Belgium defeated Poland, 13-3 (box), and Ukraine defeated Hungary, 21-4 (box), on Day 3 of the 2023 U12 European Championship Qualifier on Wednesday. The two teams, the last two undefeated squads in the round robin group stage, will meet tomorrow at 9:00 am (CEST) as they pursue qualification for Saturday’s championship game and the privilege to compete at the 2024 U12 European Championship.
Belgium gets past Poland
Poland entered play on Wednesday in Sofia, Bulgaria, with no losses to its name as well, but a trio of Belgian pitchers limited the Polish bats to just two hits, with Belgium’s starter Vincent Raeymakers awarded the victory after 3.1 innings in which he struck out four while walking three and surrending just the two aforementioned hits.
On offense, the top half of the Belgium batting order did the damage, with the first five batters scoring nine runs while contributing all six of the team’s hits.
Belgium broke open a 1-1 game with four runs in the bottom of the third, and Poland responded by clawing back a solo run in each of the next two innings, but in the bottom of the fifth Belgium scored eight runs to bring the game to an early end by mercy rule.
Ukraine’s big bats lead the way
Ukraine had a much easier go of it against winless Hungary, with the team‘s 21 runs powered by 16 hits, ten of them going for extra bases and three of them flying over the outfield fence. Leadoff hitter Illia Maksymenko (1-for-4, 4R, 3 RBI) contributed one of the long balls, as did Andrii Novak (3-for-4, 3R, 5 RBI) and Yehor Tatarchenko (2-for-5, 2R, 4RBI).
The respective victories leave Belgium and Ukraine with identical 3-0 records in the round robin group stage that concludes on Friday. The top two teams in group play qualify for Saturday’s championship game, with the winner qualifying for next year’s U12 European Championship.
For complete stats, schedules, and standings, visit the WBSC Europe’s U12 European Championship Qualifier tournament page.