SÉNART, France — Brno’s Dragons won big again, torching the Dornbirn Indians, 16-6, while Astros Valencia re-entered the title conversation with a pair of wins, dropping Sénart from its undefeated position with a 3-2 victory. The final day of the CEB Cup will determine which of the three will earn promotion to the Champions Cup.
Sénart 2 – Valencia 3
Yosbany Torres and Shane Priest matched up for a memorable pitching duel that ended the Templiers’ undefeated run and gave Valencia hope of qualifying for the CEB Champions Cup.
Although Emmanuel Febles tripled against Priest in the bottom of the first, it was the Templiers that scored first. In the top of the second, Oliver van der Wijst tripled to right center, coming home on a Mathis Meurant double.
Both teams had runners on second and third in their next half-innings, but the game settled into a steady rhythm from there, with neither side threatening until the top of the sixth. Two infield hits and a ground ball meant that an ill-timed wild pitch scored a run, though Torres stranded two runners on base.
Roibert Decena hit a two-out double in the lower half of the frame, but it was the only hit for either club until the bottom of the eighth as Priest, a former All-Big South pitcher at the University of North Alabama, continued to deal. By this point, Priest had stingily surrendered only five hits through seven, but ran into trouble with two outs. With Pedro Méndez on first with a single, Decena beat out a dribbler to the left side and Blake Ochoa drew a base on balls. Sandel Cuevas took advantage, lining a ball to the wall in left center that cleared the bases and allowed Cuevas to coast into second. Although he was then caught stealing, Valencia finally had the lead.
Showing no signs that he was already 115 pitches into the game, Torres went three-up, three-down through Sénart’s hitters to finish off the game himself. Valencia’s hurler struck out eight and walked just one. Priest was the hard-luck loser, whiffing seven in eight frames and working around eight hits and three free passes.
Therwil 6 – Valencia 11 (later changed to a 9-0 forfeit victory for WF, 9-0
The Flyers once more showed their lack of intimidation against much bigger clubs, working their trigger-happy approach against the Astros. Incredibly, Torres simply headed out for his tenth inning of work to start the game, posting two shutout innings to start. After a run for Valencia in the third, Therwil struck back for three in the third against Torres, finally ending his day. The rubber-armed righty sent down another eight on strikes and gave up five hits, adding another 42 pitches to his total for Day 4.
Valencia tied the game up in the lower half of the frame, answering another run from the Swiss club in the fourth with three of its own. From that point, the Astros gradually increased the lead and held a 9-4 advantage through seven. Both clubs struck for two runs in the eight, but Valencia claimed its second win of the day despite Therwil’s 14 hits, all of which were singles. Three Astros pitchers punched out 10 batters without walking any, while the trio of Therwil twirlers issued 10 base on balls and hit two batters. Febles had a double and a single and Decena had two base knocks and two swipes.
On the final day, the game was changed to a 9-0 forfeit victory for Brno after Therwil used an ineligible player as a pinch hitter.
Brno 16 – Dornbirn 6 (7)
The fearsome Dragons of Brno were relentless in the early innings, scoring four in the first three frames. Although Dornbirn delayed the mercy rule victory with a massive fifth inning, the Czech club won easily in seven frames.
The first inning rally for Brno was a gift from two Indians moundsmen, who issued five free passes and a wild pitch. Jakub Winkler had the only run-scoring hit in the frame, driving in two.
The second carried on as before, with Dornbirn holding the scorching hot Pabel Manzanero to only two bases, but then following the double with a pair of walks. This time, however, Martin Kalábek ensured all the runners could celebrate at once, unloading a moon shot to right field for a grand slam.
Taking their cue from Kalábek, the rest of the lineup sent a flurry of line drives around Sénart’s stadium in the third. Jakub Hajtmar started with a double and, by the time Martin Pernička struck a two-bagger for the final hit of inning, the Draci had a 12-0 lead.
Tomáš Hrbek had allowed only a double and an infield single through four, but ran out of steam with two out in the fifth. The next five batters reached despite combining only one single among them and Michael Salzmann would continue the Little League-worthy meltdown by dropping a base knock into right field. Some faulty glovework meant the ball kept bouncing and when the action finally stopped, Salzmann had returned to the dugout after his “grand slam”.
A single bumped Brno’s lead back to up to 10 in the seventh and Dornbirn could not prevent the enactment of the mercy rule any longer. Manzanero was 3-for-4 for Brno and Kalábek was tops with five ribbies, one of five Dragons with a brace of safeties. Jan Nebenfuhr finished with two hitless innings in relief of Hrbek, whose totals were three earned runs on four hits and four walks in five innings, striking out five.
Minsk 5 – Sénart 7
After some early back-and-forth, the hosts earned a crucial victory over Minsk to leave three clubs in the running for the CEB Cup. Alexander Perdomo once more sparked the Templiers, leading off the bottom of the first with a triple and scoring on a Felix Brown single. Brown came around on an error, a favor that Sénart returned in the second, when a throwing error scored a Minsk runner. Uladzislau Barashenka happily took advantage of the free trip to second, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a balk.
Perdomo drove home a run on a double in the second and three consecutive hits to start the third led to two more markers for Sénart. The “big” hit in the inning was a masterful bunt by José Paula, who beat out the throw and forced a throwing error from the catcher. Leonel Céspedes preserved the new 5-2 margin through his four frames.
Single runs in the fifth and sixth turned out to be crucial, as a pair of walks to Siarhei Sokal and Ilya Sladzinski in the eighth was followed by a Kiryl Kazlouski single. A throwing error after picking up the hit sent Sokal home, and Minsk had narrowed the lead to 7-3. Mathis Meurant moved to the bump from shortstop and sent down the next two batters on strikes, but Yauheni Kisliakou singled home Sladzinski and Kazlouski for two more. Barashenka followed with another one-base hit, but X survived with his third K of the inning.
Neither side threatened again, with the Templiers’ Game One starter Tanguy Meurant entering for the ninth just to make sure. Anton Pryputnevich was solid considering the multiple extended innings and was credited with four eearned runs on 14 hits and three walks in eight frames. Mathis Meurant had four of Sénart’s safeties, tops on either club.