by John Baum
ROYAL GREYS DEFEAT BERN CARDINALS 8-2, AND 6-0 TO QUALIFY FOR THE “A” POOL IN 2009!!
Bern Cardinals versus Kaunas Lituanica
The Cardinals benefited from two solid starts from Stefan Koller to defeat the Lithuanians 6-1, and 6-2 on Friday in Antwerp. In game one Stefan threw six great innings for the win, and five solid in the second game. In game one he was relieved by John Baum with runners on second and third with no outs in a 3-1 game. Baum would take care of the next three hitters by strikeout, without allowing a runner to score! The Cardinals continued to score, plating three runs in the eighth inning, thanks to a two-run single form Angelo Rodriguez. The game would end with the Cards on top by a score of 6-1. Koller and Baum combined to strikeout twelve batters, Baum had seven in three innings.
Game two saw the Cards off to an early lead thanks to a run scoring double in the top of the first from Baum. The Lithuanians would answer right back in the second, tying the game with a run of their own. The Swiss team once again took the lead in the fourth inning only to allow their opponent to once again tie the game in the bottom half. The score remained at 1-1 thanks to solid pitching on both sides. Severin Fries took over for Koller in the sixth inning, allowing only three hits, and striking out six in the final four innings. In the top of the ninth, the Cardinals, thanks to a two-out throwing error from the third baseman, took the lead. The bases were eventually loaded when John Baum broke the game wide open with a bases clearing double to center. Fries would have no problem in the bottom of the inning, setting the Lithuanians down in order, preserving the 6-2 victory!
Bern Cardinals versus Royal Greys
In game one between the Royal Greys and Cardinals, pitching was the name of the game for the first six innings, as the score going into the seventh inning was 1-1. Both teams up until that point having several runners in scoring position, but were unable to come up with the big hit. In the top of the seventh, the Greys managed to open the game up with a bit of luck. The leadoff hitter hit a jam shot of John Baum over the shortstop, the next hitter unsuccessfully tried two bunt attempts. The next pitch to the nine-hitter was a two-strike curve in the dirt, the batter would swing, hitting the ball on the bounce off the ground for an infield single!! With runners on first and second, the leadoff hitter attempted another bunt, this time a pop up down the first base line that the pitcher unsuccessfully attempted a diving catch for… with time to still get the runner at first base, the throw was made, but the first baseman had come too far down the line, and the runner was safe!! The next hitter popped out to second base, bringing up Bryon Bell, the big Canadian import that dominated the “A” pool in Grosseto. This was an at-bat for the ages, as after a full count was worked, Bell and Baum had an epic 16-pitch battle! Eventually a ball was thrown, and a bases loaded walk was issued to Bell. The Greys would tack on one more run in the inning, leaving with a 3-1 lead after seven innings. At this point the Cards lost their momentum and focus, and ended up handing the Greys five more runs. The final score giving the Belgians an 8-2 win!
In game two Severin Fries did his best to put his team on his back, and into the “A” pool. Fries would strike out seven over a complete game loss, as he was out-dueled by Dennis Van Hoof. Fries also received no help from his defense, as only three of the six runs were considered earned, and that was a bit generous for the home team! But it didn’t matter in the end as Van Hoof recorded a two-hit, complete game shutout against the Swiss team! Van Hoof was the winner of game two against Lithuania the previous day, throwing six innings. The Cards were out-hit 8-2 on the game, and were overmatched by a brilliant pitching performance. Unfortunately once again in the game, the scoreboard did not reflect the level of competition in the end, as the score finished 6-0, but was 2-0 going once again into a disastrous seventh inning.
The Cardinals would like to congratulate the Royal Greys on two hard fought wins, and wish them luck in their domestic finals! They played well, limited their mistakes, and deservedly earned their country a spot in next year’s “A” pool tournament.
It was unfortunate for us to play so well, so deep into the game, to come away on the losing end the way it happened. But we have much to be proud of, and represented ourselves, our team, and our country well. I believe that we gained the respect of people who didn’t know how well we play here, and were close to doing the improbable… going to the “A” pool! Thanks for all the support in Bern while we were there, it’s great to know we had so many people paying attention to the live feed and keeping up with us inning by inning! We will do our best to do well in the playoffs starting this Saturday, to be sure we have the opportunity to represent our country once again in international competition!