Czechs add another Men’s European title

Sat 30 Jun 2018

Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic: 30 June – The Czech Republic duly won another European Men’s Fastpitch title today with a 10-3 six-inning mercy rule victory over the Netherlands in the final – the 10th time the Czechs have won the tournament on the 14 occasions it’s been held.

The Czechs took an 8-0 lead after three innings, and pretty much coasted from there, bolstered by home runs from Vaclav Svoboda, Tomas Klein and Matous Kasal.  Jonas Mach pitched all six innings for the win.

Earlier in the day, in the pre-final, the Netherlands came from 2-1 down against Denmark with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off Kim Hansen, who pitched 14 innings against GB on Friday, to reach the final and leave the Danes with the bronze medal.

Belgium defeated Israel 11-7 to claim fifth place, and Croatia overran Germany 11-0 in four innings to finish seventh.

Final standings for the tournament were:

1 – Czech Republic
2 – Netherlands
3 – Demark
4 – Great Britain
5 – Belgium
6 – Israel
7 – Croatia
8 – Germany
9 – Italy
10 – Slovakia
11 – Sweden
12 – Lithuania

For Great Britain, the fourth-place finish was one place better than they achieved in 2016, but a medal was the goal the team came here for, and they were somewhat unlucky to fall just short.  GB played very well against the Czechs, the Dutch and the Danes, and the pitching trio of Kyle Linton, James Darby and Rich Haldane, for the most part, kept those powerful offenses in check.  But GB couldn’t muster quite enough runs, apart from the 5-2 win over Denmark on Friday, to turn close losses into victories.

Considering the fact that in the games that mattered towards the end of the tournament, the Czechs beat the Netherlands by 8-1 in the 1 v 2 game and 10-3 in the final, GB will be left ruing the fact that the Czechs were beaten 11-6 by the Dutch on Friday after GB had beaten the Danes -- a result that kept GB out of the 1 v 2 game and forced them to play Denmark again in what for the British was a game too far.

Probably, the Czechs were just resting their better pitchers for the Page Playoff games to come, just like England and Belgium rested their better players last Thursday in the World Cup.

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