Cadets Start Off Hot, Die Slow
Posted on 1 August, 2011 by kcorona
After the intensive 3 week training that our Cadet team went through we still were not sure how they would fare in an actual game. Many of the team members have less than 4 months experience in baseball. Instead of teaching pitchers how to throw a curve ball, or batters how to hit in situations, or even covering long alignments we had to teach the proper way to hold a baseball. Other basic fundamentals that had to be covered were catching with two hands and how to hold a bat. Many of the natural aspects of the game that we who have grown up around the sport take for granted have to be taught over here. With all these cards stacked against us going into the CEB tournament we forgot one important factor: a home crowd and the spirit of the young Serb.
In the first game against Slovenia, the kids came out ready to play. Highlighting the day was pitcher Strahinja Stajić who had 11 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. He also lead the team with the bat going two-for-three with a triple. Serbia went on to win 13-3.
Day two fared a bit differently as our pitching staff was not too deep. Despite the lack of experienced pitching, we received a great effort from Aleksander Grubić who threw a complete game and leading the hitters going three-for-four with a double. Serbia again took the win 24-14 in what seemed like a football game score.
In Wednesdays game against the last two undefeated teams in the tournament, Serbia and Ukraine went to battle for the first three innings. However, Ukraine blew it open in the fourth inning posting an eight spot. Serbia’s bats were quieted in this game being one-hit by a three pitcher effort of Ukraine. The final score in favor of Ukraine was 15-3 in 5 innings.
The kids had a lot to bounce back from after Wednesdays loss and bounce back they did. In one of the best games played by a Serbian national team at any level, Serbia dropped 15 hits on Slovakia while only committing two errors. Five of Serbia’s starting nine had two hits or more with Grubić going four-for-four with a double, triple, and three rbi. After a shaky second inning by Bane Milojević, Stajić came in to throw four and a third innings giving up only two runs. Serbia finished with 20 runs compared to Slovakia’s 9.
Serbia’s cinderella performance would come to an end Friday, however. In the game against Croatia where the winner would advance to the final versus Ukraine, Serbia came out flat as a pancake. After a quick first inning defensively punching out the Croatian offense 1-2-3, Serbia immediately scored three runs to take the lead. In the second, after another quick two outs, Serbia melted. Croatia scored 13 runs with two outs including nine hits and four errors. After that fatal blow Serbia was unable to recover. The spirit in each player died and it was a brutal end to a somewhat successful tournament. 26-6 was the end result of this game and sent Croatia to the final against Ukraine. Ukraine ended up winning the tournament beating Ukraine in the second game of the final.
In the final awards Aleksander Grubić of Serbia took home the best hitter award boasting over a .500 batting average. The tournament was a great success in promotion of youth baseball in Belgrade. Everyday over 100 fans were present including a handful of kids who became baseball addicts over the span of the week. Although we had more success than anticipated it is definitely apparent that the SBDA needs to continue its work helping develop youth baseball in Serbia in all fashions. That help comes directly from you, our supporters!