OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Two clubs booked their places in the semifinals of the Champions Cup as the second of three days of group rounds in Czechia concluded. Bologna scored 17 runs in the first four innings against Rouen in a 17-1 blowout to secure one of the four places. Meanwhile, Bonn survived a wild matchup with Amsterdam – in which Gilmer Lampe and Kalian Sams once more went yard – thanks to a pair of round-trippers from Wilson Lee.
Bologna 17 – Rouen 1 (5)
The three-time defending Italian champions had no trouble with France’s entry in the Champions Cup, scoring five in the first and doubling their 7-1 output through two with a seven-run third. Bologna had already plated two when Ernesto Liberatore stepped to the plate in the first. Bologna’s backstop added to the Huskies’ misery, crushing a three-run shot to right-center.
Rouen had three hits in the bottom of the frame, but the only run came across on Auguste Guern’s crafty steal of home. In the second, Renzo Martini submitted evidence that the mighty sword is more powerful than the steal of home, bashing a two-run shot for the 7-1 lead. The following frame was a two-out, line drive clinic, with Odessa College’s Daniel Monti – not to be confused with Detroit’s Daniele di Monti – lashing a two-run double leading up to the second out, setting up Filippo Agretti’s two-bagger and singles from Osman Marval and Ericson Leonora. Three walks and a hit batter compounded Rouen’s problems and Bologna emerged from the top of third up 14-1.
At this point, with Angelo Palumbo dealing for the Italian club, the decision was more-or-less obvious, but Leonora – once a high-profile Yankees signing – mashed a three-run tater in the fourth anyway.
The Huskies had their chances against Palumbo, who struck out three and did not walk a batter in five innings, but the wily right-hander worked around his seven hits to allow only one earned run and strand six runners. Lorenzo Dobboletta notched a pair of doubles, a single, two free passes, and a brace of swiped bags to back him, while Liberatore drove in four despite finishing the day 1-for-1. Bologna will attempt a third win and await the fate of Group B to determine its semifinal opponent.
Amsterdam 13 – Bonn 14
A day after L&D Amsterdam used back-to-back homers of its own to stage a dramatic comeback against an Ostrava club that featured four consecutive dingers, it attempted a similar feat against Germany’s 2020 runner-up, the Bonn Capitals. Its rallies, impressive as they were, could not erase Bonn’s retorts, as Amsterdam overcame a 9-3 deficit before losing a three-run lead in the late innings.
Lee put the Capitals on the board with a solo shot in the second and then ripped a two-run triple in the third. Two more runs would come across in the frame as Bonn jumped to a 5-0 advantage. Amsterdam received a much-needed boost in the subsequent half inning from Lampe, who launched a two-out, three-run rocket in an inning in which Lee also struck out the side.
The big blow, however, came in the sixth, when Kalian Sams stepped up with one run already across and the bases loaded. The veteran Dutch national team slugger smacked a big fly to left for a grand slam, with two of the runners scoring after taking free passes. With no outs, Amsterdam suddenly found itself down only 9-8, with Sharlon Schoop – who was 3-for-3 on Day One – then creating the game-tying run from scratch. Schoop took the base on balls, looked to second on a pair of easy popups, and then pilfered the keystone corner with Delano Selassa up. Sprinting from the moment of contact, Schoop scampered all the way home on a dribbler to the left side, with Selassa beating out the infield hit to tie the game.
Danny Lankhorst’s solo jack temporarily gave Bonn the lead in the bottom of the inning, but Schoop dropped a base-hit to center with the sacks jammed in the sixth to send two home as Amsterdam took the lead back. Sicnarf Loopstok had his own two-run single later in the frame for the 13-10 advantage.
Long since moved off the mound, Lee picked a great spot for his second fence-beater of the day in the bottom of the seventh. The now-leftfielder lifted a longball to deep left after a pair of leadoff singles, pulling the Caps even with six outs remaining. Nicholas Miceli was aces in relief after this, though, and Bonn claimed the advantage for the final time in the bottom of the eighth. An Eric Brenk single and a pair of freebies with two outs gave Terrell Joyce the opportunity to play hero, and the former Astros’ draft pick delivered, lining a base-knock to right for a 14-13 lead. Joyce then moved to the mound and closed out the rollercoaster victory.
Although Miceli was the winning pitcher, Lee had his moments in the slugfest, striking out seven in five innings. Once leaving the mound, though, his contributions continued, as the Australian finished a single short of the cycle and drove in seven. Schoop and Lampe each reached base four times for Amsterdam, which can qualify for the semifinals with a win today.
Rouen 4 – Neptunus 14 (8)
Heidenheim 3 – Bologna 4
Bologna 17 – Rouen 1 (5)
Group B Standings
Bonn 5 – Parma 4
Ostrava 6 – Amsterdam 8
Amsterdam 13 – Bonn 14