Granger Panthers win NLCS, Advance to World Series for 1st time since 2018
For the first time since 2018, the Granger Panthers return to the World Series in what will be their 2nd trip in what is now their 5th season as a member of the Old Republic Wiffleball League.
Ever since joining the league, the Panthers have finished atop of the National League standings in each of their first 5 regular season campaigns. Like many teams have had in the league, the Panthers have ran into some playoff struggles over the years but they have been able to work past some of those struggles as they now return to the World Series with a chance to break through and bring a title back to Granger.
After winning the regular season title on the National League side, the Panthers had home field advantage throughout their playoff run so far. In their NLCS matchup against the 2nd seeded Mishawaka Meatspins, the Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the series after taking Game 1 on the road at Rose Park.
It looked like the Panthers would be on there way to taking a 2-0 series lead as they held a 7 run lead with just 3 innings left to play. The Meatspins were able to cut the deficit to 2 heading to the 5th before they exploded for 6 runs to take a 4 run lead. The Panthers were only able to get one run in the 6th inning as the Meatspins completed their come from behind victory to even up the series at one game apiece.
The series then shifted the next day to Granger as the Panthers would host the remaining games at Snead Field. The Panthers team did a phenomenal job putting their Game 2 heartbreaking loss behind them as they were able to then win Games 3 and 4 at their place to clinch the National League Pennant.
It was an impressive bounce back win for the Panthers who even had to deal with Mishawaka's return of their skipper Ryan Warmoth who had to miss the first 2 games of the series. While Mishawaka ends up falling two games shy of reaching the World Series, it was certainly quite a successful season for this group who played their first season as a National League team this year.
They had two guys receive awards as their Manager Ryan Warmoth won the 2021 NL Manager of the Year Award while Anthony Rieff took home National League Cy Young honors.
For Granger, this one has to feel pretty good after two years of falling shy of the World Series. It appears that this team will head into the World Series in good health, which is something that they weren't able to say about their first trip to the fall classic back in 2018. The Panthers head into Sunday hoping that they are able to break through and bring home their first World Series title in what is now their 5th season in the league.
Stay tuned for a 2021 World Series preview which will be posted prior to Games 1 and 2 which will be held on Sunday out at Magic Park with first pitch slated for 1:00pm ET.