Italy and the Netherlands both posted big wins on combined no-hitters on Day One of the U15 European championship, with France holding off a late Germany rally to defeat the defending champion 6-5.
In the tournament’s opening contest, the Netherlands blanked Austria 15-0 (box score) in four innings, with the Dutch taking control of the game with 11 runs in the second frame. The Austrians, in turn, were kept in check by the Dutch hurlers, with starter Kimi Verkruijssen (2IP) and Tristan Kuijer (2IP) combining for a 54-pitch, combined no-hitter in the abbreviated game.
The second game in Trnava, Slovakia, was a similarly lopsided affair, with the Italians defeating the hosts 12-1 (box score) in five innings. Italy scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back. Matteo Marelli (2IP, 3K), Giacomo Taschin (1IP, 3K), and Alex Giovanardi (2IP, 1R, 3BB, 2K) combined for the no-hitter.
In the lone game in Group A, which is being played in Brno, Czech Republic, Germany scored three runs to rally from a 6-2 deficit in its last turn at bat, but the comeback fizzled with the tying run on second base and the winning run on first, leaving France the 6-5 (box score) winners.
For France, the decisive runs came in the fourth inning, when it managed to bring three runners home, two of them on an infield single by Eloi Baisse-Depontieu. With runners on second and third, Baisse-Depontieu beat out a grounder to the German shortstop, with aggressive base-running allowing Raphael Tisca, who had reached on an error, to score from second. The single also brought home Arthur Saumande, with the two runs giving the French a 5-1 lead.
Germany responded by loading the bases in the bottom of the inning, with a Cesar Caraballosa RBI single whittling the French lead down to 5-2. Unfortunately for Germany, a weak line-drive by the next batter to the French second baseman Renaud Bouvry led to a double play after the runner on second base ran on contact. The next batter popped up to shortstop, stranding two runners, and leaving the Germans to wonder what could have been.
On Day Two in Trnava on Thursday, Italy will take on Austria (11:00 CEST) and the Netherlands will face Slovakia (16:00 CEST). In Brno, the lone contest will see the host Czech Republic start its tournament against France at 19:00 (CEST), with a live stream available here.
Group A in Brno consists of just three teams as the fourth qualifier, Russia, was unable to participate due to the current state of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country.
For complete standings and statistics and links to live streams, visit the WBSC Europe competition page.