Saisonfazit: Flamingos Schüler Finish the 2017 Season With 10 Wins and Only 1 Loss.

The Berlin Flamingos Schüler baseball team completed their season on the 16th of September and secured 3rd place with a 7 to 4 win against the Berlin Wizards at Flamingo Park. The win was the 10th in a row since losing the season opening game at home on the 1st of April to the eventual champion Roadrunners. That game ended as the time limit expired and the Roadrunners were leading 11 runs to 2 in the middle of the fifth inning. Normally with the home team behind, the home team would bat in the bottom of the last inning. But with the Flamingos down nine runs, and with the five run rule, which allows for a maximum of 8 runs scored if the inning ends on an over-the-fence grand slam, the game ended without the Flamingos getting another chance.

The BSVBB Schüler League was divided into two divisions with four teams each. The Flamingos were grouped in the North division with the Roadrunners, Mahlow Eagles, and SG Dragons/Challengers and played each of these teams at home and away. The South division was comprised of the Rams, Wizards, Sluggers, and Braves. The Flamingos played each of these teams once except for the Braves who exited the league early in the season. The Flamingos beat the Roadrunners at Rennbahnstraße on the 31st of May, but the 13 to 10 win did not overcome the tie breaker. So it was the Roadrunners that earned the chance to play against the Rams for first place and the Flamingos and Wizards faced off for third place.
The first game of the best of three series against the Wizards was played on the 2nd of July and so the more than two month break was a special challenge for both teams. The Wizards have a talented roster and must have used the ride north through Berlin to get motivated because they showed up ready to play. The Wizards played so well that despite the loss they had a no hitter. A no hitter against the Flamingos?! The Flamingos dominated the league in offense and finished the regular season leading the league in Batting Average (AVG .473), On Base Percentage (OBP .664), Slugging (SLG .773), On Base Plus Slugging (OBP 1.437 of course), Runs Scored (104), Runs Batted In, (RBIs 69), Hits (71), Doubles (2B 19), Base on Balls (81), and Stolen Bases (27).

The potent Flamingo offense was lead by Erik Corral Ortiz who finished the regular season with a league record setting batting average of .870. Erik had his only strike out in the opening game and went on to also lead the league in Hits (20), Doubles (11), RBIs (20), Runs (21), OBP (.862), SLG (1.565), and OPS (2.427). He also hit one triple and one homerun. Erik hit third all season long and the reason he got so many RBIs is because someone was always on base ahead of him.

Jason Hosnedl led off for the Flamingos in every game except for the two games that he wasn’t available. And the Wizards were very lucky that he was missing this last game because Jason irritated the starting pitchers all season. He got on base by beating out grounders and taking walks. Jason finished second in the league in Batting Average, Runs, and OBP (.688/20/.862). He also had 4 RBIs, 3 doubles, and one homerun.

John Luis Márquez-Ramirez hit cleanup and was an intimidating presence in the batter’s box all season long. He was second in the league with 14 hits and had the fourth best Batting Average (.667). And he hit with power. John Luis led the league with 3 triples and was also second in Home Runs (2), RBIs (16), SLG (1.429), and OPS (2.187). He was intentionally walked three times and also led the league in stolen bases with 9.

With that kind of offensive threat whoever is batting in the two-hole better get on base. And well, yes, that was one of the statistics that the Flamingos led. Three of our youngest players took care of that for the Flamingos. Felix Rafael Ortiz held down the position for most of the season and was leading the team with an OPS of .833 after five games. At the end of the season he led the league with 15 walks, and was seventh in OBP (.739). Felix had to work hard to keep ahead of the older and faster runners behind him but he made a lot of improvement running bases and scored 12 runs. Ignacio Rosas Jacobs had three starts “batting two.” Ignacio hit .500 for the season which is good for 13th in the league and fourth on the Flamingos. Justus Jaeger also came to the plate batting two and finished the season with 13 Plate Appearances and a fourth best OBP of .769. With Jason and also Justus not available for the game, Ignacio took the leadoff spot and Felix batted second.

Behind John Luis was Colin Keegan who hit two homeruns and 8 RBIs on the season followed by Jonathan Schrader-Herrera who transferred from the Braves and hit .333 with 2 hits and 3 RBIs in three games. Up next was Berkay Taran who was second in the league with 14 walks. John Herbst had 12 plate appearances on the season with an OBP of .750 and batted eighth. And Kelvin-Jermaine Riemans got his first start batting ninth.

So how could the Flamingos win the game when the Wizards were able to keep that dominant Flamingos offense from getting a hit? Well, the Flamingos were the home team and therefore getting a win starts with John Luis on the mound and Erik behind the plate.

John Luis was a dominating pitcher and led the league with an Earned Run Average (ERA) of 2.81. He also led the league with five wins, no losses, and 36 Strikeouts (Ks). He was third in both fewest Baserunners per Inning (WHIP 1.688) and Opponents Batting Average (OAV .180). He threw 2.250 Strikeouts per Inning which was good for 5th in the league and he also had one save. Luis faced 79 batters and only gave up 10 runs with 5 of them Earned Runs. The leadoff batter for the Wizards worked out a full count walk on some close pitches but nevertheless John Luis started strong. He struck out the next two batters and took a comebacker from the cleanup hitter and threw to Colin at first to end the inning while stranding the runner on base.

The Flamingos rattled the starting pitcher for the Wizards with patience at the plate and scored four runs by working out six walks. Berkay, who was playing center field, was hit by a pitch. The first out was recorded on a fine defensive play by the Wizards. The only ball hit into the field for the inning was a Fielder’s Choice by John Luis with bases loaded. The ball was fielded by the shortstop who threw Ignacio out at home. The Flamingos were getting the catcher’s attention with aggressive leads and the second out was a pick off from the catcher to first base. The inning ended with a strike out. The more experienced Joel Bloch relieved Kelvin in the second inning but otherwise the Flamingos defense remained unchanged and provided Luis with help in the second inning. The first batter up hit to Jonathan who was playing second base and made a great backhand play to get the batter out
at first. The next two batters got base hits off of Luis which set up the obvious steal with batters at first and third with one out. Erik and Luis were ready and executed a fake throw to second which baited the third base runner into going home. But Luis had the ball, waited for the runner to commit, and threw the runner out at home with Erik making the tag for the second out. Luis struck out the next batter to end the inning which held the Wizards to zero.

The Flamingos were starting at the top of the lineup in the bottom of the second but a pitching change by the Wizards and some good play in the field changed the momentum. Ignacio hit a fly ball to first base, Felix struck out, and Erik hit a ground ball that was fielded by the first baseman and Erik was thrown out at first as the second baseman hustled to cover first.

With the league pitching limit set at two innings, the Flamingos sent Erik to the mound in the top of the third inning. Luis went to catcher which he has played for many years but only three games this season. Jason played  catcher in seven games which allowed Luis to play first base where he led the team with 12 put outs. Erik also had a fine year on the mound but tended to give up more hits which lead to 27 Runs Allowed, 19 of them Earned. His 10.91 ERA was good for sixth in the league. He faced 89 batters, had 25 Strikeouts, gave up 13 walks, and finished with 3 Wins, 1 Loss, and 1 Save. With a little more action expected in the outfield, Nils von Waldowski  replaced John who was playing right field but went to third base instead and Joel went to shortstop. This allowed Felix to move to left field and Ignacio to move to right field. The inning started well for Erik. He got a strike out and the leadoff batter hit a comebacker for an easy out at first. Then things got a little more difficult. A walk, two base hits, two infield errors, and one outfield error allowed four unearned runs to score. One infield error was due to attempting to get an out at third base instead of first with two outs. Ignacio was scored with the error in the outfield. He is a talented young star and tracks the fly balls well. He was able to get his glove on it but he couldn’t hold on. After the dropped ball in right field, the ball was thrown to the pitcher who should have held it and let the runner take third. But instead, Erik attempted to throw the runner out which resulted in an error at third base and the runner advanced to home.

Erik gave up another walk and the base runner stole second. The throw from John Luis was scored as yet another error in the inning and the runner advanced to third. But the base runner was left stranded as Erik struck out the next batter. After three and a half innings the score was tied 4 to 4. John Luis led off the bottom of the third and got on base due to an error on the shortstop and scored on an error by the catcher. Colin drew a walk, Jonathan struck out, and Berkay drew a walk. After a strikeout from Nils, Colin and Berkay pulled off a double steal. And while Joel was working on a walk, Colin scored on an error by the catcher and Berkay scored on a wild pitch. The pitcher from the Wizards was struggling with his pitch control and Joel took advantage of it by advancing to third base on a passed ball and a wild pitch while Ignacio was being walked. Joel was sent home on yet another passed ball but the catcher recovered the ball quickly and Joel was caught for the third out of the inning.

One of our newest players, Noah Gongoll, who recently transferred from the American Little League Berlin, made his debut at third base in the top of the fourth inning. He didn’t see much action though as the Flamingos went three up and three down on a grounder to Jonathan at second base and two strike outs. With the one and a half hour time limit expired, and the home team in the lead, the game and the 2017 Schüler season ended with the 4 to 7 win over the Berlin Wizards.

Liam Horn, a long time Flamingo, was available but nursing some injuries. And one of our newest Flamingos, Damian Radiguet was on the bench for the first time. Besides Jason and Justus, Antony Enders and Devon-Jean Riemans was unavailable for the Game. Antony has been with the team since last year and played outfield this season. Devon started this season and has also played outfield. In addition to John Luis and Erik, Colin, Jason, Felix, Iganacio, Jonathan, and Berkay have pitched this season. Seven Flamingos will advance to the Jugend League in 2018 – John Herbst, Jason Hosnedl, Colin Keegan, John Luis Márquez-Ramirez, Erik Corral Ortiz, Kelvin-Jermaine Riemans, and Berkay Taran. I am very proud of all of these baseball players. We play to win but also to learn. And we won a lot and learned a lot throughout the season.

The Flamingos were obviously one the best teams in Berlin this year. The difference between a chance for first place and third place was two runs which could have resulted from one or two coaching decisions or one or two plays on the field.

I want to thank all of the players and their parents for your efforts and your support. I also want to thank the Flamingos Vorstand, especially Martina Wägner for the planning and tireless work. Thanks again to Martina Wägner but also Martina Glatzer, Reuben Scott Walker, and Fabian Glatzer for the help on game days. A special thank you goes out to my friend and fellow coach, Enorbel Márquez-Ramirez. And of course, thanks to my wife, Kerstin, for all of your support.

The 2017 Schüler season is over and the days are getting short. We’ll have to move indoors to practice soon. So take a couple deep breaths because we start building the 2018 team right now.

William Scott Ortiz
26th of September, 2017

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