U12 European Championship 2019: Clear victory for Dutch over Italians

Ceb 2019

In their final game of the preliminary round, the Netherlands took on Italy. The reigning U12 European champion gave the Dutch a hard time before the Dutch could walk off as a victor with a 17-11 victory.

Normally one would think that a 13-5 lead is enough for an easy win. Well, not so this time. After the Dutch had taken that lead in the top of the third inning, Italy scored five runs to get within four points of the Netherlands. Three singles, two doubles, two wild pitches and a couple of errors allowed the Azzurri to score five runs.
In the previous inning, two three-run homers (Darryl Mercado and Yilber Contreras) and an RBI single by Sander van der Meer drove in seven runs.

Yilber Contreras sloeg, met onder meer twee homeruns, zeven punten binnen tegen titelverdediger Italië.
Yilber Contreras: two home runs (photo: Nederlandse Honkbalsite)

In the following three innings, the Netherlands would score four more runs. Italy on its turn would add one more to reach the final score of 17-11. Even though the difference was “only” six runs, the Dutch outhit the Italians 21-9.

Tristan Kuijer earned the win as he pitched five innings in relief. He allowed one run on one hit and a walk and struck out seven as he needed sixty-five pitches to accomplish that feat. Nicolo Balitieri took the loss. After 1.2 innings he was pulled after giving up six runs on six hits and a walk as he struck out two.

Keegan Pieternella was the best hitter for the Dutch as he went 5 for 6 with a triple and three runs scored.  Next to Pieternella, Yilber Contreras (4 for 5 with two home runs), Otis Ward (2 for 5, a home run and four RBI) and Tyler Mercado (2 for 4 with a home run, a double and four RBI) made their mark on the game.

Since 2017, when both the Netherlands and Italy returned on the U12 European Championship, Italy stayed unbeaten for fifteen games in a row. Only the Czech Republic managed to score more than four runs against the team. So in the end today’s victory was quite sensational.

Thanks to this win, the Dutch finished on top of their group and will now face Germany, that finished second in its group, in the semi-finals. Italy on its turn will take on the Czech Republic that finished in first place in its group.

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