Fortitudo Bologna scrapped by with the W over Heidenheim Heidekopfe, 4-3 in their opening game of the Champions Cup.
Both starters held their opponents scoreless through three. On the hill for Bologna Raul Rivero would go 6.0 innings giving up 2 runs off 5 hits while striking out 9. He threw just 77 pitches with a remarkable 70% of them landing in the zone.
Heidenheim’s starter, Mike Bolsenbroek, put in 7.0 innings of work giving up 3 runs off 5 hits while flagging 10. 66 of his 98 pitches also crossed the heart of the plate giving him a more than respectable 66% return on investment.
On offense Heidenheim had two doubles and a homerun for extra bases. Bologna reversed those numbers and that made all the difference in the end.
In the bottom of the 4th Bologna broke the magic of the pitching dual with a simple single by RF Ericson Leonora but it was the crack of Ernesto Libeartore’s bat, as he took one over the fence in deep center, that drove them home. Just like that Fortitudo was up 2-0.
Heidenheim was quick to answer. First Bolsenbroek shut down the inning with a 3-pitch, caught him looking, strikeout of Italy’s LF Riccardo Bertossi. Then, on the first pitch of the 5th inning Drew Janssen, the first batter, took a page out of Libeartore’s book and dropped one right next to the one he’d left behind putting Germany within 1, at least until the 3rd out was called.
In the bottom half of the same inning Italy’s first man in the box, Daniel Monti, their SS and #9 in the lineup, hit the 3rd homerun of the day to the exact same spot. Just like that, Bologna was up by two once more.
The volley didn’t end there. In the top of the 6th Heidekopfe’s CF, hitting in the 4-spot, Gary Owens doubled down the left field line and Ludwig Glaser sent him home on a single through the left side.
In the top of the 7th the Germans played a little small ball to get them across. Sascha Lutz stayed patient at the plate and earned himself a jog down the path to take 1st. Simon Guhring and Shawn Larry each singled to right and that gave Lutz time to come around. After seven the score was all tied up at three.
In the bottom of the 8th it was Italy’s turn to play follow the leader. Mimicking Germany’s 7th inning efforts, Fortitudo engaged in a little small ball to drive in the winning run. It started in the same way. Ray Van Gurp was awarded 1st after bringing the count full. After a fielder’s choice and a double play, Van Gurp had managed to sneak all the way over to 3rd unscathed. With two outs recorded, Osman Marval walked, putting runners on the corners before Leonora, who had started the offensive action, finished it as well with a single to drive Van Gurp across.