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Jun '22 21

2022 Federation Cup Qualifier Sophia Day 1: Williams, Kovalenko Aces in Zürich, Sofia Wins; Homers for Fischer, Dutton

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By Gabriel Fidler

SOFIA, Bulgaria — The hometown Akademiks started their Federation Cup qualification with a 9-3 win over Irish baseball’s Mariners, while the only known Barracudas native to Switzerland glided by the London Capitals, 6-1. Both games featured excellent starting pitching, with former NCAA Division II pitcher Tyler Williams dealing for Zürich, while Valeriy Kovalenko racked up the punch-outs for Sofia. Nicholas Fischer homered for the Barracudas and Matthew Dutton went yard for the Baseball Ireland nine.

Highlights
In the first game of the tournament, Nicholas Fischer launched a two-run round-tripper in the first inning for Zürich, and Williams was exceptional for the Barracudas on the mound. The ex-Cal. State–San Bernardino right-hander fired eight superb innings in which he struck out nine, allowed only five hits, did not issue a free pass or an earned run, and struck out nine. David Bedard went seven for the Capitals and Julio Figuereo had a double and a single.

In the nightcap, the Mariners took a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a pair of errors, but the Irish baseballers gifted Sophia four free runs between the third and the fifth innings. Although the Akademiks had three singles in those frames, three hit batters and three fielding miscues made the difference. Matthew Dutton homered for the M’s in the bottom of the fourth, but Sophia blew the 4-2 game wide open in the seventh on five hits, two walks, and the tourists’ eighth error of the day. The big hits were a double from Todor Nikolov and a two-run single from Bogdan Nikov.

Kovalenko was excellent for the Bulgarians, striking out 12 in a complete game six-hitter. He scattered six hits and four walks, with Dutton’s dinger the only earned run against him. Daniel Woodburne deserved better than his fate, striking out eight in 6.2 innings and surrendering four earned runs. Jamie Cuevas gave the Mariners a chance with 2.1 shutout frames to conclude the game.

Petyo Petkov had four of the Akademiks’ 15 hits, while Nikolov was 3-for-4 with a run scored and Nikov 3-for-6, crossing home three times. Both had two RBI. Dutton was 3-for-4 for the Mariners.

Day 1 Results [Box Scores]
London 1 – Zürich 6
Sofia 9 – Mariners 3

Upcoming Schedule
June 22: Mariners – Zagreb
June 22: Zürich – Sofia
June 23: Mariners – Zürich
June 23: Zagreb – London
June 24: London – Mariners
June 24: Zagreb – Sofia
June 25: Zürich – Zagreb
June 25: Sofia – London
Final (June 26): TBD

Standings

Team W-L GB RF RA
Akademiks Sofia 1-0 9 3
Barracudas Zürich 1-0 6 1
Zagreb 0-0 .5 0 0
London Capitals 0-1 1 1 6
Mariners 0-1 1 3 9

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