- Team EBSM
CRO Topples GER
Croatia took the early lead against Germany in their opening game of the Men’s Baseball European Championship.
This game remained a pitcher’s competition through the first 3.5 innings. Lefty Enorbel Marquez for Germany faced off against Jose Diaz for Croatia. Marquez would last 6.0 innings giving up 4 earned runs off 7 hits, while flagging 6, with 67% of his 94 pitches landing in the zone.
On the hill for Croatia Diaz put in 8.0 innings of work giving up nothing more than 3 hits while striking out 10. He did have trouble finding the zone with six German’s reaching courtesy of his arm and only 57% of his pitches crossing the heart of the plate.
The Croatians opened up the offensive part of this game in the bottom of the 4th with a little small ball. In the two spot, Jose Herrera singled to left and moved over to second on a tight play when Andrija Tomic singled to short. Herrera crossed the threshold on a single by Antion Horvatic to center. On the same play CF Pascal Amon committed an error that sent Tomic back to the dugout by way of home plate.
In the bottom of the 6th Croatia added some insurance; a lot of insurance in fact. Antonio Horvatic started things off with a double down the left field line and advanced to 3rd on a single to the pitcher hit by Andrew Jones. Petar Rumora doubled to left scoring both men. Following a pitching change Ronald Krsolovic had a sac bunt that pushed Juricic to 3rd. He then scored on a single by Jose Herrera after a walk by Kruno Gojkovic. The remaining runners scored off C Philip Smith’s homerun deep to center to put Croatia ahead 8-0.
Never a team to be counted out, even deep into the late innings of a game, Germany staged a comeback. In the top of the 9th they made it nearly the full way around in their lineup. Croatia would face 8 batters and twice change pitchers.
Hitting in the 6-spot SS Alexander Schmidt, not known for his bat, doubled to right to start things off. Brenk, who has always been patient at the plate, walked. 1B Elias von Garben followed him onto the bags in the same manner to load them up. Vinny Ahrens followed suit and Schmidt had completed his turn around the bags in a leisure manner to score Germany’s first run of the game.
The three free passes prompted a pitching change after which, with bases still full, Shawn Larry was walked to bring around Eric Brenk. That would be as much free candy as Croatia was willing to give up however before calling it a day.
With a final score of 8-2 Croatia seems to be picking up where they left off in the 2019 Championship tournament. The last time we saw them in action they were hot when they were hot and iced when cold but held their own against some of the bigger players in the European field. If their bats can stay consistent this tournament, we could see them jump in the European, and international, rankings.