By Gabriel Fidler
BELGRADE, Serbia — Hungarian powerhouse Budapest moved to the top of the standings in the second day of qualification for the Federation Cup in Serbia’s capital. The Red Wolves overcame a strong start by Apollo Bratislava thanks to the talented right arm of teenager Bálint Piros, who turned in an unruffled relief performance on the mound, contributing at the plate as well. The nightcap saw an eye-popping 28 hits, 16 walks, and six errors, and when the smoke cleared, it was Lithuanian baseball’s Kaunas County that had survived its bout with home side Vojvodina.
A day after his older brother Ádám pitched a gem for the Red Wolves, Bálint Piros turned in his own excellent pitching performance against long-time rivals Apollo Bratislava. The high schooler looked like a veteran against the Slovakian champions, entering with a 6-2 deficit and working out of multiple jams in 6.1 relief innings. He allowed only two runs and sending down seven on strikes. Piros, who started the game at shortstop and in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, chipped in a double, two walks, and a stolen base, scoring three times and driving in another.
Craig Batchelor had four hits in the 12-10 comeback victory, including two doubles, walked, and stole two bases in support, while Zsolt Győri, another top Hungarian prospect, notched a double, a single, and a free pass. Alexander Václavík was 4-for-7 with two stolen bases for Bratislava.
Kaunas drew 14 free passes and added 10 hits, including three doubles, in outlasting hometown club Vojvodina, 11-9. Lithuanian legend Will Gordon had two of the club’s two-baggers and drew a pair of base on balls, scoring three times. Donatas Maciulevičius was 2-for-2 with a double and three walks. Audrius Beliauskas turned in a heroic performance for Kaunas, going all nine innings despite surrendering an astonishing 18 hits. Leonardo Morillo did all he could for Vojvodina, lacing two doubles and a brace of singles, stealing a bag, scoring twice, and driving in two. Marko Badovinac was 3-for-4 with four RBI.
Day 2 Results [Box Scores]
June 22: Budapest 12 – Bratislava 10
June 22: Vojvodina 9 – Kaunas 11
June 23: Kaunas – Bratislava
June 23: Budapest – Wrocƚaw
June 24: Bratislava – Wrocƚaw
June 24: Vojvodina – Budapest
June 25: Wrocƚaw – Kaunas
June 25: Bratislava – Vojvodina
Final (June 26): TBD
Previous Results [Box Scores]
June 21: Kaunas 1 – Budapest 11 (7)
June 21: Wrocƚaw 0 – Vojvodina 10 (7)
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