Squirrels Take Cup
Six European teams gathered in Valencia Spain this past week for the Federations Cup. Though the home field advantage worked in their favor throughout the tournament, it was not the Astros Valencia who walked away with the Cup.
Valencia remained undefeated heading into the finals but it was the Borgerhout Squirrels from Belgium that won their second, and more important, matchup.
In 3rd place were the Antwerp Spartans, also from Belgium, followed by team Leskand of Sweden, the Finkstonball Champions the Attnang-Puchheim Athletics and finally the Buffaloes Blagoevgrad of Bulgaria.
Throughout the tournament Spain led in both batting with a team average of .384, and pitching, with a team ERA of 2.54, but it was the Squirrels who took the team fielding title with a .979 fielding percentage. They also had the number one bat in the tournament. Steven De Lannoy, who took home the Best Batter Award, averaged .708 over 24 at bats with 12 runs off 17 hits and 8 RBIs including 5 doubles and a triple, while walking four times. He led the tournament in hits, runs scored, doubles and stolen bases while leading his team in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, stolen bases and total bases. Teammate Kenny Van den Branden was the tournament MVP. Van den Branden pitched 14 innings over two games, winning both, giving up 7 earned runs while striking out 13 for a tournament 4.50 ERA. He led his team in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, games started and batters struck out looking (4). Kenny struck out an average of 8.36/game while walking just 1.93/game.
Valencia’s top pitcher was Yulman Ribeiro who pitched 13 innings over two games. He gave up 16 hits 4 runs, all earned, walked no one and struck out 10 for a 2.77 tournament ERA. Not surprisingly the top four batters in the tournament were split evenly between both teams. In the end though it was Belgium who squirreled away all the trophies taking home the Cup as well as both individual awards from the tournament.
Federation Cup Qualifiers
During the same week three sets of qualifying rounds took place in Bratislava Slovakia, Stockholm, Sweden and Belgrade, Serbia. Pool 1, which was hosted by Slovakia, crowned the home team Apollo Bratislava the winner. In Belgrade it was the Diving Ducks from West Neustadt Austria that won the Pool 2 qualifying round. In Sweden Sant Boi of Spain claimed victory.
Competition in Pool 1 finished with Apollo Bratislava (SVK) on top followed by the Zurich Barracudas (SUI), QUKB Centaury (POL), BSC Armazi Tbilisi (GEO) and the Budapest Reds (HUN).
Pool 2 ended with the Diving Ducks (AUT) on top followed by the Beograd ’96 (SRB), Southampton Mustangs (GBR), Athletic Sofia (BUL) and finishing in the final spot, the Atletico Alexandria (ROM).
The final qualifying pool crowned Sant Boi (ESP) the winner with Kaunas County B.C. (LTU), London Mets (GBR), Stockholm Monarchs (SWE) and UKS Deby Osielsko (POL) rounding out the tournament.