NEW CARLISLE - In three of the previous four years at The Wiffle®Ball Championship, the Granger Panthers were eliminated by the New Carlisle Newts in the Hometown Cup Playoffs.
This year, the script finally flipped.
The Panthers outslugged the defending champions in their own backyard, 32-26, avenging last year’s Wiffle®Ball Championship Game loss at Migley Field.
With the wind howling out, the Granger lineup of Griffin Smith, Seth Campbell, Alex Zarazee, and Austin Williams was relentless, putting up double digits in multiple innings. It was the highest scoring game in Hometown Cup Finals history, beating out the 2008 title game between the Newts and Speedy’s Chickenheads (29-28).
The Panthers scored 12 in the first inning, but the Newts continued to battle back throughout the game. New Carlisle eventually took the lead, 18-16, in the fourth. However, the Panthers roared right back with another 13 runs in the bottom of the frame to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Despite allowing 26 runs, Smith picked up a complete game victory on the mound for Granger. On the other hand, the Newts used all five players to throw in the unfavorable pitching conditions.
Campbell was recognized as the Marquee Player of the Hometown Cup Finals with the Kaylor Trophy.
It was Granger’s first title in their second Hometown Cup Finals appearance. For the three-time champion Newts, it was their third runner-up finish in their record seventh appearance at the tournament’s final four.
Granger defeated Grandmother’s Quilt, 19-10, in their semifinal match-up. It was the first appearance at Migley for the Quilt.
In the first semifinal, the Newts knocked off the Maple City Magic, 15-13. New Carlisle trailed, 6-2, in the fifth before waking up a raucous crowd of nearly 300 with a nine-run inning.
Jumbotron Turns Heads
A new addition to the Hometown Cup Finals, a jumbotron was brought in to Migley Field to show live game action. The late Harry Caray led fans with a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 4th Inning Stretch of the second semifinal.
To advance to Migley, the Panthers had to defeat their second team, GP Black, in the quarterfinals. The Newts knocked off former champion Son of a Pitch, 28-25, in a rematch of the 2016 title game. Maple City put up 34 runs in a rout of the Warsaw Whitecats. Grandmother’s Quilt defeated the Woo Crew after the Woo Crew eliminated four-time champions Cult West Warriors in the Sweet Sixteen.
Home Run Derby
Maple City’s Jared Jonkman won his third consecutive Golden Bat by defeating Daivyn Davis in the finals of Friday night’s Home Run Derby. Jonkman worked his way through a bracket of 44 competitors, a record turnout for the event.