Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Prague 2007 - Game three

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:

Third place playoff
Sunday July 1st
Dublin Hurricanes 13 Tempo Titans 12 (after extra innings)

On the Sunday of their Prague baseball cup competition experience, the Dublin Hurricanes found themselves drawn against the home town Tempo Titans for the honour of playing to the third place trophy and the bronze medal.

The Tempo Titans, on top of being the tournament hosts, are led by former Hurricane Radek, a fearsome hitter and lunatic base runner who drove the Hurricanes to many wins in his time in Ireland. His cousin, Jan, a big slugger who basically runs Prague's social scene, is also a major part of their team. Jan is a super catcher who has a fearsome swing. Plus, apart from all that, they are Czech! The Czech's don't fool around when it comes to baseball.

With Luke Barkmeyer pretty much on life support after catching consecutive games on the Saturday, it fell to Eoin O'Connor to catch. Apart from that the Hurricanes lineup mirrored those of the day before. The strong lineup got out of the gate fast and hit the Titans for several runs early, on route to a healthy 8-3 lead. Dave DeLucia and Chris McIssac continued to set the table for the big boys, getting on base all game long. Meanwhile, the big bats kept driving them in. Carlos, Pat, Tommy and Woody kept up their weekend barrage of hits.

Eoin O'Connor called a superb game behind the plate and even threw a runner out, with a great throw to second. The heat and the toll of pitching 14 innings in two days however, caught up on old man Eklof and the home town Titans began to chip away at the lead in the late innings.

Piling on the pressure, the Titans managed to tie the game at 8-8 in the 7th inning. The tournament organiser approached Hurricanes supremo for the weekend Chris Foy and announced a new rule, whereby a tie breaker would take the form of each inning starting with a runner on second. This, as opposed to the more traditional 'count back' rule employed at most 'timed game' tournaments. That rule would have seen the Hurricanes win though, and they weren't going to give it to us that easily.

Instead the eight inning started with a Titan on second. They promptly scored two runs and threatened more, loading the bases with two outs. Eklof reached back for a little bit more to strike the batter out and the Canes escaped further damage. The Hurricanes half of the inning started disastrously as the first two batters were out on two pitches. Screaming blue murder, Captain for the weekend Chris Foy led by example, taking pitches and working a great at bat to get on base. Following his lead the Canes managed to tie the score and force another extra inning.

Once again the Titans struck for two, loading the bases yet again and shaping as if to run the score up there and then. Once again the battery of O'Connor and Eklof wiggled out of it without completely losing their shirts.

Facing another two run deficit, at the end of a long tournament the Hurricanes answered the bell one final time. Dave Delucia got on yet again. Eric Valkys moved him over to third and he scored on Tommy Hernandez's single. Woody Woodburn drove Tommy in for the tie and then, with two outs, catcher Eoin O'Connor hit a ground ball to third.

With Woody heading home with the potential game winning run it was up to Eoin to beat out the throw to first, which he did by a half a step. The Hurricanes had won, 13-12 in what was the most exciting game of the tournament (the final itself was a blow out sadly, with Praha disposing of the touring American side with relative ease).

The Dublin Hurricanes had travelled to Prague and gone 2-1 against quality Czech teams. Player of the tournament for the 'Canes? A tie. Dave DeLucia got on base all weekend and drove in some vital runs too. He gets a half a share of the MVP award. Would have been a full share if it hadn't been for the power in Rafael Diaz's big bat. Man that was some home run.

The Hurricanes relax over a good Schnitzel after taking third place in the tournament

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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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