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Updated: July 13, 2021
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Robert Bos)

Neptunus and Amsterdam Pirates open European Champions Cup with win

OSTRAVA / FRŢDEK-M═STEK (Czech Rep.) - Curašao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam Pirates have played their first games in the European Champions Cup-tournament in the Czech Republic on Tuesday (July 13) and both recorded a win.

Neptunus opened the event in Pool A with a mercy-rule, 8-inning, 14-4 victory against Rouen Huskies, the champion from France. Dwayne Kemp accomplished a rare feat in European Cup-history by hitting three homeruns.

In the evening, L&D Amsterdam Pirates, the reigning champion of the Netherlands, faced Czech champion and tournament-host Arrows Ostrava in Pool B. Pirates also won, but it didn't come easy. Ostrava hit four consecutive homeruns in the third inning and led 5-4 halfway the third inning. Pirates came alongside and went on to win 8-6.

Also on the first day, the two Italian teams had their hands full with the two German teams, resulting in a surprise loss and an one-run difference win.

On Wednesday, Pirates plays against Bonn Capitals (Germany), while Neptunus meets Heidenheim Heidek÷pfe (Germany).

The tournament was initially scheduled for last year, also in Ostrava. However, it was then one of the many international sporting events that were cancelled due to the measures against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The tournament was postponed to be played in the last week of May of this year, but in January, it was postponed to the current dates.

The last European Champions Cup-tournament in 2019 was won by UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna from Italy, which then won 8-0 in the Final against L&D Amsterdam Pirates. Curašao Neptunus finished in third place.

The format of the tournament changed a few times since 2008. Through 2007, there were three tournaments, the European Cup, Cup Winners Cup and CEB Cup. In earlier years, the first two tournaments were named European Cup I and European Cup II. The teams that qualified then played a tournament in one week, closing with a Final. From 2008 on, the name for the main tournament was changed to European Champions Cup. There were two Qualifying Tournaments (eight teams each) with the best two teams advancing to the Final Four with the winner winning the Champions Cup. From 2013 on, only the winners of the Qualifying Tournaments advanced to a best-of-three Final. And since 2016, the event is back to a single tournament played in one week.

(July 13)

Other scores of Day 1:
Pool A: Parma Baseball Club-Bonn Capitals 4-5.
Pool B: UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna-Heidenheim Heidek÷pfe 4-3.

Curašao Neptunus vs. Rouen Huskies
...Dwayne Kemp...
...three homeruns...
(© Photo: Robert Bos)
In its opening game, Neptunus faced Rouen Huskies, the most successful French baseball-team in the last twenty years. Since 2003, Rouen won the French Championship-title fifteen times. Only PUC has most titles with 22.

Neptunus opened the score quickly with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Stijn van der Meer and John Polonius both walked, then Dwayne Kemp followed with a homerun, his first in the game. Roger Bernadina was the next batter, but he sustained a hand-injury while hitting a foul ball. He completed his at bat and struckout, then was replaced in the second inning out of precaution. Gianison Boekhoudt then walked and scored on a 2-out double by Benjamin Dille.

Neptunus added two runs in the second inning. First, Shaldimar Daantji walked and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stijn van der Meer, then John Polonius homered.

Another 4-run rally followed in the fourth inning. This time, Neptunus got the bases loaded when Dashenko Ricardo, Shaldimar Daantji and Stijn van der Meer all walked. They went on to score on a sacrifice fly by John Polonius and a 2-run double by Greg Muller, who had replaced Roger Bernadina. Muller then scored himself of a single by Gianison Boekhoudt.

In the sixth inning, Dwayne Kemp led off with his second homerun. Later in the at bat, Louie Sienders batted in a run with a sacrifice fly. That lifted the lead to 12-0, meaning Neptunus was three outs away from a mercy-rule win.

However, Rouen then rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh off of Kevin Bakker, who had taken over the pitching from starter Misja Harcksen in the third inning. After the first two batters had reached base, Louis Brainville delivered a 2-run single, which made it a 12-2 score. Bakker then struckout the next two batters, but followed with a walk, then gave up a double to GaŰtan Moulin, which brought in Brainville. Hereafter, veteran righthander Elton Koeiman took over the pitching, but he was greeted with a runscoring single by Luc Viger.

With that, at least the bottom of the seventh needed to be played in which Neptunus had to score twice to end the game. But the Rotterdam-squad scored only once, which was done with two outs on the third homerun in the game by Dwayne Kemp.

After Rouen was held scoreless in the top of the eighth, Neptunus then did end the game via the mercy-rule in the bottom of the eighth. Gianison Boekhoudt led off with a walk, moved to third base on a double by Dudley Leonora and scored when Quintin de Cuba reached on an error. That made it a 14-4 score and ended the game.

Curašao Neptunus - Rouen Huskies 14-4 (8 inn.)
Rouen Huskies00000040 -4103
Curašao Neptunus42040211 -14110
(no outs when 10-run difference was reached in eighth inning)
pitchers Rouen Huskiesinn.SOBBHRER
Arthur Magnien, L (0-1)214366

Theophile Danne3-4355

Thibault Mercadier2-1432

Darling Grullon Ventura- (*)-111-

(*) - Grullon pitched to three batters in the eighth inning

pitchers Neptunusinn.SOBBHRER
Misja Harcksen21-2--

Kevin Bakker, W (1-0)4.232744

Elton Koeiman1.1--1--

Homeruns: Neptunus: Dwayne Kemp 3 (3)(1st,3-run,0 outs,off Magnien; 6th,solo,0 outs,off Mercadier; 7th,solo,2 outs,off Mercadier), John Polonius (1)(2nd,solo,1 out,off Magnien).
Box Score
Umpires: HP-Andrea Caser (Italy), 1B-Alexander Hartl (Germany), 3B-Valerio Pizziconi (Italy).
Official Scorer-Alexandra Slanß (Czech Rep.).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Kateřina Havrlantovß (Czech Rep.).
Technical Commissioner-Henk van der Linde (Netherlands).
Starting Time-10:30 AM.
Time Played-2:40 hrs.
Site-Arrows Park, Ostrava (Czech Republic) (site Arrows Ostrava).

Game Notes:
Weather conditions at game time:
Sunny, 24° C (75,2° F); wind direction southeast; wind speed 10 kmh (6,2 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 67%.

L&D Amsterdam Pirates vs. Arrows Ostrava
Amsterdam Pirates opened the score against Arrows Ostrava with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. After Amsterdam-starter Naut Kragt had retired the side in the top of the first inning, his American colleague Alec Lemmon initially also got two quick outs. But the lefthander then gave up singles to Sharlon Schoop and Denzel Richardson, which was followed by a homerun off the bat of Sicnarf Loopstok.

Naut Kragt had a rough second at bat in which he walked three batters and gave up a run. With one out, the righthander walked veteran player Petr Čech and Michael Vykoukal, then got the bases loaded when Jakub Vojßk's grounder ended in an error. Moments later, Čech scored the first Czech run on a wild pitch. Kragt followed with a strikeout, but then got the bases loaded again when he walked Radim Novotnř. With the bases loaded, Kragt recovered and closed with a strikeout.

Pirates got a chance to add a run in the bottom of the second inning, as Kenny Berkenbosch and Rashid Gerard led off with walks. But Alec Lemmon then struckout Niels van Weert and was supported with a double play on a line drive by Gilmer Lampe.

Naut Kragt was less lucky in the top of the third inning. In the first inning, the first two outs were long flyouts into deep leftfield. This time, the outfielders were unable to do some catching, as the first four Ostrava-batters hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back-homeruns! Tyler Smith, Jakub MalÝk, Brett Holtz and Petr Čech all connected well and hit four consecutive homeruns, which almost surely is a first in European Cup-history! When Kragt walked next batter Michael Vykoukal, he was relieved by Kevin Geestman. He began with a strikeout, then also walked a batter, which resulted in a wild pitch and gave Ostrava runners on first and third base. A foul-out and caught stealing ended the at bat, but Pirates now trailed 5-3.

After Ostrava was retired in order in the top of the fourth, Pirates got a big scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. The team got the bases loaded with no outs, but scored only once. Delano Selassa led off with a single, Kenny Berkenbosch followed with an infield-hit and Rashid Gerard walked. Hereafter, Niels van Weert hit a pop-fly, which became an infield-fly. Selassa then scored on a grounder by Gilmer Lampe, but the team left runners behind on second and third base when next batter Kalian Sams struckout.

Pirates got another baserunner in the bottom of the fifth after Ostrava was retired in order again in its fifth at bat. Sharlon Schoop led off with a walk, but Denzel Richardson grounded into a double play. Sicnarf Loopstok then walked, but this time, Alec Lemmon closed the inning by striking out Delano Selassa.

Shairon Martis took over the Pirates-pitching in the top of the seventh from Kevin Geestman, who had held the Ostrava-team hitless in the four innings he pitched. Martis gave up a lead-off single to Tyler Smith, but struckout the next two batters. Smith stole second base on the second strikeout, but was left behind.

Ostrava also went to the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Matěj Satoria took over from starter Alec Lemmon. Satoria immediately ran into problems. He gave up singles to Gilmer Lampe and Kalian Sams, who advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Sharlon Schoop. The righthander then got the bases loaded when he walked Denzel Richardson. Moments later, Pirates scored the tying run on a force play-grounder by Sicnarf Loopstok. But the team left runners behind on first and third base when the at bat ended with a grounder by Delano Selassa.

After Shairon Martis had struckout the side in the top of the eighth, Pirates re-took the lead in its eighth at bat on back-to-back homeruns. With two outs, Niels van Weert singled, then his pinch-runner Raydley Legito advanced on a wild pitch and scored when next batter Gilmer Lampe hit the ball into deep centerfield for a homerun. Kalian Sams added another homerun to make it an 8-5 score. Last Sunday, Legito won the European title with the Netherlands Under-18 Team in Italy and from there, he traveled to Ostrava with some other teammates, who also played for the Orange-squad.

In the top of the ninth, Ostrava got two baserunners and scored a run, but was unable to turn the game around another time. Lead-off hitter Radim Novotnř reached second base on an error. Martis followed with a strikeout, then got another baserunner when Tyler Smith also reached in an error. That enabled Novotnř to score. Martis struckout the next two batters to end the game and seal the win.

L&D Amsterdam Pirats - Arrows Ostrava 8-6
Arrows Ostrava014000001-650
L&D Amsterdam Pirates30010013X-8123
pitchers Arrows Ostravainn.SOBBHRER
Alec Lemmon656644

Matěj Satoria, BS (1), L (0-1)2-1644

pitchers Amsterdam Piratesinn.SOBBHRER
Naut Kragt2 (*)24455

Kevin Geestman441---

Shairon Martis, W (1-0)38-11-

(*) - Kragt pitched to five batters in the third inning

Homeruns: Ostrava: Tyler Smith (1)(3rd,solo,0 out,off Kragt), Jakub MalÝk (1)(3rd,solo,0 out,off Kragt), Brett Holtz (1)(3rd,solo,0 outs,off Kragt), Petr Čech (1)(3rd,solo,0 outs,off Kragt); Pirates: Sicnarf Loopstok (1)(1st,3-run,2 outs,off Lemon), Gilmer Lampe (1)(8th,2-run,2 outs,off Satoria), Kalian Sams (1)(8th,solo,2 outs,off Satoria).
Box Score
Umpires: HP-Jens Waider (Germany), 1B-Valerio Pizziconi (Italy), 3B-Alexander Hartl (Germany).
Official Scorer-Matěj Neděla (Czech Rep.).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Romana Kuckovß (Czech Rep.).
Technical Commissioner-Henk van der Linde (Netherlands).
Starting Time-7:30 PM.
Time Played-3:02 hrs.
Site-Arrows Park, Ostrava (Czech Republic) (site Arrows Ostrava).

Game Notes:
Weather conditions at game time:
Sunny, 28° C (82,4° F); wind direction southeast; wind speed 13 kmh (8,1 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 57%.

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