2021 European Championship

From BR Bullpen

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The 2021 European Championship is the 36th European Championship. It is being held in Turin, Italy from September 12 to September 19, 2021. It is the largest European Championship to date, with an expansion of four teams (to 16) from 2019, the first expansion since 1997. All twelve teams return from 2019 (Flag of Austria Austria, Flag of Belgium Belgium, Flag of Croatia Croatia, Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic, Flag of France France, Flag of Germany Germany, Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom, Flag of Israel Israel, Flag of Italy Italy, Flag of Netherlands Netherlands, Flag of Spain Spain and Flag of Sweden Sweden) plus the four victors of the 2021 European Championship Qualifiers (Flag of Greece Greece, Flag of Russia Russia, Flag of Slovakia Slovakia and Flag of Ukraine Ukraine). Greece and Russia had played as recently as 2016 and Ukraine had last appeared in 2010, while Slovakia was a newcomer.

Also see 2021 European Championship (Rosters)

Games[edit]

September 12[edit]

September 13[edit]

September 14[edit]

September 15[edit]

September 16[edit]

September 17[edit]

  • Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 5, Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 4. The two winless teams squared off. It looked like Slovakia would have a chance at their first win at a European Championship when they chased Sergii Shtapura, who failed to retire a batter and allowed three runs. Heorhii Hvrytishvili came to the rescue (after starting the game at DH!), though, with nine innings of strong relief (5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 9 K). The comeback was led by the bottom of the order - 7/8/9 hitters 2B Roman Boiko (2 R), LF Kostiantyn Boiko (2 RBI) and 1B Oleskii Boiko (2 RBI). Marko Vykoukal allowed only two unearned runs in six, but Ukraine scores two in the 8th to tie it at 4. In the bottom of the 9th, Slovakia turns to Martin Lukačka. SS Kostiantyn Chukhas greeted him with a triple. 3B Denys Brechko walked and Hvrytishvili was intentionally walked. RF Ihor Lukin then drew another walk to force in Chukhas and give Ukraine its first win at the European Championship since 2007.
  • Flag of Greece Greece 12, Flag of France France 9. This was a wild one. For a while, it was a pitching duel (odd given the final score!) as Owen Ozanich allowed only three hits and no walks in seven shutout innings (fanning eight) for France, while Jonathan Kountis allowed only two runs in the first seven (on a shot by 1B Andy Paz with SS Felix Brown aboard). After the starters left, the scoring picked up pace. Eric Moore succeeded Ozanich in the 8th and DH Dimitri Lettas doubled, then scored on a hit by 2B Max Warren. In the bottom of the 8th, France went back up by two when Kountis plunked CF Léo Jiminian, who stole second and scored on a hit by Paz.
In the top of the 9th, 3B Dimitri Kourtis singled off Robyn Clara, who had finished off for Moore in the 8th. Franklin De La Rosa relieved and got one out, but 1B Nick Halamandaris hit a game-tying blast. Given the WBSC tie-breaker rules, Greece started with two aboard in the 10th. 3B George Tsiflikiotis (Kourtis had moved to pitcher) bunted and all three were safe. Jose Paula struck out Warren but CF Alejandro Torres-Skerrett hit a sacrifice fly to score his brother, C Antonio Torres-Skerrett. SS Tom Roulis then singled in another run before Paula struck out Kourtis. Against Kourtis in the bottom of the inning, France got two quick outs but Jiminian singled in both runners to tie it.
In the 11th, RF Ari Sechopoulos hit into a force at second and Halamandaris's sacrifice fly scored Roulis to make it 6-5. France came back against Kourtis again as Paz walked and DH Luis Delogu hit a sacrifice fly, but Kourtis escaped further harm. In the top of the 12th, Greece really blew it open, doubling their runs for the day. Antonio Torres-Skerrett doubled in a run. Paula struck out Lettas but Tsiflikiotis singled and an error on the play made it 9-6. Quentin Moulin relieved and walked Warren then struck out Alejandro Torres-Skerrett. Roulis doubled in two more. Kourtis walked and a Sechopoulos single made it 12-6 before Halamdanaris fouled out. Nick Pantos relieved Kourtis and it was now France's attempt to rally. PH Jacques Boucheron drew a walk from Pantos but the next two were retired while a passed ball made it 12-7. A double by Brown cut it to 12-9 and Paz walked, making Delogu the potential tying run, but he hit into a 4-6 force to end the crazy contest. France, already ensured of its lowest finish in a European Championship before today, was now headed to the 15th/16th place game after finishing 6th or 7th the prior three Championships.

September 18[edit]

Slovakia retook the lead in the bottom of the second. C Matej Rudohradský hit into a Brown error and 2B Daniel Just laid down a bunt hit. After a sacrifice, SS Matej Grendža-Donský singled to right for a 3-2 edge. Slovakia loaded the bases with two outs but Gottschall hit into an inning-ending force. In the top of the third, France retired it as C Andy Paz singled, advanced on a grounder and scored on a hit by 3B Louis Brainville. Slovakia chased Coste with two outs in the third then Nicolas Antoine relieved. Slovakia got men on the corners in the 5th but Esteban Prioul reliev ed Antoine and struck out Just and RF Adam Zacko to preserve the tie. Slovakia scored in the 6th, Brunegraf coming home on an error by Brainville.
In the top of the 8th, France finally scored off Gieci. LF Jose Paula (Vissac had moved to 2B) led off with a triple and Brainville singled in the former minor leaguer. Brossier bunted him over and Marek Bošanský took over for Gieci, who had down a fine job. He walked DH Bastien Dagneau (who had replaced Soliveres) but Vissac and Jiminian were retired to leave it at 4-4. Slovakia loaded the bases against Mathis Nayral in the 8th but 3B Denis Pakši went down swinging. Paz doubled with one out in the 9th and made it to third on a Delogu fly but Paula flew out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 9th, Rudohradský hit into an error by Brown. Backup 2B Michal Ešmír bunted the runner over and PH Martin Lukačka hit into Brown's third error, but PR Markus Racík was thrown out trying to score from second on the play. Robyn Clara succeeded Nayral and got Grendža-Donský on a fly.
Racík stayed in as the pitcher. After the starting runners were placed under the extra-inning rule, Brainville bunted but they got Delogu on third. Brossier flew out, then Dagnieu singled in Paula for a 5-4 lead, France's first since the 1st. Vissac struck out and France led 5-4 going into the bottom of the 10th. With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Clara walked Biskorovájny and wtih two outs, he walked LF Michal Noga to force in the tying run. Clara whiffed Pakši to send it to the 11th. Jiminian led off the 11th with a bunt single off Lukačka (now in to pitch) to load the bases. Brown grounded to Ešmír, who threw home but an error let Dagneau score and France took a 6-5 lead. Paz hit into a 1-2-3 double play and Delogu went down looking. In the bottom of the 11th, Clara struck out RF Juraj Bartók. Ešmír flew to center and Jiminian fired home to get Noga for the game-ending 8-2 double play.

September 19[edit]

  • Bronze Medal Game: Flag of Italy Italy 2, Flag of Spain Spain 0. Used to playing for the Gold, Italy settles for Bronze, beating the nation with the most Bronzes. In a year of some big offensive games, it was a fine pitching match-up with Tiago Da Silva taking the mound for Italy and Elián Leyva. Spain challenged in the 4th against Da Silva as 2B Oscar Angulo and 1B Jesús Ustariz singled. LF Daniel Jimenez bunted and Da Silva threw to third to nap Angulo, then RF Lesther Galván hit into a double play to end the threat. Spain also got two on with one out in the 5th but CF Engel Beltre also hit into a double play. In the top of the 6th, Spain got yet another threat as SS Edison Valerio walked and Ustariz and Jimenez hit back-to-back one-out singles, but on the latter hit LF Andrea Sellaroli threw out Valerio at home. In the top of the 7th, Spain has another thwarted rally, this time against Matteo Bocchi. C Gabriel Lino doubled amd DH Yancarlo Franco singled. 3B Leomartires Rodriguez grounded to first and Vito Friscia fired home to get Lino. Beltre then hit into a force and Valerio grounded out to end that bid. Jorge Balboa took over for Leyva in the 7th. With one out, Friscia and C Alberto Mineo singled. With two outs, Balboa walked 2B Leo Ferrini. Fernando Baez relieved Balboa but the veteran walked DH Alessandro Deotto to force in Friscia with the winner. A wild pitch let in Mineo to make it 2-0. Bocchi faced the minimum in the 8th and Alex Bassani went 1-2-3 in the 9th, striking out Lino and Franco to finish the save.
  • Gold Medal Game: Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 9, Flag of Israel Israel 4. Israel not only won its first medal ever, they gave the dominant team in European history a run for their money, leading after 6 1/2 innings before fading.
J.C. Sulbaran of the Netherlands and Joey Wagman of Israel each had a 1-2-3 1st. After the first inning, Ben Wanger took over for Wagman. 2B Sharlon Schoop greeted him with a single, the first of his four hits (matching the entire Israeli contingent). DH Denzel Richardson hit into a force, stole second and scored on a two-out single by 1B Juremi Profar. It remained 1-0 until the top of the 4th when Sulbaran ran into control problems, walking SS Ty Kelly and 2B Mitch Glasser and (with one out) 3B Assaf Lowengart. CF Robb Paller's sacrifice fly brought in Kelly with the tying run. That called for another Kelly, Kevin Kelly relieving Sulbaran. 1B Jordan Petrushka greeted him with a RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
The Dutch got two on in the fourth but Profar hit into an inning-ending double play. In the 5th, LF Jiandido Tromp hit a two-out double and CF Roger Bernadina walked but RF Ray-Patrick Didder hit into a force. Israel built their lead in the 6th when Wanger singled and Lowengart homered to deep left to make it 4-1, the upset odds increasing. Young Aaron de Groot took over and closed out the inning.
Israel got two on in the 7th against Mike Groen but Wanger hit into a twin killing. To that point, Wanger had allowed one run in five innings of relief, but the Netherlands opened the 7th with singles from SS John Polonius and Tromp, chasing Wanger in favor of Charles Rossman. Bernadina gave him a rough greeting, The Shark smacking a three-run homer. Didder singled, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored when backup DH Dwayne Kemp bunted into a Rossman error. The Netherlands was now up, 5-3.
The Dutch went to closer Wendell Floranus for the 8th and he struck out the side of Lowengart, Paller and Petrushka. In the bottom of the 8th, Shlomo Lipetz (on one day off after his start Friday) hit Bernadina and Didder with one out and Schoop doubled them in. With two away, C Dashenko Ricardo hit the game's third home run and it was now 9-4. Floranus retired PH David ibn Ezra, LF Itai Goldner and C Tal Erel in order to wrap up the save and end the tournament.