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.