Hrosi Brno continued atop the standings in the Czech Extraliga after two wins in Week 3 action saw the club improve to 7-2, one game better than challengers Sokol Hluboka and Eagles Prague. Eagles swept Blesk Jablonec convincingly, while the newcomers Hluboka took two out of three from Draci after three hard-fought contests. Elsewhere, Nuclears Trebic won twice thanks to another round of all-star performances by two-way threat Ryan Johnson, and the Arrows Ostrava – Olympia Blansko series was cancelled due to positive COVID-19 results in the Blansko camp.
Credit: Czech Baseball Association.
Draci Brno vs. Sokol Hluboka (2:1, 2:3, 5:6)
Hluboka‘s fairy tale start to the 2021 season continues. The newcomers won two out of three against the defending champion, with each game in the series decided by just one run and Friday night‘s series opener in Brno settled in extra innings.
The story of Game One was pitching, with the two staffs combining to allow just eight hits while striking out 18. Hluboka’s Jan Novák gave up just one run in nine innings with 11 Ks, lowering his season ERA to a miniscule 0.39. As Milujeme Baseball reported [link], Novák is the first player since the start of Extraliga records (2008) to record double digit strikeout totals in the first three starts of a season. It appears his 34 whiffs during that span are the most in any three-start stretch to begin a campaign as well. His counterpart Radim Chroust allowed just three hits and one unearned run in seven innings. Neither pitcher factored in the decision as the contest was decided in the tenth inning when Draci brought the winning run home on a Martin Cervinka bunt. Hluboka third baseman Kamil Miranda fielded the ball, but his throw to first was in the dirt, which allowed Draci’s Premek Chroust to come home.
Game Two also featured strong pitching, with both teams kept off the scoreboard until the seventh inning when Hluboka scored three times. Draci responded with two runs in the eighth, but Wesley Roemer allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings of scoreless relief work to close out the game and secure the W for starter Laurence Parsons, who pitched seven scoreless innings. Draci’s Filip Capka struck out 10 in a losing effort.
The rubber match saw Hluboka, playing at home, take a 5-1 lead after five innings and hold on to win 6-5. Draci scored three in the eighth inning to make it interesting, but Roemer was once again called on to silence the opponents‘ bats, and again he succeeded. Hluboka starter and ABL veteran James Boyce [Baseball-Reference.com stats: link] pitched seven solid innings (6H, 2R, 4K) and helped himself out with the bat, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. In a losing cause, Michael Varga was 2-for-4 with a home run, his first of the season.
Eagles Prague vs. Blesk Jablonec (8:1, 7:0, 14:12)
Eagles enjoyed a sweep of the newcomers from Jablonec, with the three wins improving the club’s record to 6-3, good enough for third in the standings.
Lefty starter Tomas Duffek was dominant in the 8-1 series opening victory, striking out 11 and allowing just two hits in seven innings. The 15-year-old Matyas Trcka closed out the game, striking out five in two innings of relief. Jan Homolka provided the offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Matej Hejma drove in two.
In Game Two, Jablonec kept the game close behind starter Jiri Hikl until a three-run eighth inning saw Eagles extend their lead to 7-0, the game’s final result. With just three hits, the Jablonec offense never threatened and allowed Eagles starter Carson Goldsmith to collect his first win of the season.
Game Three of the series was a four-hour affair, with the Jablonec offense finally getting in gear. The club jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four innings, but Eagles responded with six runs in the fifth and six more in the sixth to take control. Eagles would hold on to win 14-12 and finish off the sweep.
Nuclears Trebic vs. Kotlarka Prague (6:1, 7:4, 4:7)
Trebic took two from three from Kotlarka, with the player of the series once again the Canadian Ryan Johnson. He was dominant in his Week 2 outing against Blesk Jablonec, striking out 10 in eight scoreless innings, and against Kotlarka he delivered once more, striking out 13 in his six innings of work while allowing just one hit. Since allowing four runs in his Extraliga debut, Johnson has pitched 17 scoreless innings.
In Game Two, Johnson did his damage with the bat, hitting a walk-off grand slam to steal the victory from Kotlarka’s Jiri Vavrusa (6.2IP, 3H, 1R, 5K). The home run was Johnson’s fourth of the season.
In Sunday’s match-up, Kotlarka managed to avoid the sweep thanks to a four-run rally in the eighth inning that saw them turn a one-run deficit into a small lead, and ultimately the 7-4 final result. Kotlarka player-manager Scott Mulhearn went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a home run.
Hrosi Brno vs. Tempo Prague (3:1, 5:3, 2:9)
Hrosi Brno continues atop the league standings after winning two out three against Tempo Prague. Tempo took the lead in both Saturday games in Brno, but in both cases the host reversed the score.
Game One saw the visitors from Prague take a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, at which point Hrosi scored three runs to take a lead that reliever Kellen Croce would hold in the ninth. Hrosi starter Lukas Hlouch allowed one run in eight innings of work to collect his second win of the season.
In the second leg of the doubleheader, Hrosi put three runs on the scoreboard an inning earlier than in Game One, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead in the seventh. Raymond Whitehead pitched four innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. Tempo’s Joey Wagman was solid (5IP, 2R, 4K) in a losing effort.
On Sunday it was Prague’s turn to score some late runs, with six runners circling the bases in the sixth inning to extend Tempo’s lead to 9-1 and prevent the club from being swept. Jake Rabinowitz was dominant on the mound (8IP, 4H, 0ER, 9K), with Marek Minarik (3-for-4, three RBI), Phil Steering (two RBI), and Matej Buzga (two RBI) providing the offense.
Credit: Czech Baseball Association.