Granger Holds Ring Ceremony To Honor 2021 World Series Championship Team Before Sweeping Sluggers
(Photography by: Troy Davis)
GRANGER- Throughout the entire offseason, there was some uncertainty about where the World Series Champion Granger Panthers might be playing their home games heading forward. Towards the end of last season, the property in which Snead Field was played on was sold to another buyer, leaving the Panthers without a home field.
New ownership allowed the Granger Panthers to finish out their storybook season at Snead Field as it ended with the Panthers players jumping for joy, spraying champagne around World Series MVP Griffin Smith following his series clinching walk off Home Run to complete the sweep It was just about as perfect of an ending that you could have scripted for Panthers players and fans. After winning the World Series on Snead Field, Manager Griffin Smith noted that it would in all likelihood be the final game played there.
Fast forward to just last week and Granger's search for a new home field was still in the works. Things continue to drag along as there are still three different locations bidding to land the World Series Champion Granger Panthers and it remains to be seen what the final decision will be. With that said, the Granger Panthers were in desperate need of a home field for their Home Opener this past Sunday.
Manager Griffin Smith reached out to the current owners of Snead Field as he was able to land the storied grounds for one final sendoff. It could not have been a more perfect setting to honor last year's 2021 World Series Championship team as each Granger player received their World Series Championship ring.
The Panthers became the 3rd ORWBL franchise to take part in handing out World Series rings to honor their championship team as they joined a tradition started by the New Carlisle Newts and carried on by the Maple City Magic. For Panthers players and fans, this day had been a long time coming.
Granger entered the league in 2017 and had won the National League regular season title in each season. Year in and year out, this team would dominate their competition in the regular season before falling short in the postseason. They had just one World Series appearance in those four years and you could feel the pressure starting to build.
After winning the NL regular season title for a 5th straight year, the Panthers headed into the postseason with a World Series or bust mentality. They ended Glen Lee's surprise run in the NLDS before taking down the Meatspins 3-1 to advance to their 2nd World Series.
The only thing that stood in the way for Granger was the 4x reigning champion Maple City Magic. While that was obviously a tough test, this Granger team made it quite clear that it was their year and that there was nothing Maple City could do about it. The Panthers dominated the Magic as they won 3 out of the 4 games with ease before walking it off to clinch the title, closing out their postseason run with a 9-1 record.
All of the talk about Granger not being able to win in the postseason has now been put to rest. The Panthers put together one of the more dominating World Series performances together that we have seen and it was poetic that they were able to hold the ring ceremony at the place they won it at. Not to mention, they dominated a Maple City team that no other team was able to beat in the postseason for 4 consecutive years.
Once the ring ceremony was finished, the Panthers then returned right back to their elite form as they dominated the Scottsdale Sluggers 62-6 en route to a 3 game sweep. Granger had some miserable hitting conditions in Week 1 as there was not a single Home Run hit for them in their Opening Day sweep. With that said, the Panthers lineup wasted no time trying to make up for unfavorable hitting conditions in Week 1.
Seth Campbell led the way going 14/18 with 12 HR while Alex Zarazee went 12/19 with 10 HR in his 2022 season debut. Austin Williams and Daivyn Davis also brought their power bats with them to Snead Field as both players finished with 8 Homers on the day. 2021 National Wiffle Closer of the Year Brett Shepard also got in on the fun by going 2/4 with a HR while picking up 3 more saves. Although last year's World Series MVP Griffin Smith is not hitting how he would like so far this year, he certainly appears poised once again to be a National League Cy Young front runner. Through 6 games, Smith holds a 6-0 record while boasting an unworldly 1.28 ERA to go along with a pair of Strikeouts.
All in all, it could not have been a much better day out at Snead Field for both players and fans alike. The defending champs will now head into their Week 3 matchup against OTF at 6-0 as they will have one more week to figure out their home field situation before hosting the Mishawaka Meatspins in a NLCS rematch on Week 4.
(Granger's 2021 World Series Championship Rings)