On the first day of the Baseball Gold Division, a second round robin for the top three finishers in both Group A and B, the following doubleheaders were scheduled: Mont-Saint-Guibert Phoenix @ Hoboken Pioneers and Brussels Kangaroos @ Borgerhout Squirrels. The other series, Brasschaat Braves @ Deurne Spartans, has been postponed due to obligations of the Braves in the Federation Cup.
For the first time in more than a year, baseball fans in Belgium could follow a play-by-play. In fact they have been waiting for this from the start of the season. But for a variety of reasons, it took a while before it was implemented. The scorers pushed for the implementation, especially Marleen Verbist has been urging the Belgian baseball and softball federation to make sure this tool would be installed. Now, finally, she has it her way.
Mont-Saint-Guibert Phoenix 1 – 2 Hoboken Pioneers
It was already known that MSG Phoenix is a formidable opponent this year, something the team would prove in game one of the doubleheader vs Hoboken Pioneers. In the second inning, Phoenix took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Ross Paul Lowe. In the following two and a half innings, Pioneers had a runner on third twice but both times, Phoenix got out of the jam without any damage. But in the bottom of the fifth inning, Pioneers tied the game when Wesley Janssen singled and drove in Toon Hendrickx. In the remainder of the regular nine innings, neither team did score even though Pioneers had runners in scoring position twice but failed to cash in once again. So with the game tied at one, extra innings were needed. With runners placed on first and second, Phoenix did not execute the tie-breaker situation well as the runner from second was thrown out at third. Pioneers on the other hand did better although they didn’t use the usual bunt to move the runners over. In this case Thomas de Wolf singled to second base and with the bases loaded, Dennis de Quint drew a walk to drive in the winning run.
Sven Schüller pitched a complete game and earned the win. In ten innings, he allowed one run on five hits and two walks and fanned fourteen. Jean François Rittweger took the loss. In two innings of relief, he allowed the winning (unearned) run to Pioneers.
Dennis de Quint was the best hitter for Pioneers, going 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Mont-Saint-Guiber Phoenix 1 – 7 Hoboken Pioneers
Also in the second game, Phoenix took the lead. And also it was a solo home run that put Phoenix in front. But from there, the offense of Phoenix stalled. Pioneers on the other hand knew how to get on the board. With Rob Lewis at third base in the bottom of the second inning, Lieven Buerms grounded out to first base and allowed Lewis to score the game-tying run. In the next inning, Dennis de Quint homered to left center field and took Thomas de Wolf with him. The final score would be put on the board in the fifth inning. An RBI single by Thomas de Wold and two two RBI doubles by Rob Lewis and Xander Verspreet drove in four more runs.
Kenny van den Branden earned the win. In six innings he gave up one run on two hits and struck out eight. Florian Lekeu took the loss after four innings in which he allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out two.
Rob Lewis was the best hitter for Pioneers as he went 2 for 3 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored.
Brussels Kangaroos 4 – 19 Borgerhout SquirrelDuring the regular season, Brussels Kangaroos proved to be a dangerous outsider, but in the first game of the doubleheader, the team didn’t really reflect this. Borgerhout Squirrels only needed seven mercy rule innings to clinch the victory. By the time the Kangaroos put two runs on the board, the Squirrels had a comfortable 6-0 lead already. Two monster innings made the Squirrels walk away. In the bottom of the fourth, Kevin Desmedt was relieved by Mauro van Mook. This move would backfire immediately as Van Mook struggled to find the strike zone. He walked five of the six batters he faced and hit one with a pitch. He was replaced by Guillaum Deletombe, who walked the first batter he faced and gave up a two-RBI single before recording the final out. In the next inning, Squirrels would add seven more runs to their score.
Ryan Johannes Johnson earned the win. In five innings, he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks and struck out seven. After three innings of work, Kevin Desmedt took the loss. He allowed six runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks and he struck out two.
Going 2 for 2, Sam Boermans was the best hitter for Borgerhout Squirrels with two doubles, three RBI and four runs scored.
Brussels Kangaroos 4 – 6 Borgerhout Squirrels
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Kangaroos did a lot better. Still they were dealt a defeat but the score was bearable compared to the one from the first game.
With runners in scoring position in the first inning, Kevin Desmedt reached on a throwing error on which Leonel Reina and Maurice Ryelandt could score and give the Kangaroos the lead. Their lead would not last very long as the Squirrels took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. A two-RBI by Ryan Johannes Johnson and RBI singles by Matthias Group and Kevin Vervloet, gave the Squirrels a 4-2 lead. But the Kangaroos fought back. In the fifth inning, a passed ball and a throwing error allowed the Kangaroos to tie the game.
But the Squirrels would have the last say. A bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run.
Gregg Mareels pitched 4.1 innings in relief for the win. He gave up four hits and a walk and struck out one. Cedric Desmedt took the loss. In 6.2 innings, he gave up six runs on seven hits and eight walks and struck out three.
Scores in the Baseball Silver Division:
Namur Angels 4 – 1 Merchtem Cats
Namur Angels 2 – 7 Merchtem Cats
Gent Knights 1 – 11 Mortsel Stars
Gent Knights 1 – 12 Mortsel Stars