Eleven-time champion TORNADOS and first-ever finalist HEIDEKOEPFE will start the best-of-five championship series in the German Baseball-Bundesliga this weekend. Game one will take place on Saturday at 5pm CET with the second following on Sunday at 1pm CET. Both matches will be played at the Heidekoepfe ballpark in Heidenheim. Games three to five follow next weekend in Mannheim.
MANNHEIM edged out 2008 champion BUCHBINDER LEGIONAERE in five games during the semi-final series and hopes to improve the result from last year, where they lost the finals. They last won the title in 1997. HEIDENHEIM defeated the SOLINGEN ALLIGATORS in five games to clinch the finals berth. During the regular season, the two teams settled for two splits.
Both teams have key players missing in this series, as HEIDEKOEPFE catcher Simon Guehring still is recovering from a fractured foot, which suffered during the World Baseball Challenge in Canada. MANNHEIM has to play without Martin Dewald, who has won five games in the 2008 postseason so far, and South African infielder Justin Lazarus, as both started into the new college year at the beginning of the week.
HEIDENHEIM is expected to send out Markus Winkler and Dusty Bergman as starting pitchers in the first two games. The TORNADOS probably rely on Rene Franke and Michael Otto. Offensive-wise both teams match up pretty well with Marvin Appiah, Chris Falls, Billy Hess and red-hot leadoff hitter Sascha Lutz shouldering most of the load for MANNHEIM. Lutz’ pendant Ray Stokes, Ryan Lilly, Robert Gruber and Andreas Janzen are supposed to provide enough runs for the HEIDEKOEPFE.
Saturday, August 22
17:00 Heidenheim Heidekoepfe – Mannheim Tornados
Sunday, August 23
13:00 Heidenheim Heidekoepfe – Mannheim Tornados
Saturday, August 29
13:00 Mannheim Tornados – Heidenheim Heidekoepfe
Sunday, August 30
13:00 Mannheim Tornados – Heidenheim Heidekoepfe*
15:30 Mannheim Tornados – Heidenheim Heidekoepfe*
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