EU Championship Goes Extra Innings
The European Championship needed extra innings to crown the 2016 Champions. Spain gave the Netherlands a great fight in the final game. After the Dutch took a 2-0 lead in the second, Spain tied the game with a two-run homer by Jesus Martinez in the eighth.
In extra innings for international tournaments, runners are placed on first and second to start the inning. In the top of the tenth Spain laid down a perfect sac bunt to move their runners to second and third. The ideal setup for two of their best hitters, Oscar Angulo and Engel Beltre, failed to produce. Both men struck out to give the Netherlands the opportunity to win the game in the bottom half of the inning.
The Dutch ceased the moment. Tournament MVP Stijn van der Meer scored the game-winning run on a walk-off RBI single by Yurendell De Caster in the bottom of the tenth. The 2016 Dutch national team added a 22nd European Champion to the country’s trophy case.
For Spain the 2016 tournament was their most successful since winning the European title in 1955. In the 60 years that have followed Spain has won 13 bronze medals, but never again reached the final. Spain was undefeated during the first-round of play including an 8-3 win over ten-time winners Italy.
During the round robin of the top six teams Spain had the Netherlands on the verge of defeat, before falling in a 0-1 loss. Thanks to a no-hitter against Gemany and win over the Czech Republic they reached the final. Moving into the final round of play Spain and The Netherlands were both undefeated and, the Netherlands aside, Spain remained unbeatable throughout.
This year’s European Championship was a very successful tournament organized at ETO Ballpark in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. Built to MLB standards and opened in April 2014, more than 21,000 people were in attendance for the 45-game European Championship. The final was attended by a sellout crowd of 3,350. The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and, for the first time since 1999, Belgium advanced to the winner’s pool.
In the bottom half of the standings France clinched seventh place ahead of Sweden. Great Britain and Croatia narrowly escape with their B-Pool standing by prevailing over Greece and Russia in the consolation round. Both those teams must now compete to regain their A-Pool standing in 2018.