The Legionäre are champions of Germany … again

It’s been a wild ride, but well worth the wait. The Buchbinder Legionäre Regensburg are champions of Germany.

As I meantioned earlier the series was going back and forth with Solingen always getting one game ahead only to be caught by Regensburg the following day. So with the whole thing tied at 2 the deciding game was to take place at Regensburg’s home field on reunification day.

This being a national holiday brought the masses to the stadium. The place was packed. On the broadcast the mentioned an attendance of around 3.000 which should be the biggest crowd that ever came to watch a Baseball Bundesliga game. There have been bigger crowds on German soil for a ballgame, but those were international contests. Anyway, the ground was buzzing and even while sitting at home watching the terrific broadcast by LegionäreTV you could sense the excitement and tension.

There are certain rules in German baseball regarding the use of players from America (which I am not able to explain, so bare with me) which set up Solingen’s Andre Hughes who had one games 1 and 3 against Regensburg’s Mike Bolsenbroek, who, coincidentally lost both of those games. The American starters Nick Renault (SOL) and Justin Kuehn (REG) were available off the bench, but not out of the bullpen.

That was the setting. And the game lived up to it.

Both pitchers enjoyed rather easy first two innings, but Bolsenbroek ran into trouble first. Trouble meaning Mets’ AAA player Kai Gronauer, who belted a 2-run dinger to left to give the Alligators the lead with 1 out in the 3rd. Although Bolsenbroek rebounded to strike out the next batter, he then surrendered a solo blast to Dominik Wulf. And that was enough for Legionäre coach Martin Helmig, who pulled his starter after only 2.2 innings.

The Legionäre bullpen was able to keep the game close enough, especially Boris Bokaj did a fine job by pitching 4 innings and surrendering onyl two more runs. Meanwhile Regensburg clawed its way back into the game, first by responding to 2 Alligators runs in the 6th to keep it a 5-3 game. And then by eventually tying the whole thing up again in the 7th.

Since both pitchers had been on the mound only 5 days earlier this can be considered “short rest”. In Germany games are usually played on weekends, so there’s a lot of time in between to regenerate for the players. Alligators starter looked like he was running out of gas from the 6th inning on, but Solingen head coach Norman Eberhardt stuck with his pitcher until the top of the 8th inning. But the hook came too late.

Hughes gave up a lead off double to Legionäre LF Enzo Muschik and was then taken out of the game. The bullpen wasn’t able to hold regensburg in check. Muschi9k evenually came home to score on a Philipp Howard 2 RBI double and a homerun by Ludwig Glaser gave the home team a comfortable 4 run lead going into the ninth.

Or so it seemed.

Because nothing is safe when those two teams meet each other. At least that’s what this series taught us. The Alligators, refusing to give up and carried by their formidable fans who made the trip down south, threatened again. Two singles and a 2 RBI double by Solingen lead off hitter Tanner Leighton made it a 9-7 game. But this time Legionäre relief pitcher Jonathan Eisenhuth put the game away for Regensburg who are now the champions of Germany in 2013.

It was a marvelous experience. A great game, which was captured by a wonderful broadcast. LegionäreTV had teamed up with a production company to set up 8 cameras around the stadium, the biggest broadcast for a Bundesliga game ever. Not only in Germany people were clinging to their computers as I also got reactions from Japan, where people were astonished to see so many people attend a baseball game in Germany.

This really was a fitting end to a great season, the first one I really followed along. Although I was rooting for Solingen to win it, Regensburg is a well deserved champion.

Quick glance at the hardware department: Matt Vance (REG) became the final series MVP and Justin Kuehn (REG) won the best pitcher award, while Alligator Dominik Wulf was presented with the ward for best batter of the series.

Can’t wait for the next season to start!

Remember, you can find all game videos at legionäre.de/tv as a VOD and I strongly encourage you to watch games 3 and 5, which had been very close affairs.

And finally, here’s my unofficial boxscore.

SOL 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 0 2 7 14 0
REG 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 4 0 9 12 0

Solingen Alligators
Batting
                      AB R H RBI BB K
 2B T. Leighton        5 2 4 3 1 0
 SS T. Bass            5 0 1 1 0 1
 a) PH M. Stryczek     1 0 0 0 0 0
 RF K. Gronauer        4 1 2 2 1 0
 1B D. Hughes          4 0 0 0 1 2
 3B D. Wulf            4 1 3 1 0 0
 DH M. Buttgereit      4 0 1 0 1 1
 b) PR D. Selsemeyer   0 1 0 0 0 0
 CF F. Götze           4 1 1 0 0 2
 LF S. Steffens        3 0 1 0 0 0
 c) PH N. Renault      1 1 1 0 0 0
 C J. Steinberg        4 0 0 0 1 0
Totals                39 7 14 7 5 6

a) pinch hit for T. Bass in the 9th
b) pinch ran for M. Buttgereit in the 9th
c) pinch hit for S. Steffens in the 9th
HR K. Gronauer (3rd, 1 on, 1 out), D. Wulf (3rd, 0 on, 2 out)
IBB K. Gronauer (8th, 1 on, 2 out)
Team LOB 14
Pitching
                    IP  H  R ER BB K TBF
LHP A. Hughes       7+  10 6 6 3 3 34
RHP S. Bernards     0.2 2  3 3 1 0 5
RHP R. Drache       0.1 0  0 0 1 0 2

A. Hughes pitched to 1 batter in the 8th

Regensburg Legionäre

Batting
                          AB  R H RBI BB  K
SS M. Vance                3  1 1   0  1  0
CF P. Howard               4  3 3   3  0  0
3B L. Glaser               4  2 2   0  0  0
RF E. LeBlanc              4  0 1   1  1  1
C  C. Howard               5  0 1   1  0  0
DH M. Weigl                3  0 1   0  1  1
LF E. Muschik              4  1 2   1  0  0
1B C. Zirzlmeier           2  1 1   0  1  1
   a) PH M. Ehmcke         0  0 0   0  0  0
2B R. Klijn                2  1 0   0  1  0

Totals                    31  9 12  9  5  3

a) pinch hit for C. Zirzlmeier in the 8th
HR L. Glaser (8th, 1 on, 2 out)
IBB R. Klijn (8th, 1 on, 1 out)
Team LOB 8
Pitching
                          IP   H R ER BB  K TBF
RHP M. Bolsenbroek        2.2  4 3  3  2  2  14            
RHP P. Hoffschild         0.1  0 0  0  0  0   1
RHP B. Bokaj              4.0  7 2  2  0  2  20
RHP D. Thieben            0.2  0 0  0  3  0   5
RHP J. Eisenhuth (W)      1.1  3 2  2  0  1   7

HBP B. Bokaj (to D. Wulf in the 5th, 2 out, 0 on)
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