Denmark, who took 9th place in the 2019 Men’s Softball World Championship and is ranked 11th in the World, shutout 28th ranked Croatia in 4 innings.
Croatian batters were struck out 12 times over their 14 at bats by Denmark Ace Kim Hansen. Hansen threw just 59 pitches, 40 of which crossed the heart of the plate, finishing his work today in perfect fashion.
The bronze medal winners from the 2018 Men’s Softball European Championship stayed patient at the plate relying on good old fashioned small ball, and a lot of help from Croatia’s pen, to get themselves over the threshold to mercy.
Here’s an example. Their first batter walked. The #2 man sacrifices with an RBI.
#3 walks but has hot feet and takes 2nd and 3rd on consecutive wild pitches before crossing the plate on a passed ball.
#4, #5 and #6 walk and the bases are loaded for #7 to single in the 3rd run of the inning.
Croatia stopped the next man who tried to cross the plate with a fielder’s choice, before the #9 spot cleared the paths with a 2 RBI single.
Not wanting to start the bottom half of the 2nd inning the same way as the first, Croatian hurler Kukolja posted his only K on the day, catching Denmark’s #1 guy looking. He didn’t escape that easily however. Between his first and second strike not only did he throw two balls, but one got away allowing the 6th runner to cross the plate.
With the first batter getting beaned, switching pitchers in the 2nd did little to help the Croatian pen’s control issues.