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Haar Disciples back on playoffs track 

The Haar Disciples edged closer to reaching the post-season playoffs in the top division of German baseball with two scrappy wins away against the Mannheim Tornados. The 11-9 (in extra innings) and 14-11 wins on Saturday came at the same time that the Stuttgart Reds, trying to snatch the fourth-place playoff berth away, lost twice against the Bundesliga-South league leaders Regensburg by 22-1 and 6-4.

Those results left Haar at 15-10, Stuttgart at 13-13. A Haar win or a Stuttgart defeat would give Haar the fourth-placed spot and a chance to compete in the playoff series. Their first-round opponent would be the 1. Bundesliga-North title winners Solingen Alligators.

After losing both their home games a week earlier to Stuttgart, the Disciples had to work extra hard in Mannheim. Fans of high-scoring, action-packed baseball games got more than their money’s worth at Roberto-Clemente field. The first game saw 20 runs scored, 27 hits and five fielding errors as the lead see-sawed back and forth throughout.

Just when Haar had built up a 9-6 lead going into the last half of the 9th inning, the Tornados struck for three runs to tie it at 9-9 and send the game into extra innings. Haar then scored twice in the 10th inning, while the Disciples’ veteran relief pitcher Francis Garcia kept the Tornados’ bats quiet to preserve the 11-9 win.

With so many hits and runs by Haar, it’s hard to pick out a single hero of the day. But the club’s American infielder Josh Petersen impressed with four hits and four runs batted in (RBI), including what became the game-winner in the tenth when his basehit drove in run number 10. Garcia picked up the victory as the relief pitcher, after Lukas Steinlein had pitched the first 8 innings.

Game two was a similarly wild affair with a total of 25 runs, 22 hits and 7 fielding errors. Unfortunately for Haar, five of those errors were their own, helping Mannheim to score a number of unearned runs. Haar had a 9-6 lead going into the last half of the seventh inning when the Tornados, aided by fielding errors and walks given up by US pitcher Brian Fields, swept up five runs to take an 11-9 lead.

Haar showed their resiliency however, and roared back in the eighth inning with five runs of their own to regain the lead at 14-11. Again it was Petersen who delivered the game-winning hit, part of an outing of three hits and 4 RBIs in the game. The Disciples now have three games left to get the one victory they need to clinch fourth place. On Thursday they travel to play the Tuebingen Hawks in a fixture that was originally stopped by a violent hailstorm a few weeks ago. Two away games against second-place Heidenheim follow that fixture.

In the 2. Bundesliga-South, the Baldham Boars lost twice away against the Karlsruhe Cougars by scores of 10-6 and 12-2. Baldham remain fourth in the 7-team table with an 8-11 record, while local rivals Haar Disciples 2 are at the bottom of the standings (4-15). If fans are looking for a bit of local, baseball rivalry, then they should head to the Haar ballpark on Thursday to see a game that is also crucial to Haar 2′s battle to avoid relegation. The two teams play a single game (1 pm) to make up for a rained-out fixture earlier on in the season.

Meanwhile the new Regionalliga-Southeast champions, the Munich Caribes, won their two games against the Herrenberg Wanderers by scores of 4-1 and 11-6, to boost their season record to 22-3. The other Munich club in the league, the Gauting Indians, lost both their games at home against Ingolstadt Schanzer (7-2 and 14-4). Gauting, who until their two losses a week earlier against the Caribes still had a theoretical chance at the title, are now in 5th place with an 11-13 record.

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