Brno Sports Weekly Report – Draci Look For Title No. 21 In Czech Series
Radim Chroust has struck out 46 batters and walked only 10 while compiling a 1.13 earned-run average this season for the Draci. Photo: Pavel Kvarda
Brno, Sep 20 (BD) – Kometa finishes second week with four points, Zbrojovka stuck in last place, RC Dragons Brno suffer a tough loss, and the Brno sports schedule.
By Bruno Zalubil
Draci Brno has dominated Czech baseball for decades. They blitzed through most of the competition during the 2017 season. And, they are on the doorstep of notching their 21st Czech title.
If, that is, they can get past the Ostrava Arrows.
“We are the two best teams in the Czech Republic,” said Draci general manager Arnošt Nesňal. “The Arrows played really well this season. Every player of their lineup can surprise.”
The Czech Series will begin at MBS on Friday at 7 p.m. Game 2 will be in Ostrava on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Game 3 will be back in Brno on Sunday at 2 p.m. Additional games, if necessary, would be played the following Friday and Saturday.
During the first half of the season, the Draci and the Arrows split their four games, with the home team losing each time. In the second half of the season, the Draci were 14-1. Their only loss? To Ostrava, who was 13-2 and lost only to the Draci.
Now it is time for a rematch with the ultimate prize on the line. The team that wins three-out-of-five games takes the Czech baseball title.
“It’s a final. It’s a championship,” Nesňal said. “We will bring everything like we do to every final.”
The Draci are strong up and down the line up. Terrell Joyce has a solid .357 batting average with 11 home runs, which is second-best in the league. Martin Schneider, a multi-tool threat, has a .351 batting average, five homers, and 13 stolen bases.
Pitching and defense, however, win championships, and the Draci have a stacked pitching staff: Radim Chroust has allowed 8 earned runs in 63.2 innings for a league-leading 1.13 earned-run average. He has a 6-0 record. Wesley Roemer (11 earned runs in 80.1 innings; 1.23 ERA), Michal Sobotka (16 in 84.2 innings; 1.70) and Petr Minařík (13 in 67.2 innings; 1.73) all average less than two earned runs per nine innings. Strikeouts to walks ration offers even more proof of the staff’s control of the strike zone: Chroust (46 strikeouts X 10 walks); Roemer (79 X 13); Sobotka (46 X 22); and Minařík (51 X 12).
Chroust is likely to start on the mound in Game 1. Sobotka is expected to get the nod for Game 2 in Ostrava. The whole pitching staff is flexible, with Minařík and Roemer available from the bullpen.
The Arrows have solid pitching, too. Joseph Goodman (15 wins) and Ondřej Satoria (14) are proven winners; both have earned-run averages below 2.0. Jakub Malík (10 home runs, .343 batting average) and Tomáš Juněc (9, .326) are solid hitters.
The Draci have won the Czech title 20 times. Many of the older players have been around for most of those wins.
“There is no motivation needed,” Nesňal said. “We have been together for so long. We work hard. We have been doing the same things for a lot of years in a row. We enjoy playing baseball.”
Kometa Multipronged Attack Adds More Points
Kometa picked up four points during the second week of play in the Tipsport Extraliga, beating Zlin 0-4 on the road and taking league-leading Piráti Chomutov to an overtime shootout before losing, 2-3, at home.
The reigning-champion Kometa are in fifth place after five games with nine points. Chomutov has 13 at the top of the standings. Interestingly, even with a sold out DRFG Arena for every home game, Kometa have won six of their nine points in two road games.
On Friday, Kometa won handily against Aukro Berani Zlín. They scored three times in the middle period to take control and goalkeeper Karel Vejmelka held strong throughout for the shutout. Ironically, Vejmelka, a 21-year-old from Třebíč, says in his team profile that Zlin is the place he least likes to play.
Similar to last year’s title team, this year’s team spreads the offense around. Through five games, 10 different players have scored goals; seven have scored twice.
Over the next three weeks, five of Kometa’s next seven games are at home. Plus, they host Malmo on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in the Champions Hockey League.
Sparta will come to DRFG Arena on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. game that will be televised on Czech TV.
Zbrojovka Move Up Despite Loss to Liberec
Zbrojovka gave up a sloppy own goal in the first half, tied the game in the second half with a pretty goal, then, five minutes later, allowed Liberec to take the lead and the victory, 1-2, at Srbska on Saturday.
Because of goal-differential, Zbrojovka actually moved to 15th in the 16-team HET Liga standings, although there are still five teams with only one victory through the first seven games of the regular season. (FC Vysočina Jihlava has given up three more goals than Zbrojovka.)
The Zbrojovka goal on Saturday was the result of astute passing. Milan Lutonský won the ball near the corner, centered it into the box, and Tomáši Pilík (who was playing in his 250th top-league game) settled it nicely for Alvin Fortes. Fortes, a halftime replacement, blasted the ball into the net.
There will be two consecutive road games for Zbrojovka before the next international break. They travel to one-win Karvina next Sunday for a 5 p.m. game and then to Prague to play second-place Slavia on Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.
The next home game will be during the second weekend of October against Slovacko (one of the other one-win teams); the exact date and time are yet to be announced. The remainder of the fall season has only two more home games: Dukla Praha during the last weekend of October and Teplice during the middle weekend of November.
Dragons Lose Heartbreaker on Final Kick
RC Dragon Brno held strong against traditional powerhouse Mountfield Říčany, but they were not able to notch their first Autumn Cup victory: Dragons Brno 10, Mountfield Říčany 13.
“A spirited performance in difficult playing conditions with plenty of positives,” said Brno’s Nigel Briggs. “A couple of wrong choices and not taking our chances when we had them resulted in defeat.”
Říčany scored the winning points on the final kick of the game.
Dragon Brno travels to Slavia Prague on Saturday. Slavia, which was formed in 1927, is the oldest rugby club in the country, but they are struggling during this Autumn Cup.
Defending-champion Sparta comes to town on Oct. 7. The Prague team is undefeated through the Autumn Cup. The game starts at 1 p.m.
BRNO SPORTS RESULTS
Quick results for various Brno professional and recreational sports for the past week. Home team listed first (when applicable).
• Friday, Sept. 15
— Hockey: Zlín 0, Kometa 4
• Saturday, Sept. 16
— Football: Zbrojovka Brno 1, Liberec 2
— Rugby: RC Dragon Brno 10, Mountfield Říčany 13
• Sunday, Sept. 17
Hockey — Kometa 2, Chomutov 3 (overtime shootout)
BRNO SPORTS SCHEDULE
The schedule for various Brno professional and recreational sports for the next two weeks. All dates and times subject to change. Home team listed first (when applicable).
• Friday, Sept. 22
— Baseball, Czech Series: Draci Brno X Arrows Ostrava, MBS, 7 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 23
— Baseball, Czech Series: Arrows Ostrava X Draci Brno, 4 p.m.
— Women’s Football: SK Slavia Praha X Lokomotiva Brno H. H., 12:30 p.m.
— Running: 5|10 Mile Brno Run, 8 p.m.
— Rugby: RC Slavia Praha X RC Dragon Brno
— Women’s Basketball: USK Praha X KP Brno, 5 p.m.; Zabiny Brno X BLK Slavia Praha, 4:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017
— Hockey: Kometa X Dukla, DRFG Arena, 5 p.m.
— Baseball, Czech Series: Draci Brmo X Arrows Ostrava, MBS, 2 p.m.
— Women’s Basketball: U19 Chance X MK Technic, 5 p.m.
— Football: Karviná X Zbrojovka Brno, 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, Sept. 26
— Hockey: Kometa X Sparta, DRFG Arena, 5:30 p.m. (TV)
• Wednesday, Sept. 27
— Women’s Basketball: BLK Slavia Praha X KP Brno, 5 p.m.; Slovanka MB X Zabiny Brno, 6 p.m.; Technic Brno X SBS Ostrava, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Sept. 29
— Hockey: Pardubice X Kometa, 6 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 30
— Horse Racing: Brno-Dvorska, first race post time, 1:30 p.m.
— Women’s Basketball: Zabiny Brno X Hradec Kralove, 4:30 p.m.
— Women’s Football: Lokomotiva Brno H. H. X FC Hradec Králové, 11 a.m.
• Sunday, Oct. 1
— Hockey: Vítkovice X Kometa, 5 p.m.
— Women’s Basketball: BA Karlovy Vary X KP Brno, 4:30 p.m.; Loko Trutnov X Technic Brno, 5 p.m.
— Football: Slavia Praha X Zbrojovka Brno, 6 p.m.
• Monday, Oct. 2
— Men’s Basketball: mmcité+ Brno X GEOSAN Kolín, 5 p.m. (TV)
The Brno Sports Report is published every Wednesday. All dates and times are subject to change. Most of the stories are about the traditional “English-speaking” team sports — football, hockey, baseball, basketball, American football, rugby, etc. — but it is also about the interesting local spectator and participation sports — tennis, badminton, running, horse racing, swimming, rock climbing, biking, etc. If you have any suggestions for what should be included, please comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.