Day 2 of the 35th edition of the European Championship brought three nail bitters and a big surprise.
Spain vs. Belgium – 13:5
The morning game of day 2 featured the teams of Spain and Belgium. Both teams won their first games on Saturday and are contenders for a trip to the WBSC Olympic Qualifiers in Bologna. The Spanish showed from the beginning on, how serious their mission was: Engel Beltre started off with a leadoff homerun, Jesus Ustariz followed with a two-run-shot and Jesus Martinez added the third dinger of the game to make it 4:0 after the first inning.
Also Belgium knows how to hit: Thomas De Wolf hit his first dinger of the tournament to add the first Belgian run to the score board. It kept raining home runs when Spain added another one in the 5th inning, followed by three hits and an error for five more runs. Even though the Red Hawks added for more runs in the course of the game, the Spanish hit even more home runs for a final score of 13:5.
BEL: Sam Boermans: 2 for 3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
ESP: Jesus Martinez: 2 for 3, HR, RBI; Jesus Ustariz 2 for 5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Sweden vs. Israel – 4:3
Team Israel scored its first run in the second inning, while it took the Swedish until the fourth inning to get their first runner across home plate. Nicholas Filice is the first to hit the ball out of the ball park to tie the game in the fourth with solo home run. Pitcher Eric Brodkowitz causes another run after a balk and Sweden took the 2:1 lead. Team Israel fought right back to tie the game in the same inning after a pair of hits.
In the further going neither of the teams manage to be productive until the seventh inning: Pontus Byström hit a double to bring runners to third and second. Peter Johannesen hit a deep sacrifice fly to take the 3:2 lead. Niklas Melin, the Swedish reliever bow defends the lead well up until the ninth inning. Jacob Syren, who currently plays for the Solingen Alligators, took over on the mound. The singles of Nick Rickles and Danny Valencia started off the ninth and a throwing error, a walk and a wild pitch helped Israel to score the tying run. With runners on second and third base, the Swedish decided to intentionally walk Robb Paller and load up the bases. Jeremy Wolf stepped to the plate but didn’t even get a chance to use his bat, when he was walked-in on four pitches to win the game 4:3 for Team Israel.
ISR: Jeremy Wolf, 2 for 4, 2 H, 2 RBI, BB
SWE: Niklas Melin: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB
France vs. Austria – 12:6
In the third game of the day, France beat Austria in a game of sun and rain. Austria, who just got promoted into the A-Pool, was penalized for every little mistake they made. In the third inning, Frederic Hanvi hit a grand-slam, after Austria’s shortstop misplayed a double play ball, that could have ended the inning. France was walking away with a 5:0 lead, but Austria did not give up and kept fighting. In the fourth inning their bats finally woke up, when Felix Zimmerle and Dominik Talir connected for the first three runs. An inning later the Hackl brothers, Sammy and Mo combined for another two runs.
In the sixth inning, France returned the favor, answering with a total of seven runs after a hand full of walks and two home runs by Bastien Dagneau and Frederic Hanvi. Although Austria could score once more, France earned their first win of this European Championship.
AUT: Moritz Scheicher: 4 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI
FRA: Frederic Hanvi: 2 for 5, 2 HR, 7 HR
The Netherlands vs. Czech Republic – 6:8
The afternoon game in Bonn featured the matchup between two contenders for a spot at the Olympic qualifier. While the Dutch went into the game as the current European Champion, the Czech were the underdog in the duel. Curth Smith had the first big hit of the day, batting in the first run for the Dutch after a double in the gap. Their starter Tom de Blok was looking good against the Czech hitters through three innings without a hit. In the fourth inning Martin Cervenka hit a homerun to tie the game. But the Czech were not finished yet and started a rally in the following inning. Martin Muzik, Petr Zyma and Adam Hajtmar all singled to load the bases. An error brought in the second run, two infield singles three more to extend the lead to 5:1.
The Dutch were surprised but not stunned and fought right back. Calten Daal took a big hack with runners on first and second and the score was shortened to 5:4. Both teams added another run in the 6th, but the Dutch were not able to put any pressure on pitcher Daniel Padysak and Martin Schneider, who came in to close out the game. Matej Hejma started off the ninth with a single and Martin Cervinka followed with a double to score the Hejma and shortly after score himself for the 8:5. The Dutch did not give up either and started the inning with two singles. A misplayed ball even loaded up the bases with no outs. But Martin Schneider stayed on top of the game, although Curt Smith could bring in a run after a sacrifice fly, Kalian Sams and Ademar Rifaela both flied out to end the hopes of the Netherlands. The Czech Republic stunned the Dutch 8:6 and served the first big surprise of the tournament.
CZE: Martin Cervenka: 2 for 5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
NED: Calten Daal, 3 for 5, HR, 3 RBI
Italy vs. Croatia – 2:1 (10)
Going into the game against Croatia, Team Italy had only one job to do: Win. The crew of manager James Summers had already shown an amazing performance against Spain the day before and just felt short of a win. Pavao Karin was sent on the mound to hold the Italian offense in check and from the very first inning on, he did just that. In the fourth inning Croatia was even able to score the first run of the game after two hits by the heart of their lineup and a groundout.
The Azzuri were trailing but still couldn’t convert their few base runners to runs. Karin and his defense could get out of the jam inning after inning. Andrew Maggi was the only one on the Italian team who could pull the trigger, as he homered to tie the game in 5th. Karin stayed in the game and didn’t allow another run through nine innings of work. The game went into extra innings, which are played according to WBSC rules. Runners were put on first and second to speed up the game. Croatia could not take advantage of it when closer Alex Bassani struck out the side in the 10th. It now took Italy only one batter: John Andreoli drove the ball to right field and score Andrew Maggi for the 2:1 walk-off win.
ITA: Andrew Maggi: 2 for 4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI;
CRO: Pavao Karin: 9 IP, ER
Germany vs. Great Britain - 1:0
Tonight’s game featured the matchup between host Germany and Team GB. Fans of hits and runs might have been disappointed after this game but those who like pitcher duels and fine defense plays had a lot to cheer about. The two hurlers for the two teams were Sascha Koch for Germany and Michael Roth, who pitched for the University of South Carolina in the 2010 College World Series.
Jordan Serena hit a long drive on the warning track which eventually brought him to second base. But like most of the time in this upcoming game, the other hitters couldn’t connect to score the runs. The pitching aces also got a lot of support by their defenses, showing great glove work and diving plays all over the diamond. And just like so often in this tournament, a home run would decide the game: The German 2nd Baseman Marco Cardoso belted the ball over right center field too take the 1:0 lead in the 5th inning.
After seven innings, Sascha Koch’s day was over and Skipper Steve Janssen sent Sven Schüller in to secure the win. An infield hit in the ninth brought the winning run to the plate for Great Britain but a ground out ended the game and Germany could celebrate the 2nd win of the tournament.
GER: Sascha Koch: 7 IP, 4 H, 7 K, 0 ER; Marco Cardoso: 2 for 3, HR, RBI, R
GBR: Michael Roth: 8 IP, 3 H, ER
All results, statistics, scheduled games and links to live tickers on www.baseballstats.eu.