Final Day Summary – Czechs Are Gold, GB Beat Poland For Fifth

18.7.2015 | Marek Kratochvíl
Denmark had to go through a tie-break game with Croatia to get into the Final game and they maybe lacked a bit of energy as they couldn´t score against the Czechs and lost 8-0. Meanwhile team GB got their first and only win on the tournament over Poland in battle for fifth place.

Danes head to Final after tiebreak win over Croatia

The Croats went ahead with first offense, but Denmark quickly equalised after they were given base on balls three times and hit by pitch on top of that. Tobias Holmelund put his side in front with a solo home run in bottom of third, but Croatia replied. Njuhovič got a base on balls, moved up on third on catcher’s error and home thanks to Balent’s solid hit.

With the last two innings left runless, the game moved into a tiebreak, first of the tournament. Croatia started well, when Potocki stole third base on passed ball. Anyway, Denmark saved it with a double play, when Holmelund caught Balent’s attempt in center field and passed it to Brown to home plate just in time.

Croatia chose two intentional walks in bottom to keep Brown and Johansen away from bat. However, they made a crucial mistake with the bases loaded as Kukolja threw a wild pitch and Milne got himself home with a game-winning run.

Gilles Fournier said: “It was tighter than we expected it. Lucas [Lohmann – pitcher] had a good game. They didn’t have many hits and they only scored on BBs, sacrificial bunts or errors we made. On the other side, we didn’t score as much as we needed and we left lots of runners on base. We have to score six or seven runs in the Final and hold the Czechs on five.”

Croatian coach Damir Mandić was happy despite being defeated. “We may did some errors that cost us the game. We had to risk in the tiebreak to get the run we needed, because we have never been so close to Final. Our runner tried to get home from third on sacrificial bunt, but it just didn’t happen. It was a really great game,” he said.

GB wins Poland rematch to finish fifth

The Brits went in front by four runs in top of first inning thanks to some walks and Robbie Studholm’s 3 RBI hit. However, the Poles answered straight away with Pawel Zagorski’s 2 RBI and 5 runs in total.

As time went, both teams added some more runs, mainly thanks to some more free walks, errors and even some hits. After top of fifth, it was 8-7 in favour of Poland, which added three more runs in bottom taking advantage of two errors with and a nice hit.

The Brits came to life again in top of sixth scoring five runs and turning the game over as they appeared suddenly ahead by 12 runs to 11. They added one more run in 7th and Poland had to score twice to stay in the game. They filled the bases and scored once on a hit by pitch, but with one out the Brits managed to deliver a double play from pitcher to 1b to 3b and won it 13-12.

“We did too many errors today, but the Brits had some as well. On the other side, we had also some hits. We’re sixth, but we could have been fifth or even fourth. Everybody can win, but also lose – that’s softball,” Poland’s coach Mateusz Macniak said after the game.

“It was a really tight game. We worried if our pitcher will make it in the end, but he did and we also hit the balls, which is a good sign. The boys are really excited right now,” Josh Peat added.

Czechs are Champions, they hit two homers in Final

First two Danish players got on base and with intentional walk for Brown, they had them loaded. However, Holobrádek pulled off three strike outs to avoid runs. The Czechs got two players on base and with Jakub Hajný hitting a home run, they went in front by three runs. Starting pitcher Holmelund was then immediately substituted by Lukas Lohmann.

In bottom of third, Dan Bukáček hit an RBI double and two innings later, the Czechs increased their lead with two RBIs by Jan Cabalka and Dan Černý.

The Danes didn’t break the home defence in top of sixth as well and they had to defend through the bottom to have one more try. However, Jan Cabalka hit a home run with one runner on base to finish the game.

The Czechs are new Junior European Champions, Denmark take silver and Croatia bronze medals.

“Anything else than Gold would be a failure. We’re happy, but this was our only goal,” said Dušan Šnelly. His colleague Jaroslav Korčák added: “Our offense and pitching decided again. We had also some decent plays in defence, when they hit the ball in.”

Anton Brown from Denmark gives credit to Czech pitcher Michal Holobrádek as well. “[Holobrádek] pitched very well. It was a tough game. We were down by three runs early in the game and against a team like this one it’s always hard to come back. We played three games against them, but every one of them was completely different,” he said.