Tempo and Spectrum Win Final Four
PRAGUE (21st September 2015). On the weekend of 19th and 20th September, the Final Four tournaments of the Czech Softball Association Cup were held at the Copacabana Ballpark in Prague’s district of Černý Most. On Saturday, the current leader of the Women’s Czech Extraliga - Joudrs Praha - reached the final, where the second team from this year’s European Cup Winner’s Cup was surprisingly defeated by Tempo Titans. On Sunday, the defending Czech champions - Spectrum Praha - faced the best Czech team from this year’s European Supercup Men, Havlíčkův Brod Hippos. The home team eventually figured out the Australian hurler, Tyson Duncan and won the game by a score of 10:9.
The first game played on Saturday morning was the classical Prague match-up between the Joudrs and the Eagles. The game between the top two Czech women’s teams of the past several years went scoreless for several innings. The Eagles did manage to put runners on, but they never got the clutch hit to drive them in. After the Joudrs drove in two in the bottom of sixth, the game was decided. The other semifinal game was a rematch of the quarterfinal series between the Storms and the Titans. The Storms picked up three foreign players specifically for this tournament, but even that didn’t help them defeat their opponents. Bláhová, the pitcher for Tempo, kept the Storms at bay. Her teammate, Olga Kašníková, then hit an inside-the-park grand slam and sent her team to the final game.
The more experienced Joudrs were expected to win the final game, and they took the lead early on. It seemed that they would easily defend their title from last year. But Tempo worked hard and turned the game around in the seventh inning, scoring 5 runs and setting the score to 7:4. Not even Apolena Výborná was able to stop the batters from Tempo, who got hits even off of the member of the Czech Junior Girls squad. “It was a great game. We played very well as a team. We got the clutch hits, drove some important runs in and we played good defense as well. We believed that we had it in us to win the Final Four, provided we would play good defense as well as offensively. It all came together pretty well and we won,” said Martina Bláhová, the pitcher who pitched both games and made a significant contribution to the historical success for Tempo, who only last year advanced to the top-tier competition.
Spectrum Use Home Field Advantage to Defend Title
The men’s final game saw a match-up between Spectrum and the Hippos from Havlíčkův Brod. These two teams are also playing each other in the semifinal series of the Men’s Czech Extraliga (Spectrum are down 0:2 after the first weekend). Both teams had no problems advancing to the final game, defeating teams that had already been knocked out of the Extraliga play-offs two weeks ago. In the gold medal game, both teams decided not to start their pitching aces, as the teams will face each other at least once again this weekend. This being the case, the youngsters Bala and Holobrádek were toeing the rubber at the beginning of the game. This led to an outburst of hits and runs, and after three innings the score was 7:7. In this situation, the Hippos brought in their Australian ace, Tyson Duncan, and Spectrum went to Ondřej Maleček. The Hippos scored two runs off of Maleček, but Spectrum finally figured out Duncan’s stuff and after some aggressive base-running even the game at 9 in the bottom of seventh. Oldřich Hadrava then hit a sac fly into left field to bring in the game- and cup-winning run.
“It was a hell of a game and we enjoyed it a lot. Also, for us it was a bit of practice for the next play-off games, where we are facing elimination. Neither team wanted to start their pitching ace because we’ll face off again next weekend. With the junior pitchers in the circle, the game went even at 7:7 and I think that the people who came to watch must have appreciated the quality of the game. There was a lot of emotion towards the end, I mean there really was a lot at stake. I love playing against the Hippos, they always go hard and want to beat us, which unfortunately was not the case with all our opponents this year,” said the shortstop Patrik Kolkus, who is back in the line-up after the injury that he suffered shortly before the WBSC World Championship in Canada.
By winning the Czech Softball Association Cup, Tempo and Spectrum clinched a spot at European cups for next year. The play-offs of the Extraliga will resume next weekend with the Eagles defending the women’s title and Spectrum defending the men’s title.
The weekend was covered by Czech National TV. A 15 minute TV special is available here. Czech Softball media team is currently working on the subtitles. We will let you know once it has been uploaded.
Final Four 2015 - Results
Saturday 19th September - women
Sunday 20th September - men
11:00 Joudrs Praha – Eagles Praha 2:0
11:00 Spectrum Praha – Radotínský SK 5:0
13:00 Storms Řepy – Tempo Titans 1:7
13:00 Žraloci Ledenice – Hroši Havl. Brod 1:8
16:00 Joudrs Praha – Tempo Titans 4:7
16:00 Spectrum Praha – Hroši Havl. Brod 10:9
-Pavel Hrdina, Jakub Kopřiva (translation)-