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2011 European Baseball Playoff Outlooks

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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About Eric Bynum
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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