(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Netherlands Juveniles finish 5th on European Championship
VLEUTEN (Neth.) -
The Netherlands Juveniles Team closed the 12th European Championship Juveniles with a 9-5 victory against Russia on Saturday-evening (July 15) to finish in fifth place.
The Netherlands participated in the Championship for the first time.
Earlier in the day, Russia won 21-15 against Ukraine to finish in third place of Pool B to become the opponent of the Netherlands.
That game had rained out on Friday.
The Orange-win comes after the day had suffered a big 13-3 loss against France on Friday-evening on the last day of pool-play.
That was a disappointed loss, as a win would have put the Orange-squad in the Final.
Now the team ended up in a tie with France and Germany, resulting in third place in Pool A, elimination for the Final and playing for the fifth and sixth place.
On Saturday-evening, the event ended with Italy recording a big 12-1 win in the all-deciding Final against France to capture its first Juvenile Championship-title in the first time the country participated in the event.
Last year, Germany also won the first in its first participation.
This time, Germany finished fourth after losing the Bronze Medal-game against the Czech Republic, 8-2.
The European Championship is organized annually since 2006 and it was the Czech Republic that had dominated the event.
The Czechs won the title in the first four years and added three more in following years.
Russia captured three titles.
Since the beginning of the event mostly eastern European countries have participated.
Besides the Czech Republic and Russia other countries that frequently participated were Austria, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
Other countries that have participated through the years were Bulgaria (2x), Israel (4x), Slovenia (4x), Slovakia (4x) and Turkey (1x).
France participated for the fourth time since 2014.
Austria, the Czech Republic and Russia have participated in all twelve Championships.
In the game for fifth and sixth place, the Netherlands struck with four runs in the first inning against Russia.
The Russian players almost surely were still tired from their earlier game today against the Ukraine, which took more that 2½ hours.
In the first inning, Miquel Willem led off with a single, then the bases got loaded when next batters Otis Ward and Tygo Rojer also singled.
A walk for Ryan Hoogendoorn then brought in the first run and a wild pitch accounted for the next run.
The third run was added on a grounder by Thibaud Pastor, then another wild pitch made it a 4-0 score.
The Russians cut the lead in half by scoring a run in the second and third inning, but the Orange-squad took more distance from the third inning on.
In the third, a 2-out single by Thibaud Pastor brought in the fifth Dutch run.
In the fourth, two runs were added.
With one out, pinch-hitter Jamie Beerman and Miquel Willem singled and moved on a wild pitch.
They then scored on a grounder by Otis Ward and a single by Tygo Rojer.
The Netherlands increased the lead to 9-2 in the sixth inning, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Ward and a single by Diego van de Boogaard.
In the top of the seventh inning, Russia was productive and scored three runs on only one basehit.
The runs were scored on two passed balls and two wild pitches.
With the bases empty and two outs, Dieudonne van Zoelen, who had taken over the pitching in this inning, closed the game with a strikeout.