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2012 European Championship

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The 2012 European Championship was held in the Netherlands from September 7th to September 16th. The top seven teams from the 2010 European Championship automatically qualified - Flag of Netherlands Netherlands, Flag of Italy Italy, Flag of Germany Germany, Flag of France France, Flag of Sweden Sweden, Flag of Greece Greece and Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic. The 2011 European Championship Qualifiers determined the other five entries - Flag of Russia Russia, Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom, Flag of Belgium Belgium, Flag of Spain Spain and Flag of Croatia Croatia. Only Russia was not a return entry from 2010. See 2012 European Championship (Rosters) for roster information.

Contents

[edit] Games

[edit] September 7

Late German addition Luke Sommer shut out the Czechs for three innings. In the 4th, he gave up a run when CF Matěj Hejma singled and 38-year-old 1B Pavel Budský (the first Czech player to sign with a MLB club) doubled to show he could still give the ball a smack. Germany got back the run in the 5th. With one out, Kotowski singled and 20-year-old SS Lukas Jahn doubled. Speer hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

The Reds loaded the bases off Sommer in the 5th on a walk, a single by DH Martin Drong and a hit batsman, but RF Jakub Malik went down swinging. They did manufacture a run in the 6th on a one-out double by Budský and a two-out single by C Petr Čech. In the 7th, 3B Jan Drábek and Malik hit back-to-back singles with one out, but Hejma hit into a force. Martin Dewald relieved Sommer and struck out Budský as the Germans escaped with a 3-2 lead.

The Czechs tied it in the 9th. With one out, Čech drew a walk from Dewald and was pinch-run for by Petr Baroch. 2B Jakub Hajtmar bunted Baroch over, then Drong grounded into an error by German 3B Ludwig Glaser. SS Martin Schneider hit into a run-scoring error by C Simon Gühring. After a wild pitch, Dewald recovered to get Drábek on a grounder.

In the 10th, the IBAF Extra Innings rule let Germany start with two men aboard. Jahn then laid down a bunt hit to load the bases. Phillies minor leaguer Marek Minarik plunked Speer to force in one run. Kepler-Rozycki lined out, but Glaser hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3. 1B Michael Franke singled, but Jahn was thrown out trying to score. Dewald tried to wrap it up in the bottom of the 10th. Hajtmar bunted his way aboard to load the bases, but Drong and Schneider followed with strikeouts. Drábek singled up the middle to cut the gap to one, but Martin Veselý was thrown out trying to score on the play, ending the contest in dramatic style.

[edit] September 8

[edit] September 9

Spain retook the lead in the 6th. CF Daniel Figueroa singled and advanced on an error by SS Anthony Granato on the play. A wild pitch by Mariotti put him on third. With one out, his twin brother Paco singled him in. Navarro then singled, scoring Paco Figueroa from first for a 3-1 lead. Yovany D'Amico relieved and would team with Justin Cicatello (W) and Nick Pugliese (Sv) on 3 2/3 shutout innings, fanning six, to give Italy the chance to come back.

Italy closed the gap to one in the bottom of the 6th. 1B Chris Colabello walked and C Tyler LaTorre singled. RF Mario Chiarini hit into a force. Manny Olivera relieved and walked PH Giovanni Pantaleoni. Remigio Leal relieved Olivera and the 47-year-old Cuban also walked a pinch-hitter, Jack Santora, forcing in Colabello and making it 3-2. Italy stranded the bases loaded in the 7th against another Cuban, Eduardo Morlan.

In the 8th, Italy took the lead for good against Morlan. Backup LF Paolino Ambrosino hit into an error by SS Néstor Pérez. Santora bunted Ambrosino over and CF Stefano De Simoni singled him in to tie it. After Infante lined out, DH Gabriele Ermini singled to right, scoring De Simoni from first; Ermini was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. In the 9th, Pugliese struck out Navarro, but LaTorre dropped strike three, letting Navarro reach. Javier José Flores pinch-ran and was bunted over by 3B Jesús Golindano. C Leo Hernández grounded Flores to third base. Up came pinch-hitter Kelvin Feliz with a single being able to tie it, but he struck out against Pugliese as Italy escaped with a win.

Croatia got on the board in the 6th thanks to an error by Pilegård follwoed by a single from LF Ivan Račić. Nick Soubiea relieved Claesson. 1B Filip Berecka grounded in a run to close it to 2-1. Croatia got two aboard on the 7th on a Gales single and a two-out walk by SS Chris Beck but backup RF Goran Šupraha grounded out. They then tied it in the 8th. Račić drew a leadoff walk from Soubiea and Berecka doubled. Former minor leaguer Christian Staehely was summoned from the bullpen and got a ground-out, then a force at home. Gales came through with a single to drive in Berecka and tie it at 2.

In the bottom of the 8th, Matko Dabo relieved Gales (who stayed in at first base). Merrifield hit a one-out double. After Pilegård flew out, Peter Johanessen was intentionally walked. The move backfired when DH Philip Gajzler hit a 2-run single to right. In the bottom of the 9th, Beck drew a one-out full-count walk from Staehley. PH Ernesto Pereira struck out, but Račić singled Beck to third. That brought up Berecka, who was 1 for 4 with a double, run and RBI on the day. He failed to deliver this time, popping up to short to end the game.

  • Flag of France France 9, Flag of Belgium Belgium 8. After Belgium had suffered two blowout losses, they battled France in an exciting contest that went down to the final at-bat.

France scored first. 1B Anthony Cros doubled off Yannick Gontier to open the second inning. DH Andy Paz bunted Cros over and LF Frédéric Hanvi singled him in. Belgium struck back in the third against Matthieu Brelle-Andrade. RF Yoni Vischschoonmaker got plunked, then LF Lorenzo Oeyen singled. After a sacrifice hit by 2B Dennis Ribbens, SS Benjamin Dille walked. CF Steven De Lannoy hit a grounder to 3B Luc Piquet, who threw home for the out there. 3B Dennis De Quint singled to tie the game, then DH Thomas De Wolf hit a 2-run single up the middle for a 3-1 lead. France got their first two men on in the third but failed to score.

In the 4th, France retook the lead. With two outs, Hanvi singled off Gontier, as did C Boris Marche. RF Yann Dal Zotto singled and an error on the play by Dille closed it to 3-2. Piquet then hit a triple to right-center, driving in both runners for a 4-3 lead. SS Maxime Lefevre tripled as well to make it 5-3. Belgium got back one run in the top of the 5th on singles by Ribbens and Dille, a sacrifice bunt by De Lannoy and a sacrifice fly from De Quint.

In the bottom of the fifth, France got an insurance run. 2B Florian Peyrichou walked. With one out, Paz singled, as did Hanvi, scoring Peyrichou for a 6-4 edge. Thomas Meley relieved Brelle-Andrade in the 6th and allowed two hits and no runs. In the 7th, though, Belgium did get through against Meley. With one out, De Lannoy walked. De Quint singled and an error on the play by CF Joris Bert scored De Lannoy. Patrice Briones relieved and struck out former Mets farmhand De Wolf but allowed a RBI single to 1B Hans Heyrman to tie it.

France went back ahead in the bottom of the 7th. Paz led off with a single and Hanvi hit into a De Quint error. Marche bunted into another error by De Quint to load the bases. Dal Zotto struck out, then Piquet hit a 2-run single for a 8-6 lead. In the 8th, Ribbens hit into a 2-out error by Lefevre. Dille singled and an error on the play by Da Zotto closed it to 8-7. Pierrick Lemestre relieved Briones and got De Lannoy to end the inning.

Belgium then tied it in the 9th. De Quint opened with a walk and De Wolf singled, an error on the play by Peyrichou putting both men in scoring position. Heyrman hit into a run-scoring double play to even matters at 8. In the bottom of the 9th, Hanvi led off with a homer on Gontier's 140th pitch of the game to end it.

The two teams combined for 7 errors. De Quint went 3 for 3 with a walk, double, 2 runs and 2 RBI in a losing cause, while Hanvi (4 for 5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI) and Piquet (3 for 4, 2B, 3B, R, 4 RBI) led the French cause.

In the bottom of the 9th, Sobotka was trying to put away a surprising shutout before he tired (he had allowed 8 hits, but had scattered them). He walked de Cuba (Shaldimar Daantji ran for de Cuba) and plunked LF Wesley Connor after having issued one walk and no hit batsmen in the first 8 innings. Phillies farmhand Marek Minarik relieved. RF Danny Rombley hit into a 5-4-3 double play, sending Daantji to third. 2B Nick Urbanus grounded to Schneider, but he made an error on the potential game-ending play, giving the Dutch the tying run.

With the IBAF Extra Innings rule, the Czechs began the 10th with two runners aboard. Schneider bunted towards third; Bergman fielded the ball but Schneider beat out a single. AAA reliever Loek van Mil was summoned to relieve Bergman. Malik greeted him with a sacrifice fly, then Drábek singled to make it 3-1 before Budský hit into an inning-ending twin killing. In the bottom of the tenth, 3B Mike Duursma struck out a bunt foul on strike three, the second time today he had done so. Former Astros farmhand Jan Řeháček relieved Minarik. He started off by plunking SS Hainley Statia, loading the bases for the heart of the Netherlands batting order. Czech manager Andy Berglund turned to Jan Homolka, their fourth hurler of the day. 1B Curt Smith hit into a run-scoring force, putting men on the corners and making it 3-2. DH Bryan Engelhardt, the top slugger in the 2012 Hoofdklasse season, came up. He didn't show much clout in the clutch today, though, grounding out to Budský at first to end it.

[edit] September 10

  • Flag of Croatia Croatia 8, Flag of Russia Russia 4. In a matchup of winless teams, Croatia turned to 39-year-old Mexican-born, US-raised Jimmy Summers, who had spent over 15 years playing in Croatia. Summers struck out 9 and allowed four runs (all unearned) in getting the win for the Croatian entry. LF Ivan Račić and DH Mario Manojlov each had 3 hits for Croatia, while SS Chris Beck drove in 3. Denis Leonov took the loss, while 2B Aleksandr Maksiakov went 3 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBI for Russia.
  • Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 6, Flag of France France 0. The Czechs tie France for third in their pool in a key game thanks to a superb start from Boris Bokaj (10 K, 5 H, 1 BB in 9 IP). Owen Ozanich gives up 13 hits and 6 runs in 8 innings in taking the defeat. The Czech offense is led by 1B Pavel Budský (3 for 3, BB, 2B, 2 R) and CF Matěj Hejma (3 for 4, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI), two players with US minor league experience.
  • Flag of Belgium Belgium 10. Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 7. Belgium continues to progress as it gets its first win in a close game with Great Britain.

Britain took a 3-0 lead in the second. 3B Michael Johnson reached on an error by 2B Dennis Ribbens then scored on a double by 1B Sam Wiley. DH Maikel Azcuy singled Wiley to third and veteran LF Brad Marcelino grounded him in. SS Aaron Hornostaj walked and 2B Richard Klijn singled to bring in Azcuy. Belgium got a run in the bottom of the inning on two walks by Spencer Kreisberg and a RBI single by 3B Robin Roevens.

Belgium went ahead in the 4th. C Dennis De Quint led off with a single and DH Thomas De Wolf doubled him in. 1B Hans Heyrman and Roevens both singled to make it 3-3. Craig Pycock relieved Kreisberg and got a 3-pitch strikeout but LF Lorenzo Oeyen hit into an error by Hornostaj and CF Steven De Lannoy cleared the bases with a double for a 6-3 lead.

Britain rallied in the 6th. With one out, Kenny Vandenbranden plunked Azcuy and walked Marcelino. Hornostaj then hit a 2-run single to cut it to 6-5. In the 7th, Ben Van Nuffel relieved Vandenbranden. With two away, he walked RF Matt McGraw and Wiley followed with a 2-run homer to left to put Britain in front, 7-6.

In the 8th, Belgium went ahead for good. Heyrman led off with a single off David Rees and Roevens walked for his third time aboard in four plate appearances. Johnson moved to the mound to relieve Rees and got two outs, but De Lannoy struck again, this time with a 2-run double to give himself 5 RBI for the day. Belgium would add some insurance as Ribbens reached on a Wiley error and SS Benjamin Dille followed with a 2-run triple. De Wolf wound up getting the win with two shutout innings of relief after moving from DH.

  • Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 10, Flag of Germany Germany 0. The Netherlands hands Germany its first loss and rebounds from yesterday's upset in strong fashion as Shairon Martis and Arshwin Asjes combine on a four-hitter. Harry Glynne takes the defeat, but is not aided by 5 unearned runs thanks to errors by SS Lukas Jahn and C Kai Gronauer. CF Kalian Sams remains red-hot by falling a triple shy of his second cycle in three days, driving in four. 2B Nick Urbanus, a third-generation member of the Netherlands team, also does his share, falling a homer shy of the cycle and driving in three.

[edit] September 11

  • Flag of Germany Germany 8, Flag of France France 3. In a game that was closer than the final score indicated, France gave Germany a challenge for two-thirds of the game before fading. Germany started strong against Anthony Piquet. After a scoreless first, Piquet began the second by hitting LF Simon Gühring. C Kai Gronauer bunted Gühring over. A botched pick-off attempt sent Gühring to third base. 1B Ludwig Glaser hit into a run-scoring error by SS Maxime Lefevre. DH Sascha Brockmeyer drew a full-count walk, then RF Kevin Kotowski was plunked to load the bases. Piquet's wildness continued as he walked SS Lukas Jahn to force in Glaser and make it 2-0. The rally ended when 2B Jendrick Speer hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

In the third, CF Max Kepler and 3B Max Boldt hit back-to-back singles for Germany, then Gühring hit a sacrifice fly. Mariners minor leaguer Daniel Thieben cruised through the first three innings but ran into difficulty in the 4th as CF Joris Bert doubled and 1B Anthony Cros was hit by a pitch with one out. Fellow minor leaguer Markus Solbach relieved Thieben. DH Andy Paz hit a sacrifice fly that closed the gap to 3-1.

France continued their comeback in the 5th. C Boris Marche drew a leadoff walk from Solbach. RF Yann Dal Zotto laid down a bunt hit, then 3B Luc Piquet bunted into a force at third. Lefevre walked to load the bases. Bert hit into a run-scoring force to make it 3-2, then LF Frederic Hanvi singled to tie the score. Germany turned to Eugen Heilmann, who would fare much better than the two Germans with US minor league experience. Heilmann would retire all 13 batters he faced, six by strikeout, to stop France's forward progress.

Gühring laid down a bunt hit to open the 6th. After Gronauer flew out, Glaser singled. On an attempted double steal, Gühring was thrown out while Glaser took second. Brockmeyer drew a walk to load the bases. Kotowski then singled to load the bases. Thomas Meley relieved Anthony Piquet and got PH Christopher Howard to fly out to strand the bases loaded.

Germany finally took the lead for good in the 7th to put away what had been a close game. Speer drew a leadoff walk from Meley then Kepler singled him over. Pierrick Lemestre relieved Meley and Boldt laid down a bunt hit to load the bags. Gühring, a former Brewers minor leaguer, came through with a 2-run single to right to put Germany in front. Gronauer, Glaser and Kotowski drew three straight walks to force in two runs and make it 7-3. Jonathan Mottay relieved Lemestre and was equally wild, hitting 1B Michael Franke to force in a final run.

  • Flag of Sweden Sweden 5, Flag of Greece Greece 3. The game began as a high-scoring affair with 7 runs in the first 2 1/2 innings before settling down with only one run the remainder of the way.

Sweden got on the board in the second thanks to bad Greek defense behind former AAA hurler Pete Sikaras. 3B Peter Johannessen and DH Philip Gajzler hit into back-to-back errors by Greek 3B Jamie Lekas. RF Robin Lausén bunted the runners over, then C Björn Johannessen laid down a squeeze bunt to drive in his brother. A passed ball by C Nikko Tountas made it 2-0. Greece managed to tie it in the second against Joakim Claesson. With two away, Tountas singled and Lekas hit a fly to center, which CF Christoffer Johansson dropped for a 3-base error. LF Harry Koulos followed with a RBI single.

In the third, Sweden continued their offensive. LF Rickard Leander led off with a double and 2B Adam Sorgi singled him home. SS Matt Merrifield was plunked by Sikaras. Peter Johannessen hit into a force at third. Gajzler followed with a 2-run single to make it 5-2. Sikaras would allow no more runs and finish with 10 whiffs, but the damage had been done. Meanwhile, Claesson, David Long and Christian Staehely gave up just one run in the last 7 innings to finish off the win and improve to 3-2.

[edit] September 12

  • 9th/10th place game: Flag of Belgium Belgium 3, Flag of Croatia Croatia 2. In a close battle for 9th place, Belgium prevailed despite 8 walks from starter Ben Van Nuffel.

Croatia began the scoring in the third. SS Chris Beck hit into an error by 2B Dennis Ribbens. With two outs, he stole second then scored on a double by 1B Filip Berecka. Belgium answered in the bottom of the third against Jadran Dadić, on a one-out double by LF Sim Ruts, a single by CF Steven De Lannoy and a sacrifice fly by Ribbens.

Belgian RF Thomas De Wolf doubled to lead off the bottom of the 4th and 1B Hans Heyrman got an infield hit, De Wolf holding. 3B Dennis De Quint bunted both runners over. DH Robin Roevens struck out, but teenaged catcher Sam Boermans hit into a 2-run error by Beck to put Belgium ahead, 3-1. Croatia got back within a run in the 5th on a one-out walk by Van Nuffel to Beck and a 2-out RBI double by DH Ivan Račić. Neither team would score again, though. Kenneth Sips relieved Van Nuffel in the 7th and retired all seven batters he faced to save the game for the Belgians.

  • 11th/12th place game: Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 6, Flag of Russia Russia 2. Britain avoided a last-place finish in a match-up of former Silver Medal winners from the Euros (Britain in 2007 and Russia in 2001), as Russia finished without a win.

Russia opened quickly off Benjamin Pearson, as CF Alexandr Vasilyev tripled and 2B Artemiy Artamonov singled him in. Britain tied it in the second against Nikol Chermoshentsev, as 3B Chris Falls had a one-out single, stole second and came around an out and a walk later on a hit by CF Brad Marcelino. Russia retook the lead in the second as 3B Oleg Semenov walked, advanced on a balk and a wild pitch and scored on a grounder by SS Maxim Ayzatulin. They would not score against, though, against Pearson or reliever Alex Smith (who worked the final 3 2/3 innings for the save).

In the fifth, Britain went ahead for good. With one out, PH Maikel Azcuy singled, as did C Aedan McQueary-Ennis and LF Matt McGraw to tie it. An error by Vasilyev on McGraw's hit scored McQueary-Ennis. After a fly out, Falls doubled home McGraw for a 4-2 lead. Britain finished the scoring with two 7th-inning runs off reliever Nick Lobanov, formerly of the Twins chain. McQueary-Ennis finished the day with 3 hits and McGraw with 3 RBI.

[edit] September 13

  • Flag of Spain Spain 6, Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 5. The two teams went extra innings before the Czechs wound up losing a close match to open the second round.

Spain got a first-inning run off Jan Blažek without a hit, as LF Daniel Martinez and RF Franklin Tavarez started off with back-to-back walks and Blažek threw a wild pitch. CF Paco Figueroa then hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. They almost added another run in the second. 1B Richard Montiel hit a one-out single and advanced on a botched pick-off attempt by Blažek. With two away, 2B Juan Salazar singled to right; Montiel tried to score on the play, but was gunned down at the plate by RF Martin Veselý.

Spain botched another shot in the third. With two away, Blažek hit Paco Figueroa. DH Dewis Navarro and 3B Jesús Golindano then hit back-to-back singles, but C Leo Hernández grounded out to end that threat and strand the bases loaded. Meanwhile, Leslie Nacar was cruising. He ran into trouble in the 5th, though, as CF Matěj Hejma had a leadoff single, 2B Jakub Hajtmar hit a one-out single and LF Jakub Malik drew a two-out walk. In the clutch, Nacar struck out 3B Jan Drábek.

The Czechs finally did score in the 7th when Hejma deposited a leadoff home run into left-center. After SS Martin Schneider hit a two-out single, Spain relieved Nacar with Remigio Leal. Malik greeted the elderly Cuban with a run-scoring triple, but Drábek again struck out in the clutch. The Czech Republic had a 2-1 lead, though.

Spain struck back in the bottom of the 7th with their first runs off Blažek since the first. With two away, Blažek hit Paco Figueroa and Navarro singled. Marek Minarik relieved, but did not do the trick, as Golindano smacked a 2-run double to center to give Spain the lead back.

In the top of the 8th, former Marlins minor leaguer Manny Olivera became Spain's 3rd hurler but PH Martin Drong greeted him with a bunt single and he was quickly yanked in favor of Eduardo Morlan. A passed ball by Hernández advanced Drong to second. 1B Pavel Budský hit a RBI single to tie the game again. C Petr Čech grounded into a Morlan error, putting men on the corners. Hejma remained hot with a run-scoring single to right-center for a 4-3 Czech edge. Veselý bunted the runners over. Morlan intentionally walked Hajtmar to load the bases. Schneider then grounded out to second, scoring Čech to make it 5-3. Malik ended the inning with a fly-out.

Spain continued the back-and-forth tide in the bottom of the 8th. Minarik walked Montiel and SS Néstor Pérez. Jan Homolka came from the bullpen in relief. Salazar laid down a bunt hit to load the bases. Martinez flew out, the runners holding. PH José Luis Riera stepped in for Tavarez and drew a walk to force in a run. Paco Figueroa then hit his second sacrifice fly to tie the game at five before Navarro flew out to end it.

After two busy innings, the Czechs went down quietly in the 9th against Morlan. Golindano opened the bottom of the 9th with a hit off Homolka. Schneider moved over from shortstop to pitch and got the next three batters to force extra innings. With the Czechs opening with two men aboard in the 10th, Schneider struck out. Malik singled to load the bases, but Morlan retired both Drábek and backup SS Petr Baroch to get out of trouble.

In the bottom of the 10th, Paco Figueroa led off with a bunt hit to load the bases. Navarro went down swinging at an offering from Schneider. Golindano grounded to Baroch, who threw home for the force. PH Kelvin Feliz stepped in for Hernández. He got hit by a Schneider pitch to force in the winning run.

  • Flag of Italy Italy 3, Flag of Germany Germany 0. The unbeaten Italians got a strong test from Germany to start round two. Both teams went to import hurlers, as Brazilian Tiago Da Silva pitched for Italy and American Luke Sommer took the mound for Germany. The two hurlers both had shutouts going for the first 5 1/2 innings. In the bottom of the 6th, Italy got through to Sommer. 3B Juan Carlos Infante singled and stole second, then advanced on a grounder by LF Gabriele Ermini. SS Anthony Granato singled home Infante for a 1-0 lead.

Germany got two men aboard in the 8th on hits by RF Kevin Kotowski and 2B Jendrick Speer but failed to score when #3 batter/CF Max Kepler was retired to end the inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Italy got insurance. Granato hit a two-out double, after which Martin Dewald relieved Sommer. He walked 1B Chris Colabello and C Tyler LaTorre doubled to make it 2-0. After a walk by RF Mario Chiarini, PH Lorenzo Avagnina singled home Colabello for the final run.

Da Silva finished with 10 K and no walks in eight innings, while scattering six hits. Nick Pugliese got the save with a one-walk, hitless 9th inning.

[edit] September 14

  • Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 2, Flag of Spain Spain 0. After the first inning, neither team could manage any offense, but the Netherlands got enough in that opening period to clinch a return to the Gold Medal game. Ricardo Hernández got the first two outs then ran into trouble. 1B Curt Smith drew a full-count walk. CF Kalian Sams singled; an error on the play by 3B Jesús Golindano put both runners in scoring position. LF Wesley Connor singled home Smith. Hernández tried to pick off Connor; while Connor was in a rundown, Sams broke for the plate. SS Néstor Pérez decided to throw home, but Sams beat the throw in for a 2-0 lead. That was more than enough for longtime national team star Rob Cordemans, who held Spain to two hits and a walk in seven shutout innings, fanning nine. Tom Stuifbergen allowed one hit in the 8th. In the 9th, 7' 1" Loek van Mil ran into some trouble trying to close it out.

LF Lorenzo Avagnina led off the 4th with a double for Italy and advanced on a grounder but was thrown out at home trying to score on a grounder by 1B Giovanni Pantaleoni. After another out, 3B Juan Carlos Infante doubled home Pantaleoni for an insurance run. They got one more in the 5th; Granato and LaTorre began with singles. Petr Minařík relieved and got Chiarini to hit into a force at second. Avagnina then grounded home Granato with the game's final run as Minařík threw five shutout innings of relief.

[edit] September 15

  • Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 6, Flag of Sweden Sweden 5. The Czechs and Swedes had a back-and-forth contest, with the Czech Republic prevailing to give Sweden a winless round two and a 6th-place finish.

Fresh off his upset effort against the Netherlands, Michal Sobotka started on a shaky note. 2B Adam Sorgi and SS Matt Merrifield greeted him with back-to-back singles but he recovered to escape the first. In the bottom of the first, Czech Republic 2B Jakub Hajtmar opened with a single off Joakim Claesson and stole second. He advanced on a grounder by DH Martin Drong and came home on a single by LF Jakub Malik. The Czechs got two men on in the second but ran into trouble when both were gunned down running by C Björn Johannessen. Both teams got runners to third in the 4th inning but failed to score, the Czechs still clinging to their 1-0 lead.

In the fifth, CF Christoffer Johansson doubled with one out for Sweden and 3B Johan Höglund walked but Sorgi and Merrifield both flew out. In the bottom of the inning, the Czech Republic got the game's second run. With two outs, Drong singled and stole second, then scored on a Malik single. Sweden finally got on the board in the 6th. 1B Magnus Pilegård led off with a single off Sobotka and RF Peter Johannessen doubled. DH Philip Gajzler grounded home Pilegård but Sobotka escaped further damage. His team went back up by two in the bottom of the 6th. CF Matěj Hejma and C Petr Čech had one-out singles. After a fly-out by 3B Jan Drábek, SS Martin Schneider singled in Hejma to make it 3-1.

Sweden took the lead in the 7th. Johansson opened with a single, chasing the flagging Sobotka from the game. Leoš Kubát relieved and opened by walking Höglund. Sorgi grounded both runners over, then Jan Homolka replaced Kubát. Merrifield hit a sacrifice fly, then Pilegård hit a game-tying double. Peter Johanessen singled for a 4-3 lead and promptly scored on a Gajzler double before LF Rickard Leander was retired to end Sweden's big inning. Phillies farmhand Marek Minarik would toss the final two innings for the Czech Republic without allowing a run and would improve to 2-1 on the tourney as his club rallied.

In the 8th, Hejma drew a leadoff walk from Albin Sivard. After a single by Čech, Christian Staehely relieved Sivard. Drábek bunted the runners over, then a fly by Schneider scored Hejma to close it to 5-4. Jakub Sládek pinch-hit and came through with a game-tying double. Staehely retired Hajtmar to end the inning. In the 9th, Malik drew a one-out walk from Staehely. After veteran 1B Pavel Budský struck out, Staehely plunked Hejma. That brought up Čech and the former Reds farmhand delivered the game-winning single down the right field line.

Peter Johanessen finished with 3 hits for the losers, while the victors were led offensively by Malik (3 for 4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Hejma (2 for 3, BB, HBP, 2 R) and Čech (3 for 4, R, RBI).

Italy got most of their offense in the third. 2B Alessandro Vaglio led off with a single against Orlando Yntema, then was grounded over by LF Stefano De Simoni. 3B Juan Carlos Infante doubled home Vaglio to tie it. After a strikeout by DH Lorenzo Avagnina, SS Anthony Granato singled home Infante and then scored himself on a double by 1B Chris Colabello.

The Netherlands tied it in the fourth. Connor had a one-out single. After Engelhardt flew out, 2B Dwayne Kemp hit a home run to make it 3-3. From there, things remained deadlocked for a while. Arshwin Asjes shut out Italy in the 5th and 6th while Matteo D'Angelo blanked the Orange in the 6th and 7th. In the bottom of the 7th, Italy got singles from De Simoni and Granato. Berry van Driel relieved Asjes and struck out Colabello to end it. After another scoreless inning by D'Angelo, Italy again challenged in the bottom of the 8th. C Tyler LaTorre singled. Following a sacrifice hit, PH Gabriele Ermini struck out. PH Jack Santora hit into an error by 1B Curt Smith to put men on the corners. De Simoni flew out to end that bid.

In the 9th, the drama picked up. Justin Cicatello stepped in from the bullpen for D'Angelo with one away and Smith greeted him with a single. Sams doubled, then Connor drew an intentional walk. That brought up 2012 Hoofdklasse slugging leader Bryan Engelhardt, but the former league MVP went down swinging. Next up was Kemp, who was 3 for 4 with a home run on the day. The hometown hero nearly did it again, driving a shot down the left field line that just went foul, costing him a grand slam. Cicatello recovered to strike him out.

In the bottom of the 9th, Infante drew an opening walk from van Driel. David Bergman relieved; Avagnina bunted one back to him for an error. Granato hit into a force at third, then Colabello was intentionally walked to load the bases. Backup catcher Mattia Reginato came through, though, with a game-winning single to right.

  • Flag of Spain Spain 8, Flag of Germany Germany 6. In a game to determine third place, the Venezuelans, Cubans and Americans playing for Spain beat Germany for their best finish in five years at a European Championship after a woeful 9th-place finish in 2010. Spain actually did use a Spaniard as their starting pitcher, Eric González.

Spain got most of their offense in the first off Enorbel Márquez. LF Daniel Martinez opened with a single. RF Franklin Tavarez bunted into an error by Márquez, but Martinez was out trying for third on the play. CF Paco Figueroa singled, then DH Dewis Navarro slammed a 3-run homer. 3B Jesús Golindano singled, then 1B Richard Montiel doubled. C Leo Hernández, the 7th Spanish batter, made their first out at the plate, grounding in Golindano. SS Néstor Pérez singled in Montiel for a 5-0 lead.

Germany got to González in the second. 3B Max Boldt walked, then LF Simon Gühring singled. DH Christopher Howard bunted the runners over, then C Kai Gronauer singled them in. 1B Ludwig Glaser went deep to close the gap to 5-4. In the third, CF Max Kepler-Rozycki singled, stole second and advanced to third on a Gühring fly and Howard walked, but Mets farmhand Gronauer flew out to end the inning.

From the third through the fifth, both Márquez and González settled down. In the 6th, Germany nearly tied it. Howard led off with a single. Gronauer bunted him over, then Glaser singled to put men on the corners. Antonio Noguera relieved González. Facing RF Kevin Kotowski, he came through big, as Kotowski hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the rally.

In the 7th, Spain built their lead a bit. With one away, Figueroa and Navarro hit back-to-back singles, chasing Márquez. Eugen Heilmann relieved and gave up a run-scoring single to Golindano and another to Montiel to make it 7-4. In the bottom of the inning, Germany moved back within a run. PH Sascha Brockmeyer drew a walk, then 2B Jendrick Speer hit a homer to left to close it to 7-6. Remigio Leal replaced Noguera to end the inning.

Spain got their final run in the 8th. With two away, Martinez hit into an error by Speer (now playing short, as Brockmeyer had batted for SS Lukas Jahn). Tavarez singled on a full count, then Martin Dewald replaced Heilmann. Figueroa singled through the left side, scoring Martinez and making it 8-6. They almost scored again, as Navarro singled as well, but Gühring threw out Tavarez at the plate. Germany failed to reach base against Leal in the 8th. In the 9th, Kepler-Rozycki had a two-out single and Eduardo Morlan replaced fellow Cuban Leal. He struck out Boldt to end it.

[edit] September 16

In front of 4,000 home fans, the Netherlands got on the board first, against John Mariotti. With one away, DH Hainley Statia doubled and advanced on a wild pitch. 1B Curt Smith hit into an error by 3B Juan Carlos Infante, then CF Kalian Sams delivered a sacrifice fly. Infante led off the bottom of the first with a single and LF Lorenzo Avagnina singled as well, but Shairon Martis recovered to fan SS Anthony Granato, 1B Chris Colabello and C Tyler LaTorre in order to escape the jam.

In the third inning, Italy took control of the game. CF Stefano De Simoni led off with a double to right-center and was bunted over by Infante. Avagnina singled home De Simoni to tie it. Avagnina then stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Granato drew a walk and advanced on a passed ball by C Rudy van Heydoorn, Avagnina holding at third. Colabello delivered a single to right to score Avagnina. La Torre coaxed a walk after fouling off three pitches in a row on a full count. The ineffective Martis was yanked in favor of former Reds prospect Juan Carlos Sulbaran, who would be no better. RF Mario Chiarini, the Italian captain, hit a grounder to Urbanus at short. Urbanus threw to second for one but the throw to first was ruled not in time, Chiarini reaching and Granato scoring to make it 3-1. Dutch skipper Brian Farley came out to argue the call with French umpire Franck Lautier.

The Netherlands closed it to 3-2, the closest they would come again, in the 4th, when RF Quintin de Cuba took Mariotti deep. In the bottom of the 4th, Sulbaran was pummeled by Italy. The hurler, who spent 2012 in AA, allowed a single to 2B Alessandro Vaglio. De Simoni laid down a sacrifice bunt. Sulbaran plunked Infante, then Avagnina came up in the clutch again, with a RBI double to right. After an intentional walk to Granato, Colabello flew out for out number two. Sulbaran failed to put it away, though, giving up a 2-run single to LaTorre. Chiarini then doubled in two more runs, chasing Sulbaran. Twins farmhand Tom Stuifbergen relieved and would do much better than the two Antillians had fared, allowing two hits and no runs in 4 1/3 IP while fanning five. Unfortunately, the Netherlands trailed, 8-2, too big a deficit.

Mariotti left in the 6th but his bullpen was nearly as sharp. Chris Cooper tossed two innings, allowing only a double to Statia with two out in the 8th. In the 9th, Marco Grifantini relieved and Sams doubled. LF Wesley Connor flew out but De Cuba doubled home Sams to make it 8-3. Nick Pugliese replaced Grifantini and retired both 2B Dwayne Kemp and PH Bryan Engelhardt to end it.

Avagnina finished the day 4 for 5 with a double, steal, 2 runs and 2 RBI, while Chiarini drove in 3 and Mariotti got the win. For his efforts for the tourney, Avagnina was named MVP.

[edit] Final Standings

  1. Flag of Italy Italy
  2. Flag of Netherlands Netherlands
  3. Flag of Spain Spain
  4. Flag of Germany Germany
  5. Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic
  6. Flag of Sweden Sweden
  7. Flag of Greece Greece
  8. Flag of France France
  9. Flag of Belgium Belgium
  10. Flag of Croatia Croatia
  11. Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
  12. Flag of Russia Russia

[edit] Awards

European Championship


European Championship Most Valuable Player
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