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Time has teached us to be flexible
08.10.2020 | cba | Propagace

Time has teached us to be flexible

Premiere win for Russia, another silver medal for the Czech national team, international tournament during the coronavirus...

It should have been a big international tournament for 12 teams, the only international event this year influenced by world pandemic. It should have been a positive example that even now it was worth organizing such events, doing sports and working. At last 5 teams participated in the tournament in Prague and it was one of the last sport events, where there could have also been spectators under some hygienic restrictions.

Petr Ditrich, president of Czech Baseball Association, which has been organizer of the tournament since 2020, is still very satisfied. "It is always good if we can carry on in a tradition. It was like on a swing, first new date, 12 teams. Then the second wave of C-19 stopped Switzerland, Germany, Croatia and Slovakia and at the end also Italy. We had been changing the schedule literally every day," described Ditrich difficulties in preparations of the tournament. "It was clear there would be a state of emergency soon but we did not know when and with what restrictions. At last we had made it before it was declared and restrictions had not influenced us much."

Tournament champion became for the first time in history team Russia after a dramatic final game. With their eagerness at bat they turned the game with Czech national team and despite having lost in the first round with the Czech Republic, they won the final 9:5. Russia has been setting up a new team, they got naturalized American and Cuban players. Their aim is to advance from group B to the European baseball elite group. "They did a lot to come to Prague. We had to ensure government exceptions on both sites and players and team staff absolved three tests," said Ditrich.

Czech Republic ended up again in second place. They won the tournament in 2015 for the last time. This year´s team consisted of permanent senior national players and also young players - European champions U23. Talented young players got a chance to show a good performance and readiness for a fight about their spot in a line up. National team lost just the final game. "It was great we could have played the tournament. We made some base running errors and I was preasantly surprised by the level of Russian pitchers. It was also good to see cooperation of our seniors and young players and the fact that when young players get the chance, they can be on the same level as our stable national players who could not have come. Our players played hard and I believe they took a lesson from their errors," said assistand coach Petr Baroch.

Third place was taken by Czech national juniors team. Team entered the tourament at the end and showed its eagerness for win. They defeated International Stars and Prague Selection so they had two wins in one day and performed a lot of talented pitchers. Some of them already played in Czech extraleage this year. "We are satisfied. It is good to see players in games. Anyway, we still have things to work on and improve," said Pavel Budsky, one of the coaches preparing the team for European Championship 2021 in Italy.

As fourth ended up Scotty Mulhearn´s team of Prague extraleague clubs - Prague Selection. This team also gave a chance to many young players and some of them tried positions they normally did not play.

Winners of the last four years of Prague Baseball Week - International Stars - did not manage to keep up with the bests. Their roster also had to be changed at the very last time and also during the tournament itself, they had less foreign players than usual. We should mention their fight against Russia and Czech Republic and not forget about Ryan Johnson´s homerun derby win.

"We have tried a new model of organization by Czech Baseball Association and we look forward to the 40th anniversary in 2021. We would like to go back to the concept of the tournamtent for national teams. Russia as winner ensured its participation and we also counted on International Starts. We are discussing the date in connection with the international calendar. We would like to thank all the teams of 2020. These times are not for group sports but we showed it was possible to organize an international tournament and we look forward to 2021. We have learned to be very flexible this year," said Ditrich.

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