Posted by: viewfromtheriva | September 20, 2009

On to the championship for Split’s baseball team


It’s been a long season–and next week it ends with a chance for Split’s baseball team to win it all–the league, the championship and the Croatia Cup as the best team here.

We play against Karlovac and then the winner plays against Zagreb.  Sort of like major league playoffs in America, finishing first only means you get to play in the post season.  So yes, we finished first and beat both Zagreb and Karlovac more than they beat us, but we still have to slug through the playoffs.

For the past two months however, the team has been idle…along with the rest of the league.  August is deemed to hot to play and then in September the Croatian National Team picks the best players from the league and sends them off to Germany or Italy or some other international venue to play such heavyweights like Cuba, Japan and Nicaragua.

We had seven or eight guys make the national team and they went to Germany this year.  Quite a kick for the younger players for sure!  One of our stars is a Croatian who is studying at Arkansas State in the US and plays for their team as well.  He did very well in Germany, but unlike the top rank international teams, Croatia’s best aren’t used to 90mph pitching so we were pretty outclassed, finishing 18th out of 35 teams. The top finishers are now in the Netherlands fighting for bragging rights to be the best in 2009.

This past weekend was our tune-up for next week’s big series.  We played a second division team from Zagreb and scored more than 30 runs to their 4 over the two game series.  But the two month layoff showed some weaknesses–lousy base running, some bone-head infield plays and despite the lopsided scores, our hitting as a team was not as solid as it needs to be next week.   So this week’s practice plans to be tough.

Next weekend,  it’s off to Karlovac.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make the trip since the space is limited and after all I am just the assistant coach.  But it has been a great experience…I started off as head coach last fall and started to get the team in shape over the winter when the decision was made to bring in Ernesto, our ex pro Venezuelan hero as a player-manager for a salary.

I’m more than twice his age, and my arm retired decades ago so it was easy for me to step aside and coach first and help during practice.

I think our sponsor, SplitShip Management got more than their moneys worth by bringing in Ernesto….and next week, we’ll see just how much more!

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog

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