The unthinkable happened. L&D Amsterdam Pirates won the European Champions Cup. Unthinkable? Well, at least before the tournament started.
In the final, in which the score went back and forth, the Amsterdam team had the longest breath in the end.
For three innings the game was scoreless but in the fourth, current Italian champion A.S.D. Rimini Pirates got on the board first when Kevin Heijstek allowed back-to-back singles to Ennio Retrosi and Jose Flores. Then Daniel Mayora doubled to left field to drive in Retrosi. With Rimini still threatening, L&D Amsterdam Pirates recorded the final two outs by throwing out by throwing out Jose Flores at home plate and by striking out Luis Serafin de Camargo.
But in the next inning Amsterdam Pirates would bounce back. Jesse Aussems led off with a single, followed by a double hit by Nick Urbanus. With runners in scoring position and one out, Gilmer Lampe hit a 4-3 ground out to drive in the tying run. Then a HBP and a walk loaded the bases before Linoy Croes singled to left field and drove in Nick Urbanus and Remco Draijer for the two run lead.
But in the sixth inning, destiny struck as pitcher Kevin Heijstek injured himself when he made a (questionable) out at first base to finish a double play. And with Heijstek out of the game, the Italians managed to tie the game at three in the eighth inning to force extra innings.
In the tenth inning with the tie-breaker rule in place and runners on first and second, Linoy Croes laid down a sacrifice bunt (the usual recipe in a tie-breaker rule situation) towards third base. Pitcher Roberto Coradini threw the ball way passed first base and first baseman Daniel Mayora got injured because he blocked Linoy Croes when he chased the ball. Remco Draijer could score the go-ahead run on the error. When MVP Kenny Berkenbosch hit a double into the gap, Croes scored all the way from first base for the insurance run.
Rimini managed to score one more run in the bottom of the tenth inning, but reliever Tom de Blok appeared to have ice water running through his veins and recorded the final three outs by striking out Lorenzo di Fabio, by serving up the ball that led to a 6-5 out and by fanning Ennio Retrosi.
Tom de Blok earned the win. In 2.2 innings in relief, he allowed one unearned run on one hit and an error and he struck out three.
Best hitter for L&D Amsterdam Pirates was Jesse Aussems, who went 3 for 5 with a run scored. The most impact though had Linoy Croes, who drove in two runs.
Kenny Berkenbosch and Nick Urbanus earned some personal hardware as Berkenbosch was named the MVP of the tournament and Nick Urbanus was laureled as the best hitter of the tournament. Berkenbosch did not commit an error in this tournament and even though he collected only three hits he was very clutch with runners on base, which he proved in the tenth inning of the final. Nick Urbanus won the batting crown with a batting average of .571. He also led the batters in basehits (8), doubles (5) and runs scored (10).