On the fourth day of the tournament in Blagoevgrad, last year’s winners of the C-pool, Greece and Ireland faced each other. Israel hosted Russia in a battle of the unbeaten teams and Serbia took on hosting nation Bulgaria.
Ireland 0 – 3 Greece
A close game and a somewhat unexpected winner. Last year during the C-pool championship, Ireland beat Greece in the final. Today it was the other way around.
After three scoreless innings, the Irish replaced starting pitcher Ryan O’Rourke with Patrick Walsh. Walsh struggled with his control as he issued two consecutive walks and threw a wild pitch to give Greece runners in scoring position. When Peter Maestrales grounded out to second base, Greece scored the opening run. A wild pitch led to the second run for the Greek. In the fifth inning, Greece scored their final run of the game on a sac fly.
Dean Christidis earned the win after seven innings. He allowed four hits, walked three and struck out two. Patrick Walsh took the loss.
Tomas Lekas was the best hitter for Greece as he went 1 for 2.
Russia 12 – 13 Israel
In a crazy game where the score went back and forth and both teams combined for nine runs in the tenth inning, Israel eventually just stayed at the right side of the score. Russia took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning but Israel bounced back in the next frame as it tied the game. In the third, Israel took a one-run lead but the Russians came back in the next inning. Eventually, after nine innings, the score was 8-8, so extra innings were needed. With runners placed on first and second, Russia loaded the bases thanks to a perfect executed bunt by Nikita Monakhov. A throwing error, a bases-loaded walk, a wild pitch and a sac fly to left field allowed Russia to score four runs. Enough for the win one would say. Not this time. Also with runners placed on first and second, Thanks to a single, an HBP, a double and another single, Israel drove in five runs for the walk-off win.
Jonathan Demarte earned the win after two innings in relief in which he gave up four runs (two unearned due to the tiebreaker rule) on two walks and a wild pitch. Maksim Makarkin took the loss. He was tabbed for the five runs (three earned) Israel scored in the tenth.
Blake Gailen was the best hitter for Israel with three hits out of five at-bats. He hit one double, drove in three and scored twice.
Bulgaria 2 – 7 Serbia
A clear win for Serbia. The three runs the team scored in the second inning would have been enough for the win but in the following innings, the Serbs scored seemingly at will. After scoring a run in the third, a single up the middle by Conner Tomasic and a sac fly by Michael Miladinovic drove in two runs in the fourth. In the seventh, Serbia scored its final run of the game. What did Bulgaria do? The other team from the Balkan scored a run in the seventh on a single by Stefan Beshkov. In the eighth, Bulgaria scored one more time when Martin Andonov grounded out 4-3.
Adam Panayotovich earned the win after seven innings in which he gave up one run on seven hits and a walk and fanned seven. Panayot Zhaltov took the loss after a complete game in which he gave up seven runs on nine hits and seven walks and struck out eight.
Michael Mladinovic was the best hitter for Serbia as he went 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
In the group of Trnava, Ukraine took on Finland, Belarus faced Romania, Switzerland hosted Poland and Lithuania played against hosting nation Slovakia.
Finland 0 – 14 Ukraine
A seven-inning affair as Ukraine didn’t show mercy with Finland. Two one-run innings, two two-run innings and two four-run innings did the job for the East Europeans. Yevhenii Tkachenko and Andrii Boiko combined for seven innings in which they kept the Finnish limited to three hits. After two walks and an HBP in the fifth, Denis Brechko doubled to right field and drove in two. A wild pitch allowed Brechko to advance to third base all the way from first and Levgenii Poliakov to score the third run of the inning. Brechko scored on Illia Velikii’s single up the middle.
Tkachenko earned the win after six innings in which he allowed three hits and a walk and struck out eight. Andreas Fopp took the loss. In two innings, he gave up six runs on five hits and four walks.
Denis Brechko was the best hitter for Ukraine as he went 2 for 2 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored.
Romania 0 – 1 Belarus
A low scoring game and low hitting game in which Belarus won with the smallest possible margin. As both teams collected only three hits, most of the innings went by very fast. As a result, the game lasted only two hours and four minutes. In the sixth, Yauheni Karalevich scored from second base on a single through the right side, hit by Yauheni Kurhun.
Kiril Kazlouski earned the win after five innings in relief. He gave up one hit and struck out nine. Despite putting up some nice numbers with which one could win a game, Eduard Pirvu took the loss as he did not get any run support from his teammates. He gave up the sole run of Belarus on three hits, walked only one and struck out a whopping eighteen (!) batters.
Yauheni Kurhun and Ilya Sladzinski both collected one hit out of three at-bats. Kurhun drove in the sole Belarus run
Poland 10 – 11 Switzerland
Another close game but a wild one as both teams scored ten runs at least. Poland wasn’t capable to cling on to a 10-6 lead as Switzerland turned the tables in the eighth as it scored three runs to overtake Poland for the win. Noah Williamson led off the eighth inning with a solo home run. With two outs and a runner on second, Rafael Eigenmann hit a two-run dinger that cleared the left center field fence. Also with base hits, Switzerland was a tad better than their Polish counterpart as the Swiss collected fifteen hits and Poland fourteen.
After having pitched two innings in yesterday’s game, TJ Oshima pitched five innings for the win. He gave up six hits and struck out four. Raymond Wojtala took the loss after four innings in relief in which he gave up five runs on eight hits and a walk.
Rafael Eigenmann and Ryan Byrne both went 3 for 4. Eigenmann hit a home run, drove in four and scored thrice, Byrne hit two doubles, drove in a run and scored once.
Slovakia 15 – 19 Lithuania
A crazy and high scoring affair as both teams got into the double digits.
In the first two innings, Slovakia scored eight runs for a commanding lead. But Lithuania got back in the game as it scored four times in the third. The team would turn the tables in the fifth and the sixth as the team scored seven runs in each inning. In the seventh for example, an HBP, four walks a groundout, two singles and a double led to the aforementioned seven runs. After scoring twice in the top of the seventh, Slovakia started a rally in the eighth. Two walks, a groundout, two singles, a throwing error and a triple led to five runs. But from there the Slovakian offense stalled. Defensive-wise, it wasn’t the best games as the teams combined for nine errors.
Audrius Beliauskas earned the win. In 4.2 innings he gave up seven runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks and struck out two. Adam Zacko took the loss. In his relief outing in the fifth inning, he gave up five runs on five hits and struck out one.
Edward Matusevicius was the best hitter as he went 5 for 6 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Tomorrow, Switzerland will take on Lithuania in the semis. Ukraine will take on Slovakia in the other semi final.