Day Four of the U18 European championship saw host Italy complete group play with an undefeated record, while the Dutch booked their second win and the Czechs their first.
In the day’s first game, the Czech Republic defeated Austria 10-6 (box score) to finish Group B play in third place with a 1-2 record. It was a close contest that saw numerous lead changes before the Czechs took control of the game with five runs in the bottom half of the fifth.
In Game Two, the Netherlands defeated France 11-7 (box score), with an eight-run Dutch third inning making all the difference. Trailing 8-3 in the fourth inning, the French scored four runs to close the gap, but Dutch reliever Koen van ‘t Klooster was solid in three innings of relief, allowing just two hits and one walk to close out the game. The French offense was again led by the middle infielders Joseph Toubeaux (2B) and Mathis Meurant (SS), with the 1-2 batters in the lineup each driving in two runs. Withe the victory, the Dutch moved into second place in Group A play, with Lithuania on the schedule for Day Five. The French, meanwhile, will take on Israel on Friday, with the winner of the game securing third place in the group.
In the Day Four nightcap, Italy completed its Group A schedule with an 10-2 victory (box score) over Israel. The Italians took an early lead with one run in the bottom of the first and did not look back from there, adding four runs in the third and three more in the fourth. The offensive fireworks were provided by first baseman Samuele Gamberini, who went 2-for-4 with four RBI, three of them coming on a fifth-inning home run. Starting catcher Samuele Bruno and Tommaso Giacomini, who replaced Bruno behind the plate in the fifth inning, had two RBI apiece.
In Group A, Day Five begins with the Netherlands (2-1) taking on Lithuania (0-3) at 15:00 (CEST). France (1-2) and Israel (1-2) will play under the floodlights at 20:00 (CEST) to wrap up the group. In Group B, Spain (2-0), which has yet to allow a run, and Germany (2-0) will meet at 16:00 (CEST) in a battle for first place.