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Updated: July 17, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen, Neptunus & Marco Stoovelaar)

European Champions Cup: Neptunus finishes in 4th place; Parma wins first Cup in 22 years

OSTRAVA / FRÝDEK-MÍSTEK (Czech Rep.) - Curaçao Neptunus came back strongly from the sixth inning on, but ended up short against UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna (Italy), losing 11-9 in the Bronze Medal-game of the European Champions Cup-tournament on Saturday-afternoon (July 17). With that, Bologna won the Bronze Medal, while Neptunus had to settle for fourth place. On Friday, L&D Amsterdam Pirates closed the tournament with a tie for fifth place.

Neptunus faced an 8-0 deficit after five innings. The Rotterdam-squad started to come back from the sixth inning on, but it was too late, as Bologna added three important insurance runs in the eighth inning. In today's game, Neptunus had no fresh new starter, as Orlando Yntema was unable to pitch. He is still recovering from an injury he sustained some weeks ago.

On Saturday-evening, ParmaClima Parma (Italy) won 6-4 in the Final against Bonn Capitals (Germany). Both Dutch Umpires who officiated in this event were assigned for the Final. Roy van de Wateringen was behind the plate and Edwin Louisa was at second base in the 4-man crew, which also included Marek Vičar (Czech Republic) at 1st base and Mojmír Jankovič (Slovakia) at 3rd base Dutchmen Roderick Balk and Henk van der Linde were Technical Commissioner along with Alessandra Soprani from Italy.

...Aldo Notari...
(© Ph: Marco Stoovelaar)
With the win, Parma won the European Cup for the 14th time, but for the first time since 1999! With 14 Cups, Parma is the recordholder. The team was the most successful European baseball-team in the seventies through nineties. It was in that period that the team won its first 13 Cups. Those were the glory years of the club, when it was presided by the always sympathetic and friendly Aldo Notari, who later went on to become the President of the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS), the European Baseball Federation (CEB) and the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). Amongst the wellknown players (and later coaches) in those years were Giorgio Castelli, Claudio Corradi, Massimo Fochi, Gianguido Poma and Salvatore Varriale. Parma won the Cup almost 15 years after Notari unfortunately passed away on July 26, 2006.

In the morning, Heidenheim Heideköpfe (Germany) won 12-1 in seven innings against Rouen Huskies (France) in the game for seventh and eighth place. This means that the French spot relegated and that France will be represented next year in the CEB Cup-tournament.

Not counting the best-of-three Finals that were played in 2013-2015, this marks the first time since 2010 that no Dutch team finishes in the top-3 of the European Champions Cup-tournament. Back then, the top-3 in what was then the Final Four-tournament was formed by Bologna, Heidenheim and Pirati de Rimini (Italy).

Although Neptunus and Amsterdam Pirates ended up empty-handed what the medals are concerned, two Dutch players won individual awards. Gianison Boekhoudt (Neptunus) was the Best Hitter of the tournament and Shairon Martis (Pirates) was the Best Pitcher. Alex Sambucci (Parma) was named Most Valuable Player.

In Lieusaint (a suburb southeast of French capital Paris and part of Sénart-Ville Nouvelle), Templiers de Sénart (France) and Draci Brno (Czech Republic) faced each other in the final game of the CEB Cup-tournament. For seven innings, this was a pitching-duel between Canadian Jared Mortensen (Sénart) and Radim Chroust (Brno). Sénart led twice early in the game, then broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth and went on to win 6-4. With a win, Brno would remain unbeaten. But now, the French win created a 3-way tie, as Astros de Valencia (Spain) also closed with a 4-1 record. The head-to-head results created a new tie, meaning the runs scored and given up in these games were decisive to determine the ranking via the Team Quality Balance. That was in favor of Draci Brno (19 scored, 12 given up). Sénart finished second (8-7) and Valencia third (9-17). With that, Brno won the CEB Cup and with that, the spot of the Czech Republic promoted to the European Champions Cup.

Dutch infielder Oliver van der Wijst Severino is one of the players of Sénart with whom he also plays in the French Division 1 this season. Playing for Brno was Aruba-born short stop Eugene Helder, who played six seasons (2014-2019) professionally in the Seattle Mariners-organization (Rookie League/Single-A). Last year, the infielder played in Italy for Fortitudo Bologna with whom he wins the Italian Championship-title. In the Italian Baseball Series against San Marino, Helder was Bologna's best hitter with a .364 batting average. Also playing for Bologna last year were Ray-Patrick Didder and Randolph Oduber. This year, Didder plays professionally again in the Minor League (Los Angeles Angels AA). Oduber plays in the Dutch big league for Hoofddorp Pioniers, where he was a teammate earlier this season of Van der Wijst. Also still playing for Brno is 47-year old veteran Pavel Budský, who in 2000 and 2001 played in the Dutch big league for HCAW.

(July 17)

Final Standings European Champions Cup:
1. ParmaClima Parma (Italy), 2. Bonn Capitals (Germany), 3. UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna (Italy), 4. Curaçao Neptunus (Netherlands),
5. L&D Amsterdam Pirates (Netherlands) and Arrows Ostrava (Czech Rep)., 7. Heidenheim Heideköpfe (Germany), 8. Rouen Huskies (France).
(French position relegates to CEB Cup)

Final Standings CEB Cup:
1. Draci Brno (Czech Republic), 2. Templiers de Sénart (France), 3. Astros de Valencia (Spain),
4. Minsk (Belarus), 5. Dornbirn Indians (Austria), 6. Therwil Flyers (Switzerland).
(Czech position promotes to European Champions Cup)

Curaçao Neptunus vs. UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna
Neptunus faced a big 8-0 deficit after five innings and appeared to be handed a mercy-rule loss by Bologna in the Bronze Medal-game. But after five scoreless (and almost hitless) innings, Neptunus started to come back from the sixth inning on. The team scored nine runs in its final four at bats, but in the eighth, Bologna added three important runs to stay on top and creating the opportunity to allow some runs.

...Gianison Boekhoudt...
...Best Hitter...
(© Photo: Neptunus)
Powerhitters Gianison Boekhoudt and Dashenko Ricardo were not in the starting line-up for Neptunus in this game. Boekhoudt had been the designated hitter mostly, but today, Roger Bernadina was the DH. His position in rightfield was filled in Quintin de Cuba. Ricardo was the catcher in most games, but in this game, Louie Sienders did the catching for Neptunus. Ricardo later entered the game as pinch-hitter. Boekhoudt didn't come into action in this game and with that, he finished the tournament with a .571 batting average. With that, he was the Best Hitter of the tournament.

Bologna was scoreless in its first three innings, but came close to the opening run in the top of the first inning off of Misja Harcksen, who also was the starter for Neptunus in its first game last Tuesday. With two outs, Raywendley Van Gurp doubled, then tried to score on a single by Venezuelan Ericson Leonora. But Van Gurp was eliminated at the plate on a throw from leftfielder Greg Muller.

After leaving a runner behind on first base in both the second and third inning, Bologna struck with six runs in the top of the fourth off Harcksen, who gave up six basehits in this at bat. Ericson Leonora led off with a double, then scored the first run on an one-out single by Riccardo Bertossi, which was followed by a 2-run homerun from Venezuelan Ernesto Liberatore. Hereafter, Alessandro Grimaudo and Daniel Monti singled and they scored when next batter Lorenzo Dobboletta also homered. Harcksen then hit Filippo Agretti with a pitch and struckout Van Gurp in his second at bat in the inning. That ended the afternoon on the mound for Harcksen, who was relieved by Kaj Timmermans. He was greeted with a single by Ericson Leonora. A grounder ended the at bat, but Neptunus faced a big 6-0 deficit.

Bologna took more distance by adding two more runs in the top of the fifth. With one out, Ernesto Liberatore and Alessandro Grimaudo hit back-to-back doubles, resulting in a run. Grimaudo advanced on a single by Daniel Monti, then scored when Lorenzo Dobboletta also singled. A double play closed this at bat, but Bologna now led 8-0 and was two runs and nine outs away from a mercy-rule victory.

Neptunus was silenced in the first five innings by Nicholas Pugliese, who made his first start of the tournament. The righthander got only two baserunners in scoring position and gave up only one basehit. After having retired the side in the first inning, he walked Dudley Leonora with one out in the second, but he stranded on first base. In the bottom of the third, Neptunus got its first runner in scoring position. With one out, Louie Sienders reached on an error and Stijn van der Meer walked, but a double play followed.

In the fourth, Neptunus recorded its first basehit in the game. Dwayne Kemp led off with a walk, then moved to third base with one out when Dudley Leonora singled. They were left behind, as the next two batters flied out.

In the bottom of the fifth, with an 8-0 lead, Bologna made a surprise pitching change. Pugliese hit lead-off hitter Greg Muller with a pitch, then struckout Louie Sienders. But hereafter, with one out, Bologna Manager Daniele Frignani inserted Willie Johnson as new pitcher. That meant that Pugliese ended up 2/3 inning short of being credited with the win. There are two possibilities why Frignani made this move. The first (and most likely) possibility is that he changed his pitcher after he had gone through the batting order twice. The second is that the righthander was throwing on a pitch count and has reached his limit. Pugliese threw 63 pitches. Johnson faced Stijn van der Meer, the first batter in the Neptunus-batting order and he grounded into an inning-ending double play.

After Neptunus had turned a double play in the top of the sixth, the team scored its first run in the home-half. Lead-off hitter John Polonius reached on an error, then Dwayne Kemp struckout, but Neptunus got the bases loaded when Roger Bernadina walked and Dudley Leonora singled. With that, Leonora accounted for the only two basehits Neptunus hit in the first six innings. Polonius scored when Leonora was forced out on a grounder by Quintin de Cuba. Two runners were left behind.

In the top of the seventh, Kevin Bakker became the new pitcher for Neptunus. He got two baserunners, but held the Italians scoreless. Neptunus then came back somewhat in the game by scoring three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Greg Muller led off with a single and Louie Sienders walked. The latter was forced out on a grounder by Stijn van der Meer. With two outs, Dwayne Kemp belted his sixth homerun, which narrowed the deficit to 8-4. Neptunus got two more baserunners. First, Roger Bernadina walked, then Filippo Crepaldi took over the pitching, but gave up a single to Dudley Leonora. A grounder ended the at bat.

Bologna then scored three important insurance runs in the top of the eighth off of Kevin Bakker. The righthander got two quick outs, but then hit Ericson Leonora with a pitch and gave up a single to Niccolò Loardi. Riccardo Bertossi hit the ball into deep rightfield for a 3-run homerun. That lifted the lead to 11-4.

Neptunus answered with a 4-run rally, which made it an 11-8 score, but the run-difference proved to be too much for Neptunus. In the bottom of the eighth, Neptunus got the bases loaded quickly when Gregory Trinidad, Greg Muller and Louie Sienders all singled. Next batter Stijn van der Meer also singled to bring in Trinidad and keeping the bases loaded. Filippo Crepaldi then struckout John Polonius and Dwayne Kemp, but Roger Bernadina followed with a baseclearing, 3-run double. Henry Rodriguez Rivera then took over the pitching and got an inning-ending grounder.

...Umpires Roy van de Wateringen and...
...Edwin Louisa officiated in the Final...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the top of the ninth, Bologna got two more baserunners off of new pitcher Lex Meinderts. The rookie righthander began with two strikeouts, but then gave up a single to Lorenzo Dobboletta and walked Filippo Agretti. Kevin Kelly took over the pitching and closed the at bat with a strikeout.

That set up the final possibility for Neptunus to change the outcome. Quintin de Cuba led off with a homerun off of Henry Rodriguez Rivera, which narrowed the deficit to 11-9. The righthander then had a strong closing of the at bat. After striking out Gregory Trinidad, the Venezuelan gave up a single to Greg Muller. Rodriguez then struckout pinch-hitter Dashenko Ricardo and Stijn van der Meer to end the game.

There were 30 basehits in this game. Eighteen of them were hit by Bologna, including four by Ericson Leonora, who also batted in four runs. Lorenzo Dobboletta also had four runs batted in. Neptunus collected twelve basehits, including three by Dudley Leonora and Greg Muller.

In the Final in the evening, Bonn Capitals scored three runs in the top of the first inning off of starter Mattia Aldegheri. He allowed two runs to be scored on a wild pitch and in the middle, Wilson Lee delivered a runscoring single. ParmaClima Parma immediately came alongside by also scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning off of starter Sascha Koch when Leomartires Rodriguez hit a 3-run homerun.

Parma then took the lead in the fourth when Alex Sambucci led off with a homerun. The Italian team took more distance in the sixth by adding two runs on a double by Sambucci and a single by Giulio Monello. Bonn was able to score one more run in the sixth via a lead-off homerun by Terrell Joyce.

From the second inning on, three Venezuelans pitched for Parma. Danny Rondón took over from Aldegheri with two outs in the second inning and threw 4 1/3 inning. Julio Cesar Vivas Colmenares then threw the seventh and eighth inning. Closer José Vicente Campos Carnota took the mound in the ninth. Bonn got two baserunners with two outs off of Campos in the ninth, but he then closed the game with a strikeout.

And so, the European Cup returned to Parma after a wait of 22 years. Something, Aldo Notari would be very proud of.

Curaçao Neptunus - UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna 9-11
UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna000620030-11182
Curaçao Neptunus000001341-9120
pitchers Fortitudo Bolognainn.SOBBHRER
Nicholas Pugliese4.1231--

William Johnson, W (1-0)2.113343

Filippo Crepaldi12-644

Henry Rodriguez Rivera, SV (2)1.13-211

pitchers Neptunusinn.SOBBHRER
Misja Harcksen, L (0-1)3.222866

Kaj Timmermans2.11-622

Kevin Bakker22-333

Lex Meinderts0.2211--

Kevin Kelly0.11----

Homeruns: Bologna: Ernesto Liberatore (3)(4th,2-run,1 out,off Harcksen), Lorenzo Dobboletta (1)(4th,3-run,1 out,off Harcksen), Riccardo Bertossi (1)(8th,3-run,2 outs,off Bakker); Neptunus: Dwayne Kemp (6)(7th,3-run,2 outs,off Johnson), Quintin de Cuba (1)(9th,solo,0 outs,off Rodriguez).
Box Score
Umpires: HP-Jens Waider (Germany), 1B-Vladimir Richter (Czech Rep.),
2B-Serge Makouchetchev (France), 3B-Andrea Caser (Italy).
Official Scorer-Matěj Neděla (Czech Rep.).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Romano Kucková (Czech Rep.).
Technical Commissioners-Alessandra Soprani (Italy), Henk van der Linde (Netherlands).
Starting Time-3:00 PM.
Time Played-3:24 hrs.
Site-Arrows Park, Ostrava (Czech Republic) (site Arrows Ostrava).

Game Notes:
Bronze Medal Game.
Bologna finishes in third place; Neptunus finishes in fourth place.
Weather conditions at game time:
Partly cloudy, 27° C (80,6° F); wind direction northeast; wind speed 16 kmh (9,9 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 62%.

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