Friday, July 06, 2007

Prague 2007 - Game 2

OKI PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL BASEBALL CUP


The Dublin Hurricanes played in the Tempo Titans club invitational in Prague the weekend of June 30th/July 1st. The following posts detail how the trip went.

Previous posts:


Game 2 (Saturday afternoon)-
The Dublin Hurricanes v Sabaat Praha


After taking game one the Hurricanes had a chance to make the final of the Tempo Titans tournament with a win over strong Czech side Sabaat Praha. Woody 'one pitch' Woodburne took the hill with Luke Barkmeyer once again forming the second part of the Hurricanes battery.

In the first inning the powerhouse Hurricane lineup struck hard. Dave 'Ichiro' DeLucia got on with a walk (one of about twenty over the course of the weekend) and the guys started hitting. Run after run scored, Carlos and Chris getting big hits. Up stepped Rafael Diaz in the nine spot. Rafael worked the count against the hard throwing Czech pitcher to 1-1, and then swung at a high fastball.

The ball flew off his bat and started to arrow high towards right field. Amazingly it just kept going, all the way for a huge three run home run. Rafael giggled his way around the bases and the Hurricanes were sitting pretty on a 6-0 lead.

Woody Woodburn ran a tight ship for the next few innings, giving up just one run and keeping the Czech's off balance with his combinations of tricky pitches. Sabaat Praha had several former Czech national team players in a big lineup, and also had the current Czech national team catcher batting in the clean up spot. This guy was a total monster. Woody kept the Czechs in check until he offered the monster catcher a knuckle ball with two men on base.

The home run took about 2 seconds to clear the park. Suddenly it was game on. With the pressure mounting as both teams strove to make the final, the home field umpire started to make some unusual calls. Woody's strike zone shrunk to the size of a small letterbox while the Czech pitcher was awarded strikeouts for pitches that were up at Chris Foy and, laughably so, Eric Valky's necks. Valkys is (and I am being generous here!) about 5'6'', the pitch he struck out looking on was about 5'5'' high.

Worse was to follow. Tommy Hernandez seemed to have a single beat out late in the game, beating the infielder's throw by at least a step, maybe a step and a half. As everyone broke down and prepared for the next play the umpire amazingly called Tommy out.

The worst and also the funniest call came when Woody threw a slow offspeed inside pitch to a batter. The rule in baseball is, if you see a pitch going to hit you, you have to be seen to make an attempt to get out of the way.

This joker of a batter actually moved towards the pitch. Unbelievably the umpire, who wasn't even trying to not look biased at this stage, gave the batter first base. We argued the call. I said to the umpire 'He stepped right into that pitch!' to which he replied, 'I know.'

It's hard to play against such ignorant arrogance. To Woody's credit he battled on but the tide was turning. Sabaat Praha played their game and took advantage of the Czech umpires generosity to force the winning run home late on, with both teams exhausted from a long days baseball. Praha played well however in all honesty the Hurricanes did not deserve to lose that game.

Baseball can be a cruel mistress at times, and the Hurricanes had to grin and bear it, consoled only by the fact that they had made the third place playoff and that meant a relatively decent starting time of 12pm, as opposed to the poor beggars who had to play the 5th place playoff at 10am! It's the little things in life that get you through.

Final score - Hurricanes 8 Sabaat Praha 9

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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