Baseball5 Euros: Russia and Italy Undefeated on Day One

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Fourteen nations converged on Lithuania for the first-ever baseball5 championship on any continent. With a mixture of baseball and softball giants like the Netherlands, Italy, and the Czech Republic and minnows Estonia, Latvia, and Moldova, there were plenty of plotlines at the Baseball5 Euros. The final two teams will earn a berth to Mexico in December for the first-ever Baseball5 World Cup. Follow along here at the only site offering live updates.

With group play in the books, Italy and Russia are the only undefeated teams, both at 6-0, while the Netherlands and France are second in each group with identical 5-1 records. Italy has simply dominated competition, averaging almost 12 runs per five-inning game while allowing fewer than two. Russia has relied on a superb defence, putting together runs when it counted. After those powerhouse federations the standings become more unpredictable.

Host nation Lithuania has used a potent offence (56 runs, third in the tournament) to sew up third place in Group B, while Israel qualified for the quarterfinals at 3-3. Belarus and Romania also made the final eight after splitting their six contests with close to equal run differential.

Bulgaria and Belgium were only a tick behind the other teams and both feature strong offences that are capable of huge innings. In fact, Bulgaria nearly knocked off Lithuania to claim a place in the quarterfinals. The score was tied 7-7 after four before Bulgaria scored four in the top of the fifth. Lithuania then tied the game at 11 in the bottom half of the frame. After an injury and an umpire review of a play, the hosts returned to the plate and walked off with the heart-pounding victory.

Only Estonia failed to win a game, while Moldova, Latvia, and Czech Republic all earned their first baseball5 victories in history. Latvia earned its win in breathtaking fashion as it was tied 3-3 through four against Belgium. The Belgians then scored four in the final frame, but Latvia equalled and then surpassed that number to walk-off with the win.

Tomorrow, Feb. 29, will see the top eight teams contest a modified single-elimination playoff system, with the one and four seeds facing off and the second and third nations completing the bracket. The remaining six teams will play for the final standings.

For more on baseball5, visit our primer [link] and this year’s update and schedule [link].

Notes
Home team listed first.
Games scheduled for five innings.
Games shortened by mercy rule have the innings played in parentheses.
Sweden and Switzerland withdrew.

Streaming
Live Stream Field 1 (Playoffs): Link
Live Stream Field 2 (Consolation): Link

28 February

29 February
Quarterfinals
9:00        A1: Italy – B4: Israel
10:00      B2: France – A3: Belarus
11:00      B1: Russia – A4: Romania
12:00      A2: Netherlands – B3: Lithuania

Consolation Round
9:00        A6: Moldova – B7: Estonia
10:00      B6: Czech Republic – A7: Latvia
11:00      A5: Belgium – B5: Bulgaria

The two finalists from the European Baseball5 Championship will qualify for the Baseball5 World Cup.

 

 

About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
This entry was posted in Baseball5, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Europe, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Russia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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