The Tampere Tigers went into the Superbaseball final series against Espoo Expos as early favorites; after all, the team had only lost one game in the entire regular season. After the 11-1 finish, the Tigers earned a bye in the semifinals, which pitted Espoo against Helsinki Puumat. The Expos dismantled the third-placed team in SuperBaseball, 16-1 and 15-7, to set up a showdown with Tampere.
The Tigers started the finals strongly and won the first match with a 1-10 result. The second match was already much tighter, but the people of Tampere still took it 12-10. Thus, the Tigers had 3 ‘match balls’ in front of them (i.e. a chance to end the series), as the championship is clinched with three wins. From these points, we went to last weekend’s deciding games in Myllypuro, Helsinki.
On Saturday, Espoo then took the reins and won the first game 11-5 and the second game cleanly, 11-0. The Tigers clearly missed their injured key player, Andrés Mena, both on the mound and with the bat. Thus, thanks to Saturday’s double win, Espoo moved the decision to Sunday’s fifth final match, which then turned into a great event with lots of running. Mena made a return to the pitching mound with no less than 135 pitches. In the end, Espoo Expos took their 19th championship with a score of 18-11 thanks to their wider and well-trained player material.
In any case, the two best teams in Finland met in the finals and the audience got to see a really large number of good performances, especially in terms of the hitting game, which has improved for this season. Even the statistics tell the final reason for Espoo’s championship […]. Number one in the [RBI] category is Mikko Rauhamäki, who hit no fewer than 14 runs in the final series. Mena, who drove in nine, hit a whopping .778, but was out of two matches due to injury. Mikko Rauhamäki [was] second in average (.435), [and] hit no less than 23 times.
Both final teams earned a place on the 2024 European cup circuit. Tigers’ coach Mauricio Rosales said the team is looking forward to entering Europe with their strengthened team. It is clear that Andres Mesa and Jose Mesa, who returned from Germany, have brought much more skills to the Tigers’ roster and the team will certainly be more competitive next summer in matches.
Expos has played many seasons with a very veteran crew, but now the team has brought in more young players and, from the Expos Futures team playing in the Fat Lizard League, talented players will hopefully join the representative team in the next few years, so the future looks good in Espoo as well. Hopefully the team will be able to go to the Eurocup games and bring in a few more young players.
In the weekend finals, the association’s new streaming system was tested with good success. All matches were produced as multi-camera broadcasts with commentary. You can watch the recording of the fifth final match here: https://www.youtube.com/live/MPeggA-ssq4?si=4z7nBGxJsDQS1czd. More detailed information and links are published on the association’s Facebook page. Next season, Pesäpalloliitto intends to stream a large part of the Superbaseball games and one or two Fat Lizard League tournaments.
Tampere Tigers Regular Season Champions in Finland [link]
The preceding article was originally published [link] by Pesäpalloliitto, the Finnish ballsports federation, and was translated by Google and then edited for clarity, with additional detail by Managing Editor Gabriel Fidler. We apologise for any errors or miscommunication that resulted from this process.