The showdown of the Austrian Bundesliga’s two remaining teams did not disappoint, with Traiskirchern surprising its visitors from Dornbirn with the first offensive outburst of any of its opponents in Game One, while Southee ensured the Indians came with something in the rubber match with one of the most memorable pitching performances in Europe in some time. The three other series all resulted in sweeps for East Division teams, including a surging Schwechat, which scored more runs over Labor Day weekend than any other team has yet scored in a series.
Schwechat Blue Bats at Feldkirch Cardinals (27-6, 15-4)
Schwechat was the story of Saturday, with the Blue Bats continuing their offensive awakening with two huge wins on the road. For the Lower Austrians it was the first victories in the top Austrian league since promotion. Although Dominik Bischof ripped a two-run homer for Feldkirch in the third, the Cardinals could not stop the onslaught in a 27-6 drubbing, the most runs scored by an Austrian team in 2021 by an increase of nine. Braudy de León was 4-for-5 with a double, scoring four runs and driving in three.
In Game Two, the Blue Bats picked up where they left off, plating four in the first and running the score to 15-0 before the Cardinals could score. De León continued his monster weekend by blasting a grand slam in the fifth, driving in two more on a two-bagger. Felix Stephan earned the run with six innings of one-run ball as the Bundesliga rookies earned their first victories in the country’s top flight.
Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks at ASAK Athletics Attnang-Puchheim (6-5, 6-5)
Two absolute thrillers were delivered by ASAK Athletics and Wr. Neustadt Diving Ducks. The home side got off to a better start in the first game. After six innings the Athletics had a 5-0 lead, backed up by great pitching from Florian Wilhem. At the beginning of the seventh inning, however, the Ducks offensive woke up and quickly booked four runs. When victory for Attnang-Puchheim was within its grasp in the ninth, the Diving Ducks struck and equalized. Bonus baseball commenced, and Neustadt was handed the 6-5 win with three walks and a wild pitch.
In the second game, the ASAK Athletics got off to a good start again and were 3-0 up into the fourth inning. After a double from the Ducks’ Eoghan McGarry, a hit from teenager Alex Seidenberger, and an error, the guests reclaimed two points of the deficit. Attnang-Puchheim negated those runs quickly, however, and once more took the lead into the ninth. A big four-run frame from Wiener Neustadt once more spelled defeat, and Florian Kawczynski punched out the game’s final batter with the bases loaded to preserve the victory.
Apropos of nothing, the weekend’s results mean that three of the last four games that the Diving Ducks have played resulted in 6-5 walk-off wins.
Hard Bulls at Vienna Wanderers (3-9, 1-17)
The Wanderers used fantastic pitching and a strong offense to dispose of the hapless visitors. In the opener, Angelo Thau (2-1) got off to a rocky start in a two-run first, but did not allow another run until the ninth and tossed a complete game. By that point, his Vienna club had plated nine runs.
In the second game, Daniel Walenta started for the hosts and gave up a solo shot to Bulls’ newcomer Yodai Nakamura in the first. However, this should be the Bulls’ only hit in the game. By the fifth inning, the Wanderers were already 15 points ahead. Highlights of the Wanderers’ offensive were base hits from all starters, as well as a nine-run inning with six hits in a row.
Dornbirn Indians at Traiskirchen Grasshoppers (1-13, 2-0)
When the calendar turned to Sunday, all eyes were on the matchup in Traiskirchern, where 6-0 Dornbirn travelled to face the 4-0 Grasshoppers. The Indians possessed the two most locked-in pitchers in Austria in Ryan Rupp and Lochlan Southee, while the ‘Hoppers had a relentless offence and great pitching.
Traiskirchen showed off both its strengths in the first duel. With good pitching and good defense, the home team went up 6-0 after the third inning and doubled that score in the fifth. Philipp Eckel and Kervin Castillo both went yard and drove in three, while Tobias Kiefer tossed a gem.
The second game lived up to its billing, however, with both sides scoreless through regulation. Starting pitcher Brett Ludeman, who only arrived in Austria on Friday, made his debut for the Grasshoppers and did not disappoint, while Southee matched him zero for zero. Dornbirn finally pushed across two runs in the top of the eleventh, and the ball was handed to Southee for the eleventh time that day. Although Traiskirchen loaded the bases, Southee (4-0) held on for three final outs for an 11-inning shutout. The jaw-dropping feat extended Southee’s scoreless innings streak to 27.1 frames.
|W. Neustadt D. Ducks||5-4||3-4||.556||1.5||5-2||0-2||49||62||W3|
|Schwechat Blue Bats||2-6||0-4||.250||4||0-0||2-6||62||81||W2|
Week 4 Results
May 1 Schwechat 27 – Cardinals 6 (6) [Box]
May 1 Diving Ducks 6 – Athletics 5 (10) [Box]
May 1 Bulls 3 – Wanderers 9 [Box]
May 1 Schwechat 15 – Cardinals 4 (7) [Box]
May 1 Diving Ducks 6 – Athletics 5 [Box]
May 1 Bulls 1 – Wanderers 17 (7) [Box]
May 2 Dornbirn 1 – Traiskirchen 13 (7) [Box]
May 2 Dornbirn 2 – Traiskirchen 0 (11) [Box]
Home team listed second.
Many thanks to the ABF for providing a weekly recap, portions of which have been translated and adapted herein.