Vernon’s Jonny Kashuba and David Burns are tying to win the Austrian version of the World Series with some Major League-type numbers.
Kashuba, 26, and Burns, 37, boosted the Attnang-Puccheim Athletics to the Austrian Baseball League pennant while setting a circuit record for wins in a season with 24.
Kashuba led the Athletics in most offensive categories with a batting average of .372, 28 runs batted in, and a league-leading eight home runs. Kashuba also won the league gold glove for his defensive play at shortstop.
Burns, last year’s playoff MVP, batted a solid .290 and had three dingers, 19 RBI and a team-high eight doubles.
Burns, the Athletics’ player-manager, marvelled at Kashuba’s late-season explosion where he smacked five homers in six games and followed up with four taters in four playoff tilts.
“This is unheard of in this league where in a 28-game season, some U.S. college players or former U.S. semi pro players that play here will maybe hit eight to 10 at the most,” said Burns, a first baseman.
The Athletics also boast the league’s top pitching staff led by Josh Castanza (1.59 earned run average) out of Florida, and the best Austrian pitcher, Walter Strasser, (1.98 ERA). Both pitchers reach levels of 86-88 miles an hour.
The Athletics are preparing for the championships after defeating the Schwaz Tigers 3-1 in the best-of-five semifinal. After splitting the opening weekend, the A’s rode the bats of Burns and Kashuba last weekend by winning Game 3 (16-4) and Game 4 (10-0) to advance to the final.
In Game 3, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Kashuba belted two of his four home runs in the series while Burns went 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI. In the second game, Kashuba smacked his third homer of the day off the Tigers’ Californian starter while Burns went 2-for-3.
The A’s began the championship series with two games Saturday, in Vienna against the Vienna Metrostars, a team that has won the most titles in the history of the ABL.
The remainder of the best-of-five final series goes next weekend at the A’s Garden in Attnang-Puchheim, a city of nearly 10,000.
“The series is dubbed the Young Stars vs the Old Stars and the Metrostars team is comprised mostly of a young talented nucleus of players aged 19-23, while the A’s are a more veteran team with almost all of the players in their late 20s and early 30s,” said Burns, a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder.
Attnang was founded by Bavarian seddlers in the late eighth century.
The town of Puchheim is documented the first time in 1135, Attnang about 100 years later in 1242.
In 1912 the community changed its name from Puchheim to Attnang-Puchheim to acknowledge this growing part of the town.
Anyone interested in viewing Games 3-5 online can visit the A’s website at: www.athleticsbaseball.at. The series can also be followed in English on www.mister-baseball.com.