The group stage of this European Baseball Championship is over! We know the remaining eight contenders and the matchups for Fridays quarterfinals!
All results, statistics, scheduled games and links to live tickers on www.baseballstats.eu.
Italy vs Belgium – 12:4
Italy and Belgium went into day 5 of this 35th European Championship
with a clear focus on the upcoming. The Azzuri were already winner of group B
and Belgium was qualified for the quarter finals. They had a theoretical chance
to finish third in the group, but for this they needed to beat Italy and hope
for a good day of Croatia, who needed to beat France.
Theories beside, the attention was on this game and Italy made sure to set the tone first, when John Andreoli hit a home run to start things off. Going into the fourth Inning, they were still just leading by one run, but Beau Maggi was able to deliver a 2-RBI double and later scored himself, to push the score to five. Angelo Palumbo got the start for Team Italy and only allowed two hits, but no runs through five innings of work. The Belgians were having a hard time to put runners on, but eventually in the seventh inning Sam Börmans proved, that he can also compete on a high level. His hit left the yard and Belgium shortened the seven run deficit to six. They kept rebelling, when one inning later Yves Pösman, Leonel Reina and Thomas De Wolf all doubled for another three runs for the 7:4.
Italy came right back to secure the win with a four run eighth. Chris Colabello once again showed his power and added a 3-run home run to their offensive game. With the final score of 11:4, the Azzuri kept their clean record, going 5-0 into the quarter finals, while Belgium will go into the final stage of this tournament as the fourth seed of group B.
Great Britain vs. Sweden – 13:7
Sweden and Great Britain met for their final game of the group phase. The British still had a chance to qualify for the quarter final, but needed a win in this afternoon game and some support from Germany, who would need to beat the Czech Republic in the night game.
The British were not joking around: Will Savage introduced himself with a lead-off home run and after a hit and two walks Thomas scored two more for the 3:0 lead. One inning later Klijn started off the inning with a double scored in the course of the inning and drove in a run in third frame as well.
While Team GB’s batters scored inning after inning, their defense behind Michael Roth, who pitched on short rest, showed another stellar performance on the hill. In the third inning he gave up two free bases to start of the inning. This mistake was soon turned into the first runs for the Scandinavians. Johnson and Rubanowitz delivered the RBIs.
In the fifth inning, GB had another big inning. The gentlemen under the union jack connected four hits, an error and a sac-fly to three more runs and were now leading 8:3. In return, Roth gave up two more walks to the Swedish hitters and after Roth was out of the game, Rubanowitz, again, drove in a run. Now the Swedes were hot and one inning they put a lot of pressure on the British. Their infielders had plenty to do in the inning and two infield singles and hard ground balls added up three more runs, to shorten the deficit to only 2 runs, making it a 9:7 ballgame.
Great Britain wanted this win and kept pushing. With Runners on base, the British finally forced the Swedes to two errors and Rosen delivered a 2-RBI single. Serena followed with another hit to score the 11:7. Two more followed an inning later and Team GB was able to do its part. Now all British eyes were on the night game between Germany and the Czech Republic.
Spain vs. Austria – 19:1
The day in Solingen was kicked off with the matchup between Austria and Spain. Both teams knew the position in the standing in group B already, so there was no relevance for the result in this game.
Team Austria sent rookie Christoph Vanas to the Mound. Jesus Ustariz and the veteran lineup of Spain made sure to welcome the youngster on this level, when they kicked off the game with a 2-run shot.
In the second inning, the defense in red and white wasn't able to defend the hard hit balls. Walks and a couple of errors gave the runner-up from the 2016 European Championship another four runs, to walk away with a 6:0 lead.
The Spanish didn't slow down a bit and kept scoring inning for inning. Meanwhile, Jorge Balboa was sent to the mound to control the Austrian hitters in today's matchup. He did just that and didn't allow a run. Eventually Lowuin Sacramento gave up the first run to Austria, which was a dinger by Moritz Scheicher, that scored the lone run for the home team.
Spain also didn't stop hitting the ball hard in the sixth inning, when they ran up the scoreboard for a final score of 19:1 after six innings and the mercy rule in place.
The Netherlands vs. Israel – 13:4
The biggest showdown of the day was the matchup between the Netherlands and Israel. They were competing for the first place in group b. While Israel is still with a clean record, going into this game, the Netherlands already had lost one against the Czech Republic.
Team Israel put Shlomo Lipetz on the hill for this duel. He didn’t start off well against the Dutch, giving up two free bases through walks, but Schoop and Rifaela both couldn’t deliver. In the bottom of the inning pitching ace Rob Cordemans also had to give up a walk and soon after was punished for a pitch up in the zone by Danny Valencia with 2-run home run.
After that, Cordemans found back to his game and held the Israeli batters in check. Lipetz on the other side started struggling in the third, starting off the inning with a walk. The Dutch could move the runner over and Curt Smith drove home Dwayne Kemp with a sac-fly. Shlomo Lipetz then committed a costly balk, which brought home Daal for the 2:2.
Israel came out of trouble in the third but just one inning later, Kemp started off the inning with a triple and Bernadina followed with an RBI single. After an error, Ademar Rifaela stepped up to the plate and this time he once again proved his power, launching a 2-run home run to take over the lead for the Netherlands. In the sixth inning, Israel’s offense woke up again. They loaded up the bases with one out and the tying run stepped up to the plate. Thal was able to score one run and Mike Glasser added another one to make it a 4:6 ball game.
For the first time the Israeli bullpen couldn’t freeze the game. Man of the hour, Ademar Rifaela, got another chance and the Curacao native didn’t wait long and hit his fifth home run of the tournament. Kalian Sams followed him and also hit one out the park. A total of six runs decided the game, which would later end with a final score of 13:4 for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
France vs. Croatia – 23:0
Solingen got to see another game on this Wednesday but again, the game wouldn’t change anything in the standings and therefore France and Croatia went into the game with no specific expectation. Croatia was obviously saving its pitchers, using position players on the mound, to make sure their players stay fresh for the mission to stay in a-pool. The French showed their quality and put down a big offensive show. They started off right away and never looked back. Croatia put no big efforts into their offensive game, not producing a single run in the game. After five inning France had scored a total of 23 runs and walked away with a win after mercy rule. The French will go into the quarter final as the 3 seed.
Czech Republic vs. Germany – 10:6
Tonight’s game, featuring host Germany vs. the Czech Republic, was most important for the Czech, who needed to earn their spot in the quarter finals. While the host of this European Championship started with the experienced hurler Julius Spann, the Czech sent Jan Novak into the battle.
One player in the German lineup was outstanding so far and once again, he got the team’s offense going: Marco Cardoso started with a single through the right side and was later scored for the first run of the game. One inning later, Germany added another run when Donald Lutz crossed home plate for the 2:0.
The Czech needed this win much more than Germany did and finally could produce some: Tomas Junec grounded out with the bases loaded and gave them the first run. Shortly after, Petr Zyma doubled in the gap between right and centerfield and scored to more, to take over the lead for the Czech Republic. After they were able to score Martin Schneider after his double, the big inning for the team was just about to come:
Logan Grigsby had just taken over on the hill for the home team, but started his outing with two walks. Adam Hajtmar cashed in the first two of the inning and Matej Hejma had his big moment of the game, when he homered to score three more, pushing the lead to 9:2. Germany needed to strike back and, once again, Marco Cardoso delivered to lead off the inning and later scored. With runners on base, Daniel Padysak came on the mound in relieve to stop the offensive threat. Former big-leaguer Donald Lutz stepped up to the plate and finally delivered a hit, to shorten the deficit. Germany was still trailing 9:5 after the inning.
Even though they tried to start a rally, the German offense couldn’t put much pressure on pitcher Padysak and his defense in the seventh and eighth inning. Only Marco Cardoso singled one again, but with no further runs. They went into the last inning, still trailing, when Pascal Amon could land his next long ball. Other than that, no other runners crossed home plate and the Czech Republic won the game 10:6. With this, they reach the quarter finals and will play Spain on Friday. Germany is now ranked fourth in group A and can look forward to the matchup with Italy, played on Friday at 7 PM at Bonn. The semifinal games will be played on Saturday.
The further quarter finals will feature the matchup between Israel and France, while the Netherlands will face Belgium. Team Great Britain, which showed great games in this group stage, now has to play in the relegation round, which will be played as a double elimination round.
All four teams have the same chances going into Thursday, when the two 5-seeds will play each other at 11 AM and shortly after, the two 6-seeds will follow. Each team needs two win two games in this round to stay qualified in the a-pool. As soon as a team loses two games, the team will be relegated to the qualifier.
All results, statistics, scheduled games and links to live tickers on www.baseballstats.eu.