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Haar Disciples eliminated in playoffs 

Solingen Alligators coach Norman Eberhardt (Nr. 88) confers with umpires and Haar Dicsiples head coach Keith Maxwell to exchange line-up cards and discuss ground rules before the two teams' playoff action.
Photo: Douglas Sutton
The Haar Disciples’ dream of reaching German baseball’s semi-final playoff round went down in flames at the weekend in Solingen. After a split in the opening pair of games in Haar the week before, the Disciples were thrashed by the Alligators 15-4 and 10-1,  eliminating them after four games in the best-of-five series.The twin defeat on Saturday was overshadowed by serious injury to Haar outfielder Yashmany Vidal. In the sixth inning of the first game he got on base with a hit, but then injured himself so badly sliding into second base that he had to be rushed to hospital for treatment.

Solingen were leading 5-4 when Vidal was injured and at that stage, the game had been a real see-saw battle. But Haar, evidently shocked by Vidal’s injury, collapsed in the face of an offensive onslaught by the Alligators, who scored 10 runs in their half of the sixth inning for what became the final 15-4 score. After Haar went scoreless to start the seventh inning, the game ended there under German baseball’s 10-run rule that shortens a game when a team has built up a lead of at least ten runs.

In Game 2, Haar once again had to face their former teammate, pitcher Nick Renault, who the week before had pitched a 1-hitter in an 8-0 victory. This time, Haar did slightly better, with six hits, but they were so scattered during the nine-inning game that the Disciples managed only one run off their former teammate.

The Alligators, who were the Bundesliga-North champions this year, showed their hitting prowess against Haar’s US hurler Brian Fields, collecting a total of 12 hits, including a home run by Travis Bass. Fields yielded 10 of those hits in 7-1/3 innings of pitching. While he struck out 10 batters, he once again showed control issues, giving up six walks in the defeat. Renault notched up the win with seven strikeouts, six hits and just one walk.

For Haar, in a season that began with some major question marks after the club was roiled by internal dissension at the end of the 2012 campaign, they finished the season having earned the respect of their opponents. After losing several players during the offseason and the early part of the 2013 campaign, and with a new head coach (Keith Maxwell) put in charge, there were many people expecting the club to be in trouble this year. But Haar proved the sceptics wrong, and doggedly competed to earn their berth in the playoffs in the final week of the regular season.

Similar to Haar, the Bundesliga-North fourth-place team, the Hamburg Stealers, were eliminated in the first round by the Bundesliga-South champions, the Regensburg Legionaires. Regensburg had won the first two games in Hamburg the previous weekend, and then sewed up the series with an 8-2 victory over Hamburg to clinch the series. Regensburg are going for their fourth straight Bundesliga Baseball title. Regensburg will play away next weekend against the Bonn Capitals, who clinched their best-of-five series in the fifth and deciding game on Sunday against the Mainz Athletics. Solingen’s semi-final opponent will be Heidenheim, who defeated the Paderborn Untouchables in three straight games to advance.

Two leagues lower, in the Regionalliga-Southeast, the new league champions Munich Caribes won a pair of games away against the Herrenberg Wanderers, 11-8 and 16-14 on Saturday. The Caribes boosted their season record to 24-3. The club winds up its season on Sunday at their home ground in the Olympiapark with a single game against the Füssen Royal Bavarians. The Caribes aim to win that contest so as to preserve their perfect undefeated record at home this season. Game time: 2 pm.

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