Eagles are in the finals of Czech baseball extraleague

Eagles are in the finals of Czech baseball extraleague

Eagles head coach Andy Berglund summaries a semifinal series against Technika Brno

 The Eagles Praha accomplished a wonderful moment over the weekend, winning a do-or-die Game 5 at the home field of defending Czech champion Technika Brno 11-4, to advance to the Czech Finals for the first time since 2004. The celebration on the field was much deserved, as the guys really banded together all season and into the playoffs to earn a trip to the finals against Draci Brno.

We finished with an 8-2 record versus Technika Brno, a very strong team, with great hitting and strong pitchers in Hess, Toufar, Labartino, Mraz and Ough.

All semifinal games were tight and battled til the final out. In Game one, we battled back late, down 6-2, to tie the game at seven, and force extra innings. The big hit was Lukas Borecky’s 2-out, 2-strike double off the top of the fence in the 9th inning to tie the game at seven. We would lose in the tiebreaker on a 3-run homerun by Marek, but a great sign was our will to battle back.

In Game 2, Matej Husek started and Jan Homolka closed out a must-win at Technika, as Eagles pounded out 14 runs on 19 hits to win 14-8. Matej Hejma, Martin Laube, and Jan Pojer had four hits and Petr Zyma and Jan Homolka had three each, and the rest of the offense continued to be a wrecking force at the plate.

For Games 3 and 4, back at Eagles, the atmosphere of the team continued to be strong, with great team chemistry. We fell behind early to Technika and pitcher Daniel Mraz and lost 9-7. Dan Vitek was effective as a starter, as he was in Game 1. But Mraz forced four double plays in the game off Eagles bats and despite a late rally down 9-3, the Eagles fell 9-7. Lukas Josefus pitched very well in late relief of Brad Merritt and Vitek.

In another must-win game, the Eagles prevailed with a 5-2 win over American left-handed pitcher Isaac Hess. Hess had controlled the game all the way through until the seventh until Jan Pojer led a rally back with a shot off the wall for a single. Jan Drabek followed with a double, Matej Hejma was walked to load the bases and Martin Laube delivered a clutch RBI single through the infield to tie the game at one. The Eagles than got huge hits from veterans Jan Homolka and Ruda Pelzl to lift Eagles to a 5-1 lead. Matej Husek was brilliant in a complete game effort to get the win and force Game 5 in Brno.

In the final game, the Eagles would not be denied. They scored six runs in the third, knocking Jakub Toufar out of the game in the meantime, and never looked back in a 11-4 triumph. Starter Brad Merritt went seven strong in a very clutch pitching performance to earn the win. He kept the heavy Technika hitters off balance all game. Lukas Josefus pitched the final two innings to give Eagles much needed late inning relief pitching. The final blow was Jan Pojer and Jan Drabek’s back-to-back homeruns to silence the Brno crowd and send the Eagles to the finals for the first time in nine years.

This season has been an incredible journey for the players and the coaches and the people following Eagles baseball. We thank all those who have been a part of this magical season.

We now look forward to the finals against Draci Brno, who is very strong once again. We will do our best to fight to the final out and give 100 percent effort into bringing an Extraliga championship back to Prague for the first time in over 20 years.

Andy Berglund

 

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