On the fourth day of the Olympic Qualifier, the following games were scheduled:
South Africa @ Kingdom of the Netherlands, Italy @ Spain and Czech Republic @ Israel.
South Africa 1 – 7 Kingdom o/t Netherlands
To keep the chance of qualifying alive, the Kingdom of the Netherlands did what it had to do: beating South Africa. The African champion was no match for the Dutch even though it was no monster score.
Donny Breek, who pitched a gem in the final of the European Championship, started well but in the second inning, he struggled with his control and allowed South Africa to score a run. Manager Evert-Jan ‘t Hoen went on to use his bullpen and turned to Mike Bolsenbroek who pitched three perfect innings in which he struck out four.
A sac fly, a force out and a home run by Sharlon Schoop drove in four more runs for the Dutch. Ademar Rifaela hit towards the South African shortstop who committed an error that allowed Dwayne Kemp to score the seventh run for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. South Africa was kept in check for the remainder of the game as the team did not collect more than two hits.
Mike Bolsenbroek earned the win. Yurendell de Caster was the best Dutch hitter as he went 2 for 3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Italy 3 – 4 Spain
As Spain beat Italy tonight, tomorrow’s game vs the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a must-win for the Azzuri.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Spain scored twice in the second before Italy got on the board in the fourth. Also in the fifth, the Italians scored a run. Spain, on its turn, added a run in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Oscar Angulo and Jesus Ustariz. This run appeared to be the much-needed insurance run as Italy scored one more time in the seventh when Andrew Maggi singled home Beau Maggi. Italy had some more opportunities to tie the game but did not cash in.
Oscar Angulo was the best hitter for Spain as he went 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Daniel Alvarez earned the win after 3.1 innings in relief in which he allowed one run on two hits and three walks and struck out five. Fernando Baez pitched a near perfect innings as he walked one and struck out one for the save.
At least one Italian proved to be a bad sport:
Czech Republic 7 – 4 Israel
Well, I have to recall this line that I wrote earlier today.
The Czech Republic pulled off quite a stunt as it beat Israel tonight.
After the Czechs had taken a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, Israel turned the tables in the fourth inning as it scored twice. But in the following inning, the Czech Republic would jump on Jeremy Bleich. Thanks to an RBI single, a three-run home run and two doubles, the Czech Republic scored six runs.
Israel would score two more runs but wasn’t able to break the Czech defense.
Marek Minarik earned the win. He pitched 6.2 innings, gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks and struck out ten.
Martin Cervinka, not to be mixed up with Orioles farmhand Martin Cervenka, went 2 for 3 with one run scored.