Another week of baseball season is in the books and, fortunately for us, we have 12 months of it to which to look forward! This week was as action-packed as any other, from a total solar eclipse seen at multiple baseball stadia to the start of the Summer Universiade. In addition, we had another major milestone.
The Summer Universiade, or the University Olympics, started last Sunday with two major upsets, as France beat host Taiwan on a walkoff three-run error and the Czech Republic outlasted Korea, 4-3. Japan beat Russia and the United States and Mexico each broke up no-hitters in a game the Americans won 3-2 (tweet).
On Monday, our lead writer took in the total solar eclipse from the Greenville Drive (tweet), a milestone in and of itself, but also the occasion during which we launched our Instagram. More photos will be available this week.
A day later, we watched the Drive take on the Columbia Fireflies from the press box rather than the outfield, though we were unable to speak with Great Britain’s Blake Taylor, who went on the disabled list the day before. We did witness a 16-3 drubbing, including a Drive Statcast exit velocity record of 112mph from Bobby Dalbec (tweet).
We continued our series of reviews on the Under-23 European Championship, offering our thoughts on fielding and baserunning (link), as well as a broader look at team statistics, where there were a few surprises (link).
P.J. Conlon, a native of Belfast, was named the Eastern League’s left-handed pitcher of the year (tweet).
Friday saw our tour of minor league games in the southeast continue, with our lead writer and a photographer on site at the Asheville Tourists, where we spoke to Marten Gasparini, the European with the all-time largest signing record. We were also able to speak to the delightful Erick Julio, a Colombian prospect in the Rockies system. The game was a thriller, as the visiting Lexington Legends scored the first nine batters, but had to hold on for a 12-11 win (tweet). Both interview and more photos will be available this week.
By early Sunday morning, the Universiade first and second rounds were complete, with Japan facing Korea and USA squaring off against the Czech Republic in the semifinals. Japan (5-0) was the only team to survive two rounds undefeated, while Russia was the sole nation without a win (5-0). The most noteworthy game was a Friday matchup that saw the University of Iowa, subbing in for USA Baseball, no-hit a strong Czech side, 8-0 (tweet).
The finals of the Universiade, plus lots of photos and our thoughts on the U23 European Championship pros and prospects are scheduled for this week, plus the Under-18 World Cup commences in Thunder Bay.