Archive | September, 2011

Sweden: Stockholm BSK Sweeps Gothenburg to Win Championship

SWEDEN – For the third time in the last four years, Stockholm BSK won the Swedish Championship after a three-game sweep of the Gothenburg Sharks in the finals.

After the two first games, played last weekend in Skövde since Göteborgs home field was unplayable due to flooding, Stockholm held a commanding 2-0 lead after winning two close games, 6-3 and 11-8.

In those games, however, the two top starters, brothers Joakim and Jacob Claesson went down with injuries. Joakim Claesson, one of Team Swedens top starters, broke his wrist after a hit by pitch, and Jacob Claesson experienced discomfort in his shoulder.

Therefore, in a surprise move, the Stockholm club relied on 17-year old southpaw Albin Sivard, a product of the club’s deep youth program, to take the hill in game three of the Swedish Finals.

Like the Claesson brothers, Albin Sivard has been bred trough the Stockholm youth program at the Skarpnäck field and now also practices year round as he studies at the Swedish Baseball and Softball Academy.

Albin Sivard had only pitched three innings in the Elite League this year, after an injury held him on the sidelines, but looked more like a seasoned veteran on the mound than a young rookie pitcher.

The young lefthander responded to the challenge by throwing seven shutout innings, only allowing one hit and two base on balls while striking out 12 batters en route to his first playoff win for Stockholm.

Offensively, Stockholm capitalized on six Gothenburg errors as they scored in every inning except the sixth, and by that time held a commanding 8-0 lead. The game was called in the bottom of the eight as Stockholm finished off Gothenburg, 10-0.

Curtis Dionne took the loss for Gothenburg, allowing seven runs (four earned) over three innings.

Magnus Pilegård earned MVP honors after hitting 5 for 12 in the finals with five rbi’s, four runs scored, and an important homerun in the second game.

Press Release: Swedish Baseball and Softball Federation

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Germany: Buchbinder Legionaere Capture Third Championship in Four Years

GERMANY – Mike Bolsenbroek and Boris Bokaj combined on a six-hitter, and the Buchbinder Legionaere beat the Paderborn Untouchables 5-1 Saturday to complete a stunning comeback to win the 2011 German Championship.

The Legionaere, which dropped the first two games of the best-of-five title series before claiming three consecutive wins, captured its third championship in four years.

Bolsenbroek worked seven scoreless innings before exiting in the eighth to a boisterous standing ovation from the 2,630 spectators at the Armin Wolf Arena in Regensburg. Bokaj collected the final five outs to earn the save.

The reigning German champion tagged Paderborn ace Eugen Heilmann for a score in the third on Ludwig Glaser’s run-scoring single. Skipper Martin Helmig’s squad tacked on two more runs in the seventh before the Untouchables chased Bolsenbroek in the eighth to close the gap to 3-1.

Richard Klijn capped the scoring with a two-run single in the ninth to become the first Bundesliga squad to win back-to-back titles since Paderborn in 2005.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE:
Paderborn Untouchables 4, Buchbinder Legionaere 3 (10)
Paderborn Untouchables 1, Buchbinder Legionaere 0
Buchbinder Legionaere 5, Paderborn Untouchables 0
Buchbinder Legionaere 7, Paderborn Untouchables 5
Buchbinder Legionaere 5, Paderborn Untouchables 1

(Buchbinder Legionaere wins series 3-2)

Marvin Moore is a freelance international baseball writer who coached in Europe for six years. He currently teaches baseball to poverty-stricken Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School.

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Austria: Schwaz Tigers Tie Semifinal Series at One

AUSTRIA – Jason Fronczak homered and turned in a clutch outing on the mound to help the Schwaz Tigers stun the Attnang-Puchheim Athletics 2-1 this past weekend in the Austrian Baseball League playoffs. The best-of-five semifinal series is knotted at one game apiece.

Fronczak (1-0) drilled a go-ahead solo shot in the seventh and scattered two hits over 7 2/3 innings to earn the series-tying win. Franz Haisjackl tallied the final four outs to earn the save.

Josh Castanza (0-1) was dealt the setback despite limiting Schwaz to just a pair of runs in a complete game effort.

Attnang-Puchheim opened the series with a 11-2 victory behind home runs by Johnny Kashuba, Michael Nedelcu and Martin Rabengruber.

Walter Strasser (1-0) worked six strong frames to notch the win.

METROSTARS SHOCK WANDERERS
The Vienna Metrostars disposed of thier crosstown rival Vienna Wanderers twice this past weekend to grab control of the best-of-five semifinal series.

The third-seeded Metrostars took the first game, 6-4, as closer Lutz Rauch (1-0) came out of the bullpen to notch the win. JT. Hillard (1-0) was the beneficiary of a 13-3 rout in Game Two as the Metrostars put the Wanderers on the brink of elimination.

Left-hander Clemens Cichocki (0-2) was tagged with both setbacks.

Marvin Moore is a freelance international baseball writer who coached in Europe for six years. He currently teaches baseball to poverty-stricken Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School.

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Switzerland: Therwil Flyers and Bern Cardinals Split First Two Games of Finals

SWITZERLAND – Veteran left-handed hitters Stefan Koller and Reto Siegel both homered during a pivotal nine-run eighth inning as the Therwil Flyers opened the 2011 Swiss Finals with a 15-5 victory Saturday over the Bern Cardinals at Kanelmatt 1 in Therwil.

Koller (1-0) went 3-for-5, stole a base, crossed the plate twice, and chased Bern starter Tobias Imboden in the game-deciding frame with a two-run blast. The right-hander allowed a run in two relief frames to notch his second win of the postseason.

Therwil raced out to a quick 2-0 lead in the opening frame on a two-run blast off the bat of American player/coach JB Tucker. But the reigning Swiss champion, making its seventh consecutive appearance in the title series, came charging back in the third.

Vitus Huber’s two-run double knotted the score before American John Baum followed with another two-bagger to give the Cardinals a 3-2 advantage. Johnny Perigos capped the frame with an RBI single.

The Flyers pulled even in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Sebastian “Seppi” Zwyer, and went back on top, 6-4, in the seventh on Daniel Eichenberger’s two-run single.

Bern made it a one-run affair in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by Eduardo Villacis, but Therwil blew the game open in the bottom of the same frame as the first 10 batters reached base en route to the lopsided series-opening victory.

Siegel hit a three-run shot while Tucker drove in three scores for a squad that had six players tally two or more RBIs.

The Cardinals raced out to a 9-0 lead en route to a convincing 11-3 win over the Flyers in Game 2 as Eduardo Villacis (1-0) scattered a run and four hits in six innings.

Koller put together another productive game going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

Bern has won the Swiss national championship (2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) five of the past six years.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE
Game 1 – Therwil Flyers 15, Bern Cardinals 5
Game 2 – Bern Cardinals 11, Therwil Flyers 3
Game 3 – Therwil Flyers at Bern Cardinals
Game 4 – Therwil Flyers at Bern Cardinals
Game 5 – Bern Cardinals at Therwil Flyers*

(Series tied at 1-1)

* If necessary

Marvin Moore is a freelance international baseball writer who coached in Europe for six years. He currently teaches baseball to poverty-stricken Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School.

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Czech Republic: Technika Brno Advances to Championship

CZECH REPUBLIC – Technika Brno booked its second consecutive league championship ticket with a doubleheader sweep over Kotlarka Prague Saturday in the Czech League semifinal playoffs.

Technika, which won the best-of-five series three games to one, took the twinbill opener 5-1 before eliminating Kotlarka with a 13-3 win in the second matchup.

Technika will meet AVG Draci Brno in a rematch of last year’s finals. The 16-time reigning Czech champion ousted the Eagles Prague from the postseason ten days ago.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE:
Kotlarka Prague 5, Technika Brno 3
Technika Brno 3, Kotlarka Prague 2
Technika Brno 5, Kotlarka Prague 1
Technika Brno 13, Kotlarka Prague 3

(Technika Brno wins series 3-1)

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Belgium: Hoboken Pioneers Close to Third Straight Championship

BELGIUM – The Hoboken Pioneers moved closer to its third consecutive national championship with a pair of victories over the Namur Angels last weekend in the Belgian Finals.

The two-time reigning champion opened the best-of-five title series with a 11-7 decision last Saturday over the surprising Angels, which were making its first appearance in the championship series in 12 years.

Hoboken nipped Namur, 4-3, in Game 2 the following day to move within one win shy of a threepeat.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE
Game 1 – Hoboken Pioneers 11, Namur Angels 7
Game 2 – Hoboken Pioneers 4, Namur Angels 3
Game 3 – Namur Angels at Hoboken Pioneers
Game 4 – Namur Angels at Hoboken Pioneers*
Game 5 – Namur Angels at Hoboken Pioneers*

(Hoboken Pioneers leads series 2-0)

* If necessary

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Netherlands: 2011 Baseball World Cup Roster

THE NETHERLANDS – The Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation has announced a 26-man roster for the upcoming 2011 Baseball World Cup slated for Oct. 1-15 in Panama. The United States are the reigning champion at the IBAF’s main tournament.

The Dutch finished sixth out of 22 teams at the 2009 Baseball World Cup held in eight European cities. American manager Brian Farley will be calling the shots for the Orange and Black squad.

2011 DUTCH NATIONAL TEAM:

CATCHERS:
Sidney de Jong (L&D AMSTERDAM); Shawn Zarraga (MILWAUKEE BREWERS A); Bas Nooij (L&D AMSTERDAM)

INFIELDERS:
Curt Smith (LINCOLN SALT DOGS); Mariekson Gregorius (CINCINNATI REDS AA); Sharlon Schoop (SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS AA); Jonathan Schoop (BALTIMORE ORIOLES A); Michael Duursma (VAESSEN PIONIERS); Xander Bogaerts (BOSTON RED SOX A)

OUTFIELDERS:
Kalian Sams (MINNESOTA TWINS A); Danny Rombley (UVV); Shaldimar Daantji (DOOR NEPTUNUS)

UTILITY:
Vince Rooi (L&D AMSTERDAM); Dwayne Kemp (DOOR NEPTUNUS)

DESIGNATED HITTER:
Bryan Engelhardt (CORENDON KINHEIM)

PITCHERS:
RHP David Bergman (CORENDON KINHEIM); RHP Leon Boyd (DOOR NEPTUNUS); RHP Rob Cordemans (L&D AMSTERDAM); LHP Diegomar Markwell (DOOR NEPTUNUS); RHP Shairon Martis (WASHINGTON NATIONALS AA); RHP Orlando Yntema (UVV); RHP Tom Stuifbergen (MINNESOTA TWINS AAA); RHP Juan Carlos Sulbaran (CINCINNATI REDS A); RHP Barry van Driel (DOOR NEPTUNUS); RHP Nick Stuifbergen (CORENDON KINHEIM); RHP Arshwin Asjes (DOOR NEPTUNUS)

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Germany: Mannheim Tornados Sign American Matt Kemp as Player-Coach

GERMANY – The German club Mannheim Tornados have signed American hurler Matt Kemp to serve as a playing coach for the 2012 season. Kemp will replace Georg Bull who resigned to concentrate more on his coaching duties with the German Baseball Academy.

The 28-year-old staff ace went 9-4 with a 1.28 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings this past season. The hard-throwing righty has compiled a 25-18 record in four seasons with the North Division club and has also struck out 426 batters in 376-plus frames on German soil.

Kemp, who will spend the winter in Australia as a player/coach, previously pitched on the U.S. independent league circuit.

Mannheim reached the German finals twice under Bull. The Tornados lost a five-game thriller to the Buchbinder Legionaere (Regensburg) in 2008, and also lost in five games to the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe in 2009.

MATT KEMP STATS:
2011: 9-4, 1.28 ERA, 111 K
2010: 7-7, 2.15 ERA, 148 K
2009: 4-4, 2.88 ERA, 91 K
2008: 5-3, 3.67 ERA, 76 K

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Austria: Attnang-Puchheim Wins Regular Season Title, To Face Schwaz Tigers in Semis

AUSTRIA – The Attnang-Puchheim Athletics wrapped up the Austrian Baseball League (ABL) regular season title last weekend with make-up game wins over the Vienna Wanderers and the RiCo Highlanders. Joining Attnang-Puchheim in the playoffs are the Wanderers, Vienna Metrostars and the Schwaz Tigers.

The A’s (24-4) blanked the Wanderers 10-0 on Saturday as Josh Castanza tossed a complete-game shutout and Johnny Kashuba hit a two-run homer. The reigning ABL champion routed the Highlanders 16-2 the following day as Thomas Schrittwieser notched the blowout win.

The Kufstein Vikings and the Vienna Metrostars split a doubleheader as Kufstein staff ace Werner Harrasser went the distance in both contests. Vienna (22-6) took the opening game 8-5 before the Vikings averted a sweep with a 4-1 decision in the season finale.

ABL SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS:

#1 Attnang-Puchheim Athletics (24-4) vs. #4 Schwaz Tigers (14-14)
#2 Vienna Wanderers (22-6) vs. #3 Vienna Metrostars (18-10)

ABL FINAL STANDINGS
1. Athletics Attnang-Puchheim (24-4)
2. Vienna Wanderers (22-6)
3. Vienna Metrostars (18-10)
4. Schwaz Tigers (14-14)
5. Schwechat Blue Bats (10-18)
6. Stock City Cubs (10-18)
7. SU Kufstein Vikings (7-21)
8. Rico Highlanders (7-21)*

* Relegated to the Second Division

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Croatia: BC Zagreb Wins Interleague Tournament Final

CROATIA – BC Zagreb polished off a multi-title season with a 10-7 triumph over Nada SSM Split at the 14th Interleague tournament final in Karlovac. Zagreb also captured the Croatian League championship earlier this year.

Jakub Rautner from Slovan (Slovakia) was named the best batter, while Zagreb’s Ernesto Pereira was tabbed as the Best pitcher and Marko Pavlakovi? was chosen as MVP of the tournament.

Slovan defeated Olimpia (Croatia) 23-8 in the third-place game to earn the bronze medal.

The Interleague tournament features clubs from Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia and Hungary.

INTERLEAGUE FINALS RESULTS:

Consolation Game
Slovan 23, Olimpia Karlovac 8

Championship Game
BC Zagreb 10, Nada SSM Split 7

Source: Confederation of European Baseball (CEB)

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Hungary: Janossomorja Rascals Take On Szentendre Sleepwalkers in Championship

HUNGARY – The retooled Janossomorja Rascals will be looking to make history when the upstart squad meets the Szentendre Sleepwalkers in the Hungarian Championship Final. The best-of-five title series begins this weekend with two games in Szentendre.

The Rascals, who split two games against the Sleepwalkers during the regular season, stunned Hungarian powerhouse Obuda Brick Factory in the semifinals. The
squad upgraded its roster with a trio of Americans (Justin Prinstein, Sam Boone and Ty Eriksen) for an improbable playoff run that has the team in the league final for the first time in club history.

The Sleepwalkers are the reigning champion and has captured the national crown a record six times. Szentendre ousted the Erd Aeros from the postseason in sweeping fashion to reach the championship set for the fourth consecutive season.

HUNGARIAN FINALS SCHEDULE:
Saturday, September 24:
Game 1 – Szentendre Sleepwalkers vs. Janossomorja Rascals

Sunday, September 25:
Game 2 – Szentendre Sleepwalkers vs. Janossomorja Rascals

Saturday, October 1:
Game 3 – Janossomorja Rascals vs. Szentendre Sleepwalkers

Sunday, October 2:
Game 4 – Janossomorja Rascals vs. Szentendre Sleepwalkers*

Saturday, October 8:
Game 5 – Szentendre Sleepwalkers vs. Janossomorja Rasclas*

(* If necessary)

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2011 USA 18U National Team Roster

UNITED STATES – Following a five-day trials and training evaluation period, USA Baseball has announced the names of the 20 players who will make up the 2011 18U National Team. The club will travel to Cartagena, Colombia, to compete in the 2011 COPABE ‘AAA’/18U Junior Pan American Championships, Nov. 17-27.

The 18U team will train and compete in exhibition games from Nov. 9-15, in Miami, Fla., before it leaves for Colombia on Nov. 16. It will play its first game on Nov. 17.

Florida and California led all states in players selected with six, followed by Alabama with two, and New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, New York, and Georgia, with one each.

2011 18U NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER:

Albert Almora, OF, Hialeah, Fla.
Alex Bregman, IF, Albuquerque, N.M.
Gavin Cecchini, IF, Lake Charles, La.
Troy Conyers, LHP, Lakeside, Calif.
David Dahl, OF, Birmingham Ala.
Chase DeJong, RHP, Long Beach, Calif.
Carson Fulmer, RHP, Lakeland, Fla.
Joey Gallo, IF/RHP, Las Vegas, Nev.
Cole Irvin, LHP, Anaheim, Calif.
Carson Kelly, IF/RHP, Portland, Ore.
Jeremy Martinez, C, Fountain Valley, Calif.
Chris Okey, C, Mt. Dora, Fla.
Cody Poteet, RHP, Bonita, Calif.
Nelson Rodriguez, C, New York, N.Y
Addison Russell, IF, Pace, Fla.
Clate Schmidt, RHP, Acworth, Ga.
Hunter Virant, LHP, Camarillo, Calif.
Walker Weickel, RHP, Orlando, Fla.
Mikey White, IF, Hoover, Ala.
Jesse Winker, OF, Windermere, Fla.

Coaching Staff
Scott Brosius, Manager, McMinnville, Ore.
Jim Lawler, Pitching Coach, Midland, Tex.
Brooks Badeaux, Assistant Coach, Lafayette, La.
Willie Romay, Assistant Coach, Miami, Fla.

Administration
Brant Ust, Director, Raleigh, N.C.
Matt Yarber, Coordinator, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Aldo Plata, Athletic Trainer, Wilmington, N.C.
Drew Hottinger, Media Officer, Muncie, Ind.

Source: USA Baseball

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Cuba Wins Baseball World Cup Friendly

CUBA – The Cuban National Team completed an impressive five-game sweep over Puerto Rico Tuesday night with a lopsided 13-0 victory at Latin American Stadium in Havana. The Cubans outscored the visitors 39 to 10 and limited Puerto Rican hitters to a run or less in four of the Baseball World Cup tune-up contests.

Cuba used a five-run fifth inning highlighted by a mammoth home run by outfielder Alfredo Despaigne to claim a 5-1 win in the series opener. Norberto Gonzalez and Yadier Pedroso both tallied three strikeouts apiece in stellar one-inning relief appearances.

Skipper Alfonso Urquiola’s lineup of reserve players earned a 4-1 decision in the second encounter before the two sides put on a 10-7 slugfest in Game 3 with Cuba pounding out 16 hits, including three two-baggers and four long balls.

The Big Red Machine drilled two more home runs in Game 4 as Danier Hinojosa threw four frames of one-run ball, and finished off the sweep with a 13-0 blowout victory in the series finale.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE
Game 1: Cuba 5, Puerto Rico 1
Game 2: Cuba 4, Puerto Rico 1
Game 3: Cuba 10, Puerto Rico 7
Game 4: Cuba 7, Puerto Rico 1
Game 5: Cuba 13, Puerto Rico 0

Visit BaseballdeCuba.com for the latest Cuban baseball news.

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Japan: 2011 Baseball World Cup Roster

JAPAN – The Baseball Federation of Japan (BFJ) has announced a 24-man roster for the upcoming 2011 Baseball World Cup slated for Oct. 1-15 in Panama. The United States are the reigning champion at the IBAF’s main tournament.

Japan’s squad of industrial league standouts finished 10th out of 22 teams at the 2009 Baseball World Cup held in eight European cities. Former Mitsubishi HI Nagasaki manager Hirotami Kojima will be calling the shots for the youthful Japanese side.

2011 JAPAN NATIONAL TEAM:

CATCHERS:
Shigeki Nakano, JR Kyushu; Takahito Matsuda, Tokyo Gas.

INFIELDERS:
Ryoichi Adachi, Toshiba; Yohei Kawato, Honda; Kanichi Matoba, Toyota; Takato Kobayashi, Mitsubishi Okazaki; Yuichi Tabata, Honda; Kenichi Yokoyama, Mitsubishi Juko Kobe; Mayo Sakagami, Mitsubishi Juko Yokohama.

OUTFIELDERS:
Takayoshi Kawabata, JR Higashi Nihon; Yoshinobu Kotegawa, Honda; Keiji Ikebe, JX-ENEOS; Mitsugu Kitamichi, NTT Higashi Nihon; Toshiyuki Hayashi, Fuji Juko.

PITCHERS:
Naobumi Mitsuhashi, JFE Higashi Nihon; Atsushi Tanaka, Panasonic; Koichi Kotaka, Saginomiya Seisakusho; Takashi Fujita, Toshiba; Masamitsu Hamano, JR Kyushu; Hirofumi Yamanaka, Honda Kumamoto; Yuichiro Utagawa, Mitsubishi Okazaki; Ken Togame, JR Higashi Nihon; Tomoyuki Kaida, Nihon Seimei; Hiroya Kawamitsu, Kyushu Kyoritsu Univeristy.

COACHING STAFF:
Hirotami Kojima (Head Coach), Kazutoyo Hayase, Masafumi Nishi and Shoichi Nakajima.

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Japan: Hyogo Swing Smileys Wins Cinderella Series

JAPAN – The Hyogo Swing Smileys won the 2011 Cinderella Series against the Kyoto Dreams. The two Girls Professional Baseball League (GPBL) clubs actually split the 10-game series but the Swing Smileys outscored the Dreams, 35-31.

The series attracted more than 20,000 fans with 3,929 spectators showing up at the Nagoya Dome on May 3 to witness Kyoto earn a 4-3 win. The squads played four one-run affairs, and eight of the 10 contests were decided by three runs or less.

GPBL STAGES CHARITY GAME
The Girls Professional Baseball League (GPBL) played a charity match at Sendai Municipal Stadium on Sept. 15. The GPBL held clinics in Sendai and Natori back in July, but this was their first game in the Tohoku region. Admission was free and proceeds from merchandise sales was donated to relief and reconstruction efforts in northern Japan. The Kyoto players also held a baseball clinic for about 50 people before the game.

NEW GPBL TEAM FOR 2012
The Girls Professional Baseball League (GPBL) announced that a third team, based out of Kansai, will be joining the league next year. A press conference announcing the name of the new team, in addition to the manager and players, will be held in early December.

The players for the new team will be selected during tryouts that will be held in Kansai and Kanto later this month. Around 20 players will be selected. A number of players from the two teams currently in the league will also probably be shuffled around.

The GPBL also has a Ustream account: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/girls-probaseball

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE:
4/29 – Kyoto 2, Hyogo 0 (Anan Stadium)
5/01 – Hyogo 5, Kyoto 3 (Yahoo Dome)
5/03 – Kyoto 4, Hyogo 3 (Nagoya Dome)
7/10 – Hyogo 2, Kyoto 1 (Kurashiki Muscat Stadium)
8/15 – Hyogo 4, Kyoto 2 (Kyocera Dome)
8/19 – Hyogo 6, Kyoto 1 (Thirty-Four Sagamihara Stadium)
8/20 – Kyoto 11, Hyogo 7 (Seibu Dome)
8/21 – Kyoto 3, Hyogo 2 (Jingu Stadium)
9/15 – Hyogo 4, Kyoto 1 (Sendai Stadium)
9/17 – Kyoto 3, Hyogo 2 (Sapporo Dome)

Source: Yakyubaka.com

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Germany: 2011 Baseball World Cup Roster

GERMANY – The German Baseball and Softball Federation (DBV) has announced a 24-man roster for the upcoming 2011 Baseball World Cup slated for Oct. 1-15 in Panama. The United States are the reigning champion at the IBAF’s main tournament.

The Germans are coached by Georgia State University Head Coach Greg Frady and will join international baseball powerhouses Cuba and Souh Korea in Group B. The group also includes Australia, Venezuela, Italy, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The European squad will feature several U.S. minor leaguers, including Minnesota Twins highly-touted prospect Max Kepler-Rozycki. Other German professionals donning their national colors includes Martin Dewald, Kai Gronauer, Donald Lutz and Markus Solbach.

2011 GERMAN NATIONAL TEAM:

Kai Gronauer, New York Mets
Simon Guehring, Heidenheim Heidekoepfe
Bjorn Schonlau, Paderborn Untouchables
Michael Franke, Paderborn Untouchables Christopher Howard, Buchbinder Legionaere
Donald Lutz, Cincinnati Reds
Dominik Wulf, Solingen Alligators
Bjorn Schonlau, Paderborn Untouchables
Michael Franke, Paderborn Untouchables
Jendrick Speer, Paderborn Untouchables
Lennart Weller, Bonn Capitals
Max Boldt, Mainz Athletics
Ludwig Glaser, Buchbinder Legionaere
Max Kepler-Rozycki, Minnesota Twins
Sascha Lutz, Mannheim Tornados
Rodney Gessmann, Buchbinder Legionaere
Martin Dewald, Kansas City T-Bones
Tim Henkenjohann, Bonn Capitals
Philipp Hoffschild, Buchbinder Legionaere
André Hughes, Solingen Alligators; Markus Solbach, Minnesota Twins
Jens Cornelsen, Solingen Alligators
Eugen Heilmann, Paderborn Untouchables
Max Schmitz, Bonn Capitals
Dominik Hartinger, Gauting Indians
Daniel Thieben, Buchbinder Legionaere.

COACHING STAFF:
Greg Frady (Head Coach), Troy Williams, Nick Hogan and Dirk Fries.

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Dominican Republic: Manny Ramirez Looks to Play this Winter

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Manny Ramirez, who retired in April after failing his second drug test, is hoping to play winter ball in his homeland.

Ramirez played with the Cibao Eagles in 1993-94 and is expected to start training with the team again next week.

Rather than face a 100-game suspension, Ramirez opted to retire from the MLB. He was playing with the Tampa Bay Rays at the time.

His ban in the US will not prevent him from playing in the Dominican Republic. He is also currently facing prosecution on charges that he slapped his wife recently in Florida.

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2011 European Baseball Playoff Outlooks

The 2011 European Baseball Playoffs are in full force with the best squads on the old continent fighting for bragging rights and national championships. While several circuits across the Atlantic Ocean have already crowned a champion, the title season is just heating up in other places.

Below is a brief outlook from selected leagues in Europe:

AUSTRIA
The Austrian League concluded this weekend with four make-up games. The Attnang-Puchheim Athletics (24-4) claimed the regular season crown and will be joined in the playoffs with the Vienna Wanderers (22-6), Vienna Metrostars (18-10) and the Schwaz Tigers (14-14).

BELGIUM
The two-time reigning Belgian champion Hoboken Pioneers will be seeking their third consecutive title when they battle the surprising Namur Angels in the Belgian Series. The Angels ousted the Merksem Royal Greys to reach its first league championship series since 1998.

CROATIA
BK Zagreb regrouped from a surprising setback in Game 4 to beat Nada SSM Split and capture the Croation Baseball League Championship. Zagreb, coached by former Major Leaguer Mike Hartley, took the best-of-seven title series four games to one.

CZECH REPUBLIC
16-time defending Czech League champion AVG Draci Brno has already booked a ticket to the championship series and will meet the winner of the Technika Brno vs Kotlarka Prague semifinal matchup.

FRANCE
The six-time reigning French champion Rouen Huskies booted the Savigny Lions from the playoffs in four games to earn their eight finals appearance in the last nine years. Skipper Robin Roy’s squad will meet the winner of the Montpellier Barracudas vs. Senart Templiers matchup in the title series. The Barracudas leads the best-of-five semifinal matchup two games to none.

GERMANY
The reigning German champion Buchbinder Legionaere picked up a pair of must-win road victories last weekend to force a winner-take-all Game Five against the Paderborn Untouchables on Sept. 24. The Regensburg club regrouped after dropping the first two games at the Armin-Wolf-Arena with 5-0 and 7-5 wins.

GREAT BRITAIN
The Southern Nationals steamrolled the reigning champion Richmond Flames and the Lakenheath Diamondbacks en route to a shocking National Baseball League (NBL) title.

GREECE
The Panthers Patras dethroned seven-time league champion Spartacus Glyfadas to win the 2011 Greek Baseball Championship.

IRELAND
The Dublin Spartans (11-5) have clinched a spot in the Irish Baseball League finals and awaits the winner of the Dublin Hurricanes (15-1) vs. Belfast North Stars (6-10) clash this past Saturday. The league finals will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Corkagh Park.

ITALY
T&A San Marino climbed out of an 0-2 hole to beat Danesi Nettuno in seven games to win the 2011 Italian Series. The Titans, which last won the IBL’s top prize in 2008, also won the regular season crown and finished first in the nine-game semifinal round.

MALTA
The Mellieha Northenders Reflections Sports Bar & Grill defeated the Mustangs to claim its seventh Malta Baseball crown in the past eight years. The Northenders, which have won a total of 11 championships, took the best-of-three finals in two games.

NETHERLANDS
The L&D Amsterdam Pirates disposed of the Vaessen Pioniers in five games to win its first Holland Series since 2008. American Ben Grover capped a strong season with seven innings of one-run ball.

RUSSIA
Tornado of Moscow (formerly Balashikha) captured its third consecutive Russian Baseball Championships title. In the best-of-five final, the Tornado stopped MGPU Moscow in four games (7-5, 5-3, 8-11, 14-7).

SPAIN
FC Barcelona bagged the Spanish League trophy with a sterling 33-3 record in one of the few European leagues without a playoff format. However, due to budget cuts at the giant football powerhouse, the baseball program is expected to be eliminated.

SWEDEN
Stockholm BSK is on the brink of its third national championship in four years after notching a pair of road wins against Goteborg Hajarna last weekend in the best-of-five league title series. Stockholm opened the series with a 6-3 triumph and put the Sharks in an two-game hole with an 11-8 win in Game Two.

SWITZERLAND
One of Europe’s best rivalries will be renewed when the Bern Cardinals and Therwil Flyers meet in the Swiss League Finals. The Cards are the reigning champion and are making an impressive seventh straight appearance in the title series. The Flyers, which lorded over Swiss baseball in the early and mid-1990s, have enjoyed two magical campaigns under American playing coach JB Tucker, and boast a deep and talented pitching unit.

Marvin Moore is a freelance international baseball writer who coached in Europe for six years. He currently teaches baseball to poverty-stricken Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School.

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Germany: Solingen Alligators Defeat Montpellier Barracudas in European Cup Playoff

GERMANY – The Solingen Alligators blew open a tight affair with a five-run fourth to beat the Montpellier Barracudas 9-2 Sunday in a European Cup Playoff matchup at the Baseballpark Weyersberg in Solingen.

The German squad, which won Saturday’s series-opening contest 6-5, advances to the 2012 European Cup tournament which showcases the top club teams on the old continent.

American J.D. Scholten (1-0) went the distance to get the series-clinching win. The 31-year-old right-hander, who went 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA during the regular season, limited the French lineup to just a pair of scores on 10 hits.

Montpellier’s Jean-Michel Mayeur drilled a solo home run.

Moritz Buttgereit enjoyed a productive game for the home side with a 3-for-4 effort that included two doubles and three runs scored. American slugger Phil Ortez added three RBIs for the Alligators.

Laurent Andrades (0-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering nine runs and 11 hits in six innings of work.

SERIES-AT-A-GLANCE
Solingen Alligators 6, Montpellier Barracudas 5
Solingen Alligators 9, Montpellier Barracudas 2

(Solingen Alligators wins series 2-0)

Marvin Moore is a freelance international baseball writer who coached in Europe for six years. He currently teaches baseball to poverty-stricken Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School.

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France: Rouen Huskies Back in Finals

FRANCE – The Rouen Huskies are back in the French Elite League Finals after defeating the Savigny Lions 3-1 in Game 4 of their playoff match.

There was an interesting development in this series this week. Having defeated Rouen twice last weekend, a player for Savigny was declared ineligible by the French Baseball and Softball Federation. Savigny used Romain Martinez-Scott last weekend, but he was ineligible after having played in Australia. So Rouen was awarded 9-0 wins in the first two games.

Savigny tried to fight back by winning Game 3 by a score of 4-1, but fell short in Game 4 to end its season.

Rouen will face the winner of the Senart/Montpellier series. Montpellier is currently fighting for a second spot for France in the European Cup. They will resume their semi-final round next weekend with Montpellier holding a 2-0 games lead.

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Great Britain: Southern Nationals Crowned NBL Champs

By Joe GrayStaff Writer for baseballgb.co.uk
With contributions from Michael JonesAAA Special Correspondent

On the final weekend of Britain’s 2011 adult baseball season (September 10-11), twelve travelling troupes convened at Grovehill Ballpark, Herts Baseball Club’s excellent Hemel Hempstead facility, to play out the National Baseball Championships (NBCs).

National titles were decided at all four senior levels.

The newly formed Southern Nationals emerged victorious in the National Baseball League (NBL) final; the Liverpool Trojans, the country’s oldest club, claimed the AAA crown; the Bolton Robots of Doom were champions at AA level; and the recently re-formed Cambridge Royals took the Single-A title.

The event was run by Team GB to raise funds ahead of the crucial 2012 season, in which the Seniors will compete in the World Baseball Classic qualifier as well as the European Championship A-Pool, having regained a place among Europe’s elite with the qualifier win over Israel this summer.

As a fundraiser, the NBC was very successful (a sum of close to £2000 was raised). And a straw poll of spectators yielded favourable comments on the running of the event.

The inclement weather predicted in Friday’s forecasts did not materialise for the most part, with many of the games being played in dry and at times bright conditions, though a heavy rain shower led to a short break during the NBL Final and gusts on the far diamond momentarily became strong enough to up-end a gazebo.

Here is how the games went over the weekend.

NATIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE

NBL Semi-Final 1

Southampton Mustangs 11 Lakenheath Diamondbacks 12

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Southampton Mustangs 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 0 5 11 7 4
Lakenheath Diamondbacks 1 1 0 1 0 3 0 3 3 12 11 1

After three hours and nine minutes of increasingly dramatic back-and-forth baseball, it was a skilfully stroked single from Diamondbacks Player/Coach Ken Reber in the bottom of the ninth inning that decided the game.

Elation broke out among the Lakenheath camp as Reber charged down the first base line, fists pumping, while the realisation of defeat slowly emerged on the Mustangs’ faces. For the military squad, the goal of winning a national title in their first season was one step closer. For the Southampton team, there must have been at least some satisfaction that they had acquitted themselves at this highest level of competition far better than in 2010, when they were on the receiving end of a Reid Wilson no-hitter in their first of two losses.

Lakenheath’s big bats struck two early blows off Southampton starter Gary Davison, but with no runners on base, the home runs hit by Adrian Ryals in the bottom of the first and by Ryan Riniker in the bottom of the second did not faze the Mustangs. A chain of infield hits and walks brought up five on the scoreboard for Southampton in the top of the third, assisted by wildness from Diamondbacks starter Colton High.

But a new arm for the Diamondbacks, Peter Soares, kept the Mustangs quiet during the game’s middle three innings, a period during which Lakenheath plated four runs to edge into a 6–5 lead.

A single run in the seventh inning for Southampton restored parity, but a three-run rally in the eighth by Lakenheath appeared to have broken the spirit of the fighting Mustangs, given that they had loaded the bases in the top of the inning but had failed to score.

So, going into the ninth, the Mustangs trailed by three runs. Against the odds, though, the visitors appeared to have done enough to pull off a remarkable victory, with a five-run rally powered by a Marius Urbanavicius home run and a two-out Ben Davis double.

Now it was the Diamondbacks who looked down, but not quite out. Southampton relief pitcher Alberto Rodriguez was himself relieved by Lee Ralph during the ninth as the Diamondbacks loaded the bases and plated a run. Ralph gave himself a chance of navigating around the approaching iceberg, picking up two key outs including a force at the plate. But he was doomed to fail in the desperately difficult save attempt when Ken Reber stroked his walk-off hit.

Marius Urbanavicius was the pick of the Mustang hitters, with an earlier single to go with his last-inning homer. He had the Mustangs’ only multi-hit game. The Diamondbacks’ offence was paced by walk-off hero Reber, with three hits including a double, while Adrian Ryals, Adrian Mendoza and Josh Miller each had two hits.

NBL Semi-Final 2

Southern Nationals 18, Richmond Flames 6

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Southern Nationals 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 11 5 18 19 4
Richmond Flames 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 6 8 1

In a game exuding intensity for much of its course, the grains of sand were running out for the trailing Nationals as their right-fielder Leo Perez drew a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh inning. Based on the tightly-fought nature of the contest up to that point, it appeared that the NBL newcomers would need to capitalise on every opportunity if they were to stand a chance of overturning a 5–2 deficit.

But a successfully executed pick-off from the ever-dangerous arm of Richmond catcher Ryan Bird removed Perez and had one spectator commenting that “It’s just not going to be the Nationals’ day.” This was underscored when hits by the Lintern brothers (a double for Will and single for George), sandwiched around a hit by pitch for Jason Roberts, loaded the bases for the Nationals, only for an infield pop-up and a fly-out to centre by Jason Holowaty to end the threat with no runs scored. The inning might have been different without the pick-off.

But redemption was reasonably swift for Leo Perez. He scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as part of a developing rally by the Harlow-based squad, and then sealed what turned into an 11-run onslaught with a three-run homer later in the inning. That incredible sequence of scoring had started with a lead-off home run by the 2011 NBL long-ball champion Edwin Alcantara. Richmond were aggrieved by the nature of the slugger’s celebration, and they lost their control of the game soon after.

Another five runs for the visitors in the ninth inning made the final score 18–6. The Nationals’ attack had been driven by a 4-for-6 performance by Maikel Azcuy (including a two-run homer), and three-hit performances by Leo Perez and Brendan Cunliffe. Young infielder Luis Goncalves also impressed, going 2-for-2 from the ninth spot before being substituted.

Starting pitcher Jason Roberts entered the batting line-up at that point, with Jason Holowaty moving from designated hitter to second base. Shortly after, Holowaty took one of the most remarkable catches in any recent Championship, a full-stretch dive to his left that snagged a hard-hit liner off the bat of Cody Cain.

“Of all the gloves I had to hit it to…!” Cain remarked as he retreated to the bench.

Jason Roberts went the distance in the game, throwing 150 pitches in his nine-inning effort, striking out seven and walking four while scattering eight hits. Robbie Unsell, who was the NBL’s best pitcher during the regular season, had been a worthy adversary for six innings.

The 2010 champion Flames, to their credit, had played very well for seven innings, despite being short of at least one key pitcher through injury and fielding several players who were battling with cramp and other ailments. The lead they had built in the early innings was aided by round-trippers hit by Ryan Bird and Marty Visser and a three-bagger for long-time servant Michael Osborn.

But it was the Southern Nationals who advanced to join the Lakenheath Diamondbacks in the Final, ensuring that the 2011 National Championship was going to go a newly-formed team.

NBL FINAL

Southern Nationals 13, Lakenheath Diamondbacks 3

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Southern Nationals 0 1 4 1 5 2 0 13 12 0
Lakenheath Diamondbacks 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 3 5 5

Nationals’ Manager Jason Greenberg and Coach Marty Cullen handed the ball to graduating GB Junior Jamie Ratcliff for the Final. It had been 24 years, according to available records, since an Under-18 pitcher had won a National Final (the last being Tony Kuramitsu, who pitched a three-hit shutout for the Cobham Yankees in 1987).

What made the move braver still was the fact that Ratcliff had at times during the season struggled to direct his often-lethal missiles through the plane of the strike zone. At his best, Ratcliff had shut out the Croydon Pirates on the penultimate weekend of the season, but when he was not on his game he had walked batters in bunches and been pulled early on occasion.

But in this game, Ratcliff just had to focus on pitching, with the designated hitter spot filled by first Brandon Deal and then Carlos Casal, who delivered a pinch-hit double late in the game.

Ratcliff’s opponent on the mound was Ken Reber, the Lakenheath ace during the regular season.

The first run of the game came in the top of the second inning, the Diamondbacks scoring on a base on balls after Jamie Ratcliff had walked the bases full. Following some steadying words from his battery-mate and GB Junior Coach Will Lintern, Ratcliff pulled himself together and induced a ground ball that dependable third baseman George Lintern snared and then narrowly won a foot race to the bag against the incoming runner.

In the bottom of the second, Maikel Azcuy reached on a single for the Nationals, advanced to third on an errant throw and then dashed home on a wild pitch — an early sign of the control problems that Reber would suffer.

Jamie Ratcliff issued a one-out walk in the third and, following a strike-out, yielded a single to the dangerous Cameron Banks. Hitting behind Banks was Ryan Riniker, one of Lakenheath’s main power hitters, but Ratcliff bore down to retire him on a called third strike.

The Nationals then gave the battling Ratcliff runs to work with by punishing a series of Lakenheath infield errors in the bottom of the third. The four runs scored gave the Nationals a platform for victory.

From that point on, the Diamondbacks looked increasingly like they had no answer to the young Nationals hurler, as Ratcliff grew in confidence and seemingly found even more movement on his off-speed pitches. Only when the 105-pitch count approached (this being a strict limit for Under-18 pitchers) did the Nationals move to bring in Jason Roberts as a closer.

Roberts entered in the top of the seventh with a 13–2 lead, knowing that the Diamondbacks would need to score at least two runs to avoid a mercy-rule ending. Lakenheath did manage to score once, and had the second run heading for home when triple-crown winner Edwin Alcantara, stationed in centre field, became a fitting recipient of the last out.

Jamie Ratcliff’s winning performance in the final (six innings, two runs, three hits, five walks and three strike-outs) earned him MVP honours, while Maikel Azcuy was named Player of the Tournament after going 7-for-10 across the two games. Leo Perez also excelled over the two days, finishing 5-for-6 in the tournament.

Beyond Ratcliff, the Nationals’ roster featured other talented youngsters in Luis Goncalves, Aaron Webster and Dan Parker. The last of these players completed a three-generation Championship run, with father Frank Jr and grandfather Frank Sr both having claimed titles in their respective eras.

Frank Jr was one of the most jubilant Nationals’ followers, which was understandable given that the first team inscribed on the trophy now lifted by his son’s team was one that he himself had played on.

Visit BaseballGB.co.uk

BaseballGB is a site dedicated to writing about baseball from a British perspective. Read more from Joe Gray, Matt Smith and the team who brings you the top writing about our great game in the United Kingdom.

Photo Courtesy David Ratcliff/BBF.org

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Switzerland: Therwil and Bern Advance to Finals

SWITZERLAND –  The Therwil Flyers and Bern Cardinals will square off with one another in the championship of the Swiss Nationalliga A. Both teams earned victories on Saturday to sweep their respective semi-final matches and advance to the championship round.

Therwil Flyers 10, Zurich Barracudas 7
Therwil Flyers 8, Zurich Barracudas 4
Therwil Flyers 9, Zurich Barracudas 3

In Game 3 of their semi-final match, the Flyers scored a 9-3 victory. Lukas Croton went 5 innings allowing only a walk and striking out 5 to earn the victory for Therwil. Center fielder Reto Siegel led the way offensively going 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and 2 doubles.  Takanobu Oshima chipped in 3 RBI going 2-for-3.

The Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 5 innings, but Zurich would battle back with 3 runs of its own in the 6th. However, that would be all they would get and Therwil would tack on 4 more runs to win going away.

Bern Cardinals 11, Embrach Mustangs 8
Bern Cardinals 18, Embrach Mustangs 4
Bern Cardinals 6, Embrach Mustangs 2

The Bern Cardinals advanced to the finals with a 6-2 victory in Game 3 of their semi-final match with the Embrach Mustangs. Tobias Imboden went the distance for Bern allowing 2 runs on 9 hits while striking out 7. The offense was carried by Johnny Perigo Mejias who hit 2 bombs driving in all 6 runs. In the bottom of the 1st, Mejias hit a 2-run home run to put Bern on the board. After the Mustangs had cut the lead to 2-1, Mejias once again came up big. This time he hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 6th to put the game away. He finished 2-for-4 with 6 RBI.

Bern looks to defend its title from 2010. They have won 5 of the last 6 titles dating back to 2005.

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Sweden: Stockholm Takes First Two Games in Finals Vs Goteborg

SWEDEN – Stockholm took the first 2 games on the road of the Swedish Elitserien finals defeating Goteborg Hajarna 6-3 and 11-8 on Saturday.

Justin Trejo pitched 6 strong innings to pick up the victory in Game 1, while Joakim Claesson pitched the final 3 frames to complete the game and earn the save for Stockholm. After 3.5 innings, Stockholm had jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Goteborg would come back with 2 runs of its own in the bottom of the 4th to cut the lead in half. That’s as close as they would get.

Goteborg did threaten in the bottom of the 9th though. With the bases loaded and a run already in, Tony Dermendziev just missed a grand slam that would have been a huge walk-off victory for Goteborg.

Stockholm won Game 2 as well, but it cost them. Starting pitcher Jacob Claesson left the game in the 3rd inning with pain in his shoulder. Magnus Pilegard came in to relieve Claesson after he was pulled due to injury. However, it wouldn’t be the only Claesson injured. Jacob’s brother Joakim Claesson was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist.

Stockholm took control of the game in the 3rd inning scoring 5 runs to take a 5-1 lead. Goteborg came back immediately in the bottom half of the inning to get 3 of its own to push the score to 5-4, but they wouldn’t get any closer. Stockholm would get runs in the 5th, 6th, and 7th to push their lead to 11-4 and cruise to victory taking control of the series.

Stockholm returns home for games 3 and, if necessary, games 4 and 5.

Finals Schedule:
Saturday, September 17:
Goteborg 3 – Stockholm 6
Goteborg 8 – Stockholm 11
Saturday, September 24:
12:00 Stockholm – Goteborg
3:00 Stockholm – Goteborg*
Sunday, September 25:
12:00 Stockholm – Goteborg*
(*if necessary)

Photo Courtesy Swedish Baseball Federation

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Germany: Buchbinder Legionaere Takes Game 3, Trails 2 Games to 1

GERMANY - Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg staved off elimination with a 5-0 victory in Game 3 of the German Baseball-Bundesliga Finals against the Paderborn Untouchables. Paderborn now leads 2-games-to-1.

Legionaere starter Mike Bolsenbroek went 6.2 scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3 to earn the victory and keep the hopes alive of a repeat championship.

Regensburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning, and that is all they would need as their pitchers shut down the Untouchables. Lead off hitter Matthew Vance went 3-for-5 to keep the pressure on Paderborn all day long. Second baseman Lukas Jahn went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI as they look to rebound to force a game 5.

Julius Uelschen was the only Paderborn hitter with more than 1 hit going 2-for-3 in the losing effort. Eugen Heilmann took the loss going 7.2 innings allowing all 4 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks.

Game 4 will take place Sunday September 18.

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