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Apr '18 23

Dutch teams sweep PONY European Zone titles

by PONY, www.pony.org

For the second-consecutive year, the Netherlands proved they were the top teams in Europe and claimed the Pony 14U and Colt 16U European Zone titles and automatic bids to the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pony World Series and Colt World Series, after two undefeated runs at the SUMA PONY European Zone Championships. In Colt 16U girls softball, the Netherlands completed the podium sweep and an undefeated run to their first European Zone title and an automatic bid to the PONY East Zone Girls Softball Nationals.

Pony 14U baseball:

Paderborn, Germany’s Academy’s offense was good, but the Netherlands’ offense was just a bit better Sunday afternoon, and the squad was able to take advantage of five Germany errors, in the Dutch’s 11-7 victory in the SUMA PONY European Zone Pony Championship Game.

Paderborn, Germany’s Academy got on the board first in the top of the first inning, when Yannic Walther hit an RBI single and Jeremy Schilke hit a sacrifice fly that scored Simon Weinsteiger, to take an early 2-0 lead. But the Netherlands struck right back in the bottom of the first, when Mart Blijleven cleared the bases loaded thanks to a double, and quickly it was a 3-2 game.

The Netherlands broke through in the bottom of the third, when Kaj van Keijzerswaard reached on an error with the bases loaded. Paris Aguilera Zayas knocked in the team’s second run, after a single, and Germany’s fourth error to that point in the game allowed Blijleven to score later in the inning. Back-to-back RBI singles by Denzel Sandel and Mees Robberse gave the Dutch an 8-2 lead that it would not surrender.

In the top of the fifth, Paderborn cut into the lead thanks to another RBI single by Walther, who later scored in the inning thanks to an error and a wild pitch (8-4), but the Netherlands countered with a Zayas solo home run to get a run back. A Weinsteiger RBI single and a two-run home run by Walther gave the Germans life in the top of the sixth, but an Emil Haswell solo homer and a Zayas RBI single set the score at 11-7.

Robberse, Haswell and Zayas each recorded multi-hit games for the Netherlands, while Blijleven and Zayas both tied for the team lead with three RBI. Weinsteiger and Walther both collected a team-high three hits each for team Germany, while Walther’s four RBI paced the team.

For the second-consecutive year, the Netherlands won the Pony European Zone title; thus, claiming the Zone’s automatic bid to the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pony World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania. The Dutch will take on the Host Area Champion in Game #2 Friday, August 10 at 8 p.m. ET/US in their first game.

Champion: The Netherlands

Finalist: Paderborn, Germany

Championship Game stats: click here

View the final standings and scoreboard here.

Colt 16U baseball:

In the Colt 16U division, Holland A dominated in its semifinal and final games Sunday en route to its second-consecutive PONY European Zone title.

Against the Austrian Academy in the semifinals, starting pitcher Chris Stuart shined for the Netherlands, as he went four innings strong, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out four for the win. A four-run bottom of the first inning and a seven-run bottom of the third inning gave Stuart all the run support he needed and more for the Dutch to win handedly 11-1 and advance to the title bout.

In the other semifinal match-up, the Czech Academy’s Tomáš Hrbek was masterful on the mound in his team’s 7-2 win over Team Neptunes. Hrbek tossed five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit and four walks, while striking out three for the win. Up 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth, David Komorous led off the inning with a solo home run, and after Jan Komorous knocked a single, Zavadil Tadeáš tripled him home, and Tadeáš scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. With five runs of support behind him, Hrbek shut the game down in the top of the fifth, and the Czech Academy moved on to face the Netherlands, a rematch of last year’s semifinal bout in which the Netherlands won 6-3.

Unfortunately for the Czech Academy, this year’s rematch wasn’t as competitive as their performance in 2017, as Holland came away with an 11-0 victory in five innings. Naut Kragt was sensational on the mound for the Dutch, as he pitched a complete game (five innings) shutout, allowing a hit and four walks, while striking out eight. Tyriq Kemp paced the Netherlands with three hits, while Ruendrick Piternella led the team with three RBI. Overall, the Dutch offense took advantage of six walks and collected 10 hits on the day.

As the 2018 Colt European Zone Champions, the Netherlands will defend their Colt World Series title, this time in Marion, Illinois. The Dutch will face the South Zone/Host Area winner in Game #7 Saturday, Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. CT/US at Rent One Park.

Championship Game stats: click here

View the final standings and scoreboard here.

Champion: The Netherlands

Finalist: Brno, Czech Republic

Colt 16U girls softball:

Holland A continued its undefeated streak in the semifinals, defeating Catalonia of Spain 5-0, while the Arrows Ostrava ended the Prague Eagles (Green)’s miraculous run to the semifinals by winning 4-2. In the championship game, a rematch of Friday’s 7-2 victory by Holland A, the Netherlands won convincingly 8-1 to take home their first PONY European Zone title.

As the Colt champions of the PONY European Zone, the Netherlands have earned an automatic bid to the PONY East Zone Girls Softball Nationals in Sterling, Virginia, which is scheduled for July 19-22.

View the final standings and scoreboard here.

Champion: The Netherlands

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