredible scene at Snead Field as BFAM celebrated their National League Championship win in style.
Overall it was a remarkable series win for this group especially after dropping the first two games of the series. This was the first time that a National League team has come back from a 2-0 LCS deficit as Elkhart continues to write their storybook season.
Elkhart has now picked up postseason series wins against both the New Carlisle Newts and Granger Panthers which is certainly nothing to scoff about. While most people around the league thought that the Newts or Panthers would represent the National League, BFAM thought otherwise.
It has truly been an incredible turnaround for Elkhart after they started the season 7-8 through their first 15 games. After putting together an impressive inaugural season in which they finished 19-5, BFAM has found a way to take a massive step forward in 2020 as they are National League Champions.
All in all it has been a lot of fun watching this team take such huge strides forward in such a short amount of time. Not enough can be said about what Walter Griffin III and Brandon Terry mean to this squad as both players each recorded 14 total homers throughout the NLCS.
Both players have served as the unquestioned leaders of this squad as they have led the team both on and off the field. This Elkhart team is one of the more tight knit groups in the league and it has come into fruition during this postseason run.
Elkhart has received huge contributions from the rest of their roster as Austin Traxler, Chaz Boyd, Jimmy Trumpane, Nick Fritz and Max Fritz have all had a huge part in this. Mid season free agent signings Adam Cseh and Connor Mowers have also stepped right into the mix, providing this team with some much needed depth.
While winning the National League Championship is certainly reason to celebrate, BFAM hopes that this is just the beginning as there is still business left to take care of for the 2020 NL Champs. Elkhart will now shift their attention to Maple City as they will take on the 3x defending ORWBL World Series champions in the 2020 World Series.
Considering they have already taken down teams such as the Newts and Panthers en route to a National League pennant, Elkhart should be ready to give Maple City all that they can handle.