The 35th European Championship started off today in Bonn and Solingen. The 12 teams participating at the tournament delivered great plays and lots of action on the diamond. Here are today's summaries:
Spain vs. Croatia - 3:2
many expected a slugfest for Spain against the underdog Croatia, the first game
of this year's European Baseball Championship developed into a nail biter.
Spain scored first on a throwing error, but Croatia fought right back after
Andrija Tomic doubled down the right field line. While Marin Tadic kept the Iberian
bats quiet for the following innings, Philip Smith hit the ball all the way to
the center field fence to take over the lead: 2:1.
The Furia Roja needed to be patient all the way until the 8th inning, when the offense finally came through. Back-to-back-to-back doubles by the heart of the lineup turned the game around in favor of Spain. Antonio Horvatic came on the mound for Croatia to stop the bleeding but his offense couldn’t fight back. Spain won the first game of the tournament by 3:2. Croatia showed a great performance but eventually had to take the loss.
Jorge Balboa: 7.0 1 ER, Lesther Galvan: 2 for 4, RBI, 2B
Czech Republic vs. Israel - 1:6
All eyes were on Team Israel, when they faced the Czech Republic in their historic debut at the European Championship. The two opponents are both contenders for a medal at this tournament.
The Czech struck first after an error and a hit. The 1:0 lead only lasted until the third when Blake Gaillen hit the first home run of this tournament to tie the game. Joey Wagman for Team Israel and Radim Chroust for the Czech delivered a stellar performance on the mound and didn’t allow a lot of traffic on the bases. In the 5th Wagman loaded up the bases but the Czech Republic could not take advantage of it. Two frames later Israel loaded up the bases themselves but this time they found the trigger: Nick Rickles doubled down the right field line to clear the bases. A single later, Israel scored the 5:1.
After a rain delay, the game continued in the 8th. With two runners in scoring position the Czech had another big opportunity to add some runs to the scoreboard, but again without success. Jonathan Demarte came in as a reliever and could shut the door for Israel’s first win.
ISR: Blake Gail: 4 for 4, 2B, HR; Nick Rickles: 1 for 5, 2B, 3 RBI
Belgium vs. Austria - 5:1
Austria went into their first A-Pool game since 2007 as the underdog against a strong Belgian Team, who finished 6th at the last European Championship. Although they could start off the game with a single, not much pressure was put onto the Belgian defense behind Cedric Desmedt. His offense helped him out when Axel Poesmans drove the ball over the outfield fence to take the 2:0 lead. Veteran Christian Tomsich recovered from this little mistake and kept the opposing hitters in check. The Austrian batters never really found into the game and couldn’t use the few chances the Belgians gave to them.
Also Austria’s bullpen didn’t quite perform the way they wanted. In the 8th the Red Hawks added three more to the scoreboard as an insurance. After Kenny van de Branden gave up Austria’s first run and loaded up the bases, Thomas De Wolf shut the door to earn the save. Final score: 5:1
BEL: Cedric Desment; 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K; Axel Poesmans: 1 for 3, HR, 2 RBI
AUT: Christian Tomsich, 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 K; Dominik Talir: 2 for 4, 2B, RBI
The Netherlands vs. Great Britain -suspended game
The second game of the day in Solingen brought the matchup between the Netherlands and Great Britain. The bats of both teams only stayed quiet in the first inning. The Dutch sent Orlando Yntema into the game, while the British went in with Ethan Solomon. While Yntema cruised through six scoreless innings, only allowing three hits, Solomon didn’t have much to put into his opponents’ way. The Netherlands kept hitting for a total of 13 hits through seven innings, highlighted by the performance of Kalian Sams, who went 2 for 3 with a double and scored three runs himself. In the seventh, Shairon Martis came in to close it out. Finally, the British bats woke up to connect for their first run of the game after a leadoff double by Richard Brereton to avoid the mercy rule. Team GB kept fighting and added another run an inning late after three hits in the inning. Due to the light conditions, the game had to be suspended in the 8th. It will be resumed on the following days. The Technical Comission will decide on Sunday.
NED: Orlando Yntema: 7.0 IP, 0 ER
Italy vs. France - 16:2
Day one of the 35th European Baseball Championship didn’t only bring a lot of baseball to Solingen and Bonn, it also brought a lot of rain and kept the ground’s crew busy. Italy vs. France started off quiet and the French did a good job to hold back the Italian offense. The Azzuri used their first chance in the third inning to score the first run of the game. An inning later Federico Celli and Sebastiano Poma partnered up for back-to-back homeruns to expand the lead to 3:0. But also the French hitters know how to hit: Andy Paz also showed his power and belted the ball over the left field fence, after a couple of hits, the 3:2 followed.
In the middle of the fifth inning the game had to be stopped due to the heavy rain. The break also gave “Le Bleu” a break while Italy was right back at it, scoring five runs on six hits. With the score of 9:2, the game went on without much resistance of the French. The Azzuri kept adding runs to the score board to walk away with a final score of 16:2.
ITA: Sebastiano Poma 6 for 6, 2B, HR, 4 R, 5 RBI
Germany vs. Sweden - 9:1
Rain and a lot of work pushed back the starting times today. The official opening game started 90 later than scheduled, but the loyal fans at the Reihnaue Ballpark kept waiting to see their home team. Germany did not disappoint them and started the game with fireworks on the field: Sascha Lutz started with a double, a single and a sac-fly followed before Pascal Amon added another double to make it 3:0. But also the Swedish team knows how to use its bats. Joel Johnson started his tournament with a double as well, shortly after Alex Rubanowitz scored his team mate to make it 3:1. Germany struck right back and added another run for the 4:1.
Sweden made a successful pitching change when Daniel Linder was brought in relief. Linder showed a great performance over four innings and with his mix of pitches he could stop the German bats from scoring. In the eighth, Germany’s offense found its rhythm again scoring three runs on four hits, highlighted by a Kevin Kotowski RBI double. Another run followed in the 9th and the host of this year’s European Championship could walk away with a 9:1 win in the opener.
GER: Pascal Amon: 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, R