by Baseball Softball UK, www.baseballsoftballuk.com
The Confederation of European Baseball announced this week that the Great Britain Senior National Team will travel to Tel Aviv, Israel in July for a European Championship Qualifier tournament. The Israeli Association of Baseball is hosting a CEB competition for the first time, and whichever team wins the Tel Aviv group stage will go on to play in the 2012 European Championship. Lithuania and Georgia are the other national teams joining Britain and Israel in the qualifier pool.
The latest IBAF World Rankings in 2010 place Great Britain as favourites in the competition. GB remains 21st in the world among IBAF baseball countries, with Lithuania trailing at 48th, Israel placed at 57th, and Georgia as-yet unranked.
IBAF World Rankings at 31 December 2010
GREAT BRITAIN – 21st
LITHUANIA – 48th
ISRAEL – 57th
GEORGIA – unranked
Team GB suffered defeat at the 2010 European Championship in Stuttgart, Germany, losing three of five games to Italy, Sweden and Greece, but beating Croatia and Spain who will now host their own CEB qualifiers in their bid to return to the European A Pool. Britain had one final opportunity in Stuttgart to avoid the qualifier process in a must-win relegation showdown with the Czech Republic, but failed to mount an offence in the error-ridden game and, ultimately, lost by a score of 8-4.
The GB Senior Team staff will now begin the process of selecting a competitive roster for this summer’s event, as well as arranging for squad travel plans and accommodation in Tel Aviv. “This is an exciting time,” said Jason Greenberg, the Great Britain Baseball General Manager. “We’ve got a fantastic new coach at the helm in Sam Dempster, we’ve got solid support from our Federation and the BBF Board, and we’re headed off to play high level baseball in a fascinating part of the world. Most importantly, our players are pumped to get back to the top-tier in Europe.”
The 2011 European Championship Qualifier tournaments will be run in five locations from July 25-30. All the events can be followed online at competition.baseballeurope.com. The British team’s qualifier in Tel Aviv, Israel will be televised in select locations, and the coverage may be streamed live on the internet; more details about live viewing options will be announced on greatbritainbaseball.com in July.