Men’s Season 2017 – An evaluation from the perspective of the head coach

Published 16. November 2017

This season had several historical moments: batting cage in the gym, a pre-season concentration, a full-time foreign player, a night game, a tournament without a winner…

At the beginning of winter training, it seemed that the season could be better than the previous one. For the first time in our history we set up a batting cage in the gym.We focused mainly on batting and pitching. At the beginning of the year, two new players joined us (Vaniher, Knápek), along with Laluha, Petricek, Strapko and Ondrej Horváth from Brickfield Bratislava. In the main season Topoľčany players also joined us for several matches: Ortega, Matejov. Denis Hatvany, M. Beňa and Daniel Terno returned to the team.

After a very long time, we got together for a pre-season training in Znojmo – Kuchařovice, where the home team created great conditions for us to be on the field earlier than week before our first game. On the last day of this training, we also played a preliminary match with the home team Aligators (15:12). Unfortunately, the focus was the last action play of the year for Andy Keller, who underwent a shoulder surgeryin the summer. Before the season, we had a friendly match versus Brickfield Bratislava at home (9:13) and we thought we were ready to start the season…

JMOP – regular season
Nine teams, one game vs each.

Olympia Blansko B – Fighting Flies 22: 4
It is a tradition that we start the season in Blansko. It looked as if we forgot everything we had been training. Batting was poor and we made a lot of errors. As I said, I had in mind: well, the first game.

Technika Brno B – Fighting Flies 18: 3
I thought that the hesitation in Blansko was caused by the stress of the first league match, but the ghosts of errors and weak batting came back, which made us leave Brno again with a big loss.

Moravská Beseda – Fighting Flies 16: 6
Again Kraví hora, this time Beseda’s  “founding fathers” of Technika Brno. We took the lead, but in the second half of the game our hitters were held by their pitchers as the opponent started hitting, so the rallied though the end with help of our errors.

Three defeats out of three. We had it uphill to reach the semifinals as we had to win all remaining clashes. The day after the game against Beseda, Yusyuun Tokunaka, a Japanese player, joined us thanks to our excellent foreign relationships in Bratislava.

Fighting Flies – Hroši Brno C 3:13
Our only home game in the league. The whole game was a draw for us. But even 18 strikeouts and our 12 hits were not enough to win the game. Again, a lot of errors turned into the fourth loss in a row.

Hroši Brno B – Fighting Flies 9: 4
We were close to winning against the reserves of Hroši extra-league team. From the match I expected, on the basis of the previous results, a lot of trouble on our side. But, Arturo Ortega started on the mound and the opponents’ hitters could not read him well. The score was balanced most of the time, and compared to the previous games,  we improved defensively and offensively.

Sokol Bedrichov – Fighting Flies 3:16
The last place “must win” game. We traveled to Jihlava to win. These compulsory victories are difficult to bear. We did not leave anything to chance and we definitely controlled the game from the first pitch. Finally!

Draci Brno C – Fighting Flies 9:13
This game will probably remain in the minds of all the players that have played with us for a very long time. It is important to note that against Draci, you never know who is going against you. A night game at the baseball stadium in Brno against the first team in the table. The details of the game can be found in the archive on our site. The important thing is that we managed to turn the unfavorable situation and won the game. A few people expected that final score. But I have to compliment the whole team for such a great performance, especially Denis Hatvany for 16 strikeouts and Yusyuun Tokunaka for two triples.

Skokani Olomouc B – Fighting Flies 10: 0
Encouraged by two victories (especially the last one) we set off on the last match of the fregular season. But from the start of the game I felt like we were back in time; terrible batting and weak defense again. The suffering lasted 7 innings.

Prague International Baseball Cup
We have played this tournament for seven years. We were the 1st place once, 3rd place a couple of times. We had never ended in the last place, but there is always a first time. The team, boosted by the “old boys” who enjoy the three-day event all year long, and who are making the effort to equip themselves at home, should be a guarantee of good results. Unfortunately, the tournament was a reflection of the first performances of the season. We did not win one game and we finished last. I hope this to be the first and last time 🙂

Final standings:
1. Tempo Titans Prague, 2. Team Nicarao, 3. Aligátoři Znojmo, 4. Fighting Flies Bratislava.

After the tournament we had a summer break. In August, we started preparing for the JMOP play-off and we had four tournaments ahead of us.

Middle of Season 2K17
After playing the first half of the season, and looking ahead to the play-offs, we added another Japanese player to our roster to play in Bučovice: Takeru Sorita. We had a good roster that I predicted we were going to be a hard nut to crack. And I was right! For the first time this season, we did not have any problem with any of our players, and we had a good offensive run. In the first game,  we faced Skokani Olomouc B. With the previous game in our minds, we created the Japanese battery and we played a great game deffensively and offensively. For the second game against the home team, Pelikans Bučovice, we just switched the pitcher and the catcher, keeping the rest of the line-up. We were in control all over the game for our second win. On Sunday, we were to play a “group” game against Hroši C, but had already won our spot in the final. It was a very pleasant Saturday, the mood among the players was great, so we did not hesitate to enjoy ourselves in the local buffet. 🙂 Everyone survived, some of them with consequences, but for the first Sunday game we struggled, and even though it was a game with nothing at stake, we did not want to barter it away. Arturo pitched a great game, and we almost managed to score in the last inning. Already in the final, against Hroši again, we were ready at 100%. The whole game was cast by Martin Strapko, who received an individual award: Best Player. The final game was decided in the first inning, when we scored three runs and from then on we played fast and nice baseball with no more runs on the scoresheet. The autumn part of the season started really well for us.

Final standings:
1. Fighting Flies Bratislava, 2. Hroši Brno C, 3. Pelikans Bučovice, 4. Skokani Olomouc B

 

Toreros Cup 2017
We played for the 7th year in a row in the oldest international tournament in Slovakia. We won our first two years, then we took the second place a couple of times. Six teams divided into two groups. We traveled with a good roster and a fairly decent number of players. My personal goal was reaching semi-final. This meant defeating BK Martin. The first game with the Piratas del Caribe in group was played. Against BK Martin we did not hesitate and we won the semifinals against home team BK Toreros Topoľčany, who surprisingly topped their group. Three games per day are enough, but our guys did not mind at all Yusyuun Tokunaka pitched all games. On Sunday we were waiting for the final against Piratas del Caribe once again. We didn’t start well and it looked debacle. In addition, in the middle of the game, Mačk and Achberger collides while trying to catch a flyball, and it looked quite bad for a while. At that point we were down by ten runs. But this season we had managed to comeback and we did it again. We equalized with a long rally to make the score 12:12. In the last inning we did not hold back but the surprised opponent had the opportunity to win. With two outs, a runner on third, the game was interrupted because of bad weather and eventually ended. So, the tournament did not have an official winner.

Final standings:
1-2 Piratas del Caribe, Fighting Flies Bratislava, 3. Toreros Topoľčany, 4. Seals Košice, 5. BK Martin, 6. Stinky Sox

JMOP play-off
We had a great season. The Toreros Cup was followed by two fights between fifth and eighth in the league. But the weather has changed all this time.
The fall part was moved a week, which affected our tournament too, but it was not bad at the end of the day.

I have already mentioned our good foreign relations several times, but I have to go again. The week before play-off Matt Conrad called. Last summer together with Tyler Meyer both played for Fighting Flies most of the regular season. He told me, he will be on three weeks vacation in Europe and if he could play for the Flies again? My answer was unambiguous and so 08.09 he came to practice. To make it short, after a tournament in Topoľčany, we were contacted by another foreign player who lives in Nitra and was craving for baseball. Heliam Alvaréz, an English teacher. He will be part of our team from now on …

With three foreign players, we went to Brno for a game in Kraví hora (again).

Moravská Beseda – Fighting Flies 1:13
Finally! I think many players, not only me, said this after a clear victory. Great teamwork based on Yusyuun Tokunaka’s excellent performance. We did not give our opponents a chance in the offense (14K for Moravská Beseda) and errors were a clear sign that our attack had great power before the biggest action of the year. After this game, it was certain that we would not be worse than the sixth place in the league.

Fighting Flies – Skokani Olomouc B 5: 0
After our victory in Brno and the resignation of Sokol Bedřichov, it was a result of the game system that we played the final fifth place in JMOP gainst Skokani. As they have been invited to the tournament in Bratislava, we agreed that our game will count for the league as well. In a short 60-minute game, we won and ended up fifth in the JMOP. I think we can be happy with the placement, especially after our performances during spring.

Final JMOP Standings:
1. Technika Brno B, 2. Draci Brno C, 3. Olympia Blansko B, 4. Hroši Brno C, 5. Fighting Flies, 6. Skokani Olomouc B, 7. Moravská Beseda, 8. Sokol Bedrichov, 9. Hroši Brno B

 

Last Strikeout 2017
The biggest event of our season has been mentioned many times. Eight teams, three game days. After two victories and one loss, we had to start the semi-finals  and final on Sunday, but the weather was harsh and we changed the schedule so no games were played making the organizers determine the final standings by looking at the statistics. Personally and modestly, I have to say that the organization was great even though it was difficult, and our team performed as expected. We deserved the second place.

Final Standings:
1. Alligatori Znojmo, 2. Fighting Flies, 3. Tempo Titans C, 4. Brickfield Bratislava, 5. BK Seals Košice, 6. BK Martin, 7. Skokani Olomouc C, 8. Pelikans Bučovice

Tournament of the Mayor of Kucharovice
The tournament in Bratislava was supposed to be the end of the men’s season, but we got an invitation to the Znojmo tournament, so we got rid of any worries about the organization and headed for Kucharovice in order to enjoy the tournament and to play with a 10-man roster. We had never faced two of the teams to play in the tournament: Express Brno, STB Ostrava. Tempo Titans C and the home team, Alligators. At least, we did not end last in the final standings and we survived the hard journey.

Final Ranking:
1. Express Brno, 2nd STB Ostrava, 3. Aligatori Znojmo, 4. Fighting Flies, 5. Tempo Titans C

The start of the season was catastrophic, but I’m glad we managed to get halfway up and that we still have a place in the league. I enjoy our placements in the tournaments in Bučovice, Topoľčany and Bratislava. The off-season training has already started and we’re so looking forward to the new season. We will no longer have Conrad and Tokunaka in our roster, but young boys are here and I believe they will play an important role.

I would like to thank all the players for this season, our families, who have never been easy with us, fans, sponsors and partners, without whom we would not be able to do it.

#gofflies

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