National Champions from the Czech Republic
title goes to Havlíčkův Brod for the first time in history
Hippos from Havlíčkův Brod won their final series after allowing Spectrum Praha only one win. While Spectrum’s roster included seven national-team players, Hippos invited three players from New Zealand to take part in the Czech Extraleague.
For years, the final series had just two contenders – Spectrum Praha and Beavers Chomutov. After last season’s retirement of Beavers‘ top veteran pitcher, Luboš Vrbenský, Chomutov fell short of the final this year.
Hippos were excited to play the final games of the season, and their roster, which combined mostly younger players with the New Zealanders, proved to be the strongest of all. Their roster was also the only one that could compete with Spectrum’s top Czech players. After having seized the Czech Championship title in the last two seasons, Spectrum took silver this year.
The trend of bringing in experienced players from the most developed softball countries has been pretty common in women’s categories. Italian players have been benefitting from this opportunity for years. Seeing this trend get stronger also in men’s leagues across Europe is exciting for the future of our sport.
Joudrs dominate in the women’s Extraleague
photo by Jan Beneš
Last decade of Czech women’s softball revolved mostly around two teams from Prague: Joudrs and Eagles.
They always met in the final series, their players were the key national team players.
The 2016 season started with a number of changes, though. Long-time players from Eagles decided to trade teams and their original squad took in a number of young prospects.
This year, there were four teams at a very similar (and a very good)performance level in the Extraleague semifinals. Despite various expectations, the defending champions Joudrs made their way to the final winning three consecutive games (in the best of five series) against Tempo, just like Ledenice did against the strong Kunovice.
Pitchers Veronika Peckova and Alyson Spinas Valainis (USA) dominated in all of the final games. Joudrs didn’t allow their opponent a single win and seized the Czech title for the second time in a row.
Undefeated Sparks Mladé Buky are the Slowpitch Champions
photo by Stanislav Ondráček
Although there is a slowpitch league in the Czech Republic, the Czech Slowpitch Championship is organized as a separate tournament. Sparks have been one of the top slowpitch clubs in the Czech Republic, and they proved this role in this year’s Championship as they took the title for the eighth time.
Sparks were undefeated throughout the whole tournament, however the level of Czech slowpitch shows increasing tendencies. Last year’s winner DNAce placed fourth, Navíc took the bronze, and Wayne’s World took the silver.
/cover photo by Jan Beneš/