Kotlářka to meet Eagles in baseball semis in Prague

Prague 6-based Kotlářka has risen fast in the local baseball leagues

Prague baseball teams Kotlářka Praha and their rivals Eagles Praha will be meeting in a semifinal tournament Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31, at Marketa Stadium in Prague 6-Břevnov, with games at 1 pm each day.

The teams are billing the derby match as the Battle of Prague.

Kotlářka has managed to have an impressive rise in recent years, and this year has a record of 27 wins and eight losses going into the semifinals. That is the same win-loss record as the Draci Brno (Brno Dragons), who have long dominated the sport in the Czech Republic and have a budget six times as high.

Kotlářka manager Ondřej Chocholatý attributes the success of the team making it into to top league in a short time to the hard work of the players and coaches. The team's history goes back 1980, but it was only a youth club. Kotlářka youth players would go on to join other teams once they got too old. But that changed when Kotlářka built its own baseball diamond in 2008 in Prague 6. Young players can now move up and stay with the club in the adult team.

The team finished at the head of the national league in 2009 and advanced to the top league. In 2010 the team finished fifth place in the Extraliga. Kotlářka has been in the playoffs since 2011, and in 2013 and '14 made it to the finals. Last year the team won the finals and became Extraliga champion, beating Draci Brno, which had won the title 19 times previously. Kotlářka also won the Czech Cup trophy.

But Chocholatý is not content to sit on previous victories. He say that any match with Draci is still a fifty-fifty proposition, as they are a strong opponent.

This year was also tough, with more losses than wins at the beginning, but the team managed to rally and turn the situation around before the season got away from them.

But outside the Czech Republic it was a different story. When they played in the European Champions Cup in June, they saw a different level of play. “We went to Rimini as the only amateur team. The level of the Italian and Dutch teams is elsewhere,” Chocholatý said, adding that the team gained experience but lost all five of its games.

For the July 30–31 Extraliga semifinals, Kotlářka asks its fans to wear blue while the Eagles' color is green, and both teams are hoping the turnout will break a Czech Extraliga spectator record. A special limited edition beer by Matuška Brewery will be available at this tournament, same as Rustic Jerky and some tasty burgers from Sweet 60's!

Facebook event page: Semifinals Kotlářka Praha - Eagles Praha

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