The Mets got their first sight of the impressive facilities at the host Eagles Praha complex where they held a pre-tournament practice, but soon it was time to get down to business.
London opened their competition week with a 10-5 victory over the Israeli National Team. London shot out to a four-run lead in the top of the first inning only to see Israel claw back to tie the game 5-5 after the 3rd. London then re-took control of the game, scoring five runs in the top of the 5th to win a mercy-rule victory in six innings. Three of London’s top performers were Jordan Edmonds, who threw a complete game, Walker Goodman who batted 3-for-4, and lead-off hitter Jamie Dix who scored three times on the day.
The next day the Mets faced a double-header against the Technika Brno of the Czech Republic and BC Vilnius of Lithuania.
London added to their new-found international reputation by dispatching Technika Brno 13-3, led by winning pitcher Zach Stroman and Kazuma Nasu in relief. Ewan Clegg found his bat with a bases-clearing triple but Jordan Edmonds provided the bulk of the offensive support, keyed by a massive three-run home run over the left field fence in the 5th inning.
The London Mets then faced a tough BC Vilnius squad and came away with a hard fought 8-5 victory in their final game of the tournament prelims to complete a sweep of Group D. The Mets nosed in front early only to see Vilnius fight back, but London was able to pull away once again with four runs in the top of the 5th inning. The game was still in doubt, however, as Vilnius came back once more to bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 6th inning. Kazuma Nasu came in to relieve starter Tadaki Sakurai. Kazuma induced a double play to end the game giving Sakurai the win and earning a save in the process. Jack Peters led the London offense with three hits including a pair of doubles.
Topping the table in Group D, London finished the prelims as one of only three teams with a perfect 3-0 record. They met Czech club team Sokol Hluboka in the quarter-final on Saturday and won that by a score of 11-1 in a lethargic matchup.
The clock finally struck midnight for the Cinderella-story Mets when they played the tournament favorites and eventual champions, the German Baseball Academy, on Saturday night. London were primed and ready to go and with ace Jordan Edmonds taking the hill. Unfortunately, with the toxic combination of frayed nerves and the newness of playing under the lights, the Germans were able to plate seven runs in the first inning. Settling down, Edmonds and the Mets played even baseball for the next couple of innings and forced the German team to change pitchers after the offense began to work the ball to the opposite field. Nevertheless, the strength and experience of the German team was evident as they pulled away in the late innings and London were unable to regain their reputation as the impact team of the tournament. Despite losing 14-3, the London Mets can hold their heads high as first-time tournament participants.
In the third/fourth-place ranking game on Saturday morning, the London Mets faced the KMC Ambassadors, an all-star team from the American service bases in Germany, and lost by a score of 10-2 to finish 4th out of 16 teams in the overall tournament. The Mets record was 4-2 overall.
A fantastic experience playing overseas under the lights was capped by a major accolade, the Tournament MVP, which was awarded to Jordan Edmonds. Edmonds learned to play baseball with Horsham and the Great Britain Baseball programme and currently plays for the Bracknell Blazers in the National Baseball League (NBL). Edmonds, along with Zach Stroman from the London Mets, will be back in Prague in May for the MLB European Academy tryout.
The London Mets Baseball and Softball Club have expressed their heartfelt thanks to Jan Bagin and all his team at the Eagles Praha club for their hospitality and excellent organization, and to GB Baseball staff for their help in preparation for the tournament.