U18 European Championship: Dutch Repeat

Ladies and gentlemen. Your repeating U18 European Champion: The Kingdom of the Netherlands!! In what was a close game, the Dutch took full advantage of the collapse of the Italian pitching staff. Throughout the game, both teams kept each other in check but in the seventh, the Dutch scored five runs to reach a score that did not do justice to the previous innings: 6 – 2.

U-18 European Baseball Championship 2021
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With a triple by Mees Robberse and a 6-3 groundout hit by Emilson Haswell, the Dutch took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. But it would not take long before the Italians would tie the game. In the bottom of the third ining, Williams Wong hit into a groundout to drive in Tommaso Adorni from third base.

Until the sixth inning, both teams had runners in scoring position but failed to cash in. In the top of the seventh inning, hell broke loose. Raidley Legito hit a leadoff triple down the right field line before Emilson Haswell was walked intentionally. Then Jesse Velders doubled down the left field line to drive in the aforementioned base runners. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Sem Kuijpers hit a bases-clearing double down the left field line to give the Dutch a commanding 6-1 lead. In that seventh inning, Italy used three pitchers of which Francesco Gabbari was able to stop the bleeding.

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In the bottom of the seventh, Italy scored one more run, thanks to a bases-loaded hit by pitch, but that was all the Azzuri were capable of.

Stijn van der Schaaf pitched 4.1 innings in relief for the win. He gave up one run on six hits and two walks and struck out struck out four. Diego Luciani took the loss. In 0.1 inning, he allowed the run that gave the Dutch the lead on a hit.
Jesse Velders was the best hitter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands as he went 1 for 2 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.

Since the U18 European Championship was implemented in 2007, this tournament has been an Italian/Dutch affair. Until this year, the Italians had won the most championships with four but with the 2021 victory, the Dutch have as many titles as the Italians.

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