Day Five of the U18 European championship saw the final group games played, with Germany defeating Spain 1-0 (box score) to claim the top spot in Group B. In Group A, the Netherlands and France both celebrated 6-2 victories.
In Group B play, the undefeated Spanish and German squads met in Montegranaro, with the winner booking a meeting with the Netherlands. The loser would finish second in the group and have to take on the host Italians in Saturday’s second semifinal.
In the end, Germany won a pitcher’s duel, with starter Christopher Hanson, supported by a solid German defense, shutting out the Spanish. He scattered eight hits and struck out eight batters in 6.2 innings of work, with Luca Hörger brought in to collect the game’s final out. The Spanish loaded the bases in the third inning, but otherwise Hanson kept the Spanish offense in check.
The Spanish got the winning run on base in the final frame after Anderson Zambrano singled to collect his third hit of the game and Jesús Montaño walked, but Hörger closed the deal to give Germany the Group B victory.
Hörger also went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in the game’s lone run with an RBI single in the fifth.
Elmy Vargas took the loss for Spain despite allowing just three hits. He struck out six in six innings of work.
In Group A, the Dutch began the day already having booked their spot in the semifinals, and rounded out their group schedule with a 6-2 (box score) victory over Lithuania, which ended group play without a win.
In the nightcap, France and Israel met to determine third place in Group A, and the two teams were evenly matched early on, with Israel enjoying a 2-1 lead heading into the fifth inning. France rallied to score four runs in the frame, however, and added another in the sixth, to claim the 6-2 (box score) win and the right to face the Czech Republic for fifth place on Saturday.
The schedule on Day Six of the tournament includes the two semifinals, with Germany taking on the Netherlands at 15:00 (CEST) and the Italians and Spanish playing under the lights at 20:00 (CEST). The Czechs and French will play for fifth place at 16:00 (CEST), and the day’s play begins with Lithuania and Austria, both winless in group play, in the relegation round starting at 10:00 (CEST).
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS