The first round results are in and now it is one to the elite eight. Here are the matchups and background info for those who may not have voted the first time. You can vote HERE. Results with new bracket will be posted Saturday for Final Four.
#1 Seed – Semifinal Win vs Keith Kemp to Advance to Championship in 2019– JRF had never beaten Kemp in a playoff game, not to mention Keith Kemp had won several league championships and The Panthers had never advanced to a championship game. Despite being an underdog, behind timely hitting by Kevin Noll, Jordan Gottshall and Eric Nester the Panthers survived 8-6 to advance to their first ever league championship.
#8 Seed- Kevin Noll walk Off Grand Slam vs Prizers 2016 -The game wasn’t supposed to be this close but it was. Either way Noll made up for by winning the playoff game on a walk off Grand Slam, Which ended with Coach Derek Evans and Noll embracing for a hug at home plate.
#4 Seed- 5-4 Extra Inning Loss vs Kemp in 2014 Playoff – Keith Kemp was the defending champions and JRF had just barely beaten one of the worst teams in the league for its first ever playoff win. This game was supposed to be a no contest. The way it started it sure looked like the would be the case. Keith Kemp was up 3-0 in the first inning with bases loaded and nobody out. That’s when Derek Evans made the controversial decision to pull TJ and sub in Cody Manmiller to Pitch. On the very next pitch, Kemp hit into a triple play. JRF went on to score 4 unanswered runs to miraculously take the lead. Kemp eventually tied the game and would win in extra innings but the fact this game was even this close was a story itself.
#5 Seed- Upset Over #1 Seed Crushers 2017 – Crushers was the number one seed for a reason. They were the best team all regular season. One this day however, JRF came to play and the bats were hot. JRF ended up 12 running Crushers to advance to the semifinal vs eventual champion Johhny and Hons.
#2 Seed – 2019 Fall league Championship Game– The 2019 Fall Season was a roller coaster ride. It got so low that the team had to forfeit one game due to not enough players showing up. Come playoff time it was a different story. Despite losing the first game of a double elimination tournament, JRF won 4 straight for their first ever league title. David Griesemer had a breakout year batting .700 on the season.
#10 Seed- Unfinished Game Due to Concussion and Missing Teeth – This game had to be remade but not due to weather but due to a bizarre freak accident. The batter at the plate swung and the bat slipped out of his hands, hitting catcher Derek Evans in the head causing a concussion and knocking out the umpires teeth. (First Round Upset)
#3 Seed – The Teams First ever win in a playoff game (Big John Game Saving Catch and Tag 2014) – Up until 2014, JRF had not won a playoff game. That was about to change but it would not come easy. Despite facing and inferior opponent, JRF was hanging on by a thread in the final inning. On a base hit, the other team tried scoring to tie up the game. Luckily, Matt Bryan threw a laser to out of all people Big John at home plate who made the catch and tag to give JRF their first postseason victory.
#11 Seed-2014 Newville Playoff Game 2014 – Coming into the tournament , JRF was expecting to play EE. To their surprise, when they arrived they were told they were playing E. The first three games JRF looked like an EE team losing all three games by an average of almost 20 runs. While the team waited for the playoff game, which they thought they had absolutely no shot of winning. Remember not only did they lose by almost an average of 20 a game, but they were playing the #1 seed. During the wait the whole team drank and got drunk in the tournament parking lot. Incredibly, once the playoff game started JRF got out to a 17-2 lead. Remember this was the same team that had just beaten them by over 20 runs. The beer muscles were strong. Unfortunately, the other team came back and won 23-18 but the fact JRF competed was again quite the story. (First Round Upset)