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Apr '22 12

French Division I Baseball: Week 1

News - French Baseball Leagues Comments Off on French Division I Baseball: Week 1

French baseball began play with a weekend of quite even competition, with only one-of-five series ending in a sweep, that of the Sénart Templiers. In a similar setup to 2021, Division I is divided into a pair of pools this year, but with one fewer team. Ten returning clubs will contest the French baseball title, with each group fielding five teams. No interleague play is scheduled, meaning at least one team in each group is inactive each weekend.

Sénart welcomed Nice Cavigal on Opening Weekend, eager to erase the memories of its last game at home, a nail-biting loss in the final game of the Division I championship, having entered with a best-in-France 25-7 mark. Its opponent in that title bout was the Rouen Huskies — winners of all but one French title since 2004 — which had already claimed Pool A in 2021 with a 12-4 record and then allowed only five runs to win a best-of-five semifinal. The two squads alternated victories after Rouen claimed the first at home, and the Huskies continued the trend with a 4-1 win on the road to claim French baseball’s postseason title.

Its opponents were the Cougars de Montigny-le-Bretonneux, which finished middle-of-the-table in 2021. Meanwhile, the La Rochelle Boucaniers made the long trip to Montpellier to take on the MUC Barracudas. Metz was due to host Paris Université Club, but the doubleheader was postponed.

In the only Saturday game, Nice’s Naoki Teramura and Sénart’s Shane Priest both whiffed 11 in six innings. Neither factored into the decision, however, as the Templiers rallied from a 4-3 deficit with a three-run seventh. A day later, Alexandre Lods fired a two-hit shutout in which he permitted only four baserunners in seven frames in a much easier win for Sénart.

Yorfrank López drew the tough opening day assignment for Montigny, as the club travelled to face the defending champion Huskies. López finished one shy of the 2021 Division I strikeout lead, registering a 2.81 ERA. After working in-and-out of jams in the second and third, the Cougar moundsman settled down and Montigny’s hitters finally broke through against Quentin Moulin in the fourth, taking a 3-0 lead through five. López would cruise from there, shutting out Normandy’s top club over nine solid innings, walking two and sending down seven on strikes. In the nightcap, the titleholders scored early and often, with Bastien Dagneau driving in three on a double and two singles.

There was no shortage of baserunners in the first game of the La Rochelle – Montpellier doubleheader as the two clubs combined for 23 hits and 10 free passes, but almost all of them occurred from the bottom of the fourth onward. The Barracudas took a 4-1 lead through four, extending it further with five runs in the sixth in an 11-4 victory. Fabian Kovács went 4-for-4 with a walk for the victors.

Wilce Ñieves (1-0) scattered 10 hits for the visiting Boucaniers in the nightcap, but punched out nine and did not walk or hit a batter. Owen Ozanich was tremendous in relief for Montpellier, ringing up 10 Ks in six innings without allowing an earned run, but the southwestern club could not break through despite 10 hits, four for extra bases. Forrest Crawford had the weekend’s other four-hit game for the victors

Results [Box Scores]
Week 1 (Apr. 9-10)
Montigny 6 – Rouen 0
Montigny 1 – Rouen 8
PUC – Metz (PP: June 5)
PUC – Metz (PP: June 5)
La Rochelle 4 – MUC 11
La Rochelle 9 – MUC 1
Nice 4 – Sénart 7
Nice 0 – Sénart 10 (7)

Pool A Standings

Team W L Pct. GB H A RF RA +/-
Cougars de Montigny 1 1 .500 0-0 1-1 7 8 -1
Rouen Baseball 76 1 1 .500 1-1 0-0 8 7 1
Metz Cometz 0 0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Paris Université Club 0 0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Savigny-sur-Orge Lions 0 0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Pool B Standings

Team W L Pct. GB H A RF RA +/-
Sénart Templiers 2 0 1.000 2-0 0-0 17 4 13
La Rochelle Buccaneers 1 1 .500 1 0-0 1-1 13 12 1
MUC Barracudas 1 1 .500 1 1-1 0-0 12 13 -1
Stade Toulousain 0 0 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Nice Cavigal 0 2 .000 2 0-0 0-2 4 17 -13

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