Day four at the European Championship 2016 turned out to be the most exciting of the tournament so far. In the morning it started slow with a pair of lopsided wins by Croatia (10-0 over Greece) and Germany (16-4 over Russia). For Croatia it was win number one. Germany advanced to the final round with the victory as third team from Group A after the Netherlands and Czech Republic already had clinched their spots.
In the afternoon the frenzy started. In Nieuw Vennep Sweden won an extra inning thriller over Great Britain 9-6 after blowing a 5-0 lead in the process. For Sweden it was the elusive second win of the tournament with whom they secured not only a spot in the game for seventh place on Wednesday, but also in the A-Pool.
Meanwhile in Hoofddorp the top seed as well as the third advancing team from Group B were on the line. On field two Belgium shocked France 14-3 with a lopsided win, which could lead the Red Hawks into the top six for the first time since 1999. In the stadium Spain and Italy were locked into a back and forth battle of previously undefeated teams. Spain scored five runs in the top of the ninth on their way to an 8-3 win, securing first place in the standings in Group B.
In the evening the Netherlands picked up first place in Group A with an easy 10-0 shutout over the Czech Republic. Kalian Sams highlighted the contest with three home runs and seven RBI.
Player of the Day:
Kalian Sams (Netherlands). The former minor leaguer belted home runs in each of his three at-bats for seven RBI total in a matchup against the Czech Republic, which had won the first three games of the tournament. Sams already has four long balls in the tournament.
Stat of the Day:
0 Errors. Ok, errors are not really a correct way to determine a good defense from a bad defense. Still, Italy hasn’t committed an error through four games. The number two on the list are Czech Republic, Belgium and Croatia with three each.
Surprise of the Day:
Belgium’s win over France. France had high hopes entering the tournament, wishing for their first medal since 1999. However the Red Hawks also have a connection to 1999, as this is the last time Belgium has reached the top six at a European Championship. On Monday there was not a thrilling game, as Belgium put six runs on the board in the first in a lopsided 14-3 win.
Fact of the Day:
Sweden, which hosted the first baseball exhibition at Olympic Games in 1912 in Stockholm, has collected two bronze medals at European Championships (1981, 1993).
Results Day 4:
Germany – Russia 16-4
Russia 000 004 0 4 7 4 Germany 127 204 X 16 15 0
Germany scored seven runs in the third inning of a 16-4 victory over Russia on field two at the European Championship in Hoofddorp on Monday morning. It was the third Germany win in four games, as they advance to the final round. Russia remains winless. Full recap.
Great Britain – Sweden 6-9
Sweden 100 004 000 13 9 14 4 Great Britain 000 001 400 10 6 8 2
Sweden picked up their second win in four games at the European Championship with a thrilling 9-6 win over the still winless Great Britain in the Monday afternoon game in Nieuw Vennep. The Scandinavians built up a 5-0 lead, but saw Great Britain coming back to force extra innings. Both teams scored once in the 10th before Sweden put three runs on the board in the second extra frame to win the contest. Full recap.
Netherlands – Czech Republic 10-0
Czech Republic 000 000 0 0 2 0 Netherlands 321 031 X 10 13 0
The Netherlands secured first place in Group A at the European Championship in Hoofddorp with a 10-0 shutout over the Czech Republic. With the win the Dutch team improved to 4-0, while the Czech dropped to 3-1. The Netherlands scored in five of the first six innings for an easy victory, a complete difference to their matchup against the Czech from four years ago, where Michal Sobotka stunned the heavy favorite with a gem. Full recap.
Croatia – Greece 10-0
Croatia 410 300 02 10 16 0 Greece 000 000 00 0 7 2
Croatia earned their first win at the European Championship 2016 in Hoofddorp with a 10-0 shutout in eight innings against Greece. Five runs in the first two frames decided the outcome early. A strong pitching performance by Antonio Horvatic laid the groundwork. Greece dropped to 0-4 in the tournament with the loss on Monday morning. Full recap.
France – Belgium 3-14
Belgium 600 310 4 14 15 1 France 001 100 1 3 4 1
In a key matchup for the race for the third spot in Group B at the European Championship Belgium stunned France with a lopsided 14-3 victory in the Monday afternoon game on field two in Hoofddorp. Six runs in the first decided the outcome early. The Red Hawks then tagged on more runs to end the game even due to ten-run rule. Both teams are now 2-2, but Belgium is facing the winless Greece in their last matchup, while France squares up against the undefeated Spanish squad. Full recap.
Italy – Spain 3-8
Spain 002 001 005 8 5 1 Italy 012 000 000 3 9 0
Spain won the duel of undefeated teams against Italy in Group B of first-round play at the European Championship in spectacular fashion. A five-run ninth inning secured an 8-3 win, their fifth in the tournament. Oscar Angulo capped the rally with a three-run home run. Italy dropped to 3-1 and now faces an uphill battle towards the final. Full recap.
Complete results, box scores, schedule, statistics and live play by play is available through www.baseballstats.eu
Live radio from two games each day is available through www.meinsportradio.de
Tickets are available on the official website www.ekhonkbal2016.nl
Photo by Ezio Ratti/FIBS