European Cup best of three: Game 3 in Rotterdam

Finally after eight years, the supremacy of Italian baseball clubs has been broken. In a rather dominant outing Curacao Neptunus from Rotterdam, beat Fortitudo Bologna 7-3.

The rubber game of the three game series started at noon today, because of the flight schedule of the Italians.

Curacao Neptunus took a lead in the bottom of the first. Back to back singles by Benjamin Dille and Raily Legito put runners on first and second. Boekhoudt then drew a walk to load the bases and Christian Diaz hit an infield fly. But a single by Stijn van der Meer eventually drove in DIlle and Legito for the 2-0 lead.
The Italians put themselves on the board in the top of the third inning. Alessandro Grimaudo singled, followed by a single hit by Juan Infante that moved Grimaudo to third. When Claudio Liverziani hit into a fielder’s choice/force out at second base, Grimaudo scored the first Italian run.

In the top of the fourth Neptunus stepped on it and had a big inning. Back to back singles by Stijn van der Meer and Christian DIaz, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Rien Vernooij put runners in scoring position. After Bologna gave an intentional walk to Shaldimar Daantji to load the bases. Dwayne Kemp’s single through the middle of the infield drove in Van der Meer and Diaz to give Neptunus a 4-1 lead. At that point, starting pitcher Riccardo de Santis was pulled in favor of Salomon Marinez. But Marinez couldn’t stop Neptunus from adding more runs to their total. Benjamin Dille singled up through the middle and Shaldimar Daantji scored from third. Dille advanced to second on the throw to homeplate and Neptunus had runners on third and second again. Neptunus scored two more on Raily Legito’s bases clearing double to center field.

Except for the third inning, when they scored their first run, Fortitudo Bologna had trouble with Kenny van den Branden’s pitches. The 26-year old pitcher from Belgium, cruised through six innings in which he threw 98 pitches. 
Kevin Kelly pitched two innings in relief and gave up only a walk and struck out four. In the ninth, Berry van Driel took over. But at a 1-1 count he gave up a double to Cesar Suarez, who was replaced by pinch runner Lorenzo Dobboletta. Dobboletta scored when Alessandro Vaglio singled up through the middle. Van Driel had to give up another single, this time to Alex Sambucci, before he could record the first out of the inning. Francesco Fuzzi grounded into a fielder’s choice/force out at second base that put runners on the corners for Bologna. Vaglio then scored on a wild pitch by Van Driel. But that was about it. Van Driel recovered and retired the next two batters for the 7 – 3 win and first European title for Neptunus since 2003.

Kenny van den Branden earned the win. as he gave up one run on four hits. He walked one and fanned six. Riccardo De Santis took the loss as he was bashed for six runs in only 3.2 innings.

Four Neptunus hitters went 2 for 4; Benjamin DIlle, Raily Legito, Stijn van der Meer and Christian Diaz.

Curacao Neptunus celebrating their championship. (photo: courtesy of Rob Jelsma fotografie)

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