Archive | August, 2010

Chinese Professional Baseball League Standings

Heading into September, the playoff race is heating up in Taiwan.

The Sinon Bulls won the first half and are currently sitting in 2nd place for the 2nd half 1.5 games back. The Brother Elephants are currently leading the 2nd half, but the final two playoff spots are still up for grabs.

The winners of each half plus a wildcard team based on overall season winning percentage will make the playoffs. If a team wins both halves, a second wildcard team will be added based on overall season standings.

Stay tuned for updates as the final month of the season progresses.

CPBL 2nd Half STANDINGS:

Team Won Lost Tied
Brother Elephants 22 16 00
Sinon Bulls 19 16 01
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions 17 21 01
La New Bears 17 22 00

 

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Ireland Baseball Semi-Finals Set for Saturday

The semi-finals of the A-League in Ireland are set to start on Saturday.

The first game of the day will take place at Corkagh Park with the Hurricanes facing off against the Mariners.

Game 2 will take place in Belfast with the Northstars squaring off against the Spartans.

Say tuned for up to date info on the playoffs here at Baseball de World.

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American Association Playoffs Begin Tonight

The playoffs for the American Association begin tonight with defending champion Lincoln traveling to Sioux Falls to face the Pheasants.  Sioux Falls won both the 1st and 2nd half of the season posting a league best 63-33 record.  Lincoln made the playoffs by virtue of finishing with the 2nd best record in the North Division despite finishing last in the 2nd half.  In game 1, Sioux Falls will throw Ben Moore (11-8 3.10) against Lincoln’s Jim Paduch (9-6 4.65).

In the South Division, 1st half winner Shreveport-Bossier City travels to Pensacola to take on the Pelicans.  Shreveport finished the season winning 11 in a row.  Shreveport-Bossier City will throw Richard Salazar (10-4 3.78) against David Nathanson (8-5 4.56).

American Association Playoff Schedule:

Tuesday, August 31:

North Division: Game 1 – Lincoln (Jim Paduch) at Sioux Falls (Ben Moore) – 7:05 PM
South Division: Game 1 – Shreveport-Bossier (Richard Salazar) at Pensacola (David Nathanson) – 6:45 PM

Wednesday, September 1:
North Division: Game 2 – Lincoln (John James) at Sioux Falls (Chris Salberg) – 7:05 PM
South Division: Game 2 – Shreveport-Bossier (Osvaldo Rodriguez) at Pensacola (Jared Gothreaux) – 6:45 PM

Thursday, September 2:
NO GAMES SCHEDULED

Friday, September 3:
North Division: Game 3 – Sioux Falls (TBA) at Lincoln (Chris Cullen) – 7:05 PM
South Division: Game 3 – Pensacola (TBA) at Shreveport-Bossier (TBA) – 7:05 PM

Saturday, September 4:
North Division: Game 4 – Sioux Falls at Lincoln* – 12:00 PM
South Division: Game 4 – Pensacola at Shreveport-Bossier* – 2:05 PM

Sunday, September 5:
North Division: Game 5 – Sioux Falls at Lincoln* – 6:05 PM
South Division: Game 5 – Pensacola at Shreveport-Bossier* – 6:05 PM

* If Necessary

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Nicaragua and Cuba will play six times in September

Cuba’s national team will face Nicaragua for six games in the Latin American Stadium in Havana, Cuba, during the month of September. These games are in preparation for both teams facing the Pre-World Tournament in Puerto Rico to begin on the 1st of October.

The note comes from the Cuban Baseball Federation, and specifies that the games will happen in the second fortnight of September without even mentioning precise date on which they will be.
According to the Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE), a total of six seats for the World Baseball 2011 will be defined in the Pre-World Tournament. At the same time, seven other teams achieve their ticket to the baseball tournament of the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, the very next year.

For Nicaragua, which has been preparing for this tournament after winning third place among nations in the past nine Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico, playing the top teams like Cuba will go far to meet the challenge of the tournament ahead.

The president of the Baseball Federation of that country, Mr. Adolfo Marenco, told the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, that “the blanks with Cuba serivirá us to get into the best shape possible to Pre-Sports World attaining the objective we have set, winning a seat. ”

So far the aforementioned six games are the only games the two teams have on their schedule in preparation for facing the international tournament in October.
Cuba announced last week a list of 39 men from which the 24 will seek the title in the tournament to be held from 1 to 10 October in Boricuas land.

Nicaragua participated in the last World Cup of 2009 where it competed in Group D of the tournament finishing the first round tied 3-0 to finish as a leader of it. In the second round of the tournament, the Nicaraguans compiled a 2-4 record to be eliminated from any chance of medals in the event where Cuba finished in second place after falling 10-5 to the United States in the final.
That World Cup was the last time the two teams drew each other in a September 14 game where the Cubans took up with 4-1 victory closed.

Visit www.baseballdecuba.com for complete coverage of the Cuban League.

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Richmond and Southampton advance to National Baseball Championships

Richmond Flames and Southampton Mustangs advanced to the NBL Final Four, to be played next weekend at the Senior National Championships at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, after easing to playoff triumphs on Saturday, August 28 over the Croydon Pirates and Mildenhall Bulldogs respectively.

League Champions London Mets and the second-place Bracknell Blazers will be waiting for them.

NBL Reporter Simon Fitzjohn details the playoff encounters.

Croydon Pirates @ Richmond Flames

The fairytale run of the Croydon Pirates came to an end as they slumped 11-2 to the Flames at Richmond. But it was far from a one-sided contest, as the score was tied for several innings before the Flames broke the game open late on.

Maikel Azcuy clubbed an early home run for Croydon, but it all fell apart late as Richmond bounced back, partly on the strength of a Grant Delzoppo homer.

Tim Ssali took the loss, while Cody Cain pitched the win.

Croydon’s Dave Ward said: “We just ran out of steam. They got the big inning and it was game over.

Although we are disappointed with the result,” Ward continued, “we can’t complain over what we have achieved this season. Yes, we lost in the playoffs but just to be in the playoffs is a big plus for us, especially when we could not win a game last season. We will build on this and try to move forward again next season.”

Richmond player-coach Grant Delzoppo said: “It was a pretty close game. Croydon played really well and they battled hard.

“But we are finding form at the right time,” Delzoppo added. “We are getting production throughout our line-up and our defence is excellent. I think the Final Four weekend is all about pitching and we feel pretty good about that.”

Mildenhall Bulldogs @ Southampton Mustangs

The Mustangs moved to the Final Four weekend in their first season in the NBL after winning the battle of the new boys.

Once again, the game was close early on before Southampton pulled clear to emerge 11-7 victors.

Gary Davison claimed the win for the Mustangs, with Nick Chenuasky taking the loss for Mildenhall. John Mabie did launch a three-run home run for the Bulldogs but it was too little, too late.

Southampton’s Lee Ralph said: “To finish fourth in the league and then make the Final Four is great. It was very tight but we scored five runs in the eighth inning to pull clear. And defensively, we are looking pretty good.

If anyone had asked us whether we could see ourselves in the Final Four when the season started,” Ralph said, “we would have said ‘no’. But here we are!”

Mildenhall’s Gabriel Macias said: “It was a real back-and-forth game. But we just had a few too many errors late on and Southampton capitalised.

This season has been a real learning experience for us,” Macias added. “I think we will be better prepared next season – we will be looking to recruit more local players and come back with a more consistent line-up.”

Source: Baseball-Softball UK – www.baseballsoftballuk.com

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French Elite League Returns with Games

Savigny vs Paris UC 14-4, 7-0

The French Elite League returned with games on Sunday after a long break.  Backed by solid pitching, the Lions swept a double header from Paris UC staying atop the Elite League for the time being.

Next up for Savigny is Rouen next Sunday September 5th.

Montpellier vs Montigny 22-2, 8-4

Montpellier wasted no time getting going on Sunday as they pounded Montigny 22-2 in the first game of the double header.  Montpellier kept the offense going in a closer game two winning 8-4.  The Barracudas stay in third place and within striking distance of first at 16-6.

Toulouse vs Sénart 10-1 and 1-7

Toulouse started off after the break with a good start.  They took game 1 10-1 from Sénart.  Game 2 didn’t go as well for Toulouse as they dropped it to Sénart 7-1 splitting the double header.  With the split they stay in the same spot in the standings, Sénart in 4th and Toulouse in 5th.

Games for Sunday September 5th

Savigny vs Rouen

Sénart vs Montigny

Montpellier vs Paris UC

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Germany: Teams Advance to Semi-Finals

The semi-finals are set in Germany. Three of the four teams who started out leading their series 2-0 advanced with only the Mannheim Tornados falling.

Solingen Alligators vs Haar Disciples
Solingen finished off the Disciples on Saturday with a 9-5 win to win the series 3-0 and advance to the semi-finals. Game 3 did not look good for Solingen for the first few innings as they started out down 5-0. They would then bounce back and take control of the game with 2 runs in the 4th to push it to 5-2. The 5th would be the downfall for the Disciples as the Alligators scored 6 runs to go up 8-5, and they never looked back.

Heidenheim Heidekoepfe vs Bonn Capitals
Heidenheim came into game 3 with a 2-0 lead, and would earn their spot in the semi-finals on Saturday. Heidenheeim took down Bonn 8-5 for the victory. They will face off with Solingen in one semi-final to start next Saturday.

Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg vs HSV Stealers
After a marathon game on Friday, Regensburg finished off the Stealers on Saturday with a 11-1 victory to move into the semi-finals winning the series 3-1. Regensburg went up early 4-0 after 2 innings and they put the hammer down from there finishing the game in 7 innings.

Paderborn Untouchables vs Mannheim Tornados
Mannheim started the quarter-final round with a bang going up 2-0, but they would end their season in that same round after falling 3 straight over the weekend to Paderborn. Paderborn took game 3 in a close one 4-3 with a walk-off hit to force a game 4 where they trounced the Untouchables 10-0 on Saturday. The final game 5 would be played on Sunday with the winner to advance to play Regensburg in the semi-finals. In the final game, Paderborn would go down early 4-2 and it would take a 8th inning comeback to win its third straight. Down 8-6, the Untouchables would put together a 5-run 8th inning to push ahead 11-8 and take the series 3-2. Paderborn will now face Regensburg in the semi-finals.

The semi-finals will start Saturday

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LLWS: Japan Wins World Series Title

A disciplined Japan team defeated Hawaii on Sunday 4-1 to take home its first title since 2003 and the first for an international team since 2004. Japan used pitching, defense, and timely hitting to take down the little leaguers from Waipahu, Hawaii at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in front of 29,812.

The game was close the entire way. Japan went up 1-0 with a run in the 2nd, but Hawaii would not go away. In the 4th inning down 2-0, Hawaii came back to make it 2-1 but would never get any closer. Japan would put the game away in the top of the 6th with a 2-run home run from first baseman Konan Tomori.

Japan got solid pitching performances out of starter Ryusuke Ikeda and reliever Ichiro Ogasawara. Both would go 3 innings and Ogasawara did not give up a hit or a walk the final 3 frames.

In the Consolation game, Chinese Taipei returned to their dominate ways defeating Texas 14-2. They jumped out to a 9-0 lead after 1 inning and never looked back ending the game early due to the run rule. Chinese Taipei pounded out 14 hits in route to the win.

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LLWS: Championship Game Set – Japan vs Hawaii

The Little League World Series Championship game was set on Saturday after the conclusion of the semi-final games.

In the first semi-final of the day, Japan took down Chinese Taipei in extra innings 3-2.  This will be Japan’s first championship game since 2007, when it lost to the US representative from Georgia.  Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Japan rallied to tie the game at 2 and send it to extra innings.  In the first extra-innings game of the World Series, Japan would walk away with the victory after a 2-out single by Ryo Motegi plated the winning run.

In the United States Championship, Hawaii took down Texas 10-0.

Texas’ bats went silent against Hawaii, and Hawaii’s exploded.  After the first mercy rule game of the Series since 1997, and first shutout since 2004, the Waipahu little leaguers are looking for the 3rd championship for Hawaii in the last 6 years.

Ezra Heleski shut down the big Texas bats scattering two hits and striking out 6 over 5 innings.  Hawaii started strong going up 4-0 and never looked back.  Hawaii put the game away in the 5th pushing the lead to 10-0 and ending the game early.

Texas will face Chinese Taipei in the consolation game on Sunday at 11 am prior to the Championship Game at 3 pm between Japan and Hawaii.

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Italian Series: Bologna Takes 2-0 Lead over Parma

For the second night in a row UGF Bologna takes home the win over Cariparma Parma at the Nino Cavalli Stadium.  Bologna jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning and never looked back taking home a 2-0 lead in the Italian Series.

A 1-out double plated the first run in the third inning for Blogona.  Then after Parma loaded the bases with 2 straight walks, Jario Ramos came through with a 2-run double sending the lead to 3-0.  Parma would make a comeback.  Parma’s  lead off hitter, Davide Dallospedale, reached on an error, advanced to second on a Marco Yepez walk, and scored on a double by Juan Camilo.  Yepez also tried to score on the double but was thrown out at the plate.  Parma wasn’t done yet though.

In the sixth inning they were back for more.  Down 3-1, Dallospedale was hit by a pitch then advanced to 2nd base on a walk to Juan Camilo.  Dallospedale would come home to score on a single to left by Orlando Munoz.  Then with runners at the corners, Manuel Gasparri would single to left scoring Camilo from 3rd base tying the game at 3.

The game would not stay tied for long as Bologna would take the lead for good in the next half inning.  After a walk and a single Joseph Mazzuca tripled to right-center and brought home the go ahead runs.  Bologna would add two more runs in the top of the 9th to complete the final score of 7-3.

UGF Bologna now heads home for the next 3 games with a commanding two game lead. Game 3 will be Thursday.

2010 IBL Playoffs (Championship):

Thursday, September 2
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

Friday, September 3
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Saturday, September 4
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Friday, September 10
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*Saturday, September 11
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*if necessary

Photo courtesy of Ferrini/FIBS

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LLWS: United States Championship Set

Hawaii became the first team to make the Final Four coming out of the loser’s bracket.  On Friday, they defeated Georgia for the second straight game to advance to Saturday’s US Championship Game.

The 12-5 victory might sound like an easy walk for the team from Waipio Little League, but by the bottom of the third they were down 4-0.  Facing a tough Georgia pitcher, Hawaii used 1 hit and a huge two out rally to knot the score at 4 by the end of the third inning.  Hawaii used a couple walks, a hit batter, a few passed balls, and 1 huge bases clearing triple to tie the game.

Hawaii didn’t stop there.  They pushed their lead to 7-4 after the 4th inning and continued to pile on the runs despite being out hit 8-7 by Georgia.

Waipio, Hawaii will now face Pearland, Texas in the United States Championship Game Saturday.  The winner will play the winner of the International Championship Game between Japan and Chinese Taipei for the Little League World Series Title.

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HSV Stealers Force Game 4 in German League Playoffs

It took them over 5 hours, but with a bases loaded walk in the 10th inning, the HSV Stealers won game 3 of the German League Quarterfinals over Regensburg.

This was a huge win, and perhaps momentum changing, win for the Stealers.  After a Regensburg sweep last Saturday, the Stealers found them in an 0-2 hole in the best-of-five game series.

Regensburg won game 1 6-3, but then put a hurting on the Stealers pitching staff in game 2.  Regensburg had 19 hits, and with 8 errors from the Stealers, won going away 23-5.

Game 4 will be Saturday with game 5 possible on Sunday.

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UGF Bologna Takes Game 1 in Italian Series

Jesus Matos went 6 2/3 innings Friday night in route to a win over Cariparma Parma at the Nino Cavalli Stadium.  Defending champion UGF Bologna jumped out to a 2-0 lead with runs in the 3rd and the 6th and held on to a 2-1 victory.

Parma came back in the 8th, and if not for a base running error, might have tied the game.  A lead-off single started the inning for Bologna and was quickly followed by a RBI double by Manuel Gasparri.  Gasparri was then replaced by pinch runner Mattia Bianchini.

With the game 2-1 and a runner at second, Parma was poised to tied the game with a base hit.  That hit would come, but unfortunately it would come too late.  Bianchini was picked off 2nd base just prior to a would be RBI double by Riccardo Bertagnon, and Parma was forced to end the frame, and game, down 2-1.

Game 2 will be Saturday night.

2010 IBL Playoffs (Championship):

Saturday, August 28
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

Thursday, September 2
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

Friday, September 3
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Saturday, September 4
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Friday, September 10
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*Saturday, September 11
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*if necessary

Photo courtesy of Ferrini/FIBS

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Eastern League Names Postseason All-Star Team

Eastern League sets All-Star squad

Coaching staffs, media members vote on postseason team

The Eastern League announced its 2010 postseason All-Star Team on Thursday, a postseason squad voted on by team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.

Catcher: Hector Gimenez, Altoona Curve (.301, 16 HR, 66 RBIs, 45 runs)
After combing to hit .276 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 89 games between Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis in 2009, Gimenez returned to the Curve for the 2010 season and has been one of the top players in the league. The 27-year old is batting .301 with 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs and 45 runs scored in 86 games this season while helping lead the team to the top spot in the Western Division standings. Gimenez, a native of San Felipe, Venezuela, is currently ranked second in the circuit in slugging percentage (.540) and OPS (.925) and ranks fifth in batting average (.301). He also leads all Eastern League catchers in home runs (16) and stolen bases (6) and has thrown out 34 percent of all would be base-stealers this season, which is the fourth-best percentage in the league. The 5-foot-10, 225 lb. slugger was also the starting catcher for the Western Division squad at the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game in Harrisburg, Pa.

First Base: Matt Rizzotti, Reading Phillies (.361, 16 HR, 62 RBIs, 48 runs)
Matt Rizzotti began the ’10 season as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League, but quickly showed he was ready for a new challenge, which he received when he was promoted to Reading on May 13 after hitting .358 with eight doubles and 18 runs scored in 31 games. Rizzotti’s hot start continued with the R-Phils, as he batted .361 with 25 doubles, 16 homers, 62 RBIs and 48 runs in 77 games before earning his second promotion of the season to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 5. At the time of his promotion, the 24-year old was leading the league in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.638), on-base percentage (.451) and OPS (1.087). Rizzotti, of Floral Park, N.Y., won the Eastern League Player of the Week Award for the week ending June 27 and was also the Player of the Month for the month of June after hitting .369 with seven homers and 24 RBIs. Rizzotti started at first base for the Eastern Division at the 2010 All-Star Game and went 1-for-1 with a walk and one run scored.

Second Base: Ryan Adams, Bowie Baysox (.302, 13 HR, 62 RBIS, 72 runs)
Adams kicked off his season by going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his Double-A debut on April 8 — and he hasn’t stopped hitting since. The 23-year old is batting .302 with 41 doubles, 13 homers, 72 runs scored and 62 RBIs in 122 games. Adams, a second-round pick in the 2006 Draft, has already broken the Baysox single-season record for doubles while also setting career highs in hits, homers, RBIs, runs, doubles and total bases this season. He is on pace to set new highs in slugging percentage and OPS. Adams leads the league in doubles (41), is tied for first in hits (145) and is ranked among the league in extra-base hits (54-2nd), total bases (225-3rd) and batting average (.302-4th). The New Orleans, La., native has been especially impressive during the second half of the season, hitting .344 with 15 doubles, six homers, 28 runs and 21 RBIs in 39 games since the All-Star break.

Third Base: Brandon Laird, Trenton Thunder (.291, 23 HR, 90 RBIs, 73 runs)
Laird was an FSL All-Star in ’09 after hitting .266 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs in 124 games with Tampa. The 22-year old made it two consecutive All-Star appearances after batting .291 with 22 doubles, 23 home runs, 90 RBIs and 73 runs scored in 107 games with the Thunder this season before receiving a promotion to Triple-A on Aug. 2. At the time of his promotion, the 6-foot-1, 215 lb. slugger was leading the league in RBIs (90) and total bases (214) and was also among the leaders in homers (23-2nd), hits (119-2nd), extra-base hits (47-tied 2nd), runs scored (73-4th) and slugging percentage (.523-5th). Brandon twice drove in seven runs in a game for the Thunder and also become just the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle when he hit a two-run walk-off homer of a 7-6 win over Erie on May 26. Laird was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending May 30, won the Eastern League Player of the Month Award for the month of May and was selected as a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.

Shortstop: Danny Espinosa, Harrisburg Senators (.262, 18 HR, 54 RBIs, 66 runs)
Espinosa entered the season rated by Baseball America as the fifth-best prospect in the Washington organization, and with his performance this season he has certainly lived up to that billing. In 99 games with the Senators, the 23-year old batted .262 with 16 doubles, 18 home runs, 66 runs scored and 54 RBIs. Espinosa was rewarded on Aug. 6 with a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse, where he has continued to flash his power, hitting .273 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games. The Santa Ana, Calif., native was Player of the Week on June 20 and was also the starting shortstop for the Western Division at the All-Star Game. The 6-foot, 190 lb. slugger was also a member of the US Team for the 2010 Futures Game in Anaheim.

Outfielders

Darin Mastroianni, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (.304, 4 HR, 45 RBIs, 95 runs)
After hitting .271 with 38 stolen bases during the final 71 games of the ’09 season with New Hampshire, Mastroianni returned this season and has put up even better numbers. The 5-foot-11 speedster is batting .304 with 24 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 95 runs scored, 45 RBIs and 43 stolen bases over 121 games. Mastroianni, a resident of Huntersville, N.C., is currently leading the league in runs scored (95), stolen bases (43) and walks (75) and is also currently ranked among the league leaders in hits (146-tied 1st), on-base percentage (.398-2nd) and batting average (.304-3rd). He was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week on May 9 and was also a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.

Ben Revere, New Britain Rock Cats (.297, 1 HR, 22 RBIs, 39 runs)
Revere entered this season having made the season-ending All-Star squad for his league during each of his first three pro seasons. The 22-year old extended the streak to four after hitting .297 with 10 doubles, two triples, 39 runs scored, 22 RBIs and 31 steals in 86 games with the Rock Cats this year. Revere, who has been on the disabled list since Aug, 5 with a fractured orbital bone, is currently ranked fourth in the league in stolen bases (31) and ranked ninth in batting average (.297). The 2007 first round Draft pick won the Eastern League Player of the Week Award on May 23, was a member of the US Team at the 2010 Futures Game and also started in center field for the Eastern Division at the EL All-Star Game.

Eric Thames, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (.293, 25 HR, 97 RBIs, 92 runs)
Thames entered the season rated by Baseball America as the 18th best prospect in the Blue Jays organization, and he will certainly be moving higher up the list following his performance this summer. Thames is hitting .293 with 25 doubles, six triples, 25 homers, 97 RBIs and 92 runs scored in 124 games with the Fisher Cats. The 23-year old, who is in just his second professional season, currently leads the league in RBIs (97), total bases (251) and extra-base hits (56). He is also ranked among the league leaders in home runs (25-2nd), runs scored (92-2nd), slugging percentage (.528-3rd) and hits (139-5th). Thames, who was chosen in the seventh round of the 2008 Draft out of Pepperdine, was selected as a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.

Utility Player: Ray Chang, Portland Sea Dogs (.300, 9 HR, 52 RBIs, 56 runs)
Chang has appeared in games at first, second, third base and shortstop while hitting .300 with 30 doubles, nine homers, 56 runs scored and 52 RBIs in 113 games. The 27-year old has been incredibly consistent for the Sea Dogs, hitting at least .290 in each month of the season. Chang, of Kansas City, Mo., is currently ranked third in the league in on-base percentage (.385) and seventh in batting average (.301). He also showed his versatility during the All-Star Game when he started at shortstop and later moved to third for the Eastern Division, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Designated hitter: Joel Guzman, Bowie Baysox (.271, 29 HR, 83 RBIs, 80 runs)
Guzman has been one of the top sluggers in the league, hitting .271 with 18 doubles, 29 home runs, 83 RBIs and 80 runs scored in 119 games. The 25-year-old native of Quisqueya, Dominican Republic, currently leads the circuit in homers, is ranked second in total bases (234) and is tied for fourth in RBIs. He’s hit a longball once every 16.14 at-bats this season, which is the second-best rate in the league this year. He also homered in four straight games from April 21-24. Guzman, who hit .281 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs in 108 games with the Senators last season, was selected as a member of the Western Division roster for the All-Star Game.

Right-handed starter: Kyle Drabek, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (14-9, 2.98 ERA)
Drabek got his first taste of the Eastern League with the Phillies last season and put together a record of 8-2 with a 3.64 ERA over 15 games. The 22-year old returned this season with the Fisher Cats following a trade to the Blue Jays in a package for Roy Halladay and continued his dominance, collecting a league-high 14 wins with 123 strikeouts and a 2.98 ERA. Drabek not only leads the league in wins, but is also ranked among the leaders in innings pitched (154-2nd), batting average against (.216-2nd), shutouts (1-tied 2nd), strikeouts (123-3rd), ERA (2.98-3rd) and WHIP (1.19-4th). Drabek, of Victoria, Texas, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 25 starts this season, including eight games in which he has not allowed an earned run. He won the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award on July 4 and was also the starting pitcher for the Eastern Division at the All-Star Game, where he pitched one scoreless inning.

Left-handed starter: Rudy Owens, Altoona Curve (10-6, 2.67 ERA) The Altoona Curve have had one of the top pitching staffs in the league this year, and one of the biggest reasons is the performance of Owens. The 22-year old southpaw, in 24 starts, has posted a record of 10-6 with 118 strikeouts and a 2.67 ERA in 138 innings. Owens, of Mesa, Ariz., currently leads the league in ERA and WHIP (1.01) and is also ranked among the leaders in strikeouts (4th) and batting average against (.232-5th). Owens has allowed more than three earned runs in only two of his 24 outings this season, including 13 appearances in which he has allowed one earned run or fewer. He appeared with the Western Division at the All-Star Game.

Relief Pitcher: Rafael Cova, Richmond Flying Squirrels (0-5, 2.31 ERA, 21 saves)
Cova has been dominant at the back of the Flying Squirrels bullpen, converting 21 saves while posting a 2.31 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 50 2/3 innings. The 27-year old leads the league in saves and is ranked third in games finished (34). Cova, of Cariaco, Venezuela, has not allowed an earned run in 35 of his 43 appearances this season, including a stretch of 12 consecutive innings at the start of the year. He was also selected to the Western Division All-Star team.

*Statistics for games played through Aug. 25

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

Source: MinorLeagueBaseball.com

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LLWS: Texas Back in United States Championship Game

For the fourth time in seven years, a team from Texas will play for the United States Championship at the Little League World Series. The team from Pearland, Texas overcame a 5-3 deficit in the 6th inning to win 7-5 sending home the Cinderella hopefuls from Auburn, Washington.

After a run-scoring single, Blake Toler advanced to third on 2 wild pitches. He would score on a groundout to tie the game at 5. Mason Van Noort then went to work at the plate. After fouling off 4 pitches with 2 strikes, Van Noort worked the count full before sending the 10th pitch of the at bat over the left-field fence giving Texas a 6-5 lead. Washington would commit two errors following the home run allowing an insurance run to score giving Texas a 7-5 victory and a spot in the U.S. Championship Game.

Texas’ opponent will be decided Friday afternoon. On Thursday, Hawaii stayed alive with a 7-4 victory over Georgia. Hawaii is attempting to become the first team from the losers’ bracket to make it to the Championship Game.

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British National Championships Draw Near

The British Baseball postseason is underway and the sense of anticipation and excitement around the country can hardly be contained. After five months and 521 games in the British baseball leagues, the best teams in the country are now battling in the playoffs to book a place in the National Baseball Championships (NBC) which will take place on the weekend of 4 and 5 September to decide the 2010 champions.

NBL PLAYOFFS

Mildenhall advanced to the postseason with two wins against direct rivals Herts Falcons on the final day of the regular season. This sets up an intriguing playoff line-up in Britain’s top baseball league.

Both NBL playoff games will be played at Richmond’s Connare Field this Saturday. First up is the clash between Mildenhall and Southampton. The problem that has plagued the Bulldogs all season long is the fact that most of its players are US servicemen whose unpredictable working schedule can sometimes leave their squad down to bare bones. If their top performers are available then they will be a very awkward opponent and the Mustangs will have their work cut out, as they found out two weeks ago when they lost 0-6 and 2-3 to Mildenhall.

In the second game of the day starting at 3:30 pm, the Richmond Flames will meet the Croydon Pirates. After a slow start the Flames have picked up speed just at the right time. 2009 MVP Ryan Bird is back firing on all cylinders. He was the wining pitcher in the 13-0 win against 2009 champions Bracknell and that can only be bad news for the Pirates. Also returning for the Flames is Robbie Unsell, who was last year’s stolen base leader but missed several games this season after a freakish head injury trying to field a ground ball.

Despite Richmond’s recent return to form, Croydon have proven this year that they are capable of beating any NBL opponent. They have some very dangerous players in their line-up, most notably Home Run Champion Maikel Azcuy.

NBL Playoffs (Connare Field, Richmond, Saturday 28 August 2010)
12:00Mildenhall Bulldogs (10-16) @ Southampton Mustangs (13-15).
15:30Croydon Pirates (10-18) @ Richmond Flames (17-11).

Source: BaseballSoftballUK.com

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Pan-American and World Cup Qualifier Coaching Staff Named for USA Baseball

Press Release USA Baseball

Skipper Ernie Young veteran of historic 2000 Olympic Team, hitting coach for gold medal-winning 2009 World Cup Team

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball named Ernie Young manager of its 2010 Pan American Qualifying Team on Thursday. Young and his staff will lead a U.S. team comprised of players not currently on 40-man Major League rosters in what will serve as the qualifying event for the 2011 Pan American Games baseball tournament and 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup.

Joining Young on Team USA are pitching coach Kirk Champion, hitting coach Leon “Bull” Durham and assistant coaches Jay Bell, Carlos Tosca and Rolando “Roly” de Armas. Young, Champion and de Armas are all veterans of past USA Baseball professional teams, including the 2009 gold medal-winning World Cup Team.

“We are thrilled with the staff we have put together for the Pan American Qualifying Team,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “Ernie Young is one of the greatest competitors ever to wear the U-S-A across his chest, and we have surrounded him with a first class group of coaches.”

A veteran of eight Major League seasons with five different clubs, Ernie Young also won a gold medal as an outfielder with the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. He also played for the 2003 Olympic Qualifying Team. After serving a season as the hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox’s rookie-level team, he was named manager of Single-A Kannapolis prior to the 2009 season. Most recently, Young served as the hitting coach for the 2009 World Cup Team.

Kirk Champion’s resume includes collegiate head coach and assistant coaching jobs, and he currently serves as the minor league pitching coordinator for the White Sox. He also has USA Baseball experience, having been the Team USA pitching coach in the 2001 Baseball World Cup (silver), 2006 COPABE Olympic Qualifying Tournament (gold) and 2009 World Cup Team (gold).

Leon Durham returns for his 10th season as the hitting coach for the Toledo Mud Hens and his 15th season overall in coaching. He spent five seasons in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization before coming to Toledo in 2001, and he started his coaching career with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League in 1996. Durham spent 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, hitting .277 with 147 home runs and 530 RBIs in 1067 games, and he was selected to the N.L. All-Star Team from 1982-83.

A veteran of 18 big league seasons, Jay Bell finished his career with a .265 average, 195 home runs, 868 RBIs, 1123 runs and 91 stolen bases. He also won the Gold Glove Award in 1993 – breaking Ozzie Smith’s streak at shortstop in the National League of 13 straight – and was selected to the All-Star Game that season, as well as in 1999. After retiring in 2003, Bell spent time as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom he also played from 1998-2002. He scored the winning run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series for Arizona.

Carlos Tosca spent 17 years as a Minor League manager before he was named as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. After three years with the D-backs and an additional year of coaching at the Triple-A level, Tosca was named the third base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, and later, their manager, from 2002-04 (191-191). He then returned to Arizona as a bench coach and held the same position for the Florida Marlins from 2007-2010.

A former minor league catcher who served as manager at several stops in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, and was a bullpen coach for the 2008 World Series Champion Phillies club, Rolando de Armas has been with USA Baseball since 2006, serving as a coach on the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Team, 2007 World Cup Team, 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team and 2009 World Cup Team.

The Pan American Qualifying Team will first gather in Cary, N.C. at the USA Baseball National Training Complex where it will train from Sept. 25-28. It will work out on Sept. 25 and square-off against the Canadian Pan American Qualifying Team, Sept. 26-28. The U.S. will then depart for San Juan, Puerto Rico where the qualifier is set to run from Oct. 1-10. The 12-team tournament will feature top Pan Am talent, including host Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela.

The 2009 World Cup Team is the most recent professional team fielded by USA Baseball. The ’09 club finished with a 14-1 record, including a 10-5 win over rival Cuba in the final. The team was made up of some of the best Minor League players in baseball, several of whom have since made their Major League debut this season, including third baseman Pedro Alvarez and pitcher Brad Lincoln of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak, Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, Minnesota Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe and New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis.

The 24-man roster for the U.S. Pan American Qualifying Team will be announced in early September.

Source: USA Baseball

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Alex Ramirez Sets RBI Record in Japan

Former Cleveland Indian and Pittsburgh Pirate Alex Ramirez has set a new RBI record in Japan.  With his 4oth home run of the season, a 3-run shot in the 1st inning of Thursday’s game with the Chunichi Dragons, Ramirez surpassed the 100 RBI mark for the 8th consecutive season surpassing the previous record of 7 by Sadaharu Oh.

Ramirez, a Venezuelan native, is playing his 10th season in Japan after signing with the Yakult Swallows in 2001.  Ramirez currently has 41 home runs and 104 RBI for the season with the Yomiuri Giants.

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Mark Prior Returns to the Mound

Former All-Star and Cy Young candidate Mark Prior has been pitching well for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League.  Prior spent 5 seasons with the Chicago Cubs compiling a 42-29 record with a career 3.51 earned run average.

Prior was a college standout at USC winning the Golden Spikes Award in 2001 as the nation’s top player.  That same year he was drafted number 2 overall behind the Twins Joe Mauer.  After several shoulder surgeries that ended his MLB career in 2006, Prior was looking to pitch competitively again.  Perhaps as a precurser to making a comeback at the Major League level.

The situation seemed to fit Prior perfectly.  As a southern California native, Prior is able to stay close to home.  But perhaps the biggest influence was the Flyers manager Paul Abbott.  Abbott is a former Major League pitcher and understands how to use his staff.  Prior is serving as the Flyer’s set up man and so far doing quite well.

Through 6 games, Prior has logged 8 innings, given up only 1 unearned run, struck out 16, walked 4 and given up 4 hits.

It remains to be seen what Prior’s plans are for next year; but with the way he is pitching, if he is healthy don’t count out a tryout with a Major League team and a possible minor league deal.

Visit the Golden Baseball League

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LLWS: International Championship Set

South Williamsport, Pa. — Japan and Chinese Taipei swept through their respective brackets to set up a meeting of the Asian powerhouses in the International Championship game.

Japan(3-0), with 9 finals appearances, squared off with Mexico (2-2), 6 finals appearances, on day 1.  This wound up being a pitchers duel with both sides totaling 24 strikeouts.  Japan staged a last inning comeback winning 4-2 to open the first day of play.

Next up for Japan was Puerto Rico.  This time Japan jumped out to an early lead winning 7-2 and putting them in a strong position for the International Championship.  Only a second game with Mexico stood in their way, and it would not disappoint.  Mexico would jump out to a 2-0 lead with leadoff home runs in the 1st and 2nd inning.  An error in the thrid inning led Japan to tie the game at 2-2.  The next inning Japan would take the lead for good with a solo home run from Kaname Shinozaki, and Japan would win 3-2.

Chinese Taipei (3-0)  took a different route to the International Final.  They destroyed their opponents. The team from Chinese Taipei outscored their opponents a total of 46-1.  In their first game, they pounded out 16 hits in route to a 18-0 victory over Saudi Arabia (0-3), but this was only the beginning.  Their next game pitted them against Canada (1-2) where a combined 15 hits and 4 errors by Canada led to a 23-0 victory for Chinese Taipei. The game got out of hand early with Canada down 13-0 after 2 innings and 20-0 after 3.

Their lone test of the tournament would come in game 3 against Panama (2-2).  Panama took an early 1-0 lead but Chinese Taipei would bounce back in the third to tie it at 1. In the fifth inning Taipei would put the game away with 4 runs and win going away 5-1 to set up a finals showdown with Japan.

On the U.S. side of things, Hawaii (2-1) plays Georgia (2-0) in a must game.  If Georgia wins, it secures a spot in the United States Championship.  Texas (2-1) will also play Washington (2-1) with the winner going onto the U.S. Championship.

Hawaii staved off elimination with a 7-4 victory over Ohio and now must beat Georgia twice to try to return to the World Series Championship game.  Washington stayed alive at least one more day with a 7-4 victory over Texas on Wednesday.

Visit: Little League Online

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Bologna to Face Parma in Italian Baseball Series

The nine game semifinal round-robin has come to completion, and UGF Bologna and Cariparma Parma both finished the grueling three week affair with a win-loss record of 6-3.

Bologna, which finished 4th in the regular season standings, technically finishes first in the group due to head-to-head competition.

During the three weeks of playoffs, the 2009 IBL Champion Bologna took two games out of three from each of its opponents.

Parma, after its series loss during the first week of the round-robin, went on to win five of its last six games, including a sweep over 2009 IBL runner-up San Marino this weekend.

T&A San Marino and the Telemarket Rimini Pirates have been cast out of the postseason.  Few would have expected Rimini to perform so poorly in the playoffs, given that the Pirates were in first place for many weeks during the regular season. Fewer people would have expected San Marino to be victims of a sweep anytime during the year; the San Marinesi only lost three series during the entire regular season, but finish with a 3-6 record versus Parma in 2010.

Bologna and Parma will meet in the best-of-7 Italian Baseball Series to compete for the title of Italy’s best team.

Photo courtesy of Ferrini/FIBS

Visit the official Italian Baseball League website (English)

2010 IBL Playoffs (Championship):

Friday, August 27
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

Saturday, August 28
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

Thursday, September 2
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

Friday, September 3
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Saturday, September 4
Cariparma Parma at UGF Bologna

*Friday, September 10
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*Saturday, September 11
UGF Bologna at Cariparma Parma

*if necessary

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Softball Rejects Joint Olympic Bid with Baseball

Softball again rejects joint Olympic approach with baseball
Despite a recent plea from International Baseball Federation President Riccardo Fraccari that a joint baseball-softball bid is the “only way back into the Olympic programme,” the International Softball Federation has decided to go its own way in seeking Olympic reinstatement for 2020.

In a letter to Riccardo Fraccari, ISF President Don Porter said, “The International Softball Federation has always acted as an independent sport, and presently plans to continue that internationally accepted practice.”

“Softball has been an independently governed sport for many years,” Don Porter continued. “Softball, on its own, meets all criteria for inclusion as an Olympic medal sport, a position it has enjoyed through the 2008 Games in Beijing.”

Unanimous Support

At a meeting in Venezuela last month following the Women’s World Championships, the ISF Board of Directors gave unanimous support to continue plans to re-present softball – both women’s and men’s fastpitch – for consideration for the 2020 Olympic Games.

A decision on the sports to be included in those Games will be made in 2013.

The ISF believes that softball only lost its Olympic place — on a tied vote in 2005 — because of issues that IOC members had with baseball, and a mistaken belief on the part of many members that baseball and softball were two formats of the same sport.

As a result, the ISF has tried to make it clear in its BackSoftball reinstatement campaign that softball is a separate and different sport, and the ISF has pressured many baseball/softball federations around the world to dissolve the relationship so each sport to function on its own.

Both baseball and softball applied to regain their position as Olympic medal sports for the 2016 Games but golf and rugby were the two sports recommended last August by the IOC Executive and confirmed by the IOC Congress last October.

Courtesy Britishbaseball.org

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KBO Slugger Leads 7 Offensive Categories

Lotte Giants slugger Lee Dae-ho is set to lead an unprecedented 7 offensive categories. Lee currently leads in home runs (41), RBIs (121), average (.366), hits (154), runs (89), on-base percentage (.439), and slugging (.684). Lee has already won the triple crown in 2006, but this would surpass even that great achievement.

In KBO history nobody has ever led 7 offensive categories. Former KBO stars Lee Seung-yeop (now a star with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan), Jang Jong-hoon (Hanwha Eagles), and Lee Jong-bum (Kia Tigers) all led the league in 5 offensive categories. In Major League Baseball, Ty Cobb led the league in 8 offensive categories in 1909. Three others in MLB history have topped the league in 7.

Lee also has an outside chance to possibly set new KBO records in home runs and RBIs. The all-time records stand at 56 home runs and 144 RBIs. This may be a stretch since the season is soon coming to a close but he is sure to give the records a run for their money. He already sits 4th all-time in RBIs for a season and is likely to increase that number by the end of the year as Lotte makes a run at the playoffs.

The Giants slugger has already set one very impressive record this year by blasting a home run in 10 consecutive games. The Major League Baseball record was 8 set by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey Jr. No matter where he finishes the year in the offensive standings, it is clear that Lee Dae-ho has had an impressive year.

I guess the only question that remains is when will Lee Dae-ho follow in the footsteps of Lee Bum-ho and Kim Tae-gyun and leave for a team overseas.

KBO STANDINGS:

Team Won Lost Tied
SK Wyverns 69 40 00
Samsung Lions 70 44 01
Doosan Bears 63 45 02
Lotte Giants 56 53 03
Kia Tigers 50 62 00
LG Twins 49 62 02
Nexen Heroes 45> 67 03
Hanwha Eagles 42 71 01

Photo courtesy The Baseball Journeyman

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Solingen Alligators Sweep Haar Disciples

GERMANY – American left-hander Josh Rickards threw a four-hit shutout and the Solingen Alligators finished off a sweep over the Haar Disciples with a 2-0 win in the first round of the German League playoffs. The North Division champion leads the best-of-five series three games to none.

Rickards (1-0), who caught three baserunners napping at first base, racked up 11 strikeouts en route to putting the fourth-seeded Disciples on the brink of elimination.

Paul Rutgers plated the only runs of the game in the sixth with a two-bagger off Haar starter Calvin Brutus (0-1).

Solingen used four scores in the third to break a knotted affair to take the front end of the doubleheader, 9-4. Rutgers and Evan Porter both went deep in the final frame to put the game out of reach.

Buchbinder Legionaere Derails HSV Stealers
Ludwig Glaser drilled a two-run homer and the Buchbinder Legionaere (Regensburg) rallied from an early three-run deficit to rout the HSV Stealers 23-5 and complete a twinbill sweep. The South Division champion collected 19 hits and capitalized on eight defensive miscues by Hamburg to seal the seven-inning contest. Klaus Hopfensperger drove in the go-ahead score in the seventh to break a 1-all deadlock and the Legionaere plated four insurance runs over the final two frames to claim a 6-3 win in the first game.

Heidenheim Heidekoepfe Turns Back Bonn Capitals
American slugger Matt Pali highlighted a four-run fifth with a double that plated two scores and the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe rallied from a three-run hole to beat the Bonn Capitals, 7-5. Former U.S. minor leaguer pitcher Dusty Bergman spun a stellar outing on the hill and national team backstop Simon Guehring homered as the reigning German champion rolled to a 13-2 triumph in the second encounter to finish off the doubleheader sweep.

Mannheim Tornados Sweep Paderborn Untouchables
Dominik Hoepfner singled home the game-winning score in the eighth and the Mannheim Tornados edged the Paderborn Untouchables 6-5 in a see-saw affair. The third-seeded Tornados, which lost to Heidenheim in last year’s championship series, also got a solo home run from Texas native Dennis Kelly. Marvin Appiah drove in a trio of scores with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, and Lukas Egetmeyer went deep as Mannheim raced out to a quick five-run lead and coasted to a lopsided 16-6 win in the second game to complete the twinbill sweep.

Photo courtesy of Solingen Alligators

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