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London Mets win CEB Fed Cup Qualifier in Dramatic Fashion

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

The London Mets journeyed to Rybnik, Poland, to compete in the 2023 Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) Federation Cup Qualifier, an annual tournament whose winner secures their country's spot in the CEB Federation Cup the following year.

Brendan Power, the General Manager, and Head Coach Derrick Cook led the team of 15 players, comprising both veterans and rookies. They faced competition from Ukraine (ATMA 1991), Georgia (Georgian Baseball Academy), Bulgaria (Athletic Sofia), Poland (Silesia Rybnik), and their home country, the United Kingdom (London Mets). Each team competed against one another in round-robin pool play, with the top two teams progressing to the championship.

Back row: Mitch vom Scheidt, Jar Parker, Pietro Sollecito, Sean Gondobintoro, Ethan Murphy, Rich Minford, Rory Chandler, Chris Messer, Derrick Cook

Front row: Brendan Power, Mike Banagale, Callum Vinall, Dylan Baxter, Louis Dean, Tosh Lawson, Jamie Dix

The Mets cruised through pool play, starting the week 3-0. Their strong performance included a combined no-hitter against Georgia from Chris Messer and Louis Dean, as well as stellar pitching performances from Mitchell vom Scheidt and Pietro Sollectio against Ukraine and Bulgaria respectively. Speedster Rory Chandler led the team's offensive onslaught, getting on base nearly every at bat.

Going into the last day of pool play, both the Mets and Silesia Rybnik had already clinched spots in the finals, each with a 3-0 record. Their game’s winner would have the home team advantage in the next day's championship game. Silesia Rybnik opted to rest their top tournament performers, including Kodai Hamabata, Ryoma Ogawa, and Franciszek Dudek. The Mets entrusted the game to Tosh Lawson, a familiar name in the London Mets program, who led them to a resounding 14-1 victory.

The stage was set for the London Mets vs Silesia Rybnik championship game on June 26th. The day was blustery and overcast, with a packed crowd of local spectators. Staff ace Chris Messer took the mound for the Mets, facing Poland's Adrian Mularczyk. Both pitchers gave commendable performances, with the Mets leading 3-2 through seven innings.

Mets skipper, Derrick Cook, bringing the motivation from the dugout.

However, the game's tide shifted in the eighth inning. Rybnik had been struggling with Messer’s dominant arsenal (7Ks) and turned to small ball to try to shake things up. The Mets fumbled multiple bunt defenses, allowing Rybnik to score four runs, thereby securing a 6-3 lead with just six outs remaining for the Mets offense.

Messer bringing the heat and keeping the Rybnik batters at bay.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Mets captain Rich Minford hit a solo home run to reduce the lead to two. After Mike Banagale drew a walk, Brendan Power stepped to the plate to try and tack on more. Power didn’t wait to strike, sending the first pitch he saw over the right field fence to tie the game going into the 9th.

Relief pitcher Mitchell vom Scheidt struggled in the top of the ninth inning, and Rich Minford was called in to close and avert further damage. Despite an untimely error by Ethan Murphy, the Mets managed to limit Rybnik to one run, leaving them trailing 7-6.

The Mets showed resilience once again in the bottom of the 9th, with singles by Jar Parker and Rich Minford. Ethan Murphy then had the chance to hunt for redemption. After working Ryoma Ogawa to a 2-2 count, Murphy connected with a fastball, hitting a walk-off home run to right-center. The Mets won 9-7, a storybook ending to secure the British Baseball Federation’s place in the 2024 CEB Federation Cup.

Ethan Murphy recalling the walk-off homerun to the local news.

Video links to key championship moments:

● Bottom of the 8th: Minford homers to center field.

● Bottom of the 8th: Power home run to tie the game.

● Bottom of the 9th: Murphy walk off home run.

Rory Chandler (left) was named the tournament's best batter, boasting an OPS of 1.246, 13 R, and 13 SB. Rich Minford (right) was named the tournament's most valuable player, hitting .524 with 11 H, 9 RBI, a crucial inning on the mound in the championship, and a solid defensive performance at first base throughout the week.


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