After winning in group play, the Mets and RusStar advanced to the championship game on Saturday. One 9-inning game would decide which country’s baseball federation gets promoted to the Federation Cup in 2022.
Despite losing two games to the Mets already, RusStar still had cards left to play for the championship. The RusStar ace, Dmitry Shtykher, threw game 1 against Sofia but had not yet pitched against the Mets. Shtykher has been a dominate force in the Russian domestic league and on the national team.
Mitch vom Scheidt took the mound for the Mets in the finals aiming to continue his strong 2021 run. He started strong with a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first as the late movement on his fastball and slider avoided hard contact from the Russian hitters.
The Mets came out swinging in the bottom of the first. Yoshioka set the stage with a leadoff triple off of Shtykher’s first fastball of the game and the bats stayed hot from there. 3 more hits in a row sent Michael Flaherty to the plate who promptly homered to deep left field, giving the Mets a 5-0 lead in the first.
RusStar came back in the second making it clear they were not laying down. Vladislav Kochetov led off with a towering homerun to right field to chip away at the Mets lead. Kochetov was RusStar’s biggest spark all tournament and came back in the fourth inning with another hit and a run to keep RusStar in the game. 6-4 Mets going into the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Mets turned to the bullpen and brought on Tommy Flaherty. His fastball was electric with late cut life and he threw a great inning (after recovering from a first batter HBP) to transition the game to a heavy bullpen.
The last threat of the game came into 7th inning with the Mets up 7-5. Andrei Shtykher lead off with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball. But with no outs he tried to steal 3rd base. Callum Vinall who had been battling a shoulder injury all week, fired a bullet to third base to cut down the runner and stave off the potential rally.
Brian Lainoff and Fred Mosier split the last four innings of the game on the mound for the Mets, the former striking out 4 in 2IP, and the latter facing just over the minimum to secure a 9-5 championship victory for the London Mets.
Tournament awards were handed out as follows:
Most Valuable Player - Drake Yoshioka (London Mets)
Hitter of the Tournament - Vladislav Kochetov (RusStar Baseball)
Pitcher of the Tournament - Ventsislav Ivanov (Athletic Sofia)
The London Mets victory at the 2021 CEB Federation Cup Qualifier has promoted all of British baseball to the next level. In 2022 the BBF will be able to send one team to the the Federation Cup and a second team to the Federation Cup Qualifier to again fight to promote all of British baseball.