Italy 000 000 300 3 5 1 Netherlands 110 201 01X 6 7 1
The Netherlands have won their 21st European Baseball Championship. In the 33rd edition of the top European Baseball tournament, the Dutch National Team defeated Italy 6-3 in the Gold Medal Game in Brno, Czech Republic on Sunday. Kalian Sams and Curt Smith each hit a pair of home runs in the final. Italy had won the last two European Championships in Stuttgart and Rotterdam.
The Dutch team opened the championship game with a bang, as Randolph Oduber clubbed a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to give them a quick 1-0 lead. One frame later the same game, as Kalian Sams kicked off things with a solo home run. After a long ball less third period, Curt Smith and again Sams connected for two more solo shots in the fourth.
In between Italy had threatened against Rob Cordemans in the top of the fourth. Juan Carlos Infante and Stefano Desimoni led off with singles. Following a sac bunt by Alessandro Vaglio and a strikeout by Alex Sambucci, Alex Liddi walked to load the bases. But Alberto Mineo struck out to end the rally try. In the sixth a two-out error at first base helped Hainley Statia to score the fifth run of the game, increasing the gap to 5-0.
But who thought that the contest would have been over was wrong. Doubles by Mario Chiarini and Lorenzo Avagnina got Italy on the board in the top of the seventh. They loaded the bases against David Bergman. Following a bases loaded walk by Desimoni to push another run over the plate, Tom Stuifbergen came in and promptly hit Vaglio with a pitch to make it a 3-5 ball game. He recovered, got Gabriele Ermini to ground into a fielder’s choice at home and then struck out Liddi to get out of the jam. In the eighth Smith hit another home run, solidifying his MVP case.
Cordemans threw four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk. He struck out six. Bergman replaced him in the fifth, but received a no-decision after being charged with three runs on three hits and four walks in just 2 1/3 innings. Stuifbergen picked up his second win of the tournament with the hit batter being his only blemish.
Italy’s starting pitcher Michael Colla had problems working down in the strike zone. Each time he left a pitch up, it went over the fence for a home run. He conceded four runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, taking the loss. Jose Escalona, Tiago Da Silva and Pat Venditte shared the workload in the remaining 4 2/3 innings.
- Leading Hitter: Oscar Angulo (Spain) .543
- Pitcher Best ERA: Mike Bolsenbroek (Netherlands) ERA 0.00 in 16 innings
- Pitcher Best W-L: Eric Gonzalez (Spain) 2-0
- Most Runs Batted In (RBI): Gianison Boekhoudt (Netherlands) 15
- Most Home Runs: Jakub Sladek (Czech Republic) 5
- Most Stolen Bases: Kalian Sams (Netherlands) 5-5
- Most Runs Scored: Curt Smith (Netherlands) 14
- Outstanding Defensive Player: Alessandro Vaglio (Italy)
- Most Valuable Player (MVP): Curt Smith (Netherlands)
4) Czech Republic
9) Great Britain
Photo by Ezio Ratti/FIBS