Both 1-0 in the 31st annual Prague Baseball Week, Team USSSA and the Czech Republic National Team faced off in a highly anticipated game. Cre Finfrock, the youngest player in the tournament at the age of sixteen, started against this very experienced Czech National Team.
“Cre has an extremely live arm and was unbelievably composed on the mound. He threw a lot of strikes and is an exceptional talent.” – USSSA National Team Coach DJ Wabick
The Czech National Team jumped out to a quick 2 – 0 lead, one of which was earned.
“You have to take your hat off to the job Cre did against that team. They were much older and more experienced and Cre was able to keep them to two runs on a couple of hits. Mix in a few unfortunate plays and we found ourselves down 2 – 0.” – USSSA National Team Coach Jaime Bluma
USSSA was still down 2 -1 in the top of the seventh when David Garza hit a hard line drive to the left centerfield gap. The Czech left fielder misplayed the ball and Garza found himself on second. Attempting to steal third, the Czech pitcher ended up balking and Garza was able to walk into third with nobody out. After a pop out by Crile and a walk to Galik, Andres Rizquez came to the plate with one out. Rizquez, trying to drive the ball into the outfield, popped a shallow fly ball to left. Garza tagged from third and was dead at the plate, but somehow was able to jar the ball loose and score the game tying run.
The momentum had clearly shifted to Team USSSA when it was time for the bottom of the seventh and just when it looked like USSSA was going to go into the eighth inning in a tie game, a horrific bounce off of the shoulder of Aaron Palmer allowed two Czech runners to score. The Czech National Team would tack on one more run that inning to make the score and eventually the game 5 – 2 Czech Republic.
“It’s a shame that such a well-played game was lost on a bad bounce, but that is unfortunately how baseball goes. Our team played phenomenal and we are hoping to get a second chance at those guys in the next round.” – USSSA National Team Coach DJ Wabick
Team USSSA plays its next game tomorrow morning at 10 am (3 am central time) against the Belgium Senior National Team.
Starting Pitcher: Cre Finfrock
Score: 5 -2
Winner: Czech Senior National Team