Switzerland and Belgium are set to meet in the final of the U23 European Championship qualifying pool in Utena, Lithuania, on Friday, with Belgium having taken their first meeting, 6-4, on Day 1 of group play on Aug 7.
The two squads entered the final day of group play even with Israel atop standings, with Switzerland and Israel scheduled to meet and Belgium needing a victory over Poland to qualify for the final.
In the end, the two contests offered drama of different sorts, with the Israel-Switzerland contest (box score) decided on the game’s final swing. Heading into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Israel led 3-2, just three outs away from Friday’s final. A hit batsman, a throwing error, and a walk later, however, the bases were loaded for Switzerland’s lead-off hitter Michael Diaz Pino, who drove a 2-2 pitch into left-center field to bring home Luka Ivanisevic and Sven Ambühli and set off the celebrations.
The Belgians, on the other hand, dispatched Poland easily, 10-0 (box score), with starter Yann van den Brande tossing a five-inning no-hitter.
Belgium and Switzerland will now meet in Friday’s final, with the first pitch scheduled for 15:00 (CEST). A live stream is available via the WBSC Europe YouTube channel.