2021 European Championship: Placement Matches

On the last day but one, six placement matches were played. France @ Slovakia, Greece @ Ukraine, Sweden @ Austria, Belgium @ Croatia, Russia @ Germany, and Great Britain @ Czech Republic.

2021 European Championship Groups drawn | Dutch Baseball Hangout

France  6  –  5  Slovakia
FRA flagIn a matchup between two countries that were demoted to the B-group already, France stayed at the right side of the score and ended in the fifteenth spot. Many baseball fans may have expected Slovakia to be demoted, but France? 
In the first three innings, Slovakia took a lead twice and France tied the game as many times. In the sixth, Slovakia regained the lead again but France tied the game once again in the eighth. When the score was still tied at four at the end of the ninth, the game went into extra innings. This time France took a one-run lead in the tenth but Slovakia tied the game again in the bottom of the same frame. Eventually, in the top of the eleventh, Bastien Dagneau scored the go-ahead run when Félix Brown hit into a force out at second base. 
Roby Clara, the Dutch touch of this game, kept the door shut, although Slovakia was close to scoring the game tying run when Michal Noga tried to score from third on a fly out to center field, but was thrown out at home plate. 
Roby Clara earned the win. In 2.1 innings in relief, he gave up an unearned run, walked two and struck out two. Martin Lukacka took the loss. In one inning, he gave up an unearned runSVK flag on one hit and struck out one. 
Two French hitters went 1 for 2: José Andres Paula (a triple and two runs scored), Bastien Dagneau (an RBI and a run scored). 

Greece  4  –  5  Ukraine
GRE flagThe all-American Greek team wasn’t able to beat Ukraine in the match for thirteenth place. 
After Ukraine opened the score in the bottom of the second, Greece countered in the top of the third and tied the game at one. Ukraine answered with an offensive outburst in the bottom of the third. Vladyslav Kosenko scored on a throwing error by the Greek third baseman. Heorhii Hvrytishvili scored on a 4-3 groundout and Kostiantyn Boiko scored what would become the insurance run, on Yurii Shvets’ single to left field. 
After Greece scored one run in the fourth and two in the fifth, neither team did score, eventhough both had runners in scoring position a few times.
Kostiantyn Chukhas proved to be a workhorse as he pitched nine innings in 127 pitches for the win. Alex Gounaris took the loss. In 2.2 innings, he gave up five runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks and struck out two. 
Ihor Lukin was the best Ukrainian hitter as he went 2 for 3 for the win. Alex Gounaris tookUKR flag the loss. In 2.2 innings, he gave up five runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks and struck out two. 
Ihor Lukin was the best Ukrainian hitter as he went 2 for 3. 

Sweden  0  –  5  Austria
SWE flagIn the game for the eleventh place, Sweden was kept on a leash by Christian Tomsich. The Austrian pitcher limited the Swedes to only three runs in seven innings. Tomsich’s successor, Tobias Kiefer didn’t allow a run at all. Austria opened the score in the third inning. After Dominik Talir got on base thanks to throwing error, he scored on Benni Salzmann’s triple. Salzmann then scored on Sammy Hackl’s double to left field. A two-run homer by Richard Alzinger in the fourth and a solo shot by Felix Zimmerle in the fifth, put the final score on the board. 
Christian Tomisch earned the win and Oskar Syrén took the loss. Syrén pitched seven innings in which he gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks, as he struck out three. He wasn’t quite helped by his defense as the Swedes committed five errors. AUT flag
With two hits out of four at-bats, Benni Salzmann was the best Ausrian hitter. He collected a triple, drove in a run and scored one himself. 

Russia  1  –  4  Germany
RUS flagAfter allowing the opening run on three hits in the first inning, Sven Schüller retired the Russian side in the next four innings. Only in the sixth inning, Schüller would give up one more hit. His successor, Lucas Hörger allowed two hits in two innings for the save. 
After the Russians scored the opening run in the first inning, it took the Germans four innings before they could tie the game. In the fourth, Elias Von Garssens’s single to center field, drove in Lou Helmig from second base. In the next two innings, neither team did score but in the seventh, Germany decided the game. A double by Shawn Larry and a single by Eric Brenk drove in three runs.  
Sven Schüller earned the win by allowing one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out ten. Denis Leonov took the loss. In three innings, he gave up three runs onGER flag seven hits and struck out one. 
Yannic Walther was the best hitter for the Germans as he went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Thanks to this win, Germany finished in ninth place. 

Belgium  8  –  12  Croatia
BEL flagIn the match for eighth place, Croatia ended at the right side of the score. The first three innings were even money as both teams scored two runs in the frist, one in the second and four in the third. After that, Croatia walked away as it scored three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth. All Belgium could do in return was scoring one run in the fifth. 
Defensive wise, this wasn’t the best game of the tournament as a total of ten miscues was committed, six by Belgium, four by Croatia. 
Drew Janssen didn’t get the much needed defensive support as four of the ten runs he allowed, were unearned. But even without these four unearned runs, Belgium might have lost as two of the eight runs they scored were unearned as well. 
Slobodan Gales earned the win. In five innings in relief, he gave up one run on three hits andCRO flag two walks and struck out six. Drew Janssens took the loss. 
Andrew Jones was the best hitter for Croatia. He went 3 for 4 with two doubles, three RBI, and four runs scored. 

Great Britain  5  –  8  Czech Republic
GBR flagIn the matchup for fifth place, the Czechs proved why they are the third best European country on the WBSC World Ranking. It wasn’t quite a walkover but with an all-Czech team, they beat a Great Britain team that contained 46% of foreign ballplayers. 
In the second inning, the Czechs broke open the game when they scored three runs on an RBI single by Matej Mensik and a two-RBI double by Martin Schneider. In the third, the Czechs extended their lead by two runs, partially thanks to a leadoff home run by Petr Cech. But Great Britain showed that in baseball you should never rest on your laurels as they scored four runs in the top of the fourth. The Czech Republic answered in the bottom of the fourth by scoring twice. Both teams scored one more time and the game remained rather close until the final out. 
Boris Bokaj pitched five innings for the win. He allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk and struck out six. Spencer Kreisberg took the loss. In two innings, he gave up fiver runsCZE flag (four earned) on five hits and three walks and struck out two. 
Going 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored, Matej Mensik was the best hitter for the Czech Republic. 

With the bronze medal game and the final still to be played, this is the final standing so far: 

5.  Czech Republic
6.  Great Britain
7.  Croatia
8.  Belgium
9.  Germany
10. Russia
11. Austria
12. Sweden
13. Ukraine
14. Greece
15. France*
16. Slovakia*

* demoted to B-group. 


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