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Updated: February 28, 2020
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Netherlands advances to Quarter Finals of Baseball5 European Championship

VILNIUS (Lithuania) - The Netherlands advanced to the Quarter Finals of the first-ever edition of the Baseball5 European Championship, which went underway on Friday (February 28) in Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Fourteen coutries are participating in the event, divided into two pools of seven each. Initially, Sweden and Switzerland also were to participate, but they withdrew. The games are played in the Litexpo, which is the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre and is the largest exhibition centre in the Baltic states.

The two teams that reach the Final on Sunday will both qualify for the first-ever Baseball5 World Cup, which will be organized in December in Mexico. Twelve countries will participate in the World Cup. Besides host Mexico and the two European teams, the others come from the Americas (3), Asia (3), Africa (2) and Oceania (1). The European Championship is the first qualifying tournament.

Joining the Netherlands to the Quarter Finals are Belarus, France, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Russia.

On Day 1 of the event, all teams faced each other, meaning they all played six games. The first games went underway at 9 AM, the last ones started at 7 PM.

The Netherlands opened the tournament in Pool A in the morning with a 6-0 shutout-win against Moldova. The Orange Team then played its remaining five games in the afternoon, starting at 3 PM. Firrst, the Netherlands recorded a big 14-1 win against Romania, then another big win followed against Latvia, 13-3. Next, the team faced Belgium and won 8-3. Thereafter, a small 2-0 win followed against Belarus.

In the evening, the Netherlands played against Italy, which also was unbeaten in five games. Italy remained unbeaten, as it won comfortably with a 12-4 score.

Italy was the lone team to remain unbeaten. There was also one team without a victory. That was Estonia, which lost all its six games in Pool B.

The biggest score on Day 1 was 22-0 win of France against the Czech Republic, which was the final game in Pool A.

On Saturday, at 12 PM, the Netherlands plays its Quarter Final against host Lithuania. At 9 AM, Italy plays against Israel. That game is followed by the Quarter Finals between France and Belarus at 10 AM and between Russia and Romania at 11 AM.

When the Netherlands wins, it will play the Semi-Final at 5 PM. The Final is scheduled for Sunday at 12 PM.

Final Standings First Round
Pool A: 1. Italy, 2. Netherlands, 3. Belarus, 4. Romania, 5. Belgium, 6. Latvia, 7. Moldova.
Pool B: 1. Russia, 2. France, 3. Lithuania, 4. Israel, 5. Bulgaria, 6. Czech Republic, 7. Estonia.

Baseball5 is a street variation of baseball and softball which has the same basic rules. It can be played everywhere, in the streets, on a square, in a park or indoors. Only a small rubber ball is needed to play the game and it can be played by everyone. There are five players on each team and each team has five innings. The distance between the bases is 13 meters (42,5 feet). The hitter is entirely in the batter's box and shall remain within the lines until the hit ball gets into fair territory. The ball has to be hit hard either with a palm or a fist. The first bounce has to be at a minimum distance of 3 meters (10 ft.) from home plate. The defensive team has a player at 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, as short stop and a so-called midfielder, who stands in what normally is the pitchers-area.

(February 28)

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