MOSCOW — The battle for Union State bragging rights between undefeated Belarus and Russia ended in a result almost as lop-sided as possible, while Turkey finally had a bit of fun in the Euro baseball qualifier, briefly holding the lead against Switzerland in a solid offensive performance. The barrage of home runs continued with a second consecutive two-longball game for Russia’s Geidy Soler, while Saentis Zeller ripped a pair of jacks for Switzerland.
Russia 17 – Belarus 0 (5)
Belarus escaped the top half of the first with only one run for Russia, and Yauheni Karalevich beat out a bouncer to the right side to start things off in the lower half of the frame. Victor Cole II would easily escape, and the host nation began putting some distance between the two squads in the following frame. The big hit in the second was, once more, from Geidys Soler, who drilled a pitch to deep left for a three-run tater.
Pitching with a 4-0 lead, Cole looked comfortable on the hill, whiffing a pair in both the first and the second. It was the third inning, that essentially ended the game in favour of Russia.
Ian Péres started the inning with a solo shot and, by the time that Soler stepped up to the dish, two more runs had come in and the bases were loaded. Russia’s slugging rightfielder might be the most locked in hitter on planet right now, Han did not disappoint the fans, launching a mammoth flyable to dead center to unload the bases.
At this point, the game was clearly already in hand for Russia, although it added three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Konstantin Porkhun provided the final salvo, with a two-run homer concluding the 17-0 victory.
Belarus did not record a hit after Karalevich’s safety, and Cole struck out five in three innings before the bullpen got some work in. Russia recorded 12 hits, seven for extra bases, and eight walks, with Soler’s 3-for-4, seven RBI game the clear leader.
The home side will face Turkey and then take the day off before a likely appearance in the championship game on Sunday, July 4.
Turkey 7 – Switzerland 30 (5)
After a rough return to national team baseball on Day 1, Turkey looked as if it had learned something from its defeat to Belarus. The long dormant Turkish side put at least two runners on base in every inning, and was still very much in the game into the bottom of the fourth.
In the second, Turkey took advantage of a pair of free passes and a Mehmet Saki Yildirim single to load the bases with one out. Utku Ergün took five-straight pitches and then, with the count full, fouled off a pair of offerings before taking ball four and putting Turkey on the board.
Switzerland immediately struck back, with Aron Augsburger lacing a double to centre and Yannick Brot following with a walk. Two batters later, Thanh Phog Tran lined a three-agger to right and the Red Cross took the lead, never falling behind a game.
Saentis Zeller led off the bottom of the third with a round-tripper to right field, starting an extended Swiss rally. in total, seven hits – including two doubles by Marco Limacher – and four base on balls led to nine runs in the frame.
Despite the long inning, in which 13 batters came to the plate, Turkey responded. Ergün stepped up to the plate with two outs and jacked along home run over the left field wall. An error prolonged the inning, and Mustafa Kayahan followed with a base knock. Two wild pitches plated a second run. Ertuğrul Ercan then made the Swiss pay for the miscues, beating out a bowl to the whole to drive in Kayahan for a third run. Ercan was court swiping second, and the Red Crosses took up their bats with an 11-4 lead.
It was at this point, that the wheels fell off for Turkey. The first three batters reached base on a flanking, an error, and a free pass, with one run scoring on the error full stop. A single “to home plate area” – as the official scorekeeper so delightfully termed it – and another to left field lead to another, when Zeller crushed a 2-0 pitch long past to the right field fence. The rest of the inning devolved from here for Turkey, with an error followed by a free pass and a pitching change. going to the bullpen only made things worse for the Crescent Stars, with five more walks handed out consecutively, an exception made for a hit batter, and then another base on balls.
Mercifully, the bullpen gates swung open again, and four of the next five batters all hit run scoring singles. The exception, of course, was a free pass, and another walk after the 18th run of the inning had scored led to the third pitching change of the fourth. Incredibly, there were still no outs.
Enter Ahmed Bayrak, pitching for the second-straight day. Although the right-hander issued a run-scoring freebie to start, the substitution worked magic for Turkey. Bayrak induced a pop-up before punching out the next two hitters to end the frame. in what must be one of the longest innings in European history, Switzerland scored 19 runs on 11 walks, two errors, two hit batters, only six hits.
The Crescent Stars finished the game with an admirable approach, with Bayrak drawing a free base and stealing second and third. Göktuğ Gençoğlu then found a pitch he liked, driving home Bayrak with two outs. The next three Turkish hitters patiently worked the count for the free trip to first. Two stolen pitches and a pair of wild pitches led to two more runs, before Switzerland finally emerged with a 30-7 victory.
Switzerland scored its 30 runs on 15 hits and 17 walks, and six different Swiss swingers totalled two hits. Zeller led in ribbies with five, while Louis Bischoff had two hits, scored three times, drove in four, walked, and stole four bases. Brot was 2-for-2 with five runs, three RBI, two walks, and three thefts. Kayahan was the only trk with two hits, although Ergün – who saw time as pitcher, second baseman, and catcher – reached base three times. Credit to Turkey’s hitters as well, though, for putting the ball in play (6K against 8BB) and taking advantage of scoring opportunities.
June 29: Belarus 31 – Turkey 2 (5)
June 29: Slovenia 0 – Russia 20 (5)
June 30: Slovenia 8 – Belarus 13
June 30: Switzerland 4 – Russia 19 (6)
July 1: Turkey 7 – Switzerland 30 (5)
July 1: Russia 17 – Belarus 0 (5)
July 2: Switzerland – Slovenia
July 2: Russia – Turkey
July 3: Turkey – Slovenia
July 3: Belarus – Switzerland
July 4 (Final): TBD