The final phase of the European Championship in Hoofddorp, Netherlands got underway on Thursday. Five games were on the schedule. In the Winners Round Robin the hosting Dutch national team won the clash of undefeated teams against Spain with a nail-biter 1-0. Earlier on the day the Czech Republic celebrated a comeback walk-off triumph in extra innings over Belgium, while Italy blew by Germany.
The Netherlands lead the winners standings with 3-0, but will face another tough team on Friday evening with arch rival Italy. The Squadra Azzurri and Spain follow the Dutch team in the standings with 3-1 records. Germany and the Czech Republic are at 1-2, while Belgium is currently in sixth with a 0-3 record. Germany opens day eight against Belgium. In the afternoon the Czech Republic and Spain will square off.
While the Winners Round Robin continues through Saturday, the consolation round for the spots 9th to 12th will get concluded on Friday. On Thursday Greece stunned Russia 3-1 behind a complete game pitching effort and Great Britain downed Croatia 6-2. For Greece and Great Britain these were the first wins in the tournament. All four teams now sit at 1-1 records. The winners of Friday will remain in the A-Pool, the losers will be relegated. In the morning Greece and Great Britain face each other. In the afternoon Russia takes on Croatia in the second match.
Player of the Day:
Matej Hejma (Czech Republic). The former minor leaguer of the Minnesota Twins lifted the Czech Republic with his two-run walk-off double in the 10th to a 4-3 win against Belgium.
Pitchers at its finest:
The European Championship in Hoofddorp saw a galore of strong pitching performances on Thursday. Jonathan Kountis of Greece and Junior Oberto of Italy excelled with complete games to lead their teams to crucial wins. Shairon Martis and two fellow Dutch relievers kept Spain scoreless. Great Britain’s Cody Chartrand didn’t allow any runs in six innings.
No more winless:
After Thursday’s game day each of the 12 teams in the competition have won at least one game. Greece and Great Britain both ended their drought at the start of the consolation round.
Fact of the Day:
Spain won the European Championship in 1955 and since then has won 13 bronze medals, but hasn’t returned to the final.
Results Day 7:
Winners Round Robin:
Czech Republic – Belgium 4-3
Belgium 000 100 100 1 3 4 1 Czech Republic 001 000 001 2 4 10 5
Despite committing five errors and trailing 1-2 with two outs in the bottom ninth, the Czech Republic still managed to beat Belgium 4-3 in game one of the winners’ round robin at the European Championship in Hoofddorp on Thursday morning. The Czech team tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and won it thanks to a walk-off hit by Matej Hejma in the tenth. The Czech Republic improved to 1-2 in the winners round, while Belgium dropped to 0-3. Full recap.
Germany – Italy 0-12
Italy 030 000 306 12 14 0 Germany 000 000 000 0 4 5
Italy set a statement in the beginning of the winners round robin at the European Championship in Hoofddorp on Thursday afternoon. They shut out Germany 12-0 in nine innings. They scored three runs in the second, three in the seventh and six in the ninth. Italy improved to 2-1 in the final round, while Germany dropped to 1-2. Full recap.
Spain – Netherlands 0-1
Netherlands 000 010 000 1 7 0 Spain 000 000 000 0 6 0
The Netherlands won the matchup between undefeated teams on Thursday evening at the European Championship in Hoofddorp. It was a nail-biter of the two top-ranked clubs in the tournament with the Dutch national team prevailing 1-0 over Spain. A run in the fifth was the difference in a pitching and defense heavy contest. The host remains undefeated, while Spain drops to 2-1 in the Winners Round Robin. Full recap.
Consolation Round 9th to 12th:
Russia – Greece 1-3
Greece 200 100 000 3 12 1 Russia 000 000 010 1 6 0
Greece is remaining in contention to stay in the A-Pool of the European Championship. On Thursday morning the Greek team of head coach Ivan Rodriguez defeated Russia 3-1 in the first game of the 9th to 12th consolation round. It was the first win for Greece in the tournament. Both teams are now 1-1 in the consolation phase. Full recap.
Croatia – Great Britain 2-6
Great Britain 000 004 002 6 12 1 Croatia 000 000 002 2 7 1
Great Britain ended its winless streak at the European Championship in Hoofddorp with a 6-2 win over Croatia. With the British and Greek wins in the consolation round for places 9th to 12th on Thursday everything is set up for a dramatic final on Friday, as all four consolation round teams now sit at 1-1. The winners of the remaining two games between Great Britain and Greece as well as Croatia and Russia will stay in the A-Pool. 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