The group stage concluded on the third day of the U15 European championship, with Italy easily defeating the Netherlands to finish atop Group B. Slovakia defeated Austria to claim its first victory of the tournament and the third rung in Group B, while Germany fell to its second defeat in as many games in Group A, with the Czech Republic escaping with a one-run win to take the group.
The day’s action began with the Group B decider between Italy and the Netherlands, with the Italians cruising to a 12-2 (box score) victory to book a semifinal meeting with France on Saturday. Four Italian runs in the bottom of the first inning, three of them thanks to a Daniele di Persia homer, set the tone for the game. Di Persia’s homerun was the first of the tournament. Edoardo Carnelli added a triple and four RBI to bring his tournament-leading RBI total to nine.
The Italian pitchers struggled with their command, walking 10 batters in total, but they scattered five hits to keep the damage to a minimum. The Dutch loaded the bases twice in the second inning, and once again in the fourth, but ultimately stranded 11 runners in the defeat.
Di Persia was awarded the victory for his two innings of scoreless relief (1H, 1K, 2BB) to close out the game.
In Game Two, Slovakia defeated Austria 5-3 (box score) for its first victory of the tournament. The unqualified star of the game was Slovak starting pitcher Matej Uhnavy, who needed just 80 pitches to throw a seven-inning, complete game. He allowed two runs in the first inning but then settled after that, allowing just one more run and three more hits over the six innings that followed. Uhnavy also helped himself with the bat, driving in two runs on a 2-for-4 effort at the plate.
In Group A, the Czech Republic eeked out a 4-3 victory (box score) over Germany, condemning the defending champion to an early exit after its second loss in the group.
Things started out well for Germany as it took the lead on a Juan Diego Holmann RBI single, and the lead was added to in the third when Holmann scored on a wild pitch, but the Czechs responded by scoring four runs over the next three innings to take a 4-2 lead. Germany would cut the lead to one run in the sixth, but Benjamin O’Rourke needed nine pitches in a scoreless seventh to seal the W and secure the Czech Republic a semifinal meeting with the Dutch on Saturday.
The remaining games will all be played in Brno, with Germany and Austria meeting in the relegation round on Saturday (11:00 CEST) to begin Day Four of the competition. France and Italy will get at it at 16:30 (CEST), with the host Czech Republic and the Netherlands finishing off the day’s play under the floodlights at 19:00 (CEST).
Sunday’s championship game is scheduled for Sunday, July 25, at 19:00 (CEST).
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS