We said it on day one and we’ll keep right on saying it, Croatia showed up to compete. They fell 2-1 to Italy who took Bronze in 2016, Silver in 2014 and Gold in 2012. When Europe’s top 6 teams competed in the 2018 WBSC Europe Super6, the Italians scored an average of 11.8 runs/game on their opponents. Croatia’s defense pushed this game into extra innings holding Italy to 2 today.
Pavao Karin threw a complete game for the Croatians giving up 1 earned run off 6 hits, walking 7 and striking out 3. He also had a balk and hit a guy. The loss went to extra innings reliever Borna Strelec who gave up 1 hit and an unearned run. Italy ran through 3 pitchers. Murilo Brolo pitched the first 6, Matteo Bocchi took over for 3 and Alex Bassani, who came in for the 10th, recorded the W.
Croatia struck first offensively. In the 4th, aided by a missed pickoff attempt, their small ball game gave them their run, scored on a single, single, groundout rotation. Team effort.
Italy tied it up with a solo homerun by Giuseppe Maggi in the bottom of the 6th. In line with extra innings rules for this tournament, Maggi was placed on 2ndto start the 10th. John Andreoli singled to right and Maggi came around to score.
This is another great example of why extra innings need to be played out in tournaments. This is play for a spot in the Olympics. That is too important to leave to shortcutting the game to make room for television rights. We sure would have loved to see this one played out, old school style, to the end.