In the decisive game for a spot in the Belgian Series, Hoboken Pioneers stayed at the right side of the score. Until the sixth inning, the team couldn’t get a grip on the pitches of Ryan Johnson but eventually prevailed.
The Squirrels took an early lead when Steven De Lannoy singled up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on an error by the second baseman of Pioneers. When Ryan Johnson grounded out 1-3, De Lannoy scored the opening run. Until the sixth inning, Ryan Johnson kept the Hoboken lineup in check rather well as he allowed only two hits and a walk. Sven Schüller struggled a bit in the fourth when he gave up an RBI single to Cedric Vandesompele and threw a wild pitch on which Ryan Johnson could score Borgerhout’s third run.
But in the top of the sixth, one blow would tie the game. With a hitters count (two balls and a strike) Dennis de Quint connected for a home run that just cleared the outfield fence in left center field and took Kelvin Delgado and Nicky Mertens with him.
In the following inning, an error by the shortstop allowed Wesley Janssens to get on base. On a 1-3 groundout by Toon Hendrickx, Janssens advanced to second from where he scored the go-ahead run on a single by Kelvin Delgado.
After giving up the two runs in the fourth inning, Sven Schüller settled down and pitched into the eighth inning. But when he issued a leadoff walk to Tim Veraghtert, he was replaced by Kenny van den Branden, who pitched the Hoboken Pioneers to the win.
When the final out was made, the Pioneers bursted with joy.
Sven Schüller earned the win. In seven innings and a batter faced in the eighth, he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks as he struck out nine. Kenny van den Branden earned the save. In two innings, he gave up one (intentional) walk and struck out one. Ryan Johnson took the loss. In 7.2 innings, he gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks and struck out six.
Average-wise, Thomas de Wolf was the best hitter for Pioneers as he went 3 for 5 but Dennis de Quint contributed in the biggest way with a three-run home run.
Thanks to this win, the Hoboken Pioneers advance to the Belgian Series, which will start coming Saturday at the facility of Brasschaat Braves and will be played in a best-of-three format.