by Simon Fitzjohn
Great Britain sealed their place in the medal round after a much-changed lineup cruised past Ukraine 9-0 to finish top of Pool B.
Coach Stephan RAPAGLIA used the game to give a number of fringe players a run-out as Team GB eased to a shutout win that also eliminated hotly-tipped Italy from the tournament.
Starter Brian ESSERY pitched five innings of four-hit ball, during which time Britain had opened up a 5-0 lead.
In the first Brant UST scored after capitalising on two throwing errors following his walk, and in the third Aeden MCQUEARY-ENNIS also benefited from a throwing error, scoring from third after a wild throw to first base.
Britain appeared relaxed and comfortable at the plate, obviously with confidence high following their excellent, yet surprising, start to the competition.
This was highlighted in the bottom of the fourth when roster players Stephen BROWN and Alex MALIHOUIDIS both walked, and Tim COLLINS was hit by a pitch.
Darren HEATH hit a deep sac fly to score BROWN, before Chris FALLS was also hit by a pitch.
With the Ukraine defense in disarray, GB capitalised with a double steal which saw MALIHOUDIS scamper home from third to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
First baseman Ian YOUNG drilled an RBI double to score UST in the fifth as Britain took advantage of some wayward Ukranian pitching.
With the game seemingly in the bag, RAPAGLIA took the opportunity to pull ESSERYy and use a number of relief pitchers to soak up the latter innings.
Sam WhHITEHEAD, Craig PYCOCK, MCQUEARY-ENNIS, Paul WATERMAN and Gary TONGUE all combined to shut down a disillusioned Ukraine offense.
Britain tacked on further runs courtesy of a Mike NICKEAS 2RBI single in the sixth, an UST RBI double in the eighth and a Brad MARCELINO bases-loaded walk in the same inning.
Team GB indeed threatened a mercy rule victory with the bases stacked in the eighth, but were more than happy to simply close the game out for the win.
After a much needed day off, Britain will now attempt to string together at least one more win in order to capture one of the qualifying berths up for grabs.