Spain captured the 2023 European Baseball Championship with an 11-2 win over Great Britain. (Photo Courtesy WBSC)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Championship Game: Spain 11, Great Britain 2
Spain beat Great Britain 11-2 to capture its first European Baseball Championship since 1955 in Brno, Czechia on Sunday.
Spain jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Great Britain’s starting pitcher Austin Hassani. Shortstop Edison Valerio’s RBI single scored center fielder Engel Beltre for a 1-0 lead. First baseman Jesus Ustariz smacked an RBI double to bring in Valerio, and left fielder Daniel Jimenez followed with another double that brought in Ustariz. Third baseman Wander Encarnacion and catcher Gabriel Lino also had RBI doubles to give Great Britain a five-run cushion.
Great Britain shortstop Nick Ward got one run back with a solo shot against Spain starting pitcher Pablo Guillen in the bottom of the first. Pablo L. Guillen pitched five innings and gave up two runs with five strikeouts. He gave up his second run off a sacrifice fly to left fielder Kennard Dawson that scored Ward.
Spain scored four more runs in the sixth with two-run home runs from Encarnacion and Beltre off Great Britain reliever Jacob Esch. They scored two additional runs in the ninth on an RBI double from Jimenez that brought in Ustariz and right fielder Andres Angulo against Great Britain reliever Joseph Daniel King.
It is their second gold medal in the European Championship and first since 1955. Spain has a total of 18 medals which is the third most out of any team in the European Baseball Championship.
Third-place Game: Netherlands 5, Germany 4, 10 Innings.
Germany’s starting pitcher Titus Von Kapff pitched four shutout innings and Germany jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth when first baseman Simon Baumer drove in third baseman Eric Brenk with an RBI single.
The Netherlands got on the board in the sixth with three runs, two on solo home runs by Juremi Profar and catcher Dashenko Ricardo and a wild pitch that allowed Sicnarf Loopstok to scoot home.
Netherlands starting pitcher Sharion Martis pitched seven innings, allowing two hits and two runs with seven strikeouts.
Germany cut the Netherlands lead to 3-2 in the seventh on a solo home run by designated hitter Shawn Larry, and then tied the game at three apiece in the ninth when center fielder David Dinski’s sacrifice fly sent pinch runner Cody Brian Schultz home.
Netherlands reliever Kevin Kelly gave up an RBI single in the 10th to right fielder Yannic Walther to score shortstop Alexander Schmidt, which gave Germany a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the 10th, Dashenko Ricardo’s two-run home run gave the Netherlands a 5-4 win in 10 innings.
The Netherlands advanced from their qualifying group in 2022 to ear inn a berth the 2023 WBC via tie-breaking criteria. Going into the 2023 World Baseball Classic, they were ranked eighth in the world and finished in fourth place in the 2017 WBC. The Netherlands were eliminated via tie-breaking criteria in pool play of the 2023 WBC, going 2-2 in Group A.
Great Britain qualified for the 2023 WBC by beating France 14-4, Germany 8-1, and Spain 10-9 in the 2022 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Great Britain lost in pool play of the 2023 WBC going 1-3.
This tournament had an attendance of 23,460 people which is the most in the history of the European Baseball Championship.
Netherlands shortstop Didi Gregorius won the award for the most Outstanding defensive player for the European Baseball Championship.
The top 13 automatically qualify for the next European Baseball Championship.
2. Great Britain
5. Czech Republic