Bologna and Amsterdam open Champions Cup on top after three days

After the first three days of the 2016 European Champions Cup in Rimini and San Marino, Bologna and Amsterdam were unbeaten at 3-0, with Neptunus and Rimini right behind them at 2-1 with one more day of pool play to determine the playoff matchups.

Bologna won a tough opener against their rival San Marino. After falling behind 3-0, Bologna rallied for a 5-3 win behind Cedeno's three doubles, a two-run double for LaTorre, and most importently a two run homerun in the 8th inning for Claudio Liverziani. Neptunus Rotterdam also opened with a key victory against Heidenehim Heidekopfe, winning an offensive explosion 14-9. Meanwhile in the other division host Rimini dropped a 6-2 game to Amsterdam, behind the base running of Nick Urbanas who scored the first four times he batted, while Buchbinder topped Praga 7-4 after trailing 4-2.

In the second day of games, Bologna stayed unbeated, squeaking by Rotterdam 1-0 behind strong pitching by Rivero, and held off a bases loaded situation in the ninth for the victory. Rain delayed the game between Praga and Amsterdam, but after the field dried, it was the Dutch were too much for the Czech's, winning easily 10-2.  Rimini got their first victory 5-3 over Buchbinder after trailing early. In another day 2 nail biter, San Marino beat Heidenheim 4-3 in a game that was scoreless entering the ninth inning before each team scored two runs, and after the Germans took a 10th inning lead, San Marino scored twice to walk off winners on a Poma single.

The third day dealt with some disruptive rain, and once again finished with Bologna and Amsterdam victories to remain unbeaten and win their divisions. Bologna beat Heidenheim 2-1 in just six innings before rain shortened the game and ended the hopes for the Germans who only managed two hits against Panerati. Amsterdam pulled off a 1-0 win over Buchbinder behind eight strong innings from Robin Schel. Meanwhile Rimini topped Praga 4-0 to earn a spot in the semifinals against Bologna. Co-host San Marino ended their hopes of victory coming one run short and dropping to Rotterdam 5-4. San Marino lead 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, before an error allowed the game to be tied. They lead again in the 10th before back to back bases loaded walks by two different pitchers ended their hopes.

An Italy - Netherlands final is assured, as the two semi-finals are Amsterdam vs Rotterdam in the first game, and Rimin hosting Bologna in the second one on Friday, with the winners to play for the championship on Saturday.