On the third day of the Olympic Qualifier, the following games were scheduled: South Africa @ Czech Republic, Israel @ Italy and Spain @ Kingdom of the Netherlands. Besides these games, the remainder of the game between South Africa and Italy, that was rained out on Wednesday, was resumed.
Italy 10 – 4 South Africa
The game took off where it stopped on Monday, sixth inning, 4-4 score, one out and Italy at bat. In the following three innings nothing happened, so extra innings were needed. And that was when Italy struck. With runners on first and second, a single and a flyout led to two innings for the Azzuri. But the team did not stop there. A single by Alessandro Vaglio and a home run by Federico Celli, drove in four more runs. South Africa wasn’t able to do something back. As a result, Italy won with a flattering 10-4 score.
Matteo Bocchi earned the win after pitching a perfect ninth with a strikeout.
Alessandro Vaglio was the best hitter as he went 3 for 5 with two runs scored.
South Africa 1 – 11 Czech Republic
The Czech Republic needed eight innings to finish the job. For the third time in as many games, South Africa took the lead. Andrew Norman singled to center field in the second inning and drove in Brett Willemburg. South Africa’s lead would last until the fourth inning when the Czechs would score twice on Daniel Vavrusa’s double. A four-run fifth and a five-run eighth ended the game prematurely.
Boris Bokaj pitched seven innings for the win. He allowed one run on four hits and four walks and struck out four.
With two hits out of three at-bats, Martin Muzik was the best Czech hitter. He drove in six RBI with a home run and a single.
Spain – Kingdom of the Netherlands
Here is the link to the game report.
Israel 8 – 2 Italy
Italy managed to stay in the game until the eighth inning. Israel had taken a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning but one inning later, the Italians would tie the game.
In the seventh inning, Italy had a golden opportunity to take the lead as they had runners in scoring position with only one out but Jonathan de Marte struck out the next two batters so Italy left two runners on base. Israel managed to make use of the opportunities it got in the eighth. Two errors, three singles, a walk and an HBP led to six runs and an 8-2 lead for Israel, something the Italians could not overcome.
Jonathan de Marte earned the win after three innings in relief in which he allowed one hit and struck out six.
Nick Rickles was the best hitter for Israel as he went 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored.
Thanks to this win, Israel has virtually clinched the ticket to Tokyo. It has beaten all main competitors Spain, Italy and the Netherlands and is not expected to fall to the Czech Republic and South Africa.