How will the team prepare for the tournament?
The team first met in January for our kick-off meeting and since worked out in regular practice camps, followed by a number of games. In April the Austrian U23 National Team played at the AllStar Day in Wels against the Baseball League Austria AllStars, followed by a great competition at the Danube Cup, held in Slovakia. From August 2nd on, Team Austria will prepare a few more days before the U23 European Championship starts.
What are the goals for the team at the U23 Championships?
We talked about our goals from the first meeting on, so all players and the whole staff can pull in once direction: We want to reach the top 8 and win at least one game in the second half of the tournament. Of course, we need to play our best baseball in order to get there.
What are your expectations on the opponents in preliminary round (Group B)?
Our group is, of course, a big challenge to us. Playing Team GB is never easy. They might be packed with some players, playing college ball in the states and of course also with their home grown players.
The team from Spain is the dark horse within our group, since we barely know their players from youth competitions. Meanwhile, the Spanish senior National team won the silver medal in Hoofddorp last year, making the a big threat to all the other teams.
We know the Polish youth program and have played those players over the last several years. We expect a tough battle and hope to end up as the winners.