France’s 9-7 victory (box score) over Italy was the highlight of Day Four of the U15 European championship, with the Czech Republic’s 10-0 shutout (box score) of the Netherlands in the second semifinal setting the stage for Sunday evening’s championship game. In the relegation round, Germany defeated Austria 17-7 (box score).
The Italians entered the semifinal with a +35 run differential, its pitching staff having allowed just four runs in group play, but France scored five runs alone in the pivotal third inning. Aided by five walks, including three consecutive free passes to start the inning, and two wild pitches, France enjoyed a 6-2 lead after three innings. It added two more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth on a throwing error.
The Italian bats responded with a two-run double by Duccio Cassini and a two-run triple by Lorenzo Barbona in the bottom of the fifth, but Kylian Bernardelli pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to secure the save and the French victory.
The second semifinal, played in front of a crowd of 400 largely Czech supporters in Brno, saw the Czech Republic dominate from beginning to end, with the game called by mercy rule after five innings. Czech starting pitcher Jan Kozel allowed just two hits and walked just two batters while striking out nine in a complete-game effort. On offense, six Czech batters record RBI, with Jonáš Krejčí leading all batters with three runners brought home.
In the relegation round, the drama started in the bottom of the fourth inning when Germany scored five runs to extend what had been a 3-2 lead. Austria returned the favor with five runs of its own in the top half of the fifth, only for Germany to bring nine runners home in its next turn at bat and end the game by mercy rule after five innings.
Germany scored its 17 runs on just nine hits, with Cesar Carballosa contributing three of them, two for extra bases, on his way to driving home five runs. Kenny Fermin Giere added a triple and three RBI, and the Austrian pitching staff aiding the German offense with 12 walks.
Sunday’s championship game between France and the host Czech Republic is scheduled for Sunday, July 25, at 19:00 (CEST). The two teams met in the group stage, with the Czech Republic coasting to a 19-3 victory (box score).