The Sénart Templiers let it be known early on Sunday, in the second game of France’s D1 baseball championship series, that they aren’t going to just roll over and hand the Rouen Huskies yet another league title.
After struggling Saturday against Venezuelan ace Yoimer Camacho, the Templiers jumped all over lefty Esteban Prioul, bouncing Rouen’s number two starter after just two innings with a barrage of hits, big and small.
MVP candidate Andy Paz set the tone with a leadoff single in the top of the first. Next up was switch hitter Felix Brown, who reached base on a bunt, setting the stage for another timely hit by American import Brandt Holland, who had a first-inning home run in the opening frame of Saturday’s opener and connected this time for a two-RBI single.
Fielding errors by Rouen, and hits by Mathis Meurant and Mohammed Baoui allowed Sénart to add two more runs before the inning was over, and in the top of the second, Holland again came up big, sending a bomb over the left-field fence.
Singles by José Paula and Florian Peyrichou led to two more runs, and just like that, the Templiers found themselves with a commanding 7-0 lead.
The Huskies, nevertheless, put their championship pedigree on display, and mounted an attack of their own in the bottom of the second, when slugger Hugo Blondel — one of the heroes in Saturday’s game — smashed a double off Sénart’s Sam Belisle-Springer to score former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Joris Bert.
The next inning, the defending D1 champs picked up where they left off, this time with hits by American import Jacob Biller, Gabriel Bracamonte of Venezuela, veteran Maxime Lefevre and Dylan Gleeson that scored four more runs and trimmed Sénart’s once daunting lead to just two.
Huskies reliever Quentin Moulin, in the meantime, kept the dangerous Templiers lineup in check, and in the fifth inning, a leadoff double by Lefevre led to yet another run for Rouen.
Sénart pushed their lead back up to two with a run in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom of the inning, the Huskies again managed to score, as Bert — who led things off with a single — reached home on a series of throwing errors.
Interestingly, the Templiers chose to stick with their starter, Belisle, who gave up 13 hits on the day. The Canadian rewarded his coach’s confidence by digging deep, and in the final three innings kept the Huskies scoreless.
Sénart then got an insurance run in the eighth when Paula, a former Oakland Althetics prospect, put the proverbial nail in the coffin with a solo shot to center field. Boom!
Final score: 9-7 Sénart.
The best-of-five series resumes next weekend in Lieusaint, south of Paris, with a Saturday night game to be followed Sunday morning (11 a.m.) by game 4. If a necessary, the teams will play a fifth and deciding game that same afternoon.
For more info on stats and scheduling, visit the FFBS website.