20 teams competed in the Men’s European Super Cup 2017. Twelve of them earned their spot in the Super Cup bracket. In the double-elimination tournament system, the number of teams kept decreasing till the last two teams were standing in the final game.
SEMIFINAL 1: Hippos Havlickuv Brod 3 – Spectrum Praha 0
The first semifinal was scheduled for the last day of the tournament at 10:00. Two Czech teams met in this game and the atmosphere was quite tense. Hippos had their pick-up-player from New Zealand pitch this important game and it turned out to be the right decision – Spectrum only hit three times.
Hippos did quite well in their at bats (8 hits). But it wasn’t their hitting what caused Spectrum troubles, Spectrum itself caused the troubles by not performing in the defense up to their usual standard.
The first two runs were scored in the third inning after an error and a passed ball. The last run of the game was well earned by the Hippos, especially by Dibelka and Klas, who hit singles and took advantage of more defensive imperfections by Spectrum.
SEMIFINAL 2: Spectrum Praha 0 – Brasschaat Braves 2
At 15:00 Spectrum got their second chance to make it to the final. This time the Czech men would’ve to beat Belgian Braves, who have already played the Super Cup final twice (in 2015 and 2013).
This wasn’t Spectrum’s good day defensively. The first run was scored on an error in the second inning; Braves added one more in the fourth on another error.
If it wasn’t for a great performance by Argentinian/German pitcher Pablo Skladny, Spectrum could have made the game more complicated, but five hits couldn’t make it up for the five errors that Czech team had produced.
Again, for the third consecutive time, Brasschaat Braves from Belgium made it to the final. For the third time (and a second time in a row) Spectrum takes bronze.
FINAL GAME: Hippos Havlickuv Brod vs Brasschaat Braves
Hippos won the Czech Extraleague last year and their goal was clearly set for this year – to win the European Super Cup. Brasschaat Braves know what it’s like to play the final of this competition, but they have never experienced what it’s like to win the final, their dream was pretty clear then.
Young talented Michael Holobradek started the game for Hippos, Braves used this chance to score right in the first inning.
Hippos tied in the second, Pablo Skladny, who pitched his third game of the day, allowed two hits and two walks.
In the third inning, the time has come for Holobradek to leave the pitching circle and leave it up to his more experienced temporary teammate from New Zealand, World Champion, Nikki Jasper Hayes. The score was 3-1 by that time.
Hippos made it the game tighter again in the fourth. Hayes singled, then Klas tripled to make it 2-3. The Czechs wanted too much though and Klas tried for home, where he was tagged out.
Fifth inning was good for Hippos again, they got on bases, but no run was scored. Belgian team’s offense, on the other hand, was stopped by Hayes’s performance.
Braves didn’t need any more runs though, as that was it for Hippos.
Brasschaat Braves stepped up their performance to not to allow any more runs and won the European Super Cup witha score 3-2!