TALLINN, Estonia – World No. 64 Finland defeated unranked Estonia, 23-21, under heavy wind conditions Sunday at Kostivere Ballpark, just outside the Estonian capital, to be crowned the first-ever Nordic Baseball Open (NBO) champions.
The win for the Finnish National Team avenged an earlier 5-4 loss to Estonia in the preliminary Round-Robin.
No. 70 Norway finished third in the new four-nation tournament, while No. 65 Latvia finished fourth.
The Estonian Baseball and Softball Federation hosted the inaugural 2015 NBO, which was overseen by the Confederation of European Baseball – world governing body WBSC’s baseball arm within Europe. Current plans are to organise the event every two years.
Baseball’s Growing Global Footprint
The popularity and competitiveness of baseball in Europe has been steadily rising, with No. 5 Netherlands and No. 11 Italy having qualified into the flagship 2015 Premier12™ Pro National Team Championship, which will summon the Top 12 nations in the world to Japan and Taiwan for an elite global battle this November.
With No. 17 Spain, No. 18 Germany and No. 20 Czech Republic (which earned its highest-ever result, 5th place, in a world championship last year at the 2014 WBSC U-21 Baseball World Cup), Europe has five countries (25%) in the Top 20 of WBSC's Official Baseball World Rankings, while the Americas has 11 representatives (55%), Asia 3 (15%) and Oceania 1 (5%). Africa’s top-ranked country is No. 29 South Africa.
2015 NBO Final Standings & Results:
- Finland (3-1)
- Estonia (3-1)
- Norway (1-2)
- Latvia (0-3)
Friday, 5 June
Game 1: Estonia 16-5 Norway
Game 2: Finland 21-11 Latvia
Game 3: Estonia 16-11 Latvia
Saturday, 6 June
Game 4: Finland 15-8 Norway
Game 5: Norway 15-12 Latvia
Game 6: Estonia 5-4 Finland
Sunday, 7 June
Game 7 (Championship): Finland 23-21 Estonia