(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Robert Bos)
Twelve positions European Championship decided; Slovakia relegates
TORINO / AVIGLIANA / SETTIMO TORINESE (Italy) -
The Netherlands Baseball Team will play in the Championship Final against Israel on Sunday, the final day of the 36th European Championship.
On Friday, the Netherlands reached the Final after a narrow escape against Spain, winning its Semi-Final only 9-8.
Israel surprised by winning its Semi-Final against Italy with a convincing 11-5 score.
Spain and Italy will play in the Bronze Medal-game on Sunday.
The top-4 teams had the day off of Saturday (September 18), but there were six games that decided the final ranking from fifth through sixteenth place.
In the first game on Saturday, France and Slovakia met in the game for 15th and 16th place.
The losing team would relegate.
Earlier this year, Slovakia was one of four teams that promoted to the A-Pool to participate in this years European Championship.
Today, Slovakia ended up just short and relegated.
In Settimo Torinese, France and Slovakia played a suspenseful game that was decided in the eleventh inning.
France opened the score in the top of the first inning with one run on a wild pitch, but Slovakia answered with two, thanks to a single by Tomáš Biskorovájny and a double by Martín Gottchall.
In the second at bat, France came alongside via a force play-grounder, but Slovakia also scored again on a single by Matej Grendža-Donský to take a 3-2 lead.
France tied the score again by scoring in the third inning on a single by Louis Brainville.
Slovakia re-took the lead in the sixth inning when a throwing error followed a double-steal, but France made it a tie score for the third time when it score in the top of the eighth on another single by Brainville.
As both teams didn't score in the ninth inning, the game went into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, France scored on an infield-hit by Bastien Dagneau, but now it was Slovakia that came alongside by also scoring in its tenth at bat.
That was done when Michal Noga walked with the bases loaded and two outs.
Slovakia had a chance to decide the game then, but three runners were left behind, as the inning ended with a strikeout.
In the top of the 11th inning, France scored again.
With two tie-break runners on base, the bases got loaded via a bunt-single.
An attempt to force out the runner at the plate on a following grounder ended in an error and a run.
A double play and strikeout followed, but this time, the small lead was enough for France.
But Slovakia came close to tying the score again.
With the two tie-break runners on second and third base after a throwing error during a pick-off and one out (stikeout), Michal Ešmír flied out to centerfield.
The runner from third base tried to score, but he was eliminated at the plate in a double play, which ended the game.
Ukraine finished in 13th place by nipping Greece 5-4 in Torino.
Ukraine was outhit 10-8 and led 5-1 after three innings, but Greece then came back.
Trailing 1-0, Greece came alongside in the top of the third on a double by Tom Roulis.
Ukraine answered with a 4-run rally in its third at bat.
After two runs were scored on a throwing error, two more runs were added on a grounder by Dmytro Limarenko and a single by Yurii Shvets.
From the fourth inning on, Ukraine was kept scoreless.
Greece got one run back in the fourth on a fielder's choice-grounder.
In the top of the fifth, Greece narrowed the deficit to 5-4 by scoring on a throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Dimitri Lettas.
But that also was the final run for Greece.
In Avigliana, Austria shutout Sweden 5-0 to finish in eleventh place.
Pitchers Christian Tomsich (7 inn.) and Tobias Kiefer (2 inn.) gave up only three basehits.
Austria opened the score with two runs in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to a triple by Benni Salzmann and a double by Sammy Hackl.
Two runs were added in the fourth when Richard Alzinger homered.
The fifth run, scored in the fifth, also was via a homerun, hit by Felix Zimmerle.
...Edwin Louisa, Winfried Berkvens and...|
...Martijn Bosschaart during the 2018...
...Baseball Week Haarlem in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Robert Bos)
In Settimi Torinese, Belgium and Croatia played for seventh and eighth place in a game that was led by an all-Dutch Umpiring Crew.
Martijn Bosschaart was behind the plate, Winfried Berkvens was at first base and Edwin Louisa was at third base.
It was a high-scoring game which had an equal line score in the first three innings.
Belgium opened with two runs in the first inning, Croatia answered with two.
In the second inning, both teams scored once and in the third, both had a 4-run rally.
For Belgium, Jamie Verheyleweghen delivered a 2-run single, then two runs were added on a sacrifice fly by Benjamin Goffaux and an error.
For Croatia, Andrew Jones delivered a basesloaded, 3-run double, then scored himself on an error following a sacrifice bunt.
Belgium was then held scoreless in the top of the fourth, but this time, Croatia added three runs in its fourth at bat.
This time, it was Mario Manojlov who hit a 3-run double.
Belgium got one run back in the fifth via an infield-hit by Goffaux, however, Croatia scored two more in the sixth on an error and a single.
In the remainder of the game, no more runs were scored and so, Croatia won 12-8 to finish in seventh place.
In Torino, Germany won 4-1 against Russia in the game for ninth and tenth place.
Russia opened the score in the first inning on a single by Ian Alekhandro Peres Nunes, but was unable to add more runs hereafter.
Germany, led by former Netherlands Team-Manager Steve Janssen, came alongside in the fourth on a single hy Elias Von Garßen.
The Germans then rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
First, Shawn Larry singled in a run, then Eric Brenk delivered a 2-run single.
That gave Germany a 4-1 lead and that was enough for the win.
The seventh day of the Championship ended on Saturday-evening in Avigliana where Great Britain met Czech Republic in the game for fifth and sixth place.
The Czechs took an early lead, scoring three runs in the second inning on singles by Matěj Menšík and Martin Schneider (2-run).
They added two more in the third on an homerun by Petr Čech and an error.
Great Britain came back with a 4-run rally in the top of the fourth.
After Shamoy Christopher singled in a run, Benjamin Andrews added a 3-run homerun.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Czechs took some more distance when Matěj Hejma hit a 2-run homerun.
Trailing 7-4, the British Team scored its fifth run in the top of the fifth on a double by Aaron Singh.
Hereafter, the team was retired in order by relievers Tomáš (sixth) and Martin Schneider (seventh, eighth).
In the bottom of the sixth, the Czechs appeared to do some more scoring as the first two batters reached base, but the next three were struckout by reliever Austin Hassani.
But in the seventh, the Czechs added an insurance run thanks to a double by Martin Mužík.
In the top of the ninth, Great Britain got one more chance to score.
With two outs, Kent Blackstone reached second base on an infield-hit and an error, but Schneider closed the game with a strikeout.
The Czechs won 8-5 to finish in fifth place.
Scores Day 7:
15th-16h place: Slovakia vs. France 5-6 (11 inn.) (Slovakia relegates).
13th-14th place: Ukraine vs. Greece 5-4.
11th-12th place: Austria vs. Sweden 5-0.
7th-8th place: Croatia vs. Belgium 12-8.
9th-10th place: Germany vs. Russia 4-1.
5th-6th place: Czech Republic vc. Great Britain 8-5.
Netherlands in EC-Final after narrow escape; Italy eliminated. (September 17)
Netherlands to Semi-Final EC after small win vs. Great Britain. (September 16)
Netherlands advances to Quarter Final EC after win vs. Sweden. (September 14)
Netherlands wins convincingly vs. Czechs on Day 2 Euro Champ. (September 13)
Netherlands opens European Championship with shutout-win vs. Slovakia. (September 12)
Roster-change Netherlands Team: Raf Cocu replaces Franklin Van Gurp. (September 10)
Netherlands Team shuts out Sweden in exhibition game. (September 10)
Netherlands Team wins exhibition game against Spain. (September 9)
Roster Netherlands Team announced for European Championship. (September 7)