2011 European Championship Qualifiers
The 2011 European Championship Qualifiers featured 22 teams competing for five spots in the 2012 European Championship.
- 1 Pools
- 2 Games
- 2.1 Antwerp
- 2.2 Barcelona
- 2.3 Krymsk
- 2.4 Tel Aviv
- 2.5 Zagreb
- 2.6 MVPs
- 2.7 Standings
Moldova was to play but was a late withdrawal)
- Slovakia 10, Poland 5
- Belgium 11, Austria 0. Yoni Vischschoonmaker drives in four, while Terrence Antonacci allows just four hits.
- Austria 9, Latvia 2. Clemens Cichocki and Gregor Klinc each drive in three as Austria rebounds from an opening loss.
- Belgium 10, Slovakia 7. The hosts get a real scare. Starters Pavol Teslik (Slovakia) and Yannick Gontier (Belgium) each toss scoreless ball through five, though Teslik walks seven. Slovakia then exploded for five runs in the 7th against Gontier, Yannick Sel and Kenny Vandenbranden. Belgium rallied, though, in the 6th, with six more walks (four from losing pitcher Simon Prochaczka), four hits and two Slovakian errors to produce eight runs and go ahead to stay. Overall, Belgian batters drew 15 walks.
- Poland 15, Latvia 0. Lukasz Snopek fanned eight in a six-inning mercy-rule shutout, with one hit and one walk allowed. Ariel Rainko went 3 for 4 with 3 runs.
- Austria 5, Slovakia 0. Austria's Walter Strasser and Christian Tomsich combine on a 4-hit, 12-strikeout gem. Peter Ferak had three hits for Austria.
- Poland 6, Austria 1. American hurler John Dobkowski overcomes six errors behind him to pitch Poland to an upset over favored Austria.
- Belgium 17, Latvia 0. Cedric Desmedt, Nicolas Migeot and Nicky Vlyminckx combined on a five-inning no-hit, no-walk game for the hosts. Dave Herssens drove in seven with a single, triple and home run in three at-bats.
- Slovakia 16, Latvia 6. Tomáš Biskorovajny drove in three to lead a balanced attack as Slovakia evened its record at 2-2, Latvia falling to 0-4.
- Belgium 5, Poland 3. Robbe De Jongh allowed only one run on three hits in seven innings but Kenny Vandenbranden (2 R, 5 H in 2 IP) provided little relief in letting Poland make it a game. Dennis Ribbens went 3 for 4.
- Belgium 7, Austria 1. Belgium cruised back into the Euros with a 3-hit effort by Terrence Antonacci (5 IP) and Yannick Sel (4 IP). Hans Heyrman went 3 for 3 with a walk, run and RBI. Christian Tomsich took the loss.
- Switzerland 13, Republic of Ireland 2
- Spain 15, Finland 0. Finland commits seven errors while getting just two hits against Yoel Hernandez, Pedro Pablo Belmonte and Jorge Balboa.
- Switzerland 16, Finland 3. Finland again has more errors (7) than hits (3) while Switzerland keeps on rolling.
- Spain 16, Hungary 0. Former minor leaguers Eric González and Lowin Sacramento combine on holding Hungary to two hits, while Franklin Tavarez drives in four for the hosts.
- Republic of Ireland 10, Hungary 0. T.J. O'Leary went the distance in a four-hit whitewash as Hungary had more errors (6) than hits. Zsolt Zalabai did okay, with two unearned runs in six innings, before Ireland turned it into a rout against his bullpen.
- Spain 6, Switzerland 0. Spain probably gets its toughest challenge in the pool, but passes easily as anticipated. Ricardo Hernandez, Manny Olivera and Remigio Leal combine on a one-hit shutout as Spanish pitchers have still not allowed a run.
- Hungary 6, Finland 1. After two straight shutout losses by a combined 26-0 score, Hungary rolled to a win. Tamas Radvanyi went 4 for 5 with two steals and two RBI, while Gabor Nagy got the victory.
- Spain 16, Republic of Ireland 0. Spain continues its shutout run through the first round as Edgar Arismendi and Pedro Pablo Belmonte combine on a 3-hitter. Daniel Figueroa goes 2 for 2 with two walks, two runs and three steals from the leadoff slot.
- Republic of Ireland 4, Finland 2. Finland played its closest game yet, taking a 1-0 lead in the first and holding it into the 5th, before falling to Ireland. Nathaniel Anglin whiffed 11 in a complete game win for the Irish.
- Switzerland 9, Hungary 2. Andrea Girasole allowed two hits and one run in six to pitch Switzerland into the final round against Spain.
- Spain 3, Switzerland 2. After pounding the opposition through the first round, Spain had to battle to win the finale. Facing a lineup composed primarily of players with US minor league experience, Swiss youngster Lukas Croton tossed no-hit ball for five. Meanwhile, former Astros farmhand Antonio Noguera matched him for three. In the fourth, Switzerland took a surprising lead and they tacked on an insurance run in the 5th. In the bottom of the 6th, Croton finally yielded. It started with one out when diminutive Daniel Sánchez reached on an error. Danny Figueroa singled him over. After a second out, Croton threw a wild pitch then walked Marc Carrillo. 37-year-old Dominican veteran José Luis Riera then slapped a two-run single through the middle to tie it. In the 7th, Yancarlo Franco doubled, advanced on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Néstor Pérez. 48-year-old Cuban Remigio Leal relieved Noguera and allowed one hit, no runs and no walks over the final four innings while striking out six to pick up the crucial win.
- Ukraine 9, Belarus 0. A forfeit win for the Ukraine as Belarus had not arrived on site in time.
- Russia 7, Ukraine 0. Russia avenged their 2007 European Championship loss to their rivals in a match-up of former USSR republics. Former Twins farmhand Andrey Lobanov fanned 8 and allowed four hits and no walks in 7 1/3 shutout innings while Anton Shirokiy tossed 1 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings with two more whiffs to end it. Dmytro Limarenko gives up four runs in five for the loss. Sergey Solovev goes 3 for 4 with four RBI to pace Russia's offense.
- Ukraine 16, Belarus 4. Seven different Ukrainians scored multiple runs in an easy romp. Belarus, like many other losers in the qualifiers, has more errors (4) than hits (3).
- Russia 5, Belarus 0. Denis Leonov and Nick Lobanov teamed up on a 3-hit, 10-strikeout shutout of Belarus, while Artemiy Artamonov fell a homer shy of the cycle and drove in two.
- Russia 10, Belarus 0. Sergey Solovev had his second 3-hit, 4-RBI game of the series, while Maxim Shevchenko and Andrey Filippov combined on a four-hit shutout.
- Russia 8, Ukraine 2. Russia clinches a return to the European Championship after missing out in 2010, rolling past Ukraine. Viacheslav Vasilyev allows one run and three hits in six innings and is followed by solid relief. Alexander Vasiliev goes 3 for 4 with a walk, 2 steals, 2 runs and a RBI while Victor Samchuk cracks a 3-run homer.
- United Kingdom 14, Lithuania 3. Alex Smith beats Edvardas Matusevičius while the top three of the British batting order (Aaron Hornostaj, Aedan McQueary-Ennis and Matt McGraw) score three runs apiece.
- Israel 11, Georgia 1. Shlomo Lipetz fans 9 and tosses a 3-hit complete game for the hosts, while Georgian hurlers combine for 16 walks in the loss.
- Lithuania 14, Georgia 1. As expected, Lithuania pounded their fellow former USSR member. Georgia had 7 errors and walked 8 batters, while Edvardas Matusevičius was 3 for 5 for the victors.
- United Kingdom 8, Israel 6. Israel staged a late rally in front of 650 fans but failed to beat the favored Brits. Aeden McQueary-Ennis fanned 15 and allowed four hits and one run in 7 innings, leaving with a 8-1 lead. Israel rallied off reliever Stephen Spragg, scoring five runs on three walks and three hit batsmen. Michael Johnson entered to save it. Guy Stevens took the loss. Britain was led by former Giants farmhand Aaron Hornostaj (4 for 5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI) and one of their few born-and-raised players, Brad Marcelino (3 for 3, 2B, BB, 3 R, RBI).
- United Kingdom 8, Georgia 7. Unbeaten Great Britain met a Georgian team that had been outscored 25-2, so this would be one-sided, right? Wrong. Britain led only 3-1 after five, before Georgian starter Otari Aivazasvili allowed five runs in the sixth. After being shut down by Spencer Kreisberg for one run through six, Georgia got to relievers Brendan Cunliffe and Stephen Spragg for six runs to make it a one-run game. They had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the 9th, but Sam Whitehead got Giorgi Jalabadze to hit into a game-ending twin killing.
- Israel 13, Lithuania 2. Dan Rothem goes the distance for the win, while catcher Eitan Maoz goes 3 for 4.
- Israel 7, United Kingdom 0. Oren Gal (3 for 4, 3 R) and Eitan Maoz (3 for 5, 2 2B, 4 RBI) lead the offense in a crucial stay-alive win as neither Paul Waterman nor Mike Renery is able to contain the Israelis. Shlomo Lipetz turns in a gem, with a complete game shutout against a team with a couple former minor leaguers.
- United Kingdom 5, Israel 2. The Gal-Maoz duo again strikes, with a Gal double and Maoz single producing a first-inning run against Alex Smith. Lipetz starts again but tires in the 4th after 12 shutout innings and allows two hits followed by a 2-run error by Gal. In the 5th, Brad Marcelino doubled and Aaron Hornostaj singled him in to put Great Britain up, 3-1. Smith makes it hold with solid work after the first. In the bottom of the 9th, Israel trailed, 5-1, but the home team rallied. With one out, Alon Leichman singled. After Gal flew out, Smith threw a wild pitch and Maoz singled. Maoz stole second, then Dan Rothem drew a walk to put the potential winning run at the plate. Michael Johnson was summoned from the bullpen to try to quench the rally. He promptly plunked Ophir Katz to make it a 3-run game. Johnson retired Jesse Sultanik on a grounder to end Israel's dramatic bid to win their first trip ever to a European Championship.
- Slovenia 16, Serbia 1.
- Croatia 9, Romania 5. The hosts beat Romanian ace Mihai Burlea in what figures to be their toughest round-robin match. Mario Zdelar gets the victory.
- Bulgaria 13, Serbia 3. Serbia again loses in a mercy rule game. Dimitar Nassapov leads Bulgaria with three runs.
- Croatia 10, Slovenia 0. Slobodan Gales scores three and drives in three more to lead Croatia's offense. Ernesto Pereira, Danijel Levak and Marin Farkas combine on a 5-hit shutout.
- Bulgaria 11, Romania 5. Bulgaria improved to 2-0, led by four hits apiece by Alexander Gorrin and Petar Petrov.
- Croatia 18, Serbia 2. When the unbeaten hosts met the winless Serbs, the outcome was easy to figure out. Slobodan Gales scored four runs and Filip Berecka drove in five in a romp.
- Bulgaria 4, Slovenia 2. Bulgaria remained unbeaten as Martin Andonov fanned 17 while allowing only two hits (but issued five walks). Petar Petrov went four for four.
- Romania 17, Serbia 0. Catalin Lazar tosses a shutout, while 12 Romanian players score in a five-inning mercy rule rout.
- Slovenia 3, Romania 1. Slovenia evened its record to 2-2, scoring all its runs in the 6th to break a scoreless game.
- Croatia 8, Bulgaria 4. In a matchup of unbeaten teams, Bulgaria nearly upset Croatia, leading 4-2 going into the bottom of the 8th. Alexander Blagoev finally tired in that frame, though. With one out, he plunked Ivan Račić and walked Filip Berecka. Ernesto Pereira singled. An error by 2B Hristo Dundalov let in Račić and Berecka. Matija Grofelnik singled in the go-ahead run. Romeil Agladious and Slobodan Gales followed with run-scoring insurance singles, then a balk by a reliever closed the scoring.
- Croatia 9, Bulgaria 4. Croatia locked up its return to the Euros with another win over Bulgaria. Again, Bulgaria kept it close for a time, as it stood at 1-1 after four and a half. In the bottom of the 5th, Slobodan Gales tripled in one run then scored to put Croatia ahead for good. Gales finished 3 for 4 with 3 runs, while Ernesto Pereira got the win and Marin Farkas tossed 2 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings for the save.
- Belgian second baseman Dennis Ribbens was awarded the MVP in Antwerp, after hitting .474/.565/.474 with 3 runs, 3 RBI and 4 steals (in 4 tries) over five games. He also played error-free ball in the infield.
- Spanish first baseman José Luis Riera took home the MVP in Barcelona, going 4 for 12 with two triples, four walks, three runs and four RBI in five games.
- Russian outfielder Victor Samchuk was MVP in Krymsk, going 7 for 11 with a double, homer, three walks, four steals (in four tries), four runs and four RBI in four games.
- Great Britain catcher-pitcher Aeden McQueary-Ennis won the MVP in Tel Aviv. He hit .333/.417/.524 with 5 runs and 7 RBI in five games, while going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched.
- Croatian outfielder Slobodan Gales got the MVP in Zagreb. He hit .450/.577/.750 with 9 runs, 6 RBI and four steals (in four attempts) in five games. He also won one game as a pitcher.