The Güns-Kelch, Güns-Chalice in English), also known as Die Kelch, is an annual baseball tournament held in the country of Günsovölk. Established in 1915, it has gained recognition as one of the most esteemed baseball competitions within the Southern Union. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the first tournament to introduce the practice of replaying match-ups. In the event of a tie after 9 innings, participating teams engage in a second game one week later to determine the outcome.
The Güns-Kelch tournament commences in April, coinciding with the beginning of the Günsovölk baseball season. The culmination of the tournament is the Güns-Kelch Final, traditionally held at the end of October. The teams participating in the tournament enter at various stages based on their league rankings. Lower-ranked clubs start in the preliminary round, while the highest-ranked teams, those competing in the Baseball Meisterschaft, enter in the first round, which takes place in July.
The tournament follows a knockout format. Each round features random pairings, with the team drawn second designated as the home team. The winning team of each game advances to the next round, while the losing team is eliminated from the tournament. From the first round proper, if a game ends in a draw before the final, a replay is scheduled at the opposing team’s home ground a week later. If the replay also ends in a draw after 9 innings, extra innings are played to determine the winner. However, in the final and all qualifying rounds, if the game ends in a draw, no replay is conducted and the game goes into extra innings until their is a winner.
Any club that is a member of the Günsovölk Baseball-Bund (GBB) is entitled to compete in the tournament. Professional members qualify automatically, which includes every team that plays in the Baseball Meisterschaft.
Despite the national success of the Baseball Meisterschaft, there was widespread criticism of the league for excluding clubs from Duyfken Island. Many critics argued that the league was flawed without representation from the island. Some owners and clubs held an elitist perspective, fearing that the participation of Duyfken Island clubs would lower the overall standard of play and be financially unviable due to the perceived lack of wealth among the working-class population on the island.
However, the growing success of the Zilverland und Tonne Boden Wettkampf, the premier league on Duyfken Island, highlighted the financial gains and impressive athleticism of the island’s teams. Ironically, several Baseball Meisterschaft clubs had poached star players from Duyfken Island clubs over the years, undermining their own elitist arguments.
By the end of 1914, the Günsovölk Baseball-Bund (GBB) recognized the need for significant reforms. The league voted in favor of expanding the Baseball Meisterschaft from 16 to 22 clubs, incorporating three teams from Duyfken Island – Eintracht Ruysch, Ahnüü 96, and LR Benëe – to establish the competition as truly national. In addition to the expanded Baseball Meisterschaft, all state leagues were brought under the official umbrella of the GBB, forming the “Landesligen” (State Leagues), which would constitute the second tier of the new baseball pyramid. This restructuring aimed to ensure a consistent level of competition across the entire league, with clubs being promoted or relegated based on merit.
Some club owners from Duyfken Island felt that the reforms did not go far enough. Kolshorn SG and 1894 Nijmegen, in particular, objected to the voting process for entry into the Baseball Meisterschaft, asserting that teams performing well in their respective Landesliga could be overlooked in favor of other clubs based on geographical or personal considerations. Despite these objections, the majority of club owners agreed to the changes, which were implemented in 1915.
Following the near-finalized reforms and the increasing success and popularity of knockout competitions in Ianoia and Albaland, Max Schneider, the owner of BV Küstestadt, put forward a proposal for a national knockout tournament. The idea behind the tournament was to provide an opportunity for all association member clubs to compete and determine the top club in the country each season.
After discussions and considerations regarding the adjustments to the number of games for each team in the Baseball Meisterschaft and the scheduling logistics, the majority of club owners agreed to the proposal on January 4th, 1915, pending the necessary changes.
The first draw for Qualifying Round 1 was made on 25th of March 1915, and the first game played on April 6th between Radstaat VfL hosting Stauchitz Garten, with the visitors winning 6-4. The following day, Oddersted SC completed the first no-hitter in tournament history, blanking Wolfsburg Union 9-0 at home.
The first round proper had four draws, with Baseball Meisterschaft club Eintracht Ruysch winning the replay against non-league side Nonendaal Werferinnen with a walk-off single, whilst Ducibus BV beat LR Benëe by a score of 5-to-2.
Two Baseball Meisterschaft clubs were eliminated in the first round to non-league opponents, considered the first giant-killings in competition history. Uelzenia Hüll gave up three runs in the top of the 9th to fall 8-7 at home to Tienpoint SV, whilst ironically BV Küstestadt was eliminated at the hands of visitors Horssen FSV, who went on to knock out Käseplatz SSV in the Third Round before falling 4-3 away to Thijssen Juist in the Semi-Finals.