Germany – France 8-3
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Germany used a big seventh inning to down France 8-3 in their last first-round matchup at the 2012 European Championship in the Netherlands. Five runs after the seventh-inning stretch broke a 3-3 tie en route to the win. Simon Guehring came through with a two-run single. A pair of bases loaded walks and a hit by pitch with full bases capped the rally.
Earlier in the game France had erased a 0-3 deficit with Frederic Hanvi providing the tying RBI single. On the mound Eugen Heilmann threw 4 1/3 innings of perfect relief to earn the win. Minor Leaguers Daniel Thieben and Markus Solbach had opened the game for Germany. Thomas Meley took the loss in relief of a solid Anthony Piquet.
With the victory Germany improved to 4-1 in the tournament, while France dropped to 2-3 and out of the medal round.
After the game Mathias Ondracek talked to Germany’s head coach Greg Frady:
„I think every game in your pool has a pressure just itself. And then when you get to the end and you’ve looked on everyone else’s record and you know everyone else’s possible outcome, and you know your outcome, and you have to win, there’s some pressure that goes with that. But we have some veteran players on the team, that know what to do. They have been through this situation before. And today Eugen Heilmann and other veterans really helped the team out.“
„The plan from the beginning was: Put the young guys in for about a 50 pitch count limit, get them some work, get them ready for the next round, get some innings out of the way and keep the game stable. I thought Thieben pitched outstanding, Solbach was just okay today. He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great, he was okay. But then when the game got tight, I wanted the veterans to be at the end of the game, so they know what to do at the end of the game. So the young guys did a great job in the start and Eugen knew what to do to finish it up. The plan came together.“
„Of course every coaches plan that goes to the next round is to reach the finals. That’s no different than mine. But you plan to play well and put your team in a position to win a medal. We would love to win a medal. Any medal is a great accomplishment. But I think every team at this time is trying to figure out, how to be in the gold medal game. And so our next game coming up will be our focus. We know there will be three good teams on the other side and our focus will be playing the best baseball we can play. And if we are in a position to win, I have confidence, that the team can do that.“
Photo by Gregor Eisenhuth, www.eisenhuth-photographie.de