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Updated: February 13, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Fred Versluis)

Pool-alignments European Softball Championships announced

VAL D'EUROPE (France) - During the annual Congress of the European Softball Federation (ESF), held together with the European Baseball Confederation (CEB), the group-alignments for this years European Championships were announced on Saturday (February 10). At the same Congress, which was held in Val d'Europe in France, the ESF and CEB merged to become the new Continental Federation WBSC Europe.

...The players celebrate the 10th European title for the Netherlands...
...after winning the Final of last years Championship in Bollate...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
There will be four European Softball Championships this year, two women, one men and one slowpitch. In total, 25 countries will participate in these events. The Netherlands will be represented in all four events, as will Belgium, the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Italy.

Last year, the Netherlands captured two European titles. In Bollate (Italy), the Netherlands won the title again at the Women's Championship after having lost it two years earlier to Italy. In Ostrava (Czech Republic), the Netherlands was the best at the Under-16 Championship. Next year, the 31st European Women's Championship will be organized in Ostrava (Czech Republic), while the 10th Under-16 Championship will be played in either Zagreb (Croatia) or Kunovice (Czech Republic).

The 15th Under-19 Women's European Championship wil be held this year on July 16-21 in Staranzano (Italy). At the last Championship, two years ago, the Netherlands didn't participate, as it then focused entirely on the Under-22 Championship. In 2016, Great Britain win the title. This year, the Netherlands participates again. The Netherlands won the Under-19 title six times, the last in 2012. Ireland and Malta will participate for the first time this year.

The Netherlands meets Israel, Italy, Spain and Ukraine in the preliminary round in Group A.

The other groups look as follows:
Group B - Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Malta, Serbia.
Group C - Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia.
Group D - Croatia, France, Germany, Poland.

Following the U19 Championship is the sixth Under-22 Women's European Championship in Trnava (Slovakia). The number of participating countries opposed to the last Championship in 2016 grew from eight to 17 this year! That includes firrst-time participants Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland.

The Netherlands, which won the title two years ago, will play in Group B in the preliminary round. The team meets Israel, Italy, Ukraine.

The other groups are formed as follows:
Group A - Croatia, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Slovakia.
Group C - Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Russia.
Group D - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland.

From June 25 through 30, the 14th European Men's Softball Championship will be organized in Havlíčkův Brod (Czech Republic).

For the first time since 2010, Slovakia participates again in the event. In 2016, Germany, Italy and Sweden first participated and they will get into action again this year. Back then, the Czech Republic captured the title.

The Netherlands will play in Group B. In the preliminary round, the Orange squad meets Croatia, Denmark, Israel, Slovakia and Sweden.

Playing in Group A are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Lithuania.

For the first time, a Men's Slowpitch European Championship will be organized this year. From June 12-16, eight countries participate in the inaugural event, which has no official logo yet. The Championship takes place in Choceň (Czech Republic).

Participating are the National Teams from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Serbia.

In the past years, the National Mixed Slowpitch Team of Great Britain dominated the European Championship in the coed-category. Since 1998, the British squad captured ten consecutive titles, before finishing in second place behind Germany last year.

(February 13)

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