2015 B-Level European Championship
The 2015 B-Level European Championship featured the two worst teams from the 2014 European Championship ( Sweden and Croatia), the top teams from the 2014 C-Level European Championship ( Israel and Slovenia - Slovenia having played in the 2013 B-Level Euros but being relegated to the C Pool) and returning middle teams from the 2013 B-Level European Championship ( Belarus, Lithuania, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Poland and Switzerland). From the 2013 B-Level, United Kingdom and Russia had moved up to A and stayed there in 2014 and Republic of Ireland had fallen to the C Level and not returned. Held in July and August 2015, the event took place in Vienna and Karlovac.
- Slovakia 3, Ukraine 2. Marek Bošanský (Slovakia) and Dmytro Limarenko (Ukraine) had a fine pitching duel; it was 1-1 into the 7th when SS Roman Boiko doubled in LF Dmytro Nelipa (Boiko finished 3 for 5). Limarenko left after 8 innings with one run, eight whiffs and 143 pitches thrown. Slovakia then went to town against three Ukrainian relievers who failed to close it out, Dmytro Kiliyevich taking the loss. PH Jakub Okasa had a one-out single to score PR Richard Gottschall. Backup 2B Marek Červený then had a two-out single to drive in C Alexander Vaclavik with the winner.
- Bulgaria 11, Slovenia 1. Evgenii Chernozemsky struck out 13 in a two-hitter, allowing one unearned run in seven innings, and got a balanced offense to support him. Jaka Smolnikar took the loss.
- Croatia 9, Switzerland 2. Croatia started its defense of its spot in the A Pool with a strong win as Slobodan Gales went the distance to beat Hide Oshima. 2B Ross Vukovich and CF Nikola Sertić each drove in three while C Andrija Tomić had three hits.
- Israel 13, Belarus 1. CF Aric Weinberg had a triple shy of the cycle, two walks and four runs as a sparkplug from the leadoff slot while 1B Simon Rosenbaum and 2B Oren Gal each drove in three. Belarusian pitchers walked 17 and allowed 13 hits. 2015 Padres draftee Dean Kremer allowed one hit in six shutout innings, fanning 10. Former Pirates farmhand Alex Lukashevich allows one run in four innings but three in the fifth and two relievers give up nine runs from the 6th to the 8th.
- Sweden 14, Lithuania 1. Like Croatia, Sweden started their return plans to the A pool on a high note. Jakob Claesson allowed three hits and fanned eight in seven innings to beat Eimantas Zickus (who had played in Sweden's Elitserien). Swedish SS Matt Merrifield leads the way with three hits and five RBI while newcomer 2B/3B Joel Johnson has three hits and four runs.
- Austria 13, Poland 1. Christian Tomsich got the win for host Austria with a strong effort while the offense had numerous contributors including 3 runs apiece from CF Dominik Talir and DH Joachim Frick, 3 hits by C Moritz Hackl and three RBI from LF Dominik Loffler. Marek Deska had the loss for Poland.
- Slovakia 17, Slovenia 7. CF Tomáš Biskorovajny (4 RBI, a triple shy of the cycle), SS Jan Jablonka (4 R) and LF Jaroslav Sitar each bang out three hits for the Slovakians, who get 18 hits and 8 walks to beat the Slovenians (who made errors as well). Jakub Okasa got the win over Igor Kep.
- Ukraine 12, Switzerland 10. SS Roman Boiko goes 4 for 4 with a walk, three runs and two RBI to lead Ukraine to a comeback win. Switzerland scores eight in the first off Serhiy Shtapura and Maksym Lisnytskyi. Lisnytskyi settles down, though, allowing only two more runs in the next 7 1/3 IP before Heorhii Hvrytishvili wraps it up for the save. Ukraine doesn't go ahead until the bottom of the 8th. Daniel Levine takes the loss.
- Croatia 9, Bulgaria 5. Croatia survives a scare; the game is 5-5 entering the 8th but Croatia scored four in that frame, thanks in part to two of Bulgaria's seven errors today. Antonio Horvatic gets the win in relief, Martin Andonov takes the loss. Andonov and SS Dimitar Nassapov both went deep in a losing effort. Eight different Croatians score, though none by LF Franko Vrlić Kovačić, who led the team with three hits.
- Sweden 10, Belarus 9. Belarus gives Sweden a serious scare. It is 6-6 after nine. In the top of the 10th, Alex Lukashevich hits a three-run double off Nicklas Melin. In the bottom of the inning, though, with two outs and the lead down to one, backup RF Aliaksei Kachurka drops a potential game-ending fly, instead making a two-run error to lose it; the play immediately followed an error by 2B Yauheni Karalevich. Belarus had made no errors in the first nine innings before their late collapse. C Joel Johnson scored three and drove in two for Sweden.
- Israel 8, Poland 6. Another dramatic game in Vienna. Poland leads 6-4 going into the bottom of the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th, though, DH Ophir Katz singled off Patel Sztejka, as did PH Dean Kremer. That chased Sztejka, who had worked the whole game; John Dobkowski relieved. CF Aric Weinberg lined out, but RF David Weiss singled for his third hit of the day. That brought up C Eitan Maoz, who smashed a grand slam to end it in an exciting fashion.
- Austria 9, Lithuania 7. The hosts survive a scare as winner Stefan Ludescher and Fabian Hirnschal (who got the save) combine to allow one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief after Clemens Cichocki gave up 6 runs (4 earned), 5 hits, 5 walks and 2 hit batsmen in 4 1/3 IP. DH Joachim Frick scored three runs to lead the Austrian offense. Edvardas Matusevičius fanned 10 in 4 2/3 innings of relief for Lithuania (3 R, 2 ER) but took the loss.
- Ukraine 10, Slovenia 2. The first Ukrainian game not loaded with drama. C Bodgan Stovba scores 3, LF Dmytro Nelipa has 3 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI and CF Kostiantyn Chukhas had 2 runs, 2 RBI and 3 steals, while Yevhenii Tvachenko (1 R in 6 IP, W) and Ivan Skrynskyii (1 R in 3 IP, Sv) provide the pitching. C Matic Lesnjak has two of Slovenia's four hits and both runs. Matevz Vodopivec is handed the loss.
- Bulgaria 8, Switzerland 4. Alexander Blagoev gets a complete game win while 2B Dimitar Nassapov homers, walks twice, scores twice and drives in two. RF Sven Leemann hits a two-run homer for Switzerland; Andreas Ruesch takes the loss.
- Croatia 10, Slovakia 5. In a matchup of previously unbeaten teams, Croatia kept on rolling. It was a day for poor control as the teams combined for more walks (18) than hits (14). Ernesto Pereira threw 156 pitches and walked ten in the win while Pavol Teslik threw 155 pitches and walked eight in the loss, both hurlers going the distance. CF Nikola Sertić had two runs and a RBI while 1B Mario Manojlov went 2 for 2 with a double, two walks, a run and two RBI. In a losing cause, 2B Jaroslav Sitar was a triple shy of the cycle and drove in all five Slovakian runs.
- Sweden 13, Poland 4. Sweden's offense is highlighted by their veterans as 40-year-old C Björn Johannessen (4 for 5, 4 RBI), 36-year-old 1B Magnus Pilegård (3 for 4, 2 R) and 30-year-old LF Peter Johannessen lead the charge. Jakob Syren gets the win, Jacob Siskolovski the loss. SS Pawel Jasiakiewicz has 3 hits.
- Lithuania 10, Belarus 4. Marius Belandis struck out 8 and allowed four hits in 6 2/3 IP to overcome 7 walks to win; Andrej Los was the losing hurler. 1B/CF Edvardas Matusevičius and DH/1B Klaidas Stravinskas each score three runs for the victors.
- Israel 10, Austria 1. The hosts fall in front of 780 fans as Shlomo Lipetz throws a 5-hit, 8-strikeout complete game. He is backed offensively by C Eitan Maoz (4 H) and RF/CF David Weiss (2 H, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI) among others. Felix Zimmerle is the losing pitcher.
- Switzerland 5, Slovenia 3. Two winless teams squared off and it was 3-3 into the bottom of the 8th when PH Stefan Koller hit a sacrifice fly to score backup 2B Tim Wittwer with the winner. Tobias Siegrist got the win in relief of Andrea Girasole while Andrej Potzjak takes the loss. SS Takanobu Oshima has three of the eight Swiss steals.
- Slovakia 12, Bulgaria 10. CF Tomáš Biskorovajny (4 for 6, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), DH Marek Červený (3 R) and SS Jakub Okasa (3 H) lead the Slovakian offense to victory. Adam Zverbik got the win (3 R in 7 1/3 IP) though bis bullpen nearly blew it; Marek Bošanský saved the game. Petyo Petkov took the loss while Bulgaria made six errors. LF Hristian Temelkov (3 H, 3 R, 2 RBI) was the top Bulgarian performer. Slovakia clinched a spot in the finals against Croatia.
- Croatia 5, Ukraine 4. Croatia survives a close game to remain unbeaten at home. Matko Dabo got the win and Antonio Horvatic the save, while C Andrija Tomić went 3 for 4 with a run and two RBI. 1B Kostyantyn Boyko went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBI in a close Ukrainian effort.
- Belarus 16, Poland 13. Polish pitchers walked 15 and Belarusian pitchers 11 in a wild, high-scoring Eastern European contest. Belarus got 4 RBI from RF/CF Damitry Hidleuski and four runs apiece from SS Siarhei Sokal and 1B Anton Pryputnevich. Alex Lukashevich got the win in relief despite 7 runs, 7 walks and 6 hits in 4 1/3 IP. Uladzislau Ilyin got the save as Belarus won its first. For Poland, RF Jakub Wojtczak had 3 hits (2 triples), 2 walks, 3 runs and 2 RBI while 2B Bartek Teska was 3 for 3 with two walks and three RBI. Jakub Kolasinski was handed the defeat.
- Lithuania 7, Israel 5. Israel takes its first loss, as six players combine for seven errors. DH/P Dalius Neliupsius scores three times while 1B Klaidas Stravinskas has two doubles, two runs and two RBI. 1B Simon Rosenbaum has three hits for the losers. Marijus Dargis gets the win despite 10 hits and 4 walks in 6 1/3 IP (allowing three runs), with Eimantas Zickus notching a save. Dan Rothem is the losing pitcher.
- Austria 8, Sweden 5. Austria got a huge comeback win in front of 950 fans to tie with Sweden and Israel atop the Vienna pool at 3-1, with Lithuania one game back. Sweden seemed in control with a 4-0 lead after five against Michael Schneider, while Bo-William Gilligan had allowed no runs. Austria tagged Gilligan for three in the 6th and one in the 7th, though, tying it up. Clemens Cichocki pitched a scoreless 7th for Austria and Fabian Hirnschal worked two shutout frames. Nicklas Melin blanked Austria in the 8th and 9th. In the top of the 10th, Austria erupted for four runs off Melin; Sweden got one back against Hirnschal in the bottom of the inning but that was it. LF Richard Alzinger and CF Dominik Talir each had three hits for Austria while DH Joachim Frick went 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBI.
- Slovakia vs. Switzerland cancelled
- Ukraine 4, Bulgaria 0. Dmytro Limarenko tosses a four-hit, one-walk, nine-strikeout masterpiece to put Ukraine 3rd, Bulgaria 4th in the Karlovac pool, both teams having already been eliminated from the finale. C Bogdan Stova (2 R, RBI) and 1B Yuriy Shvets (R, 2 RBI) produce most of the offense. SS Petar Petrov had half of Bulgaria's hits, while Evgenii Chernozevsky took the loss.
- Croatia 11, Slovenia 4. C Antonio Horvatic (4 R), 2B/SS Fran Stančić-Vidrač (3 H) and LF Pavao Karin (3 RBI) lead Croatia's offense to finish the round-robin unbeaten. Filip Furjan allows three hits in 7 innings but walks six and gives up four runs (all unearned). Rok Cucek fans 10 in six innings in a loss for Slovenia, with 4 hits and 6 walks. Slovenia makes six errors to finish winless.
- Poland 11, Lithuania 0. Marek Deska strikes out 13 of 23 batters he faces, walks none and allows just two hits in a 7-inning mercy rule win; he is perfect in the final four frames. Eimantas Zickus takes the loss. LF Lukasz Nolbrzak goes 3 for 3 with two doubles, a run and three RBI.
- Sweden 9, Israel 8. Given the losses by both teams yesterday, this game would decide one of the finalists from the Vienna pool; barring an upset loss by Austria, the loser would be sent packing. As a result, both teams had to turn to their aces instead of saving them for the finale - 19-year-old Dean Kremer (the first Israeli citizen drafted, a 2015 pick from a California junior college) versus 26-year-old Jakob Claesson (a veteran of four European Championships and a Baseball World Cup). For three innings, neither hurler allowed a run, both helped by double plays. In the fourth, Sweden got to Kremer. 3B Magnus Pilegård singled, LF Peter Johannessen singled with one out and a passed ball by C Eitan Maoz advanced the runners. 1B Nicklas Melin singled them both in.
In the bottom of the 4th, Israel got a one-out single from 1B Simon Rosenbaum, a double by SS Nate Fish and a sacrifice fly from 2B Oren Gal to make it 2-1. In the bottom of the 5th, Israel struck with two outs. CF Aric Weinberg walked and RF David Weiss singled. Maoz came up with a big two-run double to left to put Israel ahead 3-2, then came home himself on a Rosenbaum single. In the top of the 7th, Sweden rallied. SS Daniel Johnson drew a one-out walk and advanced on a grounder. CF Victor Croneld singled, as did 2B Joel Johnson, cutting Israel's lead to 4-3. Pilegård drew a eight-pitch walk to load the bases but DH Matt Merrifield popped up in the clutch.
Israel tacked on insurance in the bottom of the 7th on a one-out ground-rule double by Weinberg and a two-out RBI single by Maoz. Sweden again made it a one-run game in the 8th. Melin doubled with one out and Kremer hit C Björn Johannessen. Kremer was yanked by skipper Peter Kurz after 139 pitches, replaced by Shlomo Lipetz. Lipetz hit Daniel Johnson to load the bases. RF Oscar Holmberg grounded in Melin to make it 5-4, but Croneld grounded out to end the rally, leaving Sweden with one more inning to try to tie it.
Sweden was one inning away from missing the European Championship for the first time since 1960, the longest uninterrupted run by any team in the Euros. Their bats then came alive when they needed it most. Joel Johnson opened with a triple off Lipetz. Pilegård singled back to the mound to go to 3 for 3 with two walks. Merrifield drew a walk. Peter Johannessen smacked a two-run double to put Sweden ahead. Melin followed with a two-run ground rule double and Björn Johannessen also had a ground-rule double, driving in Melin to make it 9-5 for a five-run inning. Lipetz retired the next three batters but Israel now faced an uphill challenge to keep their hopes going.
Claesson hit DH Dan Rothem to open the bottom of the 9th then 3B Tal Erel and Weinberg both singled to load the bases as Israel mounted their charge. A wild pitch scored PR Asaf Lowengart and Israel was now down 9-6. Another wild pitch by the tiring Claesson closed it to 9-7 with the 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Weiss flew out to left and Maoz flew out to center. Israel with now down to one out. Rosenbaum singled in PR Avi Rosenblum to make it 9-8 with the tying run aboard and the potential winning run at the plate in Fish, who was 2 for 4 on the day. On his 145th pitch, Claesson got Fish to ground to SS Daniel Johnson, who threw to first to end a dramatic game.
- Austria 11, Belarus 8. The hosts moved on to the finale as LF Dominik Loffler (2 2B, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI), RF Richard Alzinger (3-run HR, 2 more runs) and 2B Jan Alteneder (1 for 1, 3 BB, 3 RBI) lead the offense. Stefan Ludescher gets the win and Werner Harrasser notches a save with 1 run in 2 1/3 IP. SS Siarhei Sokal has 3 hits, two runs and two RBI for Belarus, while Andrej Los falls to 0-3.
- Croatia 6, Slovakia 4. Croatia's Slobodan Gales and Slovakia's Marek Bošanský both went the distance, each walking only one batter; Gales scattered ten hits in the win. Slovakia led 2-0 after 3 but Croatia took over in the 4th and never looked back to finish unbeaten. C Andrija Tomić drove in two runs for the hosts and victors, while SS Kruno Gojkovic scored two but made three errors. For Slovakia, C Alexander Vaclavick and LF/2B Jaroslav Sitar both homered, while RF Martin Lukačka had three hits.
- Sweden 8, Austria 5. Sweden nearly is eliminated for the second straight day. This time, they trail 4-2 into the 7th against Christian Tomsich. They score twice, though, thanks to a two-run error by CF Dominik Talir on a hit by LF Peter Johannessen. Austrian catcher Moritz Hackl homered off Matt Merrifield in the bottom of the 8th to put the hosts ahead in front of 950 fans. Merrifield allowed only two runs in five innings in relief of starter Elvis Hammarstedt. In the top of the 9th, Sweden was one inning away from not making the Euros for the second straight day. Once again, their bats came alive in the 9th. With one out, 3B Magnus Pilegård singled off Tomsich and Merrifield drew a walk. Peter Johannessen had his third hit of the day, scoring Pilegård with the go-ahead run. Yesterday's relief hero Werner Harrasser came in and intentionally walked SS Daniel Johnson. A passed ball by Hackl put Sweden ahead, then C Björn Johannessen was intentionally walked. RF Oscar Holmberg singled in Merrifield (the winning pitcher) with an insurance run, then CF Tommy Lindell was plunked to force in a run. Fabian Hirnschal relieved and retired 2B Joel Johnson but Sweden now led by three. Merrifield went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th, retiring SS Claus Seiser, 2B Jan Alteneder and Talir to wrap it up.
- Croatian catcher Andrija Tomić was MVP of the Karlovac Pool, hitting .381/.435/.381 with four runs and five RBI.
- Swedish catcher Björn Johannessen was named MVP of the Vienna Pool, hitting .458/.552/.500 with 5 runs and six RBI.