Germany defeated the Netherlands, 3-2 (box), on Sunday in Valenciennes, France, to win its second consecutive U12 European Championship and third title in the age group. Starter Konstantin Bieth was dominant for the champions, striking out eight and allowing just one hit in four innings of work. Germany will now prepare to compete at the U12 World Cup in Chinese Taipei at month’s end, as will Czechia, who finished fourth at the tournament.
After Bieth struck out two batters in the top half of a scoreless first inning, Germany capitalized on two walks and sloppy defense to take a 2-0 lead that they would hold until the fourth, when a series of passed balls and wild pitches allowed the Dutch to even the score.
Germany took back the lead in the bottom half of the frame thanks to an RBI single by catcher Tizian Sulilatu, and after a scorless fifth for both squads, the Dutch had just three outs to avoid defeat.
Fortunately for the Oranje, slugger Javier Chance, who hit a whopping six home runs in the tournament, three more than any other batter in Valenciennes, led off the inning and promptly put himself on second base with a double. A sacrifice fly to right field then appeared to allow him to advance to third, but upon appeal, it was ruled that Chance had left second base early.
Rather than one out and the tying run on third base, Germany now had the bases empty with two outs, and the celebrations began after Rayan Dix’s long fly ball to center field was caught steps in front of the fence for out three by Thomas Hopfensperger.
Italy Comes From Behind to Win Bronze
Italy had reason to celebrate on Sunday as well, as the team came from behind to take home the bronze medal after an 11-7 victory (box) over Czechia. Italy found itself facing a 7-3 defeat after just two innings, but chipped away at the lead with two runs in the third and another added in the fourth, before tacking on four more in a sixth inning rally that was capped off by Flavio Casoria’s three-run homer, his third of the tournament.
Germany and Czechia now have roughly two weeks to prepare for the U12 World Cup in Tainan City, Chinese Taipei, which begins on July 28. Germany will compete in Group A alongside the hosts, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Venezuela. Czechia, meanwhile, will take on the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Panama, South Korea, and the US in Group A.
U12 European Championship — Final Standings
- Germany (4-1)
- Netherlands (3-2)
- Italy (4-1)
- Czechia (3-2)
- France (3-2)
- Austria (2-3)
- Lithuania (1-4)
- Great Britain (0-5)