With two “championship” games to be played tomorrow, the decision fell in Bratislava and in Utena today. In Bratislava, Slovakia took on Ireland and in Utena, Lithuania faced Greece in the “championships” games. Other round robin games were played, but most did not really matter anymore. Only the game between Belarus and Switzerland was important as both teams could clinch the second spot in the Moscow group with a win.
Slovakia 12 – 2 Ireland
The ten-run third inning vs Ireland must have been an omen as Ireland didn’t stand a chance today. By the time it got on the board and scored two runs in the sixth inning, Slovakia already had a comfortable 9-0 lead. Of the four runs Slovakia scored in the second inning, three came on passed balls (two) and a wild pitch.
The five runs in the fourth inning came on a three-run homer of Martin Brunegraf and a two-RBI double by Jakub Horácek. The two Irish runs came off the bat of Michael McGee, who hit a two-run dinger in the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Slovakia scored the three runs that were needed to finish the game because of the mercy rule.
Jakub Izold earned the win as he pitched a seven-inning complete game in which he gave up two runs on seven hits and a walk, and struck out nine. Kealan Smithers was tabbed with the loss as pitched six innings in which he allowed eleven runs on seven hits and four walks and struck out eight.
Jakub Izold helped his case as he was the best hitter for Slovakia with two hits out of three at-bats, with three RBI and two runs scored.
Thanks to this win, Slovakia will participate in the A group later this year.
Greece 8 – 4 Lithuania
In the “championship” game in Utena, Greece stayed at the right side of the score. The Greeks didn’t have many problems with the Lithuanian pitching. By the time their seventh at-bat ended, the Greeks had a 7-0 lead over Lithuania. The Greek pitching performed pretty well. In six innings, Dimitrios Kourtis allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out eight. It took Lithuania until the eighth inning to get on the board. With runners on first and second, Adomas Jonas Aleksandravicius scored Lithuania’s first run on a single through the right side by Napalis Paulius Grigas, followed by a two-RBI single by Audrius Beliauskas. In the ninth inning, both teams would score one more run.
Dimitrious Kourtis earned the win, while Edvardas Matucevicius, who is pitching in the German First Bundesliga, took the loss as he allowed Greece to score three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks and struck out six.
Also, Kourtis helped his case. He went 3 for 3 with a double, an RBI, and three runs scored.
Thanks to this win, Greece returns to the A group with a team that is full of Americans of Greek descendants.
Tomorrow, the “championship” games will be played in Moscow and Belgrade. In Moscow, Belarus will take on highly favored Russia. In Belgrade, it is not quite clear yet who will be in the championship game, since Serbia, Bulgaria and Ukraine all have the same record.