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Updated: September 21, 2011
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Copyright © 1997-2011
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2011 by Marco Stoovelaar

L&D Amsterdam Pirates opens Final Four with one-run loss
BRNO (Czech Republic) - In the Czech city of Brno, Dutch champion L&D Amsterdam Pirates on Wednesday-afternoon lost only 1-0 vs. T&A San Marino, which recently won the Italian championship. The lone run in the opening game of the European Cup Final Four was scored in the tenth inning.

Amsterdam was the better team in the game, outhit San Marino 5-4, but also left the most runners. The loss was especially sour for Amsterdam-starter Rob Cordemans, who gave up only three hits in nine innings. The 36-year old righthander again dominated on the mound for Amsterdam and allowed only one baserunner in the first seven innings. After having retired the first 14 batters in a row, Cordemans gave up a 2-out single to Francesco Imperiali in the fifth inning, but then a flyout followed. Cordemans then again retired the side in the sixth and seventh inning, before San Marino got its first runner in scoring position in the eighth at bat. After Cordemans struckout lead-off hitter Loidel Chapelli (a former Cuban National Team-player, but nowadays playing for the Italian National Team), Francesco Imperiali singled again, as did next batter Lorenzo Avagnina. After a flyout, Cordemans struckout pinch-hitter Mattia Reginato to end the inning. In the ninth, Cordemans issued his first (and only) walk, but that runner also stranded.

In the first eight innings, Cordemans (who struckout nine batters) was in a pitching-duel with Vincente Bonilla, who struckout six and gave up five basehits. Amsterdam was retired in order by Bonilla in the first and second inning, but then got two baserunners in the third at bat. With one out, Bas Nooij walked and after Rashid Gerard struckout, Wesley Connor singled, but then Roelie Henrique grounded out.

In the fourth inning, Bonilla struckout Sidney de Jong and Bas de Jong, then gave up a single to Vince Rooi, but a foul-fly ended the at bat.

In the fifth, Amsterdam left another runner. With one out, Bas Nooij singled, but was forced out on a grounder by Rashid Gerard, who then stranded, as a groundout followed.

After being retired in order in the sixth, Amsterdam got its lead-off batter on base in the seventh when Vince Rooi singled, but then Kenny Berkenbosch grounded into a double play.

In the ninth inning, Amsterdam failed to open the score and left the bases loaded. Lead-off hitter Roelie Henrique reached on an error and Sidney de Jong followed with a single, which brought Henrique to third base. This led to a pitching change as Bonilla was relieved by Darwin Cubillan, who then struckout Bas de Jong. After Sidney de Jong stole second base, Vince Rooi was walked intentionally to set up a force play. And that happened on the following grounder by Kenny Berkenbosch, as Henrique was forced out at home. The inning the ended when Cubillan struckout Percy Isenia.

As San Marino was unable to score off Cordemans in its ninth, the game went into extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Amsterdam left two more runners. Tie-break runners Rashid Gerard and Wesley Connor advanced on a sac-bunt by Roelie Henrique, but then Sidney de Jong was walked intentionally to set up another force play. And that again for for the Sammarinese squad, as Bas de Jong grounded into a double play to end the inning.

In the home of the 10th, San Marino decided the game off new pitcher Al Morales, who took over for Cordemans. Tie-break runners Mattia Reginato and Anthony Granato advanced when Giovanni Pantaleoni singled back to Morales, loading the bases. Next, Wuillians Martin Vasquez (who last season played for Mr. Cocker HCAW in the Dutch big league) flied out to centerfielder Wesley Connor, which became a sacrifice fly, as Reginato scored to end the game.

With the loss, Amsterdam was eliminated for the final and now will play for third and fourth place on Thursday-afternoon, while San Marino will play in the final in the evening.

On Wednesday-evening, Parma Angels won 3-2 vs. Unipol Bologna to become the second finalist. Bologna therefore will meet Amsterdam. Last June, the two teams met in the last game of the European Cup-tournament in Amsterdam.

Parma decided the game with a 3-run rally in the fifth inning, after having left two runners in the second and fourth inning. In the fifth, Parma got the bases loaded on a single, double and one-out intentional walk, then a wild pitch led to the first run. The next run was scored on a fielder's choice grounder which didn't let to an out, then the third run was added on a single by Rodney Medina.

Bologna reacted with two runs in the seventh inning, but also left the bases loaded. A walk and an one-out single led to a pitching change, then the bases got loaded when a hit batter followed. A force play-grounder then accounted for the first run, but another hit batter re-loaded the bases. Next, Gabrielle Ermini walked to make it 3-2 and kept the bases loaded. But a foul-out then ended the inning.

In the eighth and ninth inning, Bologna failed to struck, leaving two runners in each of these at bats. In the ninth, with a runner on second base and one out, Parma brought Mihai Burlea to the mound. The Roumanian, who pitched for RCH-Pingu´ns in the Dutch big league some years ago, saw the runner steal third base, but then struckout the next batter. After a walk, the game ended on a flyout.

(September 21)

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