Templiers, Barracudas Stay Undefeated, Toulouse Splits

Sénart continues to flex its muscles (Credit: Sénart Templiers)

Rain showers kept the reigning champs of France’s top-division (D1) baseball league idle on Sunday. The Rouen Huskies remain, therefore, at 5-3, good enough for second place in the competition’s Pool A behind the roaring Savigny Lions (7-1), winners of their past six games.

Savigny was off too this weekend, though for scheduling reasons rather than anything related to Mother Nature. In fact, just two of the pool’s five sqauds took the field Sunday, and in those games — a double header in Toulouse — the home team, Stade Toulousain, earned a split for the second time in a row, and at 5-5 overall, remain in the hunt for one of the group’s two playoff spots.

Toulouse dropped their opener against the visitors, Paris UC, who put 10 runs on the board, five of them off starter Mathias Lacombe, and the other five off Euri García, who pitched six innings in relief. But in the second game of their Sunday double header, the Tigers turned the tables, scoring 10 runs of their own to beat Paris UC 10-1, thanks in part to a big game by Jossue Mendoza, who went 4-for-4 and is now batting .429 on the season.

A special nod as well to pitcher Keivy Rojas, who gave up just four hits in eight innings. Other standouts in the Toulouse-Paris games included Paris UC’s Thomas Demory (.333), who went 4-for-5 in the first game with 2 runs and 2 RBIs, and Juan Carela, who went a combined 3-for-8 with 3 RBIs.

The weekend’s results (Credit: FFBS)

In the D1’s Pool B, in the meantime, two teams — the Sénart Templiers and Montpellier Barracudas — continue to separate themselves from the pack on both the pitching and offensive ends.

The Templiers were on the road to face the Arvenes of Clermont-Ferrand, and in the first game of their double-header, the big story was another standout pitching performance by U.S. import Shane Priest, a former University of North Alabama star who blanked the home team 3-0 in a stellar, 18-strikout, complete-game outing. The right-hander is now 4-0 on the season, with 45 strikeouts (tied with Montpellier’s Kevin Canelón for third in the league) and a nasty 0.31 ERA.

Sénart benefited from more great pitching in the second game as well, with starter Jared Mortenson, a former Tampa Bay Rays prospect, giving up just 1 hit in six innings of work. In that game, the team’s offense also got rolling, scoring 11 runs, thanks in part to a 2-hit, 4-RBI performance by Jimmy Mapakou (.333).

The Templiers are now 8-0, but are without the services suddenly of star infielder Ariel Soriano, who in a stunning, mid-season turn of events, just joined the Montpellier Barracudas. And in his very first at bat, the hard-hitting Dominican paid immediate dividends for his new club, homering in the first inning Sunday against Nice Cavigal.

Soriano (second from left) joined the Barracudas just this past week

Soriano’s heroics helped set the tone early for the Barracudas, who burst out for 17 runs in their first game against Nice. Playing at home, Montpellier won their afternoon game as well (9-4) and now has a league-best 10-0 record ahead of another pair of games à domicile this coming Sunday, against the Metz Cometz.

Also helping the cause for Montpellier are U.S. imports Patrick Cromwell (.297) and Andy Cosgrove (.333), rivals during their university days in the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference but friends and teammates now for the streaking Barracudas. The two combined for 3 hits and 5 RBIs in the first game, plus 5 more hits and 3 RBIs in the second.

And that, folks, is a wrap. D1 action resumes next weekend (weather permitting) in Rouen, Savigny, Nice, Montpellier and La Rochelle.

For more details on league results and stats, visit the FFBS web site.    

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