Today’s action at the European Baseball Championships features the following matchups:
Spain (3-1) vs France (3-1)
The game of the day pits the tournament host against the pitching-rich French squad. Daniel FIGUEROA is having an MVP-type tourney thus far and Manuel OLIVERA showing against Italy was a huge morale booster. Spain has more offense but France has come to play in every game. A toss-up but give the edge to Spain.
Germany (3-1) vs Czech (2-2)
An awful start doomed Germany against the tournament favorites but skipper Greg Frady’s crew stood toe-to-toe with the mighty Dutch for eight innings. Relieve Mirko HEID was impressive in shutting down the Netherlands the last four innings. Germany must avoid a letdown and finish strong with a win over Czech Republic who lost a heartbreaker to Sweden.
Croatia (1-3) vs Netherlands (4-0)
Germany exposed some cracks in the mighty Dutch armor nut not enough to cause any concerns. Rogearvin BERNADINA is playing like an MVP. Top pitcher Leon BOYD was only okay against Germany – a team he might face again. Croatia picked up a win against Austria and now must endure a Dutch team that only scored two runs the last eight innings against Germany. Ouch!
Sweden (2-2) vs Austria (0-4)
Sweden pulled off a shocker over Czech scoring twice in the ninth to steal the victory. The Swedish are swinging the bats well and should dispose of Austria pretty handily. Austria lost to Croatia on Tuesday and will be hard-pressed to win a game this tournament.
Russia (0-4) vs Italy (2-2)
Russia had Ukraine beaten and watched in disbelief as their pitchers lost their composure and allowed Ukraine to score three in the ninth to tie the game before claiming an extra-innings win. Italy will finish the first round in fourth place in a strong Pool B. The landscape in European baseball seems to be changing.
Great Britain (3-1) vs Ukraine (1-3)
The jury is still out on the Great Britain pitching staff – but the British can hit and will claim the top spot in Pool B with a win over Ukraine and a Spain victory against France. Ukraine has not hit the ball well and Great Britain should feast on the weary-armed Ukraine pitching staff.