Archive for September, 2019

Another Japanense No Hitter

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

The NPB had another no hitter Saturday night. Lefthander Yudai Ono tossed a no hitter against the Hanshin Tigers to lead the Chunichi Dragons to a 3-0 win. It came just a week after the first no hitter of the year thrown by the Hawks Kodai Senga. The Dragons last no hitter was thrown by Daisuke Yamai in 2013. Ono walked one and another runner got on base via an error.

The Dragons scored early scoring one in the second when Dayan Viciedo led off the inning with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch. An error led to another run in the third, that run scoring on a Nobumasa Fukuda sacrifice fly. Viciedo had a perfect 3 for 3 day and drove in the third run with a single in the fifth.

Ono is just ten days shy of his 31st birthday. At 9-8 with a 2.59 ERA Ono is having a solid year. The last year his ERA was below 3 was in 2015. He was a first round pick of the Dragons in 2010 and made his NPB debut in 2011. Ironic that the Hanshin Tigers were Ono’s favorite tem growing up.

The Dragons are still in the playoff hunt a half game behind the Tigers and four games behind the Hiroshima for the last playoff spot.

Netherlands Wins the Eruopean Championship

Monday, September 16th, 2019

The Netherlands wins the European championship defeating Italy 5-1 for their third consecutive European championship. The European Olympic qualifiers play this week with the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Israel all qualifying. In a critical game Czech Republic beat Germany 4-3 to become the fifth European team to qualify. South Africa is the lone African representative to play in the European/African qualifier for the Olympics.

Netherlands 5 Italy 1

Kalian Sams hit a grand slam homerun in the fourth inning and one out later John Polonius hit a solo shot to give the Netherlands an early 5-0 lead. Donny Breek coughed up a solo shot by Alberto Mineo in the fifth. He finished his outing after a two out walk in the fifth. Four different relief pitchers came on to shut out Italy for the remaining 4.1 innings.

Czech Republic 4 Germany 3

This game was critical because it determined the fifth European representative in the Europe/Africa qualifier for the Olympics. Martin Cervenka got the big hit for the Czechs with a three run homer in the third inning to erase a 2-0 German lead. After Germany tied it in the sixth it was a Martin Schneider solo shot in the 8th that put the Czechs up for good.

Germany loaded the bases in the 9th inning with no outs on two walks and a bunt single. The Czechs were able to pull a 6-2-5 double play to get two out and retired the last hitter on a pop up to escape with a victory.

Spain 16 Israel 11

Israel hit five homeruns and Spain just four, but Spain outhit Israel 20 to 11. It was nine inning batting practice.

Italy and Netherlands to Compete for European Championship

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

It was not as easy as in previous years. Spain and Israel battled with Italy and Netherlands in the semi-finals, but the usual suspects prevailed.

Netherlands 1 Spain 0

Spain has some explosive bats but a trio of Dutch pitchers managed to deaden them. Diegomar Markwell went the first three innings, Tom De Blok worked five innings and Juan Carlos Sulbaran danced out of trouble in the ninth to shut down Spain and win 1-0. Netherlands scored the only run of the game in the eighth inning on a clutch Calten Daal two out single that scored Kaliam Sams, who had led the inning off with a single. Spain put two runners on in the top of the ninth, but Jesus Martinez grounded out to end the game.

Lowuin Sacramento had limited Netherlands to just two hits until the eighth. Sacramento slowed down Ademar Rifaela, who had hit 6 homeruns and drove in 16 runs in his last four games. Rifaela went 0 for 3.

Italy 7 Israel 6

Italy rallied for three runs in the eighth to pull out their victory over Israel. Chris Colabello slugged his fifth homerun of the tournament, a solo shot that pulled Italy to within one. Later in the inning Alberto Mineo gave Italy the lead with a two run homer. Israel put two runners on in the ninth but Alex Bassani, working his second inning was able to get the last out to earn the save.

Israel slugged three homeruns to account for all their runs. Daniel Valencia and Rob Paller each hit solo shots while Simon Rosenbaum hit a grand slam homer in the fourth to give Israel a 5-4 lead. Italy scored four runs in the third inning, benefiting from two Israeli errors that made three of those run unearned.

European Championships - Playoff Time

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Below are the final pool standings. The big game on the final day of pool play was Netherlands sending Israel to their first loss in convincing fashion.

Pool A

1) Netherlands 4-1, 2) Israel 4-1, 3) Czech Republic 3-2, 4) Germany 2-3, 5) Great Britain 2-3, 6) Sweden 0-5

Pool B

1) Italy 5-0, 2) Spain 4-1, 3) France 3-2, 4) Belgium 2-3, 5) Austria 1-4, 6) Croatia 0-5

Netherlands 13 Israel 4

A six run seventh broke the game open. Ademar Rifaela continued to stay hot slugging a three run homer in the inning and finishing the game with five RBIs. He also mashed a two run homer in the fifth. That gives him five homeruns and 12 RBIs in his last two games. Hendrik Clementina and Kalian Sams also went deep with solo shots for the Netherlands. Daniel Valencia had a two run blast for Israel.

Italy 11 Belgium 4

Angelo Palumbo pitched five innings of two hit shut out ball and Chris Colabello slugged a three run homer to lead Italy to a win and a first place seed in the playoffs. John Andreoli got the scoring started with his solo homerun in the first. Alessandro Vaglio drove in three runs with a two run single in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth. Beau Maggi drove in two runs, each with a double.

Spain 19 Austria 1

Spain scored a run in all six innings they batted. Jesus Ustariz started the scoring with a two run homer in the first inning. Javier Monzon finished the game with five RBIs, a two run double in the fifth and a three run homer in the sixth. Oscar Angulo scored four times on a perfect 3 for 3 day with one walk.

Great Britain 13 Sweden 7

Great Britain received 9 RBIs from the bottom of their lineup to trigger their win. Nateshon Thomas led the charge with three RBIs and two runs scored on a perfect 3 for 3 day. He also stole two bases.

France 23 Croatia 0

A 14 run second ended this game in six. Bastien Dagneau finished the game with six RBIs. Dagneau had two singles in the third inning that drove in three runs and blasted a 3-run tater in the third.

Netherlands 10 Great Britain 2

In a makeup game the Netherlands romped. Sharlon Schoop drove in three runs on three hits. Rifaela continued his RBI tear with two more. He and Chris Colabello share the RBI lead with 14, but Rifaela has driven in all 14 of his run in the last three games. Orlando Yntema tossed six innings of three hit shutout ball to net the win.

Czech Republic 10 Germany 6

The Czechs win put them in third place in pool A. Matej Hejma clubbed a three run homerun and drove in four to prove the difference in the game.

In a couple of play in playoff games between the bottom two teams in pool play Austria defeated Great Britain 6-1 and Croatia blasted Sweden 17-2.

European Championships - Day 4

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Italy downed Spain to send them to their first loss. And there appears to be a new powerhouse in the European game, with Israel remaining undefeated after four games. The big test for Israel will be today when they play Netherlands.

Italy 13 Spain 3

This was the opportunity for Spain to show Europe that they could play with the big boys. The game was close until the bats for Italy came alive with 10 runs in the last three innings. Chris Colabello got the scoring started for Italy in the first with a two run homer. He would contribute three more RBIs with an RBI single in the 7th and a 2-run single in the 9th. Giuseppe Mazzanti blasted a 3-run homer in the 7th and added an RBI single in the third. Alberto Mineo added a three run homer in the six run ninth. Those three players combined to drive in 12 of the 13 runs scored by Italy.

Spain scored two in the sixth on a Aaron Galvan double to pull within one, 3-2, but that was as close as they would get.

Israel 7 Great Britain 4

Blake Gaillen broke a 3-3 tie with a two run homer in the seventh inning. He added another solo shot in the ninth for insurance. Zach Weiss came on in the ninth to close out the game.

Great Britain had jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 3-run homer from Ben Andrews in the first inning.

Netherlands 8 Germany 1

Lars Hujer kept the German bats quiet, limiting them to one run in 6.2 innings. He struck out 11, allowing just four hits. Ademar Rifaela had a pretty impressive hitting day, going deep three times to drive in 7 of the 8 Dutch runs. Sharlon Schoop drove in the first run for the Netherlands with an RBI single in the first. After that it was all Ademar, blasting a 2-run homer in the second, another 2-run homer in the fourth and finally finishing it off with a 3-run homer in the eighth.

France 12 Belgium 2

France stayed alive with a win over Belgium, both teams now sitting at 2-2. France battered the Belgium pitchers for 18 hits and three homeruns. Maxime Lefevre was a perfect 3 for 3 with two doubles and three runs scored. Maei Zan added a 2-run homer in the 4th, Andy Paz hit a 2-run homer in the 8th and Bastien Dagneau made it back to back with his solo shot in the 8th.

Marc-Andre Habeck went seven innings for France, giving up just one run and striking out nine.

Austria 12 Croatia 1

In a battle of the winless, Austria came out on top. An eight run sixth put the game out of reach. Alex Seidl pitched a complete game seven innings. Croatian pitchers walked nine batters. Samuel Hackl got the scoring started for Austria with a 3-run homer in the first. Dominik Talir closed out the scoring with a grand slam in the sixth.

Czech Republic 10 Sweden 3

The Czechs scored five in the first and it was over after that. Martin Cervenka drove in the first two runs with a single. Jan Tomek pitched six innings of one run ball. The Czechs are tied with Great Britain and Germany at 2-2 for third place in pool A.

European Championships - Day Three

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Israel and Italy continue to roll. Great Britain bounces the Czech Republic for their second loss. Only Israel is undefeated in pool A while Spain and Italy have yet to lose in pool B.

Italy 10 Austria 1

Chris Colabello hit a grand slam homerun in the eighth to cinch the victory. Andrew Maggi and John Andreoli each went deep earlier in the game to lead the Italian offense. Austria could score only one unearned run off four Italy pitchers.

Great Britain 4 Czech Republic 3

Great Britain scored a run in the top of the tenth without benefit of a hit, the Czechs preferring to sacrifice a run while they turned a double play. Richard Brereton stuck out a critical hitter with runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the tenth to salvage the win. Martin Schneider whacked a three run homer in the seventh to account for all the Czech runs. Except for the three run homer, Alex Webb pitched well, striking out 12 in 6.2 innings of work.

Belgium 9 Croatia 6

Belgium kept Croatia winless, rallying for six runs in the eighth to pick up the win. Thomas de Wolf got the big hit in the inning with a grand slam homerun. He finished the game with 5 RBIs. Kenny Branden pitched the last two innings without allowing a run to pick up the victory.

Slobodan Gales drove in four runs for Croatia on a double and triple.

Netherlands 9 Sweden 0

Netherlands got their first win of the tournament. Donny Breek pitched six innings of shutout ball, striking out 10. Ex-major or minor leaguers Roger Bernadina, Curt Smith and Sharlon Schoop all went deep for Netherlands to account for 7 of the 9 runs. Schoop was a perfect 5 for 5 with three RBIs, falling a triple short of the cycle.

The Swede hitters could manage only two hits and they struck out 15 times.

Spain 6 France 3

Spain scored all their runs in the seventh to come up with the win. France committed six errors in the game, three in the nightmarish seventh inning that allowed four unearned runs to score. Leonel Cespedes pitched six shutout innings and France decided to go with their bullpen and Spain erupted for six.

Israel 4 Germany 2

It took ten innings but Israel escaped with a victory to remain undefeated in pool play. For the hosts it was their first loss. Israel got seven shutout innings from their bullpen, Dean Pelman pitching the last inning to secure the victory.

Israel scored two in the top of the tenth, two hitbatsmen benefiting the rally. Nick Rickles broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single, a second run erased on a throw out at home. Benjamin Wanger drove in an insurance run with a SF. Germany wasted a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the tenth when Kevin Kotowski was thrown out at home on a Simon Guehring single. Don Lutz ended the game grounding into a double play.

European Championships Day Two

Monday, September 9th, 2019

A big upset on the second day with the up and coming Czech Republic upsetting the Netherlands. Italy also was almost taken down, needing extra innings to beat Croatia.

Czech Republic 8 Netherlands 6

It was the first game for Netherlands since their opener yesterday was suspended. The Czechs got a solo homerun from Orioles farmhand Martin Cervenka in the fourth inning to score their first run. Cervenka also drove in a run in the ninth with a double.

The Czechs appeared to put the game away in the fifth when they scored four, two Netherlands errors contributing to the scoring. Calten Daal brought the Netherlands back with a three run homerun in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the ninth, down 8-5, Netherlands was able to load the bases with no outs. They could only score one run on a sacrifice fly.

For the Czechs it was their first win after losing to Israel in the opener.

Italy 2 Croatia 1

Pavao Karin quieted the Italian bats, limiting them to just one run in nine innings. That was a fifth inning solo homerun from Andrew Maggi. Murilo Brolo threw six innings for Italy, giving up just one unearned run. Matteo Bocchi followed with three innings of shutout relief.

In the tenth Croatia put runners on first and second but that did not matter to Alex Bassani, who struck out the side in his only inning of work. The first batter for Italy, facing the bullpen for the first time, John Andreoli, lined a walkoff single to right field to give Italy the 2-1 win.

Israel 4 Sweden 3

Israel may be tough this year, but they needed a two out rally in the bottom of the ninth to win this game. Israel scored their two runs on a wild pitch, and after an intentional walk to load the bases a walk off walk. The Swedes walked 11 in the game, Israel stranding 15 runners on base, leaving the bases loaded in the third and ninth and two runners on in the first, second, fifth and eighth.

Sweden got a solo homerun from Nicolas Filice in the fourth. Jeremy Wolf drove in two runs for Israel with an RBI single in the second and the walkoff walk in the ninth.

Spain 13 Belgium 5

Spain remained undefeated, slugging five homeruns in the victory. Engel Beltre, Jesus Ustariz, Aaron Galvan, Jesus Martinez and Daniel Martinez each went deep for Spain. Spain hit three homeruns in the first inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Belgium hit two homeruns, one from Sam Boermans and the other from Thomas de Wolf to account for three of their five runs.

France 12 Austria 6

Frederic Hanvi hit a grand slam in the third and a three run shot in the sixth to drive in seven runs to lead France to an easy victory. All 12 of their runs were scored in those two innings. Andy Paz contributed a two run double in the sixth and Bastien Dagneau added a leadoff solo shot in the sixth.

Moritz Scheicher went 4 for 4 for Austria in the leadoff spot.

Germany 1 Great Britain 0

Michael Roth pitched well, but gave up a solo homerun to Marco Cordoso in the fifth. That was his only casualty in his eight innings of work. Sascha Koch pitched just as well throwing seven innings of four hit shutout ball. Sven Schueller pitched the last two innings to complete the shutout.

Great Britain’s greatest opportunity for scoring came in the sixth when they had runners on first and third with two out but could not capitalize.

Kodai Senga Tosses No Hitter

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Softbank Hawk 26 year old Kodai Senga tossed the first no hitter in the NPB this year, no hitting the Lotte Marines in the Hawks 2-0 win. Senga struck out 12, hit a batter and walked three. Two of those walks happened to lead off the ninth inning. He was able to get out of that by retiring the last three hitters to complete the victory.

The Hawks scored two unearned runs off Mike Bolsinger. Both of the runs scored after Leonys Martin dropped routine fly balls, one in the fifth and the other in the sixth. Martin was signed by the Marines this year after being released by the Cleveland Indians. While he has 11 homeruns in 39 games for the Marines he is only hitting .233. The Marines are still in the playoff hunt, sitting at third place in the Pacific Division, the last wild card spot but just one half game ahead of the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Hawks are in first place, one game ahead of the Seibu Lions.

For Senga the no hitter came at an opportune time. He had been having an exceptional season, but in the last three games he hit a road bump, giving up 16 runs in his last 17.1 innings. His won-loss record went from 11-4 to 11-7. He was also leading the Pacific League in ERA but the struggles dropped his ERA to over 3.00. He now sits at 2.92, with 205 strikeouts in 160.1 innings. He may be the best pitcher in Japan right now, but don’t expect him to be in the major leagues in the near future. The Softbank Hawks do not traditionally post players for the major leagues and Kodai still has a couple years left before he becomes an international free agent. He made his NPB debut in 2012, but he did not become a regular until 2016

The 6′1″ pitcher throws his fastball in the mid to high 90s. He has hit triple digits on the radar readings. He also throws a forkball and slider. The no hitter by Senga was the first for a Hawk pitcher since 1943 when Takehiko Bessho tossed one. The last no hitter by a Japanese pitcher was last year, tossed by the Yomiuri Giants Shun Yamaguchi.

Under 18 All World Team

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Yu Chien, who pitched the championship match against the United States was named MVP. Below is the All World Team for 18 and under by position.

Catcher - Juan Gonzalez (Spain) - .323, 8 runs scored, 9 RBIs, 4 doubles
First Base - Yuya Nirasawa (Japan) - .345, 8 runs scored
Second Base - Ji-chan Kim (Korea) - .528, 11 runs scored, 10 stolen bases
Third Base - Shun-Ho Wang (Taiwan) - .364, 8 runs scored, .682 slugging, 3 stolen bases
Shortstop - Austin Gomm (Canada) - .345, 7 runs scored, 10 RBIs
Left Field - Darryl Collins (Netherlands) - .345, 8 runs scored, 12 RBIs, .759 slugging
Centerfield - Pete Crow-Armstrong (United States) - .364, 9 runs scored, 3 triples, .606 slugging, 3 stolen base
Rightfield - Robert Hassell (United States) - .514, 14 runs scored, 14 RBIs, 5 doubles, 2 homeruns, .886 slugging
Designated Hitter - Tyler Soderstrom (United States) - .294, 10 RBIs
Relief Pitcher - Alejandro Rosario (United States) - 3-0, 1.30 ERA
Starting Pitcher - Yasunobu Okugawa (Japan) - 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 18 K’s in 7 innings pitched, .083 batting average against
MVP - Chien Yu (Taiwan) - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 saves, 15 K’s in 10 innings pitched

Taiwan Wins the Under 18 World Cup

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

It has been a pretty good 2019 baseball season for Taiwan. Earlier in the year they won the 12 and under World Cup by beating Japan. This time it was the United States who they beat in the older division.

Taiwan 2 United States 1

Chien Yu had major league scouts drooling, shutting out a group of potential number one draft picks on three hits for 6.2 innings, striking out seven. The four time defending champion United States could not figure out Yu, whose only other two appearances were in relief when he picked up two saves. He gave up just four hits in his 10 innings of work, striking out 15.

Taiwan broke a 0-0 tie in the fifth with an RBI single by Tzu-Wei Lin. Shun-Ho Wang got the inning started with a triple. Taiwan added an insurance run in the eighth on a Wie-Chieh Lo RBI single. Lo was a second round pick of the CPBL Uni Lions and just signed a contract prior to the tournament. Lin started the eighth inning with a single.

The United States attempted a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Singles by Robert Hassell and Colby Halter and an error scored one run and put runners on first and third with two outs. Po-Yu Chen, working his second inning was able to get Jack Bulger to fly out to right to end the game. Unlike Chien, Chen had started his first two games and he was called on in relief to secure the championship for Taiwan.

In pool play the United States had beaten Taiwan on the second day of the tournament 8-1.

Korea 6 Australia 5

Korea won the bronze medal game. Juh-Yeong Lee blasted a two run homer in the top of the ninth to give Korea the victory. For Lee it was his only two RBIs of the tournament. The leadoff hitter did score 10 runs and hit .364. Hyeong-jun So retired all three hitters he faced in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the victory for Korea. The Australians committed four errors in the game, allowing three unearned runs to score.

Chris Burke went 3 for 4 with three doubles and three RBIs to lead Australia. He finished the tournament with a .361 average and seven doubles.