Vernon’s Jonny Kashuba and David Burns of the Attnang Athletics of the Austrian Baseball League (ABL) were unsuccessful in defending their title against the youthful and talented Vienna Metrostars.
In the absence of Burns (family commitment) on the opening weekend of the championships in Vienna, the Athletics lost Games 1 and 2, including a 5-4 loss in the 10th inning of the series opener.
The series switched to Attnang for the final three games of the best-of-five series. Going into Game 3, the A’s were confident they could complete a comeback with the return of Burns and American pitcher Josh Costanza, who was injured in Game 2.
Kashuba blasted his fifth home run of the playoffs early in the game, while Burns smacked a two-run dinger in the bottom of the eighth, Kashuba made a great defensive play at shortstop in the ninth to secure the 5-4 win.
In Game 4, the A’s were up against Mets’ ace J.T. Hilliard, who was undefeated in the playoffs and dominated the A’s in the previous meeting.
Again, the A’s found themselves down early 2-1 until Kashuba smacked a two-run tater, followed by a Burns’ home run two batters later, giving the A’s a 4-2 lead in the third.
The Mets started to hit Costanza in the sixth and took the lead 6-4. The A’s added a run in the bottom of the sixth to keep pace with the Mets.
Burns replaced the struggling Costanza, despite the fact that he only threw three innings the entire season, in an attempt to save the remaining Austrian pitching staff for Game 5 (only Austrians are permitted to pitch Games 1,3, and 5).
The Mets added two more runs in their half of the seventh, making it 8-4. In the bottom of the seventh, Burns made it interesting again by hitting his third home run of the day, a three-run shot over the centre field fence.
However, Burns ran into trouble on the mound in the eigthth and was replaced by Kashuba. The Mets ended up adding three more runs, silencing the 600 A’s fans in attendance. The A’s clawed back again, but eventually went on to lose 12-9.
Both Kashuba and Burns are in the running for playoff MVP. Kashuba finished with a batting average of .289 with six homers and10 RBI in seven games, while Burns hit .429 with three HRs and 13 RBI in five games.