By Gabriel Fidler
BRASSCHAAT, Belgium — The final day of play in European baseball’s Federation Cup provided a surprise entrant to the championship game, while Valencia tuned up for the final with a 9-7 victory over the London Mets. In the nightcap, the hometown Braves faced off against Wiener Neustadt, which had lost only to Spain’s Astros, defeating its other two opponents convincingly. Brasschaat exploded for 15 runs in claiming its second victory, leaping over the Diving Ducks and earning a place in the title game.
London 7 – Valencia 9
The Mets held a 4-3 lead over Valencia through five innings, extending its advantage by two in the sixth and needing only nine outs to earn the right to take on the Astros for promotion—and the Cup title—tomorrow. Instead, the Astros’ lineup detonated a six-run onslaught, holding London to only one run in the sixth and stranding three men on the bases.
The big hits for the Spanish club in its comeback were back-to-back-to-back run-scoring doubles from Roibert Decena, Édgar Rondón, and Edison Valerio. Decena and Valerio were 3-for-5 with a pair of markers, the latter adding another two-bagger to his batting line. Justin Luna saved the day for the ‘Stros by firing three hitless innings to end the game, punching out five and walking three, while allowing only one unearned run. Over his two appearances in pool play, hitters went 0-for-19 with 13 strikeouts against the right-hander.
Rich Minford had two hits and two RBI for the Mets, while Callum Vinall collected a pair of safeties and scored twice. Andy Cosgrove doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored twice from the leadoff position for London. The utility man was the most productive of London’s steady lineup in the tournament, slashing .471/.550/.765, scoring seven times and swiping three bags.
Wiener Neustadt 8 – Brasschaat 15
The Diving Ducks seemingly had a spot in the championship all but wrapped up after springing to an 8-3 lead after three innings and showing no signs of its relentless offence showing. Kevin Peeters did not count on those ducks hatching, however, and the Braves’ manager made a switch on the mound to a veteran of Belgian baseball’s national team, Robin Roevens.
Roevens turned in one of the best performances of his career, hurling 6.2 innings of shutout relief with no free passes, permitting only two singles while striking out six. The exclamation point on his outstanding effort was a three-run jack in the eighth that gave Brasschaat a 12-8 lead and seemed to drain the life from Wiener Neustadt. The Bravos posted six runs in the frame, their second-straight inning with a half dozen posted on the scoreboard.
Jamie Verheyleweghen was 4-for-6 with three RBI for the victors, doubling and scoring twice. Roevens was 2-for-5 with four ribbies, while Axel and Yves Poesmans both went 3-for-5 against their fellow Austrians. Melvin Perdue had two RBI and three hits, one a double, for the Ducks.
|Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks||2-2||2||34||27|
Results & Schedule [Box Scores]
June 20: Valencia 14 – Sofia 2
June 20: London 7 – Brasschaat 6
June 21: Wiener Neustadt 7 – London 1
June 21: Brasschaat 4 –Sofia 1
June 22: Sofia 1 – Wiener Neustadt 15 (7)
June 22: Brasschaat 4 – Valencia 8
June 23: Sofia 3 – London 14 (8)
June 23: Valencia 10 – Wiener Neustadt 4
June 24: London 7 – Valencia 9
June 24: Wiener Neustadt 8 – Brasschaat 15
Final (June 25): TBD