ZÜRICH – The Swiss national baseball team took out its European Championship frustration on hapless Slovenia, posting crooked numbers in the first two innings and thumping Slovenia, 11-1. The victory for Switzerland was only its second in five tries while hosting one of the two pools of the B-Level Euros, a disappointing finish for a country that is actively fostering baseball at a national level.
The red-and-white took no time piling it on Slovenia, scoring the first run without getting a hit, as Harry Wischnewski was hit by Uros Rudolf, stole second, moved to third on a fly and scored on a wild pitch. Tobias Siegrist, Switzerland’s cleanup hitter, then walked and swiped second, moving over on another errant pitch.
Hide Oshima then started the Swiss hitting onslaught, ripping a RBI-single to right. After Oshima stole second, Angelo Rodríguez plated him with a run-scoring safety before Rudolf finally escaped the inning.
Andrea Girasole, Switzerland’s starting hurler, had no trouble mowing down Slovenia in the bottom of the frame, and the red-and-white set to work again in the second.
Singles by Sebastian Zwyer and Wischnewski and an error loaded the bases before one was retired, and Rudolf threw another wild pitch to give Switzerland a 4-0 lead. After another base on balls, Siegrist plated one with a sacrifice fly and a double steal put two runners in scoring position.
Rudolf finally got a second out, but then allowed a one-base hit to Oshima. Slovenia got a break when Oshima began to run to second on the throw but tried to scamper back to second and was thrown out, but both runners scored and the damage was done with the Swiss lead at six.
Both nations scored in the third. Switzerland loaded the bases on two hits and a walk before Rudolf issued a free pass to Wischnewski for a 7-0 lead. The red-and-white would leave the bases loaded, but surrendered only one run to Slovenia in the bottom of the frame.
Martin Godnič struck a one-out single down the left field line and moved over two bases on a grounder and a passed ball. After a walk to Tadej Brelih, Girasole lost his shutout with a wild pitch that allowed Godnič to score, but ended the inning without any further damage.
After a scoreless fourth, Switzerland continued to batter Rudolf, once more jamming the sacks with no outs. Zwyer and Adrian Kaufmann had two hits to start the frame, with the former scoring on a sacrifice fly by Francisco Colindres. Kaufmann stole third and scored on a fielder’s choice, and the host team had a 10-1 advantage.
Switzerland would end the game in the eight on the mercy rule after Saentis Zeller tripled and scored on a Zwyer base knock. All told, the Swiss totalled 13 hits and eight walks, stealing six bases, all of which Rudolf surrendered. The right-hander threw 158 pitches in an eight-inning complete game, striking out five.
Girasole got the win with five strong innings, scattering three hits and a base on balls, striking out one. Harald Bregy got four outs in succession, notching a K, and Roger Savoldelli added a whiff of his own in 1 2/3 frames, surrendering two hits.
Godnič had three of Slovenia’s five hits and scored its only run, though he was caught stealing twice and committed one of the losers’ two miscues. Switzerland was perfect in the field.
Rodríguez and Zwyer each had three hits for the victors. Zwyer added two walks and two runs scored, while Oshima, and Kaufmann had a hitting brace. Wischnewski had only one official at bat, but reached base three times, scoring twice and stealing two of the team’s six bases. Siegrist was 0-for-1, but will likely finish second in the bracket in batting average at .471.
Slovenia, ranked No. 21 in Europe, finished 0-5 at the Euro qualifier, while No. 16 Switzerland will have to wait until the 2015 qualifiers for its next shot at the top level of European competition. The club did finish with a positive run differential (+2), finishing third in hitting (.291), first in stolen bases (18) and second only to Great Britain in ERA (2.72), strikeouts (33 in 43 IP), and opponents’ batting average (.231).
Extra Innings will have coverage of the championship game between Great Britain and Ukraine on 27 July.