Croatia began its season this past weekend with a pair of two-game series. Karlovac’s Phil Smith knocked three balls out of the park in Varaždin on Sunday as Olimpija took both games. Fran Stančić Vidrač had three extra-base hits of his own for BK Zagreb, all of them triples in an Opening Day victory. Zagreb’s offense produced 36 runs in two victories. Earlier in the year, Olimpija, which looks to be the class of Croatia this year, claimed its first trophy at the Dragutin Gales Memorial Tournament.
Vindija Varaždin vs. Olimpija Karlovac
After failing to make the finals in 2020, Karlovac started its Croatian league campaign with a pair of victories, with Smith blasting three longballs in Olympia Karlovac’s 18-5 win over Vindija Varaždin on Sunday. Including the Gales tourney and a win over Zagreb in a friendly, Karlovac is 7-0 to start 2021.
In the opener, Olympia had 14 hits and nine walks, with José Herrera and Benjamin Paulić each knocking a four-bagger among three hits. Herrera also had a triple and a stolen base, while Damir Karin collected three singles and a free pass. Varaždin was actually in a position to win after a solid start from Nino Kruhek (7IP, 6H, 3ER, 7BB, 9K), but Karlovac erupted for nine runs in the final two frames after Kruhek exited. Darko Kvaternik earned the win with an excellent relief performance: 4IP, 3H, 2ER, 1BB, 8K.
Medvednica vs. BK Zagreb
Zagreb hosted a derby for Opening Day and the two clubs produced plenty of offense. Both sides scored regularly, with each team’s starter leaving in the first. However, BK Zagreb had a 10-5 lead through five, coasting to a 16-8 final. Borna Krznarević earned the win with eight strikeouts in four relief frames, allowing only one run. Fran Stančić Vidrač had three triples for the victors, while Domagoj Capak collected four one-base knocks. Antun Andrejević homered for Medvednica. A day later, the result was similar, with Zagreb scorching the hosts, 20-8.
Zagreb 4 – Karlovac 10
Zagreb 10 – Vindija 15
Croatian League Standings
Team W-L Pct. GB Home Road RF RA Streak
Zagreb 2-0 1.000 – 0-0 2-0 36 16 W2
Olimpija Karlovac 2-0 1.000 – 0-0 2-0 32 11 W2
Nada SSM Split 0-0 .000 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 –
Medvednica 0-2 .000 2 0-2 0-0 16 36 L2
Vindija Varaždin 0-2 .000 2 0-2 0-0 11 32 L2
V Dragutin Gales Memorial Tournament
All of the league’s teams, with the exception of Medvednica, warmed up for the season at the annual Gales Tournament. Croatia’s U18 side also participated in preparation for the Under-18 European Baseball Championship. In the final, Karlovac completed a flawless run through the event, dispatching Varaždin 16-8.
April 3 Zagreb 4 – Vindija 6
April 3 Olympia 11 – Croatia U18 2
April 4 Croatia U18 – Zagreb*
April 4 Olympia 8 – Vindija 0
April 5 Olympia 14 – Zagreb 6
April 5 Croatia U18 12 – Vindija 15
April 5 (Final) Olympia 16 – Vindija 6
Standings W-L RF RA
Olympia 4-0 49 14
Vindija 2-2 27 40
Zagreb 0-2* 10* 20*
Croatia U18 0-2* 14* 26*