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Higher Seeded Teams Dominate Wild Card Weekend as Final 8 Teams Are Set

The Wild Card Round was full of chalk as the higher seeded team won seven out of the eight Wild Card weekend matchups with the Kounty Line Knights being the lone lower seeded team to pull off a first round upset. We are now down to our final 8 teams as these will be your ALDS & NLDS (Best of 3) matchups:

#4 Lakeport Bombers @ #1 South Bend Truffle Butter

#3 Maple City Magic @ #2 Mill Pond Pink Pandas

#5 Kounty Line Knights @ #1 Twin Branch Billy Goats

#3 New Carlisle Newts @ #2 Granger Panthers

Starting off in the American League, the defending champs pulled out the two game sweep over the Union Mills BS&B as they will return to Payton's Yard on Sunday to host the Lakeport Bombers. The 8th seeded Beers gave the Truffle Butter a run for their money in Game 1, dropping the opener 10-7. South Bend completed the sweep in Game 2 as that put a close on Union Mills first season in the league. Although they faced some struggles, they proved to be a great addition to the league while sharing Walter Metts Field with the Pink Pandas.

South Bend will host the 4th seeded Lakeport Bombers in the ALDS after Lakeport picked up their first ever playoff series win in franchise history. The first year team dropped Game 1 to the Cyclones before bouncing back to win Game 2 by the score of 13-6. The Traxler brothers & Co. were on their A-game in this one as they scored 12 runs while shutting the door on Flat Rock's season in Game 3. Brody Traxler was dominant on the mound as he pitched a rare postseason perfect game to clinch the series.

Lakeport has really picked up a lot of steam over the course of the 2nd half of the season and they have the potential to pull off the upset of the defending champions next weekend. Flat Rock's season came to a close after surging up the standings over the course of the 2nd half. They won their final 8 games of the regular season to clinch a record over .500 while also moving into the 5th seed. All in all, Flat Rock had to be pretty happy with their performance in 2023 as many people ruled this franchise out after they lost Brandon Terry and Walter Griffin III a few years ago.

Meanwhile over in LaPorte, the Maple City Magic hosted the Green Stem Great Lakes Godfathers in a rematch from the final week of the season. Maple City came out firing as they had a 19-2 lead after 3 innings. The Godfathers chipped away and when it was all said and done, the final was 19-14. The Maple City lineup continues to pick up steam as we hit the home stretch.

Green Stem jumped on top early in Game 2, scoring 3 runs in the 2nd. Maple City would then score 11 unanswered runs as they pulled out the two game sweep over the 6th seeded Godfathers. They had a very promising start to the season and were still able to finish the season at the .500 mark led by MVP candidate Andy Sieradzki.

Maple City will travel to Mill Pond next week as they will take on the Pink Pandas at Walter Metts Field in hopes of reaching the ALCS for an 8th consecutive season. The Pink Pandas cruised to a two game sweep over the Wildcards as they ended Bourissa Hills' season for a 2nd consecutive year We certainly hope to have the Wildcards back in 2024 but there are some question marks surrounding them heading into the offseason with many of their OG's not as available as they used to be from week to week.

Moving over to the National League side, we saw three out of the four series go the distance. The top seeded Twin Branch Billy Goats got all that they could handle from the 8th seeded Hudson Lake Heat as the NL's depth was on display in this one. The Heat boys had the Billy Goats on the ropes but they were not able to pull off the massive upset in the decisive Game 3. Led by MVP candidate Lucas Olleti along with arguably the deepest pitching staff in the league, Twin Branch appears as poised as ever to reach their first World Series.

Hudson Lake's season came to a close and while they finished the season at 10-20, it is worth noting that they were incredibly competitive in nearly every series and rarely got swept. The Heat played in an absurd amount of tight ballgames all season and they showed that they were much better than their record indicated after nearly upsetting Twin Branch.

The Billy Goats will host the Kounty Line Knights in the NLDS after Kounty Line picked up their first ever Postseason series victory as they went into Rocko's Park and took two out of three. It was a special day for this young group who will now look to pull off another upset, this time against Twin Branch. Led by Sam Bull and Adin Newman, this Knights team has the firepower to take down the top seeded Billy Goats.

Lynn Street's season came to an end but not before they put together their first ever season with a winning record. The Leprechauns took massive strides this year as they finished the season with a 16-14 record while picking up impressive series wins over Maple City and Kounty Line along the way. There is no doubt that Leps' Manager Nick Brassell will be a popular pick to win the National League Manager of the Year Award. The Leps gave the fans at Rocko's Park plenty to be excited about this year as the future looks as bright as ever in Lynn Street.

The Mishawaka Meatspins traveled to Migley Field to take on the red hot Newts in another series that went the distance. With the wind blowing in at Migley, runs were tough to come by as Mishawaka won the opener, 2-0. The New Carlisle bats woke up in Game 2 as they cruised to a 6-1 victory to set up the rubber match. The Newts once again scored 6 runs as they pulled out the series victory with a Game 3 win over Mishawaka by the score of 6-3, giving the fans in Migleyville plenty to celebrate.

The Newts will now turn their attention to who else but the Granger Panthers as these two teams are once again set up for a Postseason affair. One of these two teams has represented the National League in the World Series in nine out of the past ten seasons with the 2020 Elkhart BFAM team being the other NL champion over that period of time.

New Carlisle and Granger have owned the National League over the past decade and the winner of that series will have the opportunity to do it again against either Twin Branch or Kounty Line. Coming off of their 3rd Hometown Cup victory, the Panthers were nearly caught sleeping by the Glen Lee Skeeters who were seeking revenge from their Hometown Cup Final 4 loss. Glen Lee brought the energy and picked up the win in Game 1, putting Granger on the brink.

With the pressure now on, Granger turned to the fireballer Daivyn Davis who shut down the Skeeters as Granger took Game 2 by the score of 5-0. In a tightly contested winner take all game, the Panthers did just enough as they won the rubber match. 2-1. That put on a close on what was a breakout season for the Glen Lee Skeeters.

They finished with a formidable 15-15 record in ORWBL but made the most noise of the summer with their electric run to Migley Field at the 2023 Hometown Cup. They picked up some impressive victories on the way to their first ever Hometown Cup Final Four run. All in all, the Skeeters took a big leap forward in 2023 and the expectations will continue to rise heading into 2024.

That wraps everything up from Wild Card weekend as voting will be taking place throughout the week for the 2023 regular season awards. Our League Championship' matchups will be set after what should be an exciting weekend of the American and National League Division Series'. Below is the schedule for the releasing of the 2023 American & National League regular season awards:

Monday, August 14th: Rookie of the Year

Tuesday, August 15th: Gold Glove

Wednesday, August 16th: Comeback Player of the Year

Thursday, August 17th: Manager of the Year

Friday, August 18th: Cy Young

Saturday, August 19th: MVP


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