European Championship Qualifier: Russia and Ukraine Return to Main Tournament

For the first time since 2016, Russia will return at the highest level of European baseball. Also the Ukrainians return to the highest level. For them it was even longer ago since they participated at the European Championship’s A group: 2010.

European Baseball Championship Qualifier 2021

Serbia  5  –  9  Ukraine
SRB flagA six-run second inning heralded the return of Ukraine with the big boys of European Baseball. Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the second, two walks and a sac bunt put runners in scoring position. A wild pitch led to the first Ukrainian run, followed by a triple, hit by Kostiantyn Chukhas. Two singles, followed by a home run hit by Illia Velykyi, drove in three more runs. In the top of the sixth inning, Serbia inched closer as it scored twice on a double by Danilo Cvijovic and a 5-3 groundout. 
But Ukraine answered immediately by scoring as many runs in the bottom of the sixth. 
Both teams scored a run in the seventh to reach the final score. 
Andrii Boiko earned the win. In six innings, he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks as he struck out two. Stefan Zivic took the loss after 1.2 innings in which he allowed six runs on five hits and two walks as he struck out one. UKR flag
Average-wise, Kostiantyn Boiko was the best hitter for Ukraine as he went 2 for 4 with an RBI.  Illya Velykyi drove in the most runs on his three run shot in the second inning. 

Belarus  1  –  4  Russia
BLR flagDespite the loss, Belarus played a lot better than the game vs Russia in the round robin, which it lost  17-0. 
In the first inning of today’s game, Belarus took a 1-0 lead on a home run by Yauheni Karalevich. But the lead would not last long as Russia countered in the bottom of the same inning. The player with the proper Russian name David Alejandro Castillo Velazquez  hit a leadoff home run. With two outs, two other player with a typical Russian name,  Geidys Soler Hinojosa and Luis Yunior Valiente also hit a solo home run each to give Russia a 3-1 lead. In the following innings, nothing much happened until the seventh, when Nikita Monakhov scored on a sac fly to reach the final score of a pitching duel. 
Andrei Lobanov earned the win. In 6.1 innings, he gave up a run on three hits and fanned eleven. Yauheni Kurhun took the loss after a complete game. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks and also struck out eleven. RUS flag
Geidys Soler Hinojosa was Russia’s best hitter as he went 2 for 4 with that solo shot in the first inning. 

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