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2024 Baseball European Federation Cup – Group Croatia Day 1 Recap

 Matt Tallarini  |    Jun 6th, 2024 8:42pm EDT

The first day of the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe sector event, the 2024 Baseball European Federation Cup in Group Croatia was June 6. 

The 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia will be played from June 6-9 at Baseball Club Vindija in Varaždin, Croatia. 

The Round Robin of the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia will be played from June 6-8, with the 2024 BEFC Group Croatia championship game on June 9 at 8 a.m. EST. 

The four participating teams at the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia are the Apollo Bratislava from the Slovenskej Baseballovej Federácie, the Sofia Blues from the Bulgarian Baseball Softball Federation, the Vindija Varaždin from the Hrvatski Baseball Savez, and the Zurich Challengers from the Elitserien operated by the Swiss Baseball and Softball Federation. The Hrvatski Baseball Savez is also referred to as the Croatian Baseball Association.  

All 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia live games are streamed with a paid subscription on  https://baseballeurope.tv/home.

June 6, 2024 

Sofia Blues (BUL) 11, Zurich Challengers (SUI) 0 (8 Innings)

The Sofia Blues won 11-0 in eight innings via mercy rule over the Zurich Challengers on the first day of the Round Robin in the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia. 

Sofia Blue starting pitcher Evgenii Chernozemsky fired eight innings, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out nine batters. 

The Zurich Challengers pitching staff, between starting pitcher Ryan Olivier Byrne, relief pitchers Marco Limacher, and Carsten Kevin Zuber, threw eight innings, allowing 11 hits, nine earned runs, seven walks and six strikeouts.

Sofia Blues catcher Dimitar Nassapov hit three home runs in the first game of the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia. 

Dimitar Nassapov hit his first home run of the game in the top of the third, clubbing a two-run home run over the left field wall, scoring center fielder Teodor Karakashev to extend the lead to 3-0. 

He hit his second home run of the game in the top of the sixth, a three-run blast over the center field wall, scoring second baseman Panayot Zhaltov and Karakashev to make it 7-0. 

In the top of the eighth inning, Karakashev roped an RBI single to score Zhaltov to punctuate an 8-0 lead. 

A few batters later, Dimitar Nassapov launched his third home run of the game with a three-run tater over the left field fence, scoring Zhaltov and Karakashev to make it 11-0. 

Chernozemsky got the final out of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with Zurich Challengers outfielder Ryan Olivier grounding out in to a fielder’s choice to Sofia Blues shortstop Alexander Nassapov throwing over to Zhaltov to get Carsten Kevin Zuber for the force and third out to beat the Challengers 11-0 in eight innings via the mercy rule. 

Vindija Varaždin (CRO) 8, Apollo Bratislava (SVK) 10 

The Apollo Bratislava beat the Vindija Varazdin 10-8 on the first day of the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia. 

Vindija Varazdin starting pitcher Nino Kruhek threw eight innings and allowed 11 hits, eight earned runs, 10 walks, and struck out 11 on Thursday. 

The Apollo Bratislava pitching staff, with starting pitcher Liam Felix, relief pitchers Jaroslav Kosna, Matej Skerlec, Adam Zacko threw nine innings, allowing nine hits, eight earned runs, six walks, and 11 strikeouts. Zacko played center field prior pitching. 

The Vindija Varazdin got on the board first in the top of the first inning when center fielder Petar Zalac drove a solo home run over the left center field wall. 

In the top of the second, the Vindija Varazdin got their second run of the game with second baseman Karlo Kos reaching on a throwing error from Apollo Bratislava second baseman Alexander Vaclavik, scoring third baseman Adams Seny Peguero. 

During the bottom of the second inning, the Apollo Bratislava offense finally got on the board with Zacko drawing a bases-loaded walk with catcher Matej Rudohradsky coming in to score to make it 2-1. 

The next batter, right fielder Matej Skerlec reached on a fielding error by Vindija Varazdin shortstop Juan Angel Morao Martinez and left fielder Jakub Horacek and shortstop Denis Paksi came into score to take the lead at 3-2. 

In the top of the third inning, Peguero roped an RBI double to right field, sending Rene Sebastian Bodalec in to score to tie the game at 3-3. 

The Apollo Bratislava offense got four runs in the bottom of the third inning with Paski launching a grand slam over the left center field fence, scoring Vaclavik, Rudohradksy, and Horacek to take a 7-3 lead. 

During the top of the fourth inning, the Vindija Varazdin offense cut the lead in half with Kos grounding out to Paski as he threw over to first baseman Juraj Bartok with Isaac Antonio Cardenas Cordero coming in to score to make it 7-4. 

A few moments later, designated hitter Nino Kruhek came in to score their fifth run of the game after sliding into third base and capitalizing when Rudohradsky made a bad throw to third baseman Martin Brunegraf during Zalac’s at-bat. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Apollo Bratislava two-way player Matej Skerlec smacked an RBI single to left-center field, scoring Zacko to extend the lead to 8-5. 

Apollo Bratislava went up four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with Paksi rocking an RBI single down the left field line, scoring Vaclavik to make it 9-5. 

They scored their 10th run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with Bartok ripping an RBI single with Rudohradsky scoring to extend the lead to five runs at 10-5. 

The Vindija Varazdin offense cut the lead to three runs in the top of the ninth inning starting with Martinez launching a two-run home run over the left field wall, scoring Bodalec to make it 10-7. 

A few batters later, outfielder Goran Leklc plowed a solo home run over the center field wall to cut the deficit to two runs at 10-8. 

Zacko eventually got Kos to foul out to Rudohradsky behind the dish for the final out of the game with the Apollo Bratislava beating the Vindija Varazdin 10-8 in the first game of the 2024 BEFC in Group Croatia. 

2024 BEFC in Group Croatia Game Schedule
All Game Start Times Are Eastern Standard Time 

June 7, 2024
5 a.m. EST – Apollo Bratislava (SVK) vs. Sofia Blues (BUL)
10 a.m. EST – Zurich Challengers (SUI) vs. Vindija Varaždin (CRO)

June 8, 2024
5 a.m. EST – Apollo Bratislava (SVK) vs. Zurich Challengers (SUI)
10 a.m. EST – Sofia Blues (BUL) vs. Vindija Varaždin (CRO) 

June 9, 2024
8 a.m. EST – Championship Game – 2nd Seed vs. 1st Seed

author avatar
Matt Tallarini
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network. Matt played semi-professional baseball with the Pelham Mets in Pelham, New York for four years, including the 2018 Semi Pro World Series. During the pandemic, Matt began engaging with international baseball, as a way to keep connected to the sport. Matt created the World Baseball Network and its signature website, WorldBaseball.com as a way to promote and inform similar likeminded fans about the players, teams and leagues innovating the sport of baseball and feeding into Major League Baseball (MLB). As a result of Matt’s efforts, World Baseball Network is now the benchmark standard for international baseball coverage, including MLB, MiLB, NCAA, Korea, Japan, Caribbean, Baseball United, WBC, WBSC and more. In a short time, Matt has interviewed a who’s who of global baseball legends and coaches. These include: Former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera; Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman; former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams; Mickey Callaway former MLB manager; Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach; Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics; Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player; Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs; Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals; and Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matt Tallarini is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance. Since its inception, Matt has been the Chief Correspondent for World Baseball Network. Matt has interviewed and interacted with many international players and coaches including former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams, Mickey Callaway former MLB manager, Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach, Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics, Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player, Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs, Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matthew is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance.