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2014 European Championship

From BR Bullpen


The 2014 European Championship was held from September 12 to September 21, 2014 in the Czech Republic and Germany. The top ten teams from the 2012 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, Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic, Flag of Belgium Belgium, Flag of Spain Spain and Flag of Croatia Croatia. In the 2013 B-Level European Championship, Flag of Russia Russia and Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom won the last two spots, meaning no change in the field for the first time since 1979-1981. It also marks the first European Championship to be hosted by multiple countries.

The first series of round-robin events took place in two pools, one in Regensburg (Germany, Italy, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Belgium) and one in Ostrava (Czech Republic, Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Russia). The top three from each pool went to Brno for the next round, the 4th team from each pool went to Blansko for the 7th/8th place game and the bottom four teams went to Trebic to determine which two would be relegated to the 2015 B-Level European Championship.

The Netherlands won its first title in 7 years and 21st overall, beating defending champion Italy in the finale. Curt Smith, formerly Baseball World Cup MVP, became the first player to win both Baseball World Cup MVP and European Championship MVP, with six homers in these Euros (two in the Gold Medal game).

See 2014 European Championship (Rosters) for roster information.


September 12[edit]

September 13[edit]

September 14[edit]

September 15[edit]

In the bottom of the 3rd, Oduber homered to close it to 7-2. With one away, 1B Curt Smith walked and stole second; DH Gianison Boekhoudt singled him in. Andres Pérez was summoned to replace Balboa but walked CF Kalian Sams, C Shawn Zarraga and RF Yurendell de Caster in order to make it 7-4. He was relieved by José Cruz. In the bottom of the 4th, Oduber got it going again, with a single, then Cruz hit 2B Hainley Statia. With one out, Boekhoudt singled in Oduber and Sams singled as well. Mauro Mazzotti tried a 4th pitcher, Iván Granados, who promptly walked Zarraga to make it 7-6. De Caster then hit a grand slam for a 10-7 lead and the Netherlands never looked back.

Wendell Floranus tossed three shutout innings to wrap it up for a save, allowing only one hit to a previously potent Spanish attack. Meanwhile, the Netherlands scored nine more off Granados and Borja Jones. Oduber finished 5 for 5 with a double, two homers and five runs while Statia, Smith and Boekhoudt each scored 3, Smith driving in 3 and Boekhoudt 4. De Caster drove in 5.

September 16[edit]

In the 4th, Jordy van den Heuvel relieved Van Nuffel. He walked 1B Arthur Paturel, then threw a wild pitch. Lefevre laid down a bunt hit and stole second again. Brown hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 edge. Ozanich shut out Belgium for five but things turned south for France in the 7th with reliever Jonathan Mottay on the hill. Vandesompele drew a leadoff walk. With one out, 3B Dennis Ribbens singled. CF Steven De Lannoy (3 for 4 the rest of the way) struck out. 1B Jamie Verheyleweghen doubled in Vandesompele. Dan Camou replaced Mottay but 2B Benjamin Dille greeted him with a two-run double to tie it. RF Thomas De Wolf, the cleanup man, drew a walk, but SS Dennis De Quint flew out to end the rally.

Belgium then went ahead in the 8th. Pierrick Lemestre hit DH Robin Roevens to open the inning and Vandesompele bunted into a force at second. Backup C Sam Boermans walked. After Ribbens fanned, De Lannoy singled in Vandesompele then stole second, but Verheyleweghen went down looking. France got Boucheron to third in the bottom of the 8th but C Andy Paz struck out against Kenny Vandenbranden and backup 2B Jorge Hereaud grounded out.

Belgium had a chance for insurance in the 9th as Dille reached on a Hereaud error and took second on a wild pitch by Lemestre. De Wolf singled Dille to third, but De Quint struck out and Roevens hit into a twin killing. In the bottom of the 9th, Belgium tried to lock up the upset. Vandenbranden hit Paturel on a 0-2 pitch then threw a wild pitch before fanning Lefevre. Brown came up big, though, with a two-run homer to left for a four-RBI day, preventing the upset.

September 18[edit]

  • Flag of Italy Italy 6, Flag of Spain Spain 4. Italy went a step further towards a repeat title while Spain's chances of the Gold Medal game got a significant blow. Italy also avenged a loss to Spain in the Italy Baseball Week finale. In the bottom of the second, Italy scored against Antonio Noguera. 3B Alex Liddi hit a single and SS Oscar Angulo made an error on the play. DH Mario Chiarini singled him in for a 1-0 lead. In the third, SS Juan Carlos Infante hit a one-out double off Noguera and CF Stefano Desimoni walked. Infante stole third, then 2B Alessandro Vaglio and 1B Alex Sambucci both singled for a 3-0 Italian lead, before Liddi hit into an inning-ending double play. Italy padded their lead further in the 5th. Infante drew a leadoff walk, then Desimoni hit into a force at second. Desimoni stole second and Vaglio drew a four-pitch walk. Andres Pérez relieved Noguera and hit Sambucci to load the bases. Liddi hit a sacrifice fly to score Desimoni with his second run. Italy led 4-0.

Carlos Richetti, meanwhile, had fanned seven and allowed only one walk and no hits through five innings against Spain's strong offense. He flagged in the 6th, though. DH Franklin Tavarez singled. With one out, he stole second and took third on a throwing error by C Alberto Mineo. CF Daniel Martinez grounded in Tavarez. SS Oscar Angulo singled to knock out Richetti. Yovani D'Amico came in but gave up a homer to 2B Paco Figueroa on his second pitch and it was suddenly a one-run game. José Escalona replaced D'Amico and ended the inning.

Pat Venditte relieved D'Amico to open the 7th. With two outs, C Blake Ochoa doubled and Tavarez single him in to tie the game at four. Italy had a good shot at retaking the lead in the bottom of the 7th. With one out, Infante drew a walk from Pérez. Desimoni doubled and Vaglio was intentionally walked to bring up cleanup man Sambucci. The move paid off as Sambucci lined out and former big leaguer Liddi struck out.

In the bottom of the 8th, Italy broke the tie. Mineo drew a one-out walk then came home on a double by PH Lorenzo Avagnina (2012 European Championship MVP). RF Mattia Reginato popped out, but Pérez balked Avagnina to third and walked Infante. José Cruz relieved Pérez and gave up a run-scoring single to Desimoni for a 6-4 Italian lead; Desimoni had produced three of Italy's six runs. In the 9th, Tiago Da Silva came on to close it, relieving Venditte. He went 1-2-3, fanning 3B Jesús Golindano and 1B Jesus Ustariz and getting Ochoa on a grounder.

  • Flag of Croatia Croatia 11, Flag of Sweden Sweden 10. Sweden remained the lone winless team, losing a slugfest with Croatia. The Croatian offense is led by RF/P/1B Slobodan Gales (3 R), SS/2B Ross Vukovich (3 H), SS Antonio Horvatic (3 for 3 off the bench) and CF Dario Colovic (2 R, 2 RBI). Sweden's offense is powered by veteran 1B Magnus Pilegård (4 for 5, 3 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI) and CF Peter Johannessen (3 for 6, 2 RBI). Matija Grofelnik got the win and Gales tossed two shutout innings of relief for the save, though Grofelnik replaced Gales for the 9th (Grofelnik had moved to 1B when Gales relieved) and allowed two runs, making it an unusual save as the winning pitcher replaced the saving one. Jakob Claesson was roughed up for 8 hits and 8 runs in 4 innings in a loss; Albin Sivard provides excellent relief (1 H, 0 R, 4 K in 2 IP) but it is too late.
  • 7th/8th place game - Flag of Belgium Belgium 12, Flag of Russia Russia 2. Belgian had their best finish in 13 years (interestingly, Russia's best finish had been 13 years prior), winning in 8 innings thanks to the mercy rule in the lone game held in Blansko. Kevin Desmedt allowed one hit in five shutout innings and Robbe De Jongh finished it up, while former minor leaguer Nick Lobanov took the defeat. 1B Jamie Verheyleweghen and 2B Benjamin Dille each had three runs and two RBI while 3B Robin Roevens drove in four. Belgium finished 3-3.

September 19[edit]

In the first four innings, Harry Glynne had allowed Spain to load the bases in the second but had not given up any runs. In the 5th, he allowed a leadoff single to DH Richard Montiel and walked 2B Daniel Sánchez (who had played in Germany in 2014). Luke Sommer relieved Glynne. CF Daniel Martinez bunted the runners over and SS Oscar Angulo flew out, but LF Paco Figueroa singled to make it 3-1. Sommer retired 3B Jesús Golindano to end that inning.

Nacar was yanked after 7, relieved by Eric González, who would go 1-2-3 in the 8th. In the bottom of the 8th, Spain staged a rally off Sommer. Golindano led off with a single and 1B Jesus Ustariz singled as well, but Golindano was picked off. PH Danny Figueroa walked on a full count. 39-year-old Cuban Enorbel Márquez, a long-time star for Germany, relieved but allowed a single to RF Franklin Tavarez to cut the lead to 3-2. Montiel flew out. In the clutch, Sánchez doubled to score PR Aritz Garcia; on the throw home, former Brewers farmhand Gühring made a crucial error to let Tavarez score the winning run. González went 1-2-3 in the 9th against Wilhelm, Howard (a strikeout) and Ehmcke to end it. Spain remained in the lead for third place.

September 20[edit]

September 21[edit]

  • Gold Medal game: Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 6, Flag of Italy Italy 3. The Netherlands won after dropping the prior couple European Championships to Italy. The Dutch saved four-time Olympian Rob Cordemans for the finale as he had suffered injuries in a fire at his home the prior month. He did his share, fanning four batters in being perfect the first time through the order. CF Randolph Oduber homered off Mike Colla to open the bottom of the first and LF Kalian Sams added a solo shot in the second to give the Netherlands an early cushion.

Italy challenged in the 4th on hits by SS Juan Carlos Infante and CF Stefano Desimoni. 2B Alessandro Vaglio bunted the runners over, then Cordemans K'd 1B Alex Sambucci. DH Alex Liddi was given a free pass then Cordemans whiffed C Alberto Mineo for his sixth strikeout. In the bottom of the 4th, 1B Curt Smith homered with none out and Sams did the same with one out for Colla's fourth gopher ball, sending him from the game in favor of Jose Escalona.

Fellow Dutch team veteran David Bergman relieved Cordemans in the 5th. Italy had a chance in the 6th as Desimoni hit into an error by Statia and Vaglio drew a walk. Rain delayed the game for 10 minutes before Sambucci fanned. That brought up the Italian ex-big leaguer, Liddi, but he didn't deliver, hitting into a 5-4 double play. In the bottom of the 6th, 2B Hainley Statia singled off Italy's third hurler, Tiago Da Silva. Smith walked but Da Silva fanned the next two batters before C Shawn Zarraga hit into a Sambucci error to make it 5-0.

Italy staged a comeback in the 7th. RF Mario Chiarini hit a one-out double and 3B Erick Epifano walked. LF Lorenzo Avagnina doubled in Chiarini and Infante drew a walk as well. Desimoni drew Bergman's third walk to force in a run and he was replaced by Tom Stuifbergen, who missed the entire regular season in the Netherlands due to injury. The former Twins minor leaguer hit Vaglio to make it 5-3, though TV replays later showed he was not hit. Sambucci hit one back to the mound and Stuifbergen went home to get Infante. Liddi again came up in the clutch and again did not deliver as Stuifbergen struck him out on three pitches. Stuifbergen fanned two of three batters in the 8th as well.

The Orange padded their lead in the bottom of the 8th as Smith hit the 5th home run for the Netherlands today and his 6th of these Euros. On a walk to DH Gianison Boekhoudt, Italian manager Marco Mazzieri was ejected for arguing that call; he had also disputed home plate umpire David Kulhanek's call on a strikeout of Mineo in the 7th. Kulhanek ejected Mazzieri this time. Italy had its last chance to preserve its title in the 9th. Avagnina flew out to Sams for out number one. Infante hit a grounder to 3B Nick Urbanus, who made a nice play for out number two. That brought up Desimoni, 1 for 3 with a walk and a RBI on the day. Stuifbergen retired him on a grounder to Statia to end it.

Final Standings[edit]

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