top of page

Pink Pandas Riding High After Taking 2 From Maple City on Opening Day

UNION MILLS- The Mill Pond Pink Pandas came into the 2023 season with high expectations after putting together their first winning season in 2022 by going 16-14. In their first season in 2021, Mill Pond struggled for most of the year but they were able to gain some confidence heading into 2022 after eliminating the Hudson Lake Heat in the playoffs. They then gave the Kings a scare before County Line was able to pull away.

That brief playoff run provided this group with some confidence as they turned the page to year two. Mill Pond opened up their brand new ballpark during the season last year as the franchise continued to evolve. Mill Pond ended up finishing the regular season with a 16-14 record while Andrew Karsten and Zach Christy emerged as young stars.

In 2022, Mill Pond also saw a few other players take massive leaps forward. 2022 American League Comeback Player of the Year Aaron Hogan took the most notable leap as he turned into the every day lead off man atop the Pandas lineup. Hogan has also developed into a lockdown fielder while his speed is a serious weapon.

Mill Pond also saw the fiery Todd Snyder blossom into a threat both at the plate and in the field. Snyder & Hogan’s growth was a huge reason for their success in 2022. The Pandas also received solid contributions from Avry Plonka and Clayten Strauch as the roster continued to get deeper.

After going 16-14 in their 2nd season, this young team was then able to host a home playoff series as they swept the storied Bourissa Hills Wildcards franchise. They then gave the eventual World Series Champion, South Bend Truffle Butter a run for their money as both games were tight contests. With all of that said, the excitement level could not be higher surrounding this ballclub as the entire Panda community came together in full force on Opening Day.

Mill Pond opened up the 2023 season on Sunday as they welcomed the four time World Series Champion, Maple City Magic to Walter Metts Field. While the ballpark had its grand opening last season, Panda nation was finally able to experience the full Opening Day feel as the venue has really turned into one of the premier destinations in all of wiffleball in such a short time.

With the wind blowing in along with chilly conditions, both teams knew that runs would be tough to come by. Playing without Manager Andrew Karsten, Mill Pond had their work cut out for them. Pandas ace Zach Christy set the tone early as Maple City didn’t record their first hit until the 3rd inning. The Pandas were able to strike first as they took an early lead. Maple City tied the game after a Jeremy Ross solo HR in the 5th. Both sides went scoreless for a while before Mill Pond got some base runners in the 9th.

The Pandas utilized some small ball and were able to pick up a walk-off win on a Todd Snyder perfectly placed ground ball down the left field line. Panda nation rejoiced as the marathon home opener came to a close. Mill Pond carried that momentum into the 2nd game as they outplayed Maple City from start to finish in that one. The Pandas utilized both small ball and the long ball en route to a 6-3 win as they clinched a statement series win over Maple City.

Desperately looking to avoid an 0-3 start, Maple City jumped out to an early lead as it felt as though they were in control for the majority of the game. The Magic took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 6th where they were just one out away from salvaging the series with a win. Magic fans had already began packing things up, ready to get out of the cold. That’s when Clayten Strauch sent a game tying 2 run Home Run over the right field fence to stun the Magic.

It just felt like a big moment for Strauch who appears poised to take a big leap forward this year. Despite miserable hitting conditions, Strauch ended the day with 2 HR & 5 RBI matching their star Zach Christy’s numbers in those respective categories. Maple City was able to avoid a game 3 collapse however as the Magic scored 4 times in the 7th. Caleb Jonkman and Alex Friedman combined for 9 of the 12 Magic hits while Jared Jonkman provided a crucial 3 run HR through the wind.

Mill Pond plated two run in the bottom half of the 7th but their rally fell just short as Maple City was able to get themselves into the win column. All in all, things could not have gone a whole lot better for the young franchise after picking up a statement series win on Opening Day without their All Star skipper Andrew Karsten. Mill Pond fans are hoping that this is a sign of things to come as this young franchise looks to take that next step forward in 2023.

They will look to carry their momentum from Opening Day into Week 2 where they will travel to New Carlisle to take on the (3-0) Bourissa Hills Wildcards in a rematch from last year’s American League Division Series Best of 3.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
bottom of page