Day 7 recap – The Netherlands are European U23 Champion!

We have a U23 European Champion: Congratulation to the Netherlands who beat the Czech Republic in extra-innings.

The first decision of the day was determined between Germany and France, who fought for the 5th place. Germany’s Niklas Rimmel went five very strong innings, only allowing one hit and one walk. His offense helped out with a great run support. The French finally came through after the bull pen took over, but one run was all they could put on the board. That leaves the 6th rank for France. Germany walks away with the 5th spot and some great impressions at this 2017 championship in Trnava, Wels and Brno.

Later that day, Great Britain and Croatia fought for the 7th place. Team GB jumpstarted the Croatians, scoring 9 runs in their first to attempts and never looked back. Croatia didn’t give up and tried to add some more runs themselves, but two in the 5th and one more run in the 9th wasn’t enough. The British took won the matchup for the 7th rank with a 12:4-win, but Croatia can still be proud of an 8th spot at this tournament.

In Pool E, the Ukraine could secure its 9th rank at the championships, but they needed to go through extra innings to beat the Slovakia in a heartbreaking game. Although Poland took a loss against Russia, the Polish end up in 10th place in front of Russia and Slovakia.

Also, the game for winning Pool F was a close one. Austria established a small advantage, but Belarus fought back. In the ninth they had the tying run on second base, but Austria could finish the game just in time, securing the 13th place at the U23 European Championship. Also the Lithuanias can leave the tournament with a smile on their faces, beating Georgia 8:0.

BRONZE MEDAL GAME

In the medal game, Spain and Belgium showed a great show for all the fans who made their way to MBS before today’s big final. Both teams had to take a disappointing loss in Saturday’s semifinals, but now had the chance to finish the week with a win and eventually even with a medal. The game started with two quick runs for the Belgians, who jumped on the Spanish pitching right away. On the other side, Robin Roevens started on the mound for Belgium and showed an outstanding performance against the Spanish hitters. It took them until the 7th to put real pressure on the defense and finally came through. Two errors helped them to put runs on the scoreboard and tie the game. The ball game went into extra innings and the bronze medals had to be put back into boxes. In the tenth, the Belgian offense were down to their last out, when the pitcher himself, Robin Roevens singled to left field to score the potential winning run. Lucas Rizzi came in to close it down and after an conservative sac-bunt, two pop-ups ended the game and Belgium could win the bronze medal for the first time in U23 history.

THE FINAL

The game everybody was waiting for was finally here. In front of a great crowd at Městský Stadium Brno, the Czech Republic met with the Netherlands. Looking at the development of youth baseball, this could be final we see more often in the future in different categories. But today, the stars of tomorrow met on the diamond battling for the U23 European Championship 2017. The game didn’t start the way the home crowd would have hoped, having the Dutch score the first run of the tournament. But the Czech had the right answer. Starter Ismail Ross had a tough time spotting his pitches and falling back into the count a lot. Five walks and a sharp hit led to a three-run-answer by the host of this championship. Ross’ day was over faster than the Dutch staff had hoped, but reliever Kennimar Locadia could only stop the bleeding in the first. The Czech stayed strong and kept the score moving each inning. Just before their starter, Ondrej Furko, ran out of gas, Pavel Chadim made a call to his bull pen and sent Lukas Ercoli on the hill.

This worked out well in the third, but in the fourth two runners reached base without swinging the bat. Jiri Vavrusa was sent in immediately, but he raised the pressure even more, after loading up the bases with another walk. He fought back and retired the side and prevented another run for the Dutch. After three innings, the Czech had given themselves a solid 5:1 advantage. The Dutch kept putting pressure on the Defense, but couldn’t come through. Until the sixth inning when everything changed: Two walks and error loaded up the bases and only one out was recorded so far. And after Denzel Richardson scored two of his teammates with a sharp single up the middle, clean-up hitter Kendrick Delima launched a 2-RBI double to left field to tie the game.

The Czech didn’t drop their heads, eventually came out of the inning with a one-run-deficit and tried to battle back. After breaking up the double play, Vojtech Mensik scored the tying run, to even up the score at 6. Filip Capka was new in the game for the Czech Republic, but even he couldn’t calm down the game and allowed the 7:6 in the seventh. Meanwhile, Locadia stayed focus and tried to control the Czech hitters and did a great job until the 8th when he got pulled for Maickel Rietel, who finished the eight. Jerremyh Angela was sent in to shut the door and earn the save, but he walked the lead-off hitter to start the inning. Thanks to his right fielder Denzel Richardson, who made an outstanding diving catch, he recorded his first out, but a single and walk loaded up the bases.

 

Everybody at Draci’s beautiful ballpark was on his feet and would keep up until the very last out of this final game. The Czech fans never gave up their fight and were cheering all the way. Angela was getting nervous and with a hit by pitch, a run scored for the 7:8. Colin Van Laar got the ball and a lot of pressure was on his shoulders in this tens situation. He worked up the count pretty fast, but walked his first batter to tie the game. Next up were Adam Hajtmar and Filip Smola, two of the most trusted hitters on the team. Both showed a lot of patience, but ended up striking out, prolonging this game and forcing a 10th inning.

And the Netherlands win the European Championship U23!

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Euro Champ U23 2017 (@eurochampu23) am

Ondrej Satori, who just got the win on Friday against France and who only had one day rest, was put on the mound for the 10th innibng. The Dutch played it safe and bunted the tie-break runners over on a sacrifice hit. Ruar Verkerk was up next, but he popped up to shallow center field, so runner could advance. Satori had Rachid Engelhardt already at a full count, when the Dutch batter took a hard swing, driving the ball to left center field. Two runs scored and the score was 10:8. In the bottom of the inning, the Czech decided not to hit, which seemed to pay off, as the first batter was walked to load up the bases with no outs. Another walked made the game even closer, as Adam Hadmar scored the 10:9. Colin Van Laar was still on the mound and the situation couldn’t have been much harder for him. But just as in the inning before, he stayed focused and sat down Michal Vykoukal and Martin Cervinka. Matej Laznicek was the next batter to step to the plate with bases loaded and two ours. Van Laar was the man of the moment. In the ninth he struck out two in a row to force extra innings and in the tenth he even added one more, retired the last three batters in order and won his team the European Championship!

After a terrific final, which went back and forth until the very last moment, the Netherlands are the new U23 European Baseball Champions! The Czech Republic made an extraordinary effort in the final and made this an unforgettable night for everybody who was present. Congratulation to the Dutch, but also all other teams who give their best on the diamond and leaving their hearts on the field.

Final Day Preview – The end is near!

Of course, the game everybody is waiting for is just a few hours ahead of us. The final between the Netherlands and host Czech Republic will kick-off at 7 PM at MBS. But we have some more other games for you, all of them determining the final ranking of the our 16 participating teams.

In case you want to read the preview on the final, you have to scroll to the bottom. But we promise, this should be a quick little read to get you ready to this last day of the U23 European Baseball Championship 2017. All games from Draci’s ballpark will be broadcasted on playo.tv.

The day will start off with the game for 5th place at 10 AM at MBS. Both, France and Germany made an incredible effort to reach this game in yesterday’s win. They already met once in this tournament during the preliminary round in Trnava. France already looked like the winner, when the Germans turned around the game in the very last inning, scoring five runs. For sure, alez le bleu wants to take revanche and walk away with a fifth place.

At 11 AM, Poland and Russia fight for a better ranking in Pool E at the hroch, conquering a spot in Europe’s top 10. Poland felt short yesterday, giving up a game against a strong Ukrainian offense. Against Russia, their pitching staff should be congregated again. At the same time at Technika’s ballpark, Ukraine will have its last game against Slovakia. Also the co-host of this tournament could still finish within the top 10, so nothing is decided yet!

Also Pool F has two more games to offer. At Hrosi Brno’s ballpark, Lithuania and Georgia both are trying to get their first win of the tournament under their belts. While Georgia received one blow-out loss after the other, Lithuania showed some great performances, oftentimes just falling short by a few runs. Austria and Belarus fight for the first place in their pool, starting at 3 PM at Blankso. A win would give them the 13th rank in the tournament and a small sense of achievement after a long week of baseball.

Croatia and Great Britain had some great moments at this tournament. Both teams had a good run in the preliminary round but had to face the truth in the quarter finals two days later. On Saturday they failed to stay in the A-Pool for the U23 category. A last game before traveling home is waiting for the two teams but also for their fans, to finish the tournament in solid fashion and if possible with a win, to secure the 7th place at the European Championships.

And now, we finally talk about the medal games. After the tough loss against the Czech, the Spanish looked really disappointed, just having failed to reach their big goal of earning a spot at the WBSC U23 Baseball World Cup. The Belgians only had underdog status against the Dutch, but put on a great fight. To finish the tournament with a win, the two teams meet up once again at 2 PM at MBS to fight for the bronze medal. Especially the Spanish went all in the night before. Belgium might have some arms ready, but if the Spanish can bring the game to the field they should the first four games of the tournament, the Belgians still might have a tough time.

And now the final: 

Did you know, that the Czech and the Dutch nearly have the same team batting average, posting a .354 and a .353? And throughout the course of the tournament, the host only earned five runs while hitting five homeruns? Both teams are undefeated so far, but after the final, only one team will keep its clean slate.

There are many potential starters. For Czechia, Ondrej Furko and Jiri Vavrusa are two options for manager Pavel Chadim. On the other side, Tim Haldemar got the ball against Croatia, but was harmed soon after the first innings. Ismail Ross and Colin Van Laar are two further options, who didn’t give up a run yet, but both only came in for relief. Although, the Dutch are a power horse you can never write off, the Czech seem to have not only the crowd on their sides, but also the odds. But in the end it’s still baseball, while finals and playoffs have their own rules.

Play Ball!

 

Day 6 Recap – Czech and Netherlands claim the finals

Day 5 was a blast! With the Netherlands and host Czech Republic we have two well deserved finalists, who could win todays semifinals. Meanwhile, Germany and France could secure a spot in the A-Pool.

In the morning, Germany and Great Britain had a great matchup. Noland Bond had another great start and his British offense supported him with two early runs. It took the German batters until the fourth to land the first hit, but with this they could tie the game. One inning later they added another one, when the British Coaching Staff saw enough. With this, the score stay close until the last inning, when Mike Ehmcke launched a two-run homerun. The British could score one more in their last try, but too less and with this, Germany secured a spot in the U23 A-Pool and will play for the 5th place.

 

The matchup between Croatia and France was a close game all the way. While the tricolor took the lead in the second, Croatia could strike back and take the lead in the 4th. But now, the time of the French batters had come: One hit followed the other and four runs were scored, to conquer back a 5:2 lead. Four more runs followed in the seventh while Croatia had no countable answer on that.

The first semifinal took place between the Netherlands and Belgium. For the winner of this, not only a spot in tomorrow’s final was assured, also a ticket to the WBSC U23 World Cup was booked. The red devils were looking for another surprise in the tournament and this was exactly what they did in the first inning. They jump-started with three runs in the first and the Dutch dugout wasn’t too happy about it. But the Netherlands didn’t want to be the next victim, so they answered right back. Pitcher Kyran Weemaels tried his best against the hitters in orange, but couldn’t stop the Dutch powerhouse. Seven runs in the next three innings followed and the Netherlands started to lean back and prepare for tomorrow’s final. But the Belgians didn’t give up and tried to teach their big brother a lesson. Two runs shorted the advantage to two runs. Eventually, this was all that Belgium had left and the Dutch moved on the final, beating Belgium 10:5 in today’s first semifinal.

The second great matchup for a ticket to the big final. The Czech and the Spanish fought a great matchup: Francisco Gonzalez vs. Jan Novak were the two main actors on the hill. The game was still at 0:0 in the fourth inning, when the Gonzalez suddenly lost control of his pitches and loaded up the bases with no outs recorded. An error allowed the first run, Filip Claus cashed in the next two, pushing the score to 3:0. The Spanish still couldn’t adapt to veteran Novak’s pitches and failed to shorten the lead. One inning later, the Czech loaded up the bases once again and Marek Chlup delivered to score two, two more hits followed to make the score 7:0. The Spanish, who presented their selves as a big family throughout the tournament, seemed to fall apart and a lot of hanging heads could be spotted.

Jan Novak loaded up the bases and gave the Spanish a little give away in the form of a run, but through the next innings, nothing connected to score more runs. When Daniel Padysak stepped on the mound, Spain could add two more runs in the seventh. But after that, it seemed like they ran out of gas, couldn’t add anything else and the Czech could start their celebration. The host team not only earns another medal with this win, they also will represent Europe at the next WBSC U23 World Cup in the upcoming year.

The grande Finale will be played tomorrow between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, starting at 7 PM.

In the battle for the top 10, Ukraine overcame Poland in a 10:2 lead. A six-run fifth buried all chances of the Polish for a single digit result at this U23 Championship. Slovakia started well against Russia and shutting down their offense almost through the whole game. They only allowed one run in the sixth and walked away with a 3:1-win.

In Pool F, in which ranks 12th to 16th are determined, Belarus could celebrate another win against Georgia. A 13:3 was their second win of the tournament. Also Austria could celebrate a second victory, beating Lithuania 8:3.

Day 6 Preview – Two Semis and eight great games

Who will move on to the finals? This is probably the biggest question of today, but there are several other great matchups. A total of eight games will be play today. Four sites are ready for great competitions at the U23 European Baseball Championship 2017.

Germany and Great Britain felt short on their medal race. A spot in Europe’s top 5 is still possible, but you need to win the rest of your games. Both teams should have some arms left in their arsenal. With Nolan Bond, Team GB still can trust on their pitching ace, who no-hit the Austrian squat on opening day. Germany again, might have saved some pitchers for the rest of the tournament. A close matchup is guaranteed, starting at 11 AM at MBS. This game will be broadcasted by playo.tv!

The other game for a potential 5th place race will be play between France and Croatia. Both teams had troubles last night producing runs. Today, after a little set-back, both teams hope to have a quick start in the matchup at the “hroch”.

In the placement rounds for the ranking 13-16, Georgia is facing Belarus, while Austria looks forward to the competition against Lithuania. One level higher, Ukraine is coming from a one-day-rest, facing Poland for a spot in the top 10. Russia and Slovakia , who will meet up in Blansko for the night game, both only have a theoretical chance to reach a single-digit spot within Europe’s U23 nations, so they both need a win.

And now, the highlights of day 6: The Semifinals!

The first matchup will provide a matchup between Belgium and the Netherlands. The red devils kicked out Germany on Friday. Therefore, the Dutch should be prepared. With another blow-out win in yesterday’s quarterfinal, they will present themselves as confident as they always used to. Still, Belgium is hoping for another surprise in a game in which they can only win. Tune in for another terrific game at MBS, broad to you by playo.tv.

When the first finalist is determined, the second semifinal will kick-off. The Czech Republic is still undefeated, although the quarterfinal against France wasn’t as clear as the other blow-out wins the Czech could celebrate. Their opponent is a team from western Europe, but just as the Czech, Spain is still undefeated. The Spanish played some compact baseball so far. They didn’t celebrate too many blowout wins, but their defense and their pitching was rock-solid so far. The promising matchup should provide a great matchup with a Czech powerhouse offense and an unshakable Spanish backfield.

The claim of a spot in Sunday’s final of the U23 European Baseball Championship not only ensures a medal for both teams, they also can stamp their tickets to the U23 Baseball World Cup in the upcoming year.

Day 5 recap – Three shoo-ins and one surprise

Two clean wins, a close one and one big surprise. This is how you could sum up today’s quarter final. After a clear win, the Dutch advance to the semifinal. They will face Belgium in tomorrow’s first semifinal, starting at 3 PM, as they shocked baseball Germany in a dramatic game in Blansko, winning 3:1. Croatia tried its best against Spain, but in the end the Spanish could pull away with a clear win, facing the Czech who had some troubles beating France, but finally walked away with a 5:1-win.

The first quarter final featured the battle of two kingdoms. Team GB requested a battle against the Oranje and through the first inning, the British were leading, but soon the Netherlands turned around the game, added a couple more runs in the sixth and outscored the queen’s knights in the seventh, winning 11:1. Kaj Timmermans through a great game for the Dutch, only allowing a Hayden Platt-Homerun in the first. With this, the Netherlands advance to the semifinals, which will be played at 3 PM (game available onDemand on playo.tv)

The Dutch’s opponent was determined at Blansko’s Strawberry Field in the quarterfinal between Germany and Belgium. The odds were probably on the German side and this was how the game started, when they scored the 1:0 in the bottom of the third. But Germany couldn’t hold on, put two runners on base and Belgium said “thank you” with a sac-bunt and a 2-rbi-single. A nailbiter developed. Both defensive departments put on a great show. Belgium gave Germany a few opportunities to tie the game, but they couldn’t connect and had a total of 9 left-on-base. Evantually, there was one more run in the game, but it was a security for Belgium’s later win, who will face their big brother, the Netherlands, in tomorrow’s semifinal.

Back intown, the “hroch” was the battleground for the next quarterfinal. With Kruno Gojkovic, Croatia put in everything they had. He did an amazing job against the Spanish offense, but his defense didn’t give the support that was needed. On the other end, Eric Paez cruised through the innings and only allowed one hit over seven innings. Although allowing a few walks, the Croatian offense never got dangerous. Spain carried a 3:0 lead into the eight, when finally, Gojkovic was done and the boys in red and yellow won the game by mercy rule. Asked on who they would like to face in tomorrow’s semis, winning pitcher Paez didn’t care. They needed to play their game anyway and as a big family, they are confident on doing so:

In front of their home crowd, the Czech faced France in the last quarter final. Both hitting units had a rather slow start, when finally, Martin Muzik, who else, broke the silence with a 2-run shot. Three more runs followed in the sixth and the host team had worked themselves a comfortable lead. The French held their heads up and answered with a run in the seventh. But this was all they had left, and the Czech could move on to the semifinal against Spain, taking place at Draci’s great stadium, MBS, at 7 PM. The quarter final game is still available onDemand on playo.tv.

Winning Pitcher, Ondras Satoria, in the post-game interview:

In today’s placement games, Poland could add another win to their collection, beating Slovakia in mercy rule, making a big step to reach Europe’s top 10. Also, Austria, who was still seeking for its first win of the tournament, finally made it happen. Georgia served as their victim, loosing 17:1 in five innings.

Day 5 Preview – Quarterfinals ahead!

The final stage of this tournament is here! Four quarterfinals are waiting for us today, but also in the placement games, there are some great matchups to be played.

 

The day kicks off with the matchup between Poland and Slovakia, starting at 11 AM at MBS Brno. Both had to wait until their last day of the group stage to finally get the first win under their belt. Poland is known for its hard battles, so Slovakia better stays strong, especially in the last innings. Watch Live!

Austria and Georgia on the other hand, are still hunting their first victory of the tournament. Austria was much closer to a win than Georgia, who was defeated in mercy rule three times so far. Either way, one team will walk away with its first win of the tournament, battling for the spots 13 to 16 in the ranking. The matchup will start at 1 PM at Hrosi’s stadium.

The first quarter final already is blockbuster game. A battle between two kingdoms, the Netherlands and Great Britain both seek a spot in Europe’s Top 4. While Team GB present itself as a threat to batters all over the continent, the Dutch are the top dog within in this tournament. At 3 PM, we will know more. The British could tap ace Nolan Bond for this matchup, who no-hit Austria on opening day. The Oranje again, are undefeated so far and let no moment for doubt that those guys are on a mission for a medal. The Draci complexe is ready for another big matchup, and so is playo.tv who will broadcast this matchup.

A little later in time, Spain and Croatia face at Hrocha. Spain presented itself as a strong team, connecting on and off the field. Their pitching was solid, but so far, the Spanish couldn’t outscore the other teams yet. But also, Croatia didn’t show too much power. The win against Belarus was their only blow-out so far. The 5 PM game could develop to a close matchup between two talented teams, while Spain might be a little bit in favor to advance to tomorrows semifinal.

Three colors will be seen in the stands of Blansko’s Strawberry Field: red, gold and black, the colors of Germany and Belgium. At 6 PM the two countries will face to determine the third spot in the semifinals. Die Mannschaft, Germany, could celebrate a last-inning win against France and might carry a lot of momentum. In the opposing dugout Belgium had a pretty clean preliminary round, but had a really hard time against Czech. The Germans proved their hot bats and a deep pitching staff, giving them the better odds for tonight.

The highlight for the fans of host team Czech is the night game at Městský Baseball Stadium. The opponent, France, just missed to win Group C in Trnava, but showed some great performance in the course of the tournament so far. The big question will be: Can the French equipe stop the red-hot Czech? The host team only allowed one run, while scoring 44 with its offense. For the participant of the 2016 U23 World Cup, everything but a win would be a big disappointment.

Day 2 recap – Wels

On day 2 in Wels, the fans could watch two terrific games at the U23 Championship 2017. Team GB could celebrate a comeback-win against Poland. At the evening game, Austria proved their talent competing on a high level against Spain. In the end the Spanish could score three runs more than Austria to go 2-0 in the tournament.

Poland jumpstarted against the young pitcher from Great Britain, scoring eight runs in the first three innings. Team GB had a hard time against the Polish ace, staying hitless over seven innings against Pawel Sztejka, but turning the game around after they finally got him in the eighth. Poland could tie the game in the ninth for a 9:9, so the game went into extra-innings. On the first attempt, both teams scored three runs to force another inning. Team GB found the luckier end, scoring one in the eleventh and Jonathan Fretheim shut the door to secure the second win in the tournament.

Austria had to take a tough loss on day one. On Tuesday they came out to show a much better performance. With rookie Christoph Vanas on the mound, they controlled the game over a long period of time, but still weren’t able to produce offensively. Sammy Hackl could finally record the first hit for Team Austria in the fourth, but nothing followed. After an error, Spain could score it’s first run and could add two more in the eighth against reliever Lukas Bickel. Spain eventually won the game 3:0, but host team Austria showed some great performance that night and a lot of potential to built up on.

Day 1 recap – Wels

The first day in Wels is in the books! With Spain winning the first game of the tournament and Great Britain following with a no-hit sensation against Austria, the day ended with two wins of the two powerhouses here in Wels.

The Spanish played a solid defense against an ambitious Polish U23 national team. Eric Paez pitched a great game and only had to allow one unearned run. Meanwhile his offense produced run after run, playing some small ball and great tactical plays. Final score between Spain and Poland was 5:1.

Great Britain started ist tournament with three runs against a shaky Austrian defense. On the other end, Nolan Bond pitched an amazing game for Team GB, not only shutting out the host of this preliminary round in Wels, him and his reliefer also no-hit Austria for a 10:0 start of the tournament over seven innings.

Evaluation of preparatory games of the Czech and Dutch team

On Friday morning, the Dutch landed in Brno at the airport, from where they continued in the direction of Ostrava. In the afternoon, both teams arrived at the Arrows Stadium. At the baseball restaurant, where the Dutch team enjoyed a great lunch. At five o’clock, the teams started training for the evening game, which had been on schedule since seven. The atmosphere was friendly and the viewers enjoyed this game as well. The Czech team did very well, but the game ended 5:6 for the rival. After dinner on the playground, the teams went to the hotel. It was a busy day for everyone.

On Saturday morning, they played the second preparation match, which finished 7:6 for the Czech team. Both teams showed a good game. Unfortunately, it did not go without injury.

We asked how players and coaches were happy and whether their expectations regarding the European Championship were changed.

The Czech team is satisfied with the preparations and has fulfilled its purpose. In the last innings both teams scored, and this brought a great atmosphere no

 

t only to the bench but also to the auditorium. We are so glad that we managed to win one game. We have met with a high-quality rival, and it is a great benefit for us to play at such a level. We really enjoyed it. As we mentioned, we have something to come back to, and this was only the third win over the Netherlands. However, baseball is a contact sport and therefore it did not go without minor injuries, but we hope that it does not affect the performance on the tournament. As the results of both matches show, the forces are balanced, we are on the same level as they are, and equally dangerous. We can only do it ourselves. If we play as we do now, we can say we will be successful.