2008 European Cup
The 2008 European Cup took place in several phases, a change from prior European Cup tournaments held before. Tourneys began on June 17, 2008 in Grosseto, Italy and on June 18 in Regensburg with 16 teams participating. The top four from the two tournaments would meet in Barcelona, Spain later in the year. The CEB Cup and Cup Winners Cup were eliminated in the new format.
Caffe Danesi Nettuno of Italy won their fifth European title as they beat T&A San Marino in the Final Four Championship game.
Montepaschi Grosseto (Italy)
Montepaschi Grosseto is the host and is coming off a Serie A1 title. The team includes former AAA hurler Linc Mikkelsen and former major leaguer Anthony Ferrari on its pitching staff.
Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)
Corendon Kinheim is defending its 2007 European Cup title and won Hoofdklasse in 2007. Danny Rombley and Vince Rooi had both played in the high minors while David Bergman, Patrick Beljaards, Michiel van Kampen and Bryan Engelhardt are Dutch national team regulars.
Rouen Huskies (France)
The Rouen Huskies won the Division Elite in 2007 and finished second in the 2007 European Cup. Kenji Hagiwara has US college experience.
Marlins Puerto Cruz (Spain)
The Marlins Puerto Cruz won the Spanish pennant in 2007. They include former minor leaguers Nestor Perez and Ivan Granados as well as Spanish national team star Dewis Navarro.
T&A San Marino (San Marino)
T&A San Marino includes former big leaguers Horacio Estrada and Brian Looney as well as several Italian national team players such as Max De Biase and Seth La Fera.
Mainz Athletics (Germany)
The Mainz Athletics won a surprising Bundesliga crown in 2007. Stars include outfielder Sascha Lutz and pitcher Manuel Moeller.
Royal Greys (Belgium)
The Belgian titlist Royal Greys made it through the European qualiifer. Coming from one of the weaker leagues in the tourney, they are not considered a major contender.
Tornado Balashikha (Russia)
Tornado Balashikha won the 2007 Russian crown and advanced through the qualifier. The staff includes former big leaguer Pat Ahearne.
Legionaere Regensburg (Germany)
Regensburg Legionäre plays host after finishing second in Bundesliga the prior two years. Martin Almstetter and Benedikt Antwi are members of the German national team.
FC Barcelona (Spain)
FC Barcelona won the final CEB Cup in 2007. Remigio Leal and Manny Olivera are key hurlers for the Spanish national team.
DOOR Neptunus (Netherlands)
DOOR Neptunus won the last Cupwinners Cup going 5-0 in 2007. Leon Boyd and Raily Legito have been key players for the Dutch national team. Eugene Kingsale has big league experience while Dushan Ruzic and Diegomar Markwell have played in the minors.
Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
Danesi Nettuno is second in Serie A1 in 2008 at 19-8 entering the Cup. Giovanni Carrara, Nelson Cruz and Luis Ugueto have major league experience. Their top hitter is Giuseppe Mazzanti.
Templiers Senart (France)
The Templiers Senart come in with a 16-game winning streak, dominating French ball. Veteran Samuel Meurant is a key pitcher and Ian Young a significant offensive provider.
Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
Draci Brno is the defending Czech Extraliga champion (as usual). Former big leaguer Eddie Oropesa is on the roster, while veteran Pavel Budský, a former minor leaguer, comes in with a .436 average in 2008.
Olimpija Karlovac (Croatia)
Olimpija Karlovac was the 2007 Croatian victor. They include former Canadian national team pitcher Jordy Alexander and British national team Gary Tongue. They are the first Croatian team to compete in the European Cup.
MGPU was leading the race in Russia at the start of the Cup. The team has two pitchers with contracts in the US, Nick Lobanov and Andrey Lobanov.
- Defending champion Kinheim beats the Marlins Puerto Cruz, 4-3. Patrick Beljaards threw 6 scoreless frames and David Bergman added two before Michiel van Kampen struggled in the 9th, almost blowing the game. The contest was held back 45 minutes by rain.
- San Marino beat Tornado Balashikha, 2-0, behind Horacio Estrada (13 K, 4 H in 8 IP) and Brian Looney (3 K, Sv). Former big leaguer Pat Ahearne had a no-hitter through 6, but a triple by Martin Vasquez and a Max De Biase single made it 1-0 and de Biase came around later for an insurance run.
- The Rouen Huskies rallied from a 5-1 deficit to overcome the Mainz Athletics. SS Dany Scalabrini (3 for 5, 2 RBI) and 2B Luc Piquet (3 R despite no hits) led Rouen. Keino Perez went the distance for Rouen, throwing 144 pitches. Each team made four errors in a bad defensive game and only 3 of the 12 runs in the 7-5 contest were earned.
- Host Montepaschi Grosseto blanked the Royal Greys, 2-0, in another game delayed by rain. Linc Mikkelsen fanned 11 over 8 innings of 5-hit ball and Anthony Ferrari notched the save. Andrea Sgnaolin doubled in both of Italy's runs in the 5th.
- Kinheim remained in control with a 11-4 rout of T & A San Marino. Denny Beljaards and Danny Rombley each score three runs and René Cremer drives in three. Tiago da Silva struggles, allowing 7 hits and 4 runs in 4 1/3 IP.
- Marlins Puerto Cruz gets its first win, topping the Tornado Balashikha, 9-3, as Russia misses its best shot for a victory. Richard Montiel homered and drove home four.
- Host Montepaschi Grosseto hurt the Rouen Huskies' chances of returning to the finals with a 13-1 rout. Rouen hurlers issued 10 free passes to help the home team.
- The Royal Greys got a win, topping the Mainz Athletics 9-2 with 8 of Belgium's runs coming after the fifth inning. Dennis van Hoof fanned 11 and went the distance for the victory. Bryon Bell went 3 for 5 and drove in three for the Greys.
- Templiers Senart easily beat MGPU SYOS 42, 6-0. Samuel Meurant fanned 12 in a 4-hit shutout.
- FC Barcelona upset Danesi Nettuno, 3-1, with Homer Baez going the distance for Spain.
- Draci Brno topped Olimpija Karlovac as expected, 9-1. Twins farmhand Jakub Toufar went 3 scoreless for the save on a combined 4-hitter. Five Czech batters got multiple hits.
- DOOR Neptunus had to work for a 10-5 win over the host Buchbinder Legionäre as starter Leon Boyd was knocked out after three innings and Diegomar Markwell and Dushan Ruzic had to finish up the game. Neptunus finally took the lead in the bottom of the 6th and hung on. Eugene Kingsale scored two and drove in four out of the leadoff spot.
- Kinheim rolled past Tornado Balashi, 9-1, to remain unbeaten. Pitching coach Eelco Jansen came out to throw the final four innings for the win in the rout while leadoff man Danny Rombley went 3 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 doubles, a triple, 3 runs and a RBI.
- LF Flavien Peron went 4 for 4 with 4 RBI as the Rouen Huskies dominated the Royal Greys, 7-0. Former Cubs farmhand Jason Kosow struck out 18 in a 5-hit shutout, throwing 143 pitches in the process.
- T & A San Marino moved to the semifinals of the Grosseto Cup with a 10-1 win over the Marlins Puerto Cruz. Seth La Fera and Martin Vazquez each reached base five times; they combined for 5 runs and 4 RBI. 2B Daniel Sanchez remained one of the bright spots for the Marlins with a 3-for-4 day.
- Montepaschi Grosseto blanked the Mainz Athletics for a 8-0 win. Reds farmhand Luca Panerati worked the first six of the combined whitewash. Mainz starter Jan-Niklas Stoecklin walked 7 in only 3 1/3 innings.
- FC Barcelona topped Olimpija Karlovac 10-0 in a game reduced to 7 innings by the mercy rule. National team members Jorge Balboa and Jordi Valles combine on a 7-inning no-hitter. Former minor leaguer Jeffrey Calderone hit four batters and allowed three runs in five innings and took the loss.
- DOOR Neptunus beat the Templiers de Sénart, 14-0, in 7 innings. Three pitchers teamed up on a 3-hit shutout while SS Jeroen Sluijter was 3 for 3 with 2 homers, a walk and four RBI for the winners. Neptunus scored eight times in the first inning alone.
- Nettuno edged Draci Brno, 7-5, roughing up Panamanian national team hurler Rodrigo Tello for 7 hits and 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings for the loss. Four Italian batters got at least two hits in the victory. For the losers, Pavel Budský homered.
- The host Buchbinder Legionäre only needed eight innings to beat MGPU SYOS 42, 14-4. Martin Almstetter pitched 6 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits, for the victory. The offense was led by SS Šimon Kudernatsch (5 for 6, 2B, 2 3B, 4 R, 2 RBI), 2B Philipp Howard (4 for 5, 3 R) and 3B Alexander Lauterbach (4 RBI).
- In a rematch of last year's 2007 Cup finalists, Corendon Kinheim mopped the floor with the Rouen Huskies, 13-0. David Bergman threw a 6-hit shutout over 7 innings as the mercy rule came into effect. RF Dirk van 't Klooster went 4 for 5, LF Bryan Engelhardt drove in four and eight of the 9 Kinheim starters scored at least once (only leadoff man Danny Rombley did not cross home).
- The Royal Greys got their first win of the Cup, beating Tornado Balashi, 3-2. SS Bryon Bell went 3 for 4 with a home run off of loser Pat Ahearne; that wasn't all, as Bell pitched the final two innings for the save. Former independent leaguer Daniel Howard threw 7 shutout frames to beat Ahearne.
- In a contest of Serie A1 teams, Montepaschi Grosseto defeated T & A San Marino, 6-1. Former AAA hurler Chris Cooper outdueled former big leaguer Horacio Estrada. Grosseto RF and leadoff man Jorge Núñez, another former big leaguer, went 4 for 4 with a run.
- The Marlins Puerto Cruz put away the Mainz Athletics, 8-1. Ivan Granados allowed four hits and a run in a complete game, beating Mainz ace Manuel Möller, who allowed 12 hits and 8 runs in 6 1/3 innings.
- Nettuno rocked Olimpija Karlovac, 12-1, in 7 innings. British hurler Gary Tongue was pounded for 16 hits and wasn't helped by four errors (one of his own). Nettuno cleanup man Giuseppe Mazzanti doubled, homered, walked and had a sacrifice fly in his 4 times up, scoring three runs and driving home four. Six Nettuno batters got at least two hits.
- Draci Brno led FC Barcelona 2-0 after 6 innings, but Radek Prochazka faded and Pavel Budský allowed 4 runs in 2 2/3 relief innings for the loss. One highlight of the comeback was Jorge Balboa's steal of home.
- DOOR Neptunus obliterated MGPU SYOS 42 by a 20-2 score. Starter Maxim Shevchenko allowed 16 runs in 4 innings for MGPU. Eight Neptunus players scored two or more runs, led by four from LF Derick Francisca. 2B Benjamin Dille had 4 hits. Neptunus drew 9 walks while striking out once.
- The host Regensburg Legionäre fell behind 3-0 in the second to the Templiers de Sénart as 2008 MLB draftee Mike Bolsenbroek walked five and threw two wild pitches while only retiring three. Thankfully, reliever Philipp Hoffschild tossed eight scoreless innings of relief, allowing only two hits, for the win. The game was tied at 3 in the bottom of the 9th when Šimon Kudernatsch walked and Alexander Lauterbach had his second RBI double of the day.
- In front of 1,800 fans, the host Montepaschi Grosseto club fell in extra innings in a thriller to 2007 Cup champion Corendon Kinheim. Patrick Beljaards (4 H, 1 R in 8 2/3 IP) and Linc Mikkelsen battled in a fine pitching display.
In the 7th inning, Grosseto got on the board first. 2B Davide Dallospedale tripled to open the frame and came home on a sacrifice fly from DH Jairo Ramos Gizzi. The defending Cup champs quickly answered when SS Roel Koolen tripled to start the bottom of the inning. With one out, LF Denny Beljaards walked and CF Danny Rombley was plunked. Mikkelsen retired René Cremer on a fly to center but Koolen came home on the play to tie it.
Grosseto got men on the corners with two outs in the 9th but Michiel van Kampen relieved Beljaards and got former AAA hitter Raul Marval to fly out to force extra innings. In the top of the 10th, 1B Gabriele Ermini singled, advanced on a Luca Bischeri single and came home on a single by Andrea Sgnaolin. With the bases loaded and one out later in the inning, van Kampen faced Jorge Núñez. The former big leaguer grounded back to van Kampen, who fired home to get one; C Tjerk Smeets then relayed the ball to first for the crucial double play.
In the bottom of the 10th, Mikkelsen opened by retiring Rombley, but Cremer then singled. RF Dirk van 't Klooster singled to left. After a visit to the mound by a Grosseto coach and 5 straight foul-offs on a 1-2 count, the flagging Mikkelsen threw his 135th pitch of the game, which Smeets promptly smacked into left for a game-winning two-run double to end an exciting game.
Kinheim had won the 2008 European Cup in Grosseto.
- After a Silver Medal last year, the Rouen Huskies failed to medal this year, as Keino Perez dropped a 3-1 decision to Matthew Marrone and T & A San Marino.
- The Marlins Puerto Cruz topped the Royal Greys, 7-3, thanks in part to eight Royal Greys errors. The Marlins continued to be led by 2B Daniel Sanchez, who went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 runs. The Marlins also played flawless defense, a stark contrast to the Belgians.
- The Mainz Athletics continued their struggles, losing to another 0-4 team by a 18-5 rout, as the Tornado Balashikha scored seven in the first and never looked back. Russian C Alexander Vasiliev hit for the cycle, scored four and drove in three in the romp. CF-3B Pavel Fursin was 3 for 5 with a triple, three runs and 3 RBI. The Tornado Balashika had 19 hits and 4 walks and benefited from 7 Mainz errors in the rout. Max Boldt went 4 for 4 in a losing cause.
- Danesi Nettuno pulled off an upset of DOOR Neptunus. The Netherlands jumped to a quick 3-0 lead against Giovanni Carrara in the first. Nettuno rallied for two in the second against Diegomar Markwell and took the lead with two more in the fifth. They wound up with a 6-3 victory. 3B Giuseppe Mazzanti doubled, homered, walked twice and drove in two while 2B Renato Imperiali was 3 for 4 out of the #9 slot. Eugene Kingsale was 3 for 4 in a losing cause.
- Host Regensburg Legionäre failed to make it to the finals with a 7-3 loss to FC Barcelona. Remigio Leal whiffed 16 and went the distance for FC Barcelona, scattering 10 hits. Martin Almstetter was roughed up, walking 6, allowing 6 hits and 7 runs (all unearned) in 4 2/3 innings for Regensburg. Regensburg made seven errors by six different players.
- The Templiers de Sénart topped Olimpija Karlovac, 5-1. SS Sebastien Herve was 3 for 4 with 2 steals and a RBI to lead the Templiers, while Samuel Meurant struck out 9 and allowed just run (unearned) in his second complete game of the tournament.
- Draci Brno and MGPU SYOS 42 battled all game in a close affair. Russia got ahead in the first with a bases-loaded walk by Jiri Marek, who never settled down but did not allow another run. Petr Minarik relieved Marek and threw 5 1/3 shutout 1-hit innings with 7 strikeouts. Niko Chermoschentsev allowed a run in the third but otherwise contained Draci Brno until the bottom of the 9th. Long-time Draci Brno star Pavel Budský then hit a game-winning home run.
- Nettuno burst ahead 4-1 thanks to homers by Luis Ugueto and Vince Parisi. In the 4th, though, FC Barcelona moved ahead with a 2-run triple by Emmanuel Febles, a grand slam by Jesus Golindano and a solo shot by Oscar Roman. Nettuno rallied to make it 12-11 in the 8th and had the tying run on second but star Giuseppe Mazzanti struck out against Remigio Leal, one day after Leal had gone the distance. Leal worked 2 2/3 innings for the save here as Homer Baez got the win. Two-time Olympian Massimiliano Masin took the loss, allowing 9 hits and 9 runs in 3 2/3 innings. In a losing effort, Ugueto was 4 for 4 with 4 runs and 3 RBI while Ramon Tavarez went 5 for 5 and drove home two.
- DOOR Neptunus took home Bronze with a 8-1 win over the host Regensburg Legionäre. Three hurlers combined on a 3-hitter. The score was tied at one after three but Regensburg 2B Philipp Howard made a 2-run error and C Martijn Meeuwis ground home another run. In the 9th, 3B Raily Legito cracked a 2-run homer. 2008 MLB draftee Mike Bolsenbroek took the loss.
- Olimpija Karlovac edged MGPU SYOS 42, 11-10. Olimpija led 6-0 after 2 1/2 but MGPU SYOS moved up 10-6 after five. Karlovac battled back and was down 10-9 entering the 9th, when LF Jason Pospishil homered for the second time in the contest for a one-run win. CF-P Slobodan Gales scored three runs for Karlovac while Pospishil drove in five. C Nikita Monakhov went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI in a losing cause. Every Russian starter scored in the loss.
- The Templiers de Sénart took a quick 1-0 lead with a RBI single by Ian Young in the first. David Meurant homered in the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Draci Brno rallied in the 5th thanks to two errors by Templiers C Ernesto Martinez.
Draci Brno held their 3-2 lead into the 9th when 1B Ian Young singled off of reliever Radek Prochazka. Samuel Meurant pinch-ran and took second on a Martinez single. Jakub Toufar came in to pitch but Meurant was caught stealing third while Martinez moved to second. After a fly-out, David Meurant made up for his brother's baserunning blunder with a game-tying RBI single.
In the 11th inning, Martinez reached on a Jan Jablonka error at short. With one out, David Meurant drew a walk. An error by Radim Chroust moved Martinez to third. Matthieu Brelle-Andrade then hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice for a 4-3 lead. Evan Blesoff held on for the win over Toufar.
- Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands)
- Montepaschi Grosseto (Italy)
- T&A San Marino
- Rouen Huskies (France)
- Marlins Puerto Cruz (Spain)
- Royal Greys (Belgium)
- Tornado Balashikha (Russia)
- Mainz Athletics (Germany)
- FC Barcelona (Spain)
- Caffe Danesi Nettuno (Italy)
- DOOR Neptunus (Netherlands)
- Regensburg Legionäre (Germany)
- Templiers de Sénart (France)
- Draci Brno (Czech Republic)
- Olimpija Karlovac (Croatia)
- MGPU SYOS 42 (Russia)
- (at Barcelona, Spain)
|Caffe Danesi Nettuno||4-3||Montepaschi Grosseto|
|T&A San Marino||2-1||FC Barcelona|
|Caffe Danesi Nettuno||3-2||T&A San Marino|
Note: Grosseto Group winners Corendon Kinheim could not compete in the Final Four due to scheduling conflicts, so their place was given to T&A San Marino. Read more
- Average: Richard Montiel, Marlins Puerto Cruz .476
- ERA: Jason Kosow, Rouen & David Bergman, Kinheim 0.00 in 9 IP
- Hits: Richard Montiel, Marlins Puerto Cruz & Dirk van 't Klooster, Kinheim 10
- Runs: Denny Beljaards, Kinheim 8
- RBI: Four tied with 7
- Doubles: Richard Montiel, Marlins Puerto Cruz 4
- Triples: Martin Vasquez, T & A San Marino 3
- Home Runs: Bryon Bell, Royal Greys 2
- Total Bases: Richard Montiel, Marlins Puerto Cruz & Bryon Bell, Royal Greys 17
- Stolen Bases: Daniel Sanchez, Marlins Puerto Cruz 5
- Strikeouts: Jason Kosow, Rouen 18
- Average: Ramon Tavarez, Nettuno .571
- ERA: Samuel Meurant, Sénart 0.00 in 18 IP
- Hits: Ramon Tavarez, Nettuno 12
- Runs: Šimon Kudernatsch, Regensburg 9
- RBI: Eugene Kingsale, Neptunus 8
- Doubles: Raily Legito, Neptunus & Giuseppe Mazzanti, Nettuno 4
- Triples: Philipp Howard, Regensburg & Šimon Kudernatsch, Regensburg 2
- Home Runs: Five tied with 2
- Total Bases: Three tied with 17
- Stolen Bases: Sebastien Herve, Sénart 4
- Strikeouts: Samuel Meurant, Sénart 21
- Grosseto: Denny Beljaards, Kinheim
- Regensburg: Jesus Golindano, FC Barcelona
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