Amsterdam tops Rimini to win the Champions' Cup

The Champions' Cup will remain in the Netherlands. After last year Neptunus Rotterdam topped Fortitudo Bologna, those two finalists were eliminated in the semifinals this year, and Amsterdam topped tournament host and defending Italian champion Rimini 5-4 in ten innings to hoist the trophy as Europe's top team for 2016.

The two semi-finals featured foes very familiar with each other, as Bologna faced Rimini in an Italian Baseball League matchup, and defending European Champion Rotterdam faced Amsterdam in an all Netherlands matchup. Rotterdam lead 5-4 after six innings, nine outs away from returning to the final, but Amsterdam scored twice in the seventh to take the lead, and then added five insurance runs in the 8th to break the game open. A Cores homer in the ninth with two out proved too little, and Amsterdam advanced to the championship game 11-7.

Bologna's hopes of a return to the final were also extinguished by an arch rival, as host Rimini built a 4-2 lead through six innings off of starter Brent Buffa, and a dominant three inning save by Teran with three hitless innings prevented any hopes of a Bologna rally.

In the championship game, Rimini initially fell behind Amsterdam 3-1, but scored twice in the 8th inning to tie the game at 3 and send it to extra innings. In the 10th inning tie break, still a controversial way to end such a hotly contested and well played game, Amsterdam scored twice. A throwing error by the pitcher on a sacrifice bunt allowed the first run to score, with the trailing runner thrown out at the plate. A Berkenbosch double to right off of Teran scored the insurance run.

In the bottom of the tenth needing two runs to stay alive, placed runner Zappone stole third and scored on a throwing error by the catcher, allowing placed runner Babini to get to second with no outs representing the tieing run. But Di Fabio struck out swinging on three pitches without advancing the runner to third, and then Babini was thrown out at third trying to advance on a grounder to shortstop. Representing the winning run, Retrosi battled through a long at bat, fouling off four pitches, before striking out to end the game, and give Amsterdam a well earned championship.