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Apr '21 21

Czech Extraliga Week 2: Hrosi Brno Atop the Standings; Newcomer Hluboka Continues to Impress

Czech Republic, News - Czech Baseball Leagues Comments Off on Czech Extraliga Week 2: Hrosi Brno Atop the Standings; Newcomer Hluboka Continues to Impress

Hrosi Brno (5-1) lost its series opener but rebounded to defeat Kotlarka Prague twice and finishes the second week of Czech Extraliga play atop the standings. Arrows and newcomer Sokol Hluboka, who swept Tempo Prague, are both 4-2 and on Hrosi’s heels, as is Hrosi’s city rival Draci (3-0), who did not play this weekend after positive COVID-19 test results on Olympia Blansko’s roster forced the cancellation of their series.

Credit: Czech Baseball Association (CBA).

Hrosi Brno vs. Kotlarka Prague (3:5, 7:6, 15:4)
Hrosi, whose stated goal is to compete for the title this season, was surprised in the series opener by strong Kotlarka pitching but recovered to win the series and claim the top spot in the league standings after two weeks of play.

Kotlarka’s starting pitcher Lukas Ercoli pitched six strong innings in Saturday afternoon’s series opener (4H, 2R, 7K), with player-manager Scott Mulhearn providing the offense (1-for-5, three RBI) to secure the victory, the club’s second win of the season.

Game Two saw Hrosi fend off a late comeback attempt, and Sunday’s decider was all Hrosi, with six runs in the fourth and seven runs in the fifth making the outcome clear early.

Hrosi’s Michal Ondracek was a perfect 6-for-6 on the weekend.

Sokol Hluboka vs. Tempo Prague (2:1, 6:1, 8:5)
Hluboka rebounded from the disappointment of having its opening weekend sweep wiped off the books by accomplishing the feat again, this time against a Tempo Prague squad that matched Hluboka pitch for pitch in the series opener. The two team’s aces delivered the best combined pitching performance of the young season.

Hluboka’s ace, former Baltimore Orioles farmhand Jan Novak, matched up against Tempo import Joey Wagman, a member of the Israeli national team that will be competing at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, and the two men did not disappoint, each going eight innings and combining for 23 strikeouts, with Novak booking one more than Wagman.

In the end, Hluboka squeezed out a 2-1 victory, and the club won again in the second leg of the doubleheader, this time 6-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Laurence Parsons, who struck out nine and allowed just four hits over seven innings of work.

Sunday’s contest featured more offense, with Tempo’s Czech international Marek Minarik contributing a two-run homer, but Hluboka took a big lead on the back of a five-run fourth inning and never looked back.

Eagles Prague vs. Arrows Ostrava (12:9, 0:14, 2:5)
The first two games of the series were played in the Czech capital, with the Eagles offense surprisingly strong in Game 1. The young squad was swept by Hluboka last weekend, striking out a combined 37 times in the three games against the Extraliga newcomers. In Friday evening’s series opener against Arrows, however, the Eagles offense came up big, producing 12 runs on 18 hits, with six Ostrava errors easing the path to an Eagles victory.

On Saturday, the tables were turned, with Arrows scoring eight runs in the second to take a commanding lead they would not relinquish. Fourteen hits, three of them homers, powered Ostrava, while Boris Bokaj (6IP, 3H, 5K) combined with the 16-year-old Lukas Hurta (1IP, 1K) to silence the Eagles’ bats.

Sunday’s series decider was a quieter affair, with Czech international Ondrej Satoria pitching five innings of scoreless relief (just two hits allowed) to pick up the win and secure a 4-2 start for Arrows, good enough for fourth place, after the second weekend of play.

For Arrows, the weekend’s top batters included Petr Cech, who went 3-for-8 with a homer, five RBI, and five walks in the series, and reigning Extraliga MVP Matej Mensik, who was 7-for-13 with two home runs and four RBI.

Blesk Jablonec vs. Nuclears Trebic (0:9, 10:4, 2:16)
Blesk Jablonec recorded its first ever Extraliga victory, but the good news was sandwiched in between bad, namely big offensive numbers for the Nuclears, who are 3-3 after the second week of play.

The Nuclears’ 9-0 series opening win was the work of Ryan Johnson, who pitched eight commanding innings (2H, 10K) and used his to bat to drive in three runs. (After two weekends of play, the Canadian two-way threat leads the Extraliga WAR leaderboard, as compiled by baseball-stat.cz.) His fellow import Anthony Cipolla went 2-for-5 and had 2 RBI of his own.

Jablonec’s starting pitcher Jiri Hikl did not factor in the decision, but the 19-year-old followed up on a solid outing last weekend with another good pitching performance against a strong Nuclears offense (5.2IP, 2R, 5H).

Game Two saw Columbia University alum Jimmy Smiley [Baseball-Reference] take the mound for Jablonec and make club history. He threw a complete game, spreading nine hits and allowing four runs while striking out seven. On offense, seven hits and 10 walks provided enough support for the Extraliga newcomers to enjoy the club’s first victory in the Czech top flight.

Trebic had the last laugh, however, with import Justin Revels silencing the Jablonec bats (5IP, 0ER, 5H, 10K) in Game 3 on Sunday, while on offense 15 hits and 10 walks allowed the Nuclears to cruise to a 16-2 victory. Matej Brabec and Tadeas Kalchev both drove in four runs, with Patrik Kadrnozka compiling the most unique stat line of the weekend: zero at-bats, five walks, and three RBI.

Credit: Czech Baseball Association (CBA).


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