Over the last two weeks more champions have been crowned around Europe. The Extraliga in the Czech Republic has three new champions, Germany's Bundesliga has two of their own and The Netherlands Holland Series have come to a close as well.
Draci Brno are, once again, Extraliga champions. This is their 6th consecutive title and their 22nd title since 1995. This year the championship round was between Brno, Arrows Ostrava and Kotlarka Praha. Only Draci remained undefeated. All three of these teams have been battling with one another throughout the playoff process over the last three seasons.
Germany's championship series came down to the final game. The Bonn Capitals and Heidenheim Heideköpfe split their first four games, one set at each park, to push the series back to Heidenheim for the decisive game 5. This was the first trip to the finals for the Capitals in recent baseball history. The last time they were in the game dates back to the 20th century. Heidenheim, on the other hand, are becoming seasoned pros at collecting Cups. This marked their third championship victory since 2009.
The victor of the Holland Series is this year's World Port hosts, Curaçao Neptunus. This is Rotterdam's 18th Cup and their 5th in a row. This year was a rematch of last year's Series with the same results. The L&D Amsterdam Pirates have now fallen to Neptunus in the Series 4 years running. The only other opponent Rotterdam has faced for the title in recent history has been the Hoofddorp Pioniers back in 2013.
The Solvesborg Firehawks swept the Rättvik Butchers for this year's championship title. The Firehawks took each of their first three games against Rättvik but not all were decisive victories. While the series was endcapped with identical 8-4 scores in Solvesborg's favor, the middle game finished with a narrow margin of victory between them. It was a one-run ballgame but, as is often the case in championship ball, it took just one run to determine the outcome for the whole series.
The Zraloci Ledenice Softball Club has a lot to celebrate at season's end. Not only did their women's team win the championship but their men's team made it to the finals.
On the men's side Zraloci was defeated by Hippos Havlickuv Brod. Last year it was the Hippos who took 2nd in the championship. This year the victory is theirs to savor. This is the first Cup for the male Hippos since at least 2003, which is as far back as the league's website posts championship information.
For the women it was SK Joudrs Praha that took the loss in the final against Zraloci Ledenice. This was a reverse of fortunes for both teams who finished in the opposite positions last season. If you are familiar with women's softball in the Czech Republic then you also know this was more than just a championship win for the ladies of Lendenice. It was a huge upset.
It starts with the long history between two teams that share a hometown. Praha, which is Prague in English, is the home of two Extraliga women's softball teams, the Eagles and SK Joudrs. Since 2006 SK Joudrs have appeared in every single Extraliga Championship matchup. Furthermore, they have won every year except 2012. Their opponent in each of the games between 2009-2015 was their neighbor, the Eagles. That single blemish on a perfect consecutive victory record was handed to them by the cross town club. Though they didn't meet in the final round this year it was that very same Eagle's organization that Zraloci defeated to take their winning shot at toppling the legendary Joudrs lineup. Needless to say, they didn't waste it.
The Mannheim Tornadoes are the 2017 Bundesliga softball champions. The Tornadoes defeated the Vermins of Wessling just one week after the Vermins themselves were crowned the victors in the Bundesliga's first German Softball Cup. The Tornadoes collected their 12th Bundesliga Cup in team history after defeating the Vermin three times in four games.
In both softball championships for The Netherlands the victors swept the competition. For the men it was Quick Amersfoort who emerged victorious in the 1st Class final series. Their victory over the Hoofddorp Pioniers was indeed swift with both games ending with 10 runs for the victors.
There was a cross-city matchup this year in the Women's Golden League Holland Series. The Sparks Haarlem and Olympia Haarlem faced off in a best of 3 series where Olympia arose victorious in a 2-game sweep. This was a repeat victory for the Olympia team having taken home the title in 2016 as well.
In women's softball the Leksand Lumberjacks defeated Enköping in a clean sweep 6-1, 11-1 and 13-6 for the Swedish Softball Championship Cup. This was the team's second consecutive Cup and their seventh year running in the final. Their only previous victory during that time came in 2013. That makes 3 cups in 7 years for the Lumberjacks.
The Therwil Flyers, who were champions in 2013 and 2016, have taken home the Cup once more. This year's final was a rematch of their 2016 series with the Luzern Eagles but the Eagles could not pull off the upset. If anything, experience hastened their defeat. In last year's series it took 5 games for Luzern's season to end, this year, like their baseball brethren, the Flyers managed it with a clean sweep.
While nearly every league on the continent has finished their season there are still a few outstanding games to go. The Austrian Baseball League is still waiting to name their top dog and baseball in Switzerland is at a stand off with a 2-2 series. In Belgium the men in both baseball and softball are still battling for their respective titles as well. Keep an eye on our events page for up-to-date links to online streaming and game ticket information.