Meteors take two more losses at Men’s Super Cup

Tue 27 Aug 2019

Tuesday 27 August – The Meteors Men’s Fastpitch Team suffered two more losses today at the European Men’s Super Cup in Nettuno, Italy, but the games – and their performance – could not have been more different.

First thing this morning, the Meteors lost 19-0 in three innings to a team called the Oslo Alligators, full of Czech and Danish National Team players, and were no-hit into the bargain.

This afternoon, playing the Nieuwegen Diamonds from the Netherlands, the Meteors put eight runs on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning, more than they had scored in the first three games of the tournament combined.

Unfortunately, the Dutch team responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning, added seven more runs in the second inning, and eventually prevailed in six innings by a mercy rule score of 17-10.

The defeats today to the Oslo Alligators and the Nieuwegen Diamonds leave the Meteors at the bottom of Pool B and guarantee that they will be among the nine teams that go to the ESF II Cup after the initial round-robin finishes tomorrow rather than to the Super Cup group.  At that point, however, the Meteors may find themselves on a more level playing field.

A report on the game against the Oslo Alligators has been on the BSF website since this morning and can be read below, along with scores and standings from play today in Pool B.  Meanwhile, here are more details on the game against the Nieuwegen Diamonds.


Meteors v Nieuwegen Diamonds

After struggling this morning to even put bat on ball against the Oslo Alligators’ Czech pitcher Michal Holobradek, the Meteors’ offense exploded in the top of the first inning this afternoon against Nieuwegen Diamonds’ starter Jorge Damian Lenain, with six hits and eight runs.

Matt Tomlin led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on an infield single by Josh Peat.  Jorge Giraut-Ponte then singled through the left side of the infield and the Meteors kept applying the pressure with bunts and squeeze bunts until the Dutch team began to fall apart.  There were walks, wild pitches and an error, and by the time the Diamonds brought in Guatemalan pitcher Roberto Ramos and he got the final two outs, the Meteors had an 8-0 lead.

However, the Dutch team quickly responded with six runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning.  Meteors starter Josh Peat struggled to find the plate, walking three of the first five Dutch batters and hitting another, and when Jorge Giraut-Ponte replaced him, he unleashed a series of wild pitches that helped the Diamonds to a total of six runs in the inning.

The Meteors still had the lead, but it wasn’t to last.


Overtaken

It took a couple of innings for the Meteors’ hitters to adjust to Roberto Ramos, and in the meantime the Dutch took control of the game with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the second inning against all three Meteors’ pitchers.

Things might have been different, however, because the Diamonds had runners on first and second and two out before a run was scored, and the Meteors might have got out of the inning unscathed.  But Jorge Giraut Ponte then walked a batter to load the bases and hit another to force in a run, and that brought Josh Peat back to the circle for the second time.

What followed was a series of walks, wild pitches, passed balls and an error and the Dutch were piling up runs without having to hit the ball.  Eventually, Karl Hjelm became the third pitcher of the inning for the Meteors, but by the time he got the third out the Diamonds had a 13-8 lead that they would never relinquish.


Attempted rallies

By the middle of the game the Meteors had adjusted a bit to Roberto Ramos and they posted single runs in the top of the third and fourth innings.

In the third, Josh Stanley talked, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Neil Davies.

In the fourth, Jorge Giraud-Ponte hit his second home run of the tournament over the fence in left field.

But the Dutch added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning on two hits and two errors and both offensesthen  went quiet until the bottom of the sixth inning.

At that point, Roberto Ramos slapped a single to shortstop, Gary Pena Viera hit a ball to the fence in right field, and when the Meteors missed the cut-off, Ramos scored the run that brought the margin to seven runs at 17-10 and ended the game.

Head Coach Robbie Robison said, “We got blown away this morning by Michal Holobradek, but this afternoon, in that first inning, we really earned those eight runs with bunts and aggressive baserunning, and we put a good team under real pressure.

“It’s been tough,” Robbie added,” but we’re progressing all the time.  We’re facing good pitching and making contact, and the guys are continuing to learn.


Looking ahead

The Meteors will play their final round-robin game tomorrow (Wednesday) against SC Span from Croatia at 1.15 pm local time.

After Wednesday’s games have finished, the top three teams from each of four first-round pools will go go forward to a 12-team Super Cup group and the remaining nine teams will play for the ESF II Cup.

Both of those second-round competitions will be played with a double-elimination format, and in the Super Cup group, the winners from each of the first round-robin groups will get an initial bye.  All teams will play at least through Friday.


Scores and standings

Scores on Tuesday in Pool B were:

Oslo Alligators 19, Meteors 0 (3 inns)
Hoboken Pioneers 6, Nieuwegen Diamonds 5
SC Span 4, Spectrum Praha 1
Oslo Alligators 12, Spectrum Praha 0 (6 inns)
Hoboken Pioneers 9, SC Span 4
Nieuwegen Diamonds 17, Meteors 10 (6 inns)

Standings in Pool B after Tuesday are:

Oslo Alligators (Norway) (3-0)
Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium) (3-0)
SC Span (Croatia) (2-2)
Spectrum Praha (Czech Republic) (2-2)
Nieuwegen Diamonds (Netherlands) (1-3) 
Meteors (GB) (0-4)

Scores and standings from the other three first round pools can be viewed on: http://competition.europeansoftball.org/2019/nettuno/schedule.php.


Meteors v Oslo Alligators

Nothing was easy for the Meteors at the start of Day 2 at the Men’s Super Cup as they went down in three innings to a brutal display of power from the Oslo Alligators.

The final score was 19-0, as the Alligators scored nine runs in the top of the first inning, five in the second inning and five more in the third.

Oslo centre fielder and lead-off hitter Anton Brown blasted three home runs in the game, two in the first inning, and shortstop Ludek Oplustil and his brother Viktor both homered as well, though Viktor’s was inside the park.

There were three Meteors’ errors in that torrid first inning as they tried to cope with a barrage of hits against starter Karl Hjelm and reliever Josh Peat.  Josh finally closed out the first inning but gave up the 10 runs Oslo scored in the second and third before Karl Hjelm returned to the circle to get the last two outs in the third and final frame.

Meanwhile, nine Meteors came up and nine Meteors went down via strikeout against the Norwegians’ Czech national team pitcher Michal Holobradek.

While they might be representing Norway at this tournament, the Oslo Alligators, like other teams at the Super Cup, is made up largely of top Czechs and Danes, and the young Meteors’ players from the GB Men and GB Under-23s lack the experience to compete at that level, though games and opponents like this will provide a valuable learning experience.

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