In Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, the following games were scheduled today:
Serbia @ Israel, Greece @ Russia and Bulgaria @ Ireland.
Serbia 1 – 11 Israel
For five innings, Bulgaria could keep pace with Israel but in the sixth inning, Israel scored four runs and started to walk away. Back-to-back solo home runs, an RBI single and a sac fly drove in the four runs in the sixth inning. In the seventh inning, Serbia got on the board on an RBI double, hit by Filip Banjac.
In the bottom of that seventh inning, Israel added five more runs to their total on a bases-loaded HBP and a grand slam home run by Mitch Glasser. Eventually, Israel finished the job in seven innings as they scored one more run in the seventh.
Gabe Cramer earned the win for Israel. In five innings he no-hit the Bulgarians but gave up a walk and struck out six. Christian Bokic also lasted five innings but gave up three runs on five hits and two walks for the loss. Blake Gailen and Simon Rosenbaum both went 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI.
Greece 8 – 14 Russia
Against Russia, Greece had to take its second loss in as many games. Russia are the only unbeaten team with Israel. After Greece had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Russia shifted into high gear and scored thrice on a single and on two wild pitches. From there the Russians went on in steady fashion and scored one run in the third, two in the two in the fourth and fifth, one in the sixth, two in the eighth and three in the ninth. Greece on its turn scored two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth. In the ninth, the Greeks had runners in scoring position but could not take advantage. The Russians collected as many hits as they scored runs. Greece collected seven hits.
Rody Costello (real Russian name?) was the winning pitcher. He lasted 5.2 innings in which he gave up four runs on four hits and four walks and struck out six. Dimitrios Kourtis took the loss after three innings in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks and struck out five.
Rody Castillo was also the best hitter for Russia as he went 4 for 5 with two home runs, six RBI and two runs scored.
Bulgaria 0 – 5 Ireland
Ireland clinched its first of the tournament. The first run was scored in the first inning when Connor Santoianni hit into a bases-loaded groundout to first base on which Michael McGee could score the opening run. Two innings later, the Irish extended their lead to two runs. Patrick Dillion hit a two-run homer in the fifth to give Ireland a 4-0 lead. The fifth run was scored in the eighth on a sac fly hit by Brian McAuliffe.
Bulgarian pitcher Evgenii Chernozemsky pitched a complete game but took the loss after eight innings. He gave up five runs (two earned) on three hits and six walks and struck out nine. Devin Hays lasted six shutout innings in which he gave up four hits and struck out seven.
Best hitter for Ireland was Patrick Dillon, who went 1 for 4 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored.
On the opening day of the Group in Trnava, Slovakia, the following games were scheduled: Finland @ Switzerland, Lithuania @ Romania, Poland @ Ukraine and Belarus @ Slovakia.
Finland 9 – 16 Switzerland
The Swiss won the opening match of the B-Pool tournament in Trnava. After the Swiss scored twice in the first inning, the Finnish team may have had some hope. But that hope was shattered in an instant in the second inning. A fielding error, two fielder’s choices, two singles, a double, a throwing error and a home run, drove in nine runs for the Alpine country. After Switzerland scored four runs in the fourth, Finland managed to get back in the game as it scored five times in the fifth inning when the Finnish drew six consecutive walks to score twice. A fielder’s choice at second, a single and a sac bunt drove in three more. In the sixth, Finland scored four more runs but that was all they were capable of.
Yannick Brot pitched one shutout inning in relief for the win. Timo Liiri pitched three innings as he gave up eleven runs (two earned (!)) on nine hits and one walk and struck out one.
Three Swiss batters went 2 for 2. T.J. Oshima was the best of them as he hit a home run (like the others did) and scored three runs.
Romania 6 – 8 Lithuania
In a close game, Romania collected twelve hits and Lithuania only seven and still Romania lost. Kestas Vilimas scored the opening run in the second inning when Audrius Beliauskas singled to second base. After a double steal, Beliauskas stole home plate to give Lithuania a 2-0 lead. Trailing 4-0, Romania finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Dan Panaitescu scored on a wild pitch, Klaus Nicolici scored on a single and a throwing error and Alexandru Bircu scored on a single to center field. In the seventh, Romania took the lead after scoring twice. That lead lasted only half an inning as Lithuania scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth, Romania tied the game but in the bottom of the same inning, Lithuania took a decisive lead when it scored two runs.
John Lukas Berry earned the win for Lithuania. Berry lasted 5.2 innings in which he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks and struck out eight. Iulian Serban took the loss as he gave up two runs in the eighth inning.
Arunas Dankovskis was the best hitter for Lithuania with two hits out of two at-bats with two RBI and a run scored.
Belarus 1 – 10 Slovakia
Until the eighth inning, it was a close game when Slovakia had a 2-1 lead. But in the eighth inning, Slovakia scored eight runs for a commanding lead.
The defense of Belarus totally collapsed. For pitcher Yauheni Kurhun, who pitched seven solid innings, the eighth frame was a bridge too far as he struggled with his control. He walked four, hit two batters with a pitch and was hit hard. He gave up three hits and wasn’t helped by his defense as his teammates committed three errors in that eighth inning. Jakub Izold pitched eight innings for the win. He allowed one run and six hits and struck out eight. Yauheni Kurhun took the loss.
Martin Brunegraf and Michal Esmir both went 2 for 4. Brunegraf drove in two runs and scored once. Esmir drove in one run and scored once.
Ukraine 11 – 1 Poland
Ukraine needed seven innings to beat their eastern neighbors. Back-to-back doubles, a single and a throwing error led to four runs for Ukraine in the first inning. In the bottom of the first, Poland scored its only run when Matthew Kozlak scored on a single up the middle, hit by Dominick Golubiewski.
Seven additional runs, two in the second, three in the third, one in the fifth and one in the seventh led to the eleven runs Ukraine put on the board.
Serhil Shtapura pitched a complete game (seven innings) in which he gave up one run on six hits and two walks and struck out four.
Heorhii Hvrytishvili went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored and was the best hitter for Ukraine.