Categorized | Europe, Tournaments

European Championship: Italy Routs Greece

GERMANY – Giuseppe Mazzanti hit two of Italy’s four home runs and Tiago Da Silva worked five solid innings to help Italy pound Greece 13-1 on Saturday at the 2010 European Baseball Championship at Heidekoepfe Ballpark in Heidenheim. With the win, the Pool B favorites moved into sole possession of first place with a 2-0 record.

Mazzanti (pictured), who was drilled by an inside pitch in the first, retaliated with a grand slam in the third. The 2008 Italian Baseball League (IBL) batting champion added a solo blast in the seventh to finish the contest with five RBIs.

Greece tagged Da Silva with a quick score in the opening frame when Nicholas Theodorou stroked a leadoff single, stole second and later crossed the plate on a wild pitch. However, the Azzurri dominated the rest of the match.

Laidel Chapelli stretched the Italian squad lead to 6-1 with a two-run blast in the fifth. The 38-year-old finished ninth in the IBL batting race this season with a .322 average, but failed to hit a long ball in 149 at-bats.

Italy torched Greek reliever Christofor Rompinson to put the game away with a six-run sixth. The veteran right-hander sandwiched a flyout and a double between a pair of walks, and then uncorked a wild pitch to force in a run. Another walk followed by another wild pitch plated the second run of the frame, and Jack Santora jacked a 2-0 pitch from the struggling hurler over the right field fence for a grand slam.

Da Silva (1-0) allowed just two hits with one walk and five strikeouts to earn the win in a nifty 70-pitch outing. Carlos Pezzullo retired all six batters he faced to seal the lopsided win.

SPAIN 7, CROATIA 6
Yoel Hernandez (1-0) scattered three hits over seven innings and Willian Domero had three hits as Spain rebounded from a tournament-openng loss to Italy with a victory against Croatia.

Domero highlighted a two-run second with an RBI single, and opened the fourth with a leadoff double to spark a three-run rally.

Daniel Martinez smacked a solo homer in the sixth before Croatia got on the board an inning later on an RBI groundout by Ivan Racic.

Emannuel Febles (pictured, right) stretched the Spanish lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, but Croatia made things interesting with a five-run ninth featuring a pair of two-run singles by Filip Berecka and Bobo Gales. But with the tying run 90 feet away, Jose Estebin Cruz replaced Ruben Fente on the mound and retired Marin Farkas on a groundout to end the game.

SWEDEN 4, GREAT BRITAIN 1
Joakim Claesson worked eight-plus effective innings and Sweden turned five double plays to capture their first win of the tournament against Great Britain. The Stockholm staff ace, who has posted a 5-0 record this season for the two-time reigning Swedish champion, allowed nine hits and four walks in a blue-collar like effort.

British starter Brian Essery (0-1) balked in Magnus Pilegard in the second, and Sweden pushed the lead to 3-0 the next frame on singles by Rickard Reimer and Kris Sjoeberg.

Claesson (1-0) ran out of gas in the ninth and forced in a run with a walk after loading the sacks with a trio of free passes. However, burly right-handed reliever Kent Karlsson induced a groundout from Richard Klijn to seal the win.

GROUP B SCHEDULE/RESULTS:

Friday, July 23
Great Britain 10, Croatia 1
Greece 12, Sweden 9
Italy 9, Spain 1

Saturday, July 24
Spain 7, Croatia 6
Sweden 4, Great Britain 1
Italy 13, Greece 1

Sunday, July 25
Great Britain (1-1) vs Italy (2-0)
Sweden (1-1) vs Croatia (0-2)
Spain (1-1) vs Greece (1-1)

Photos courtesy of Ezio Ratti/FIBS

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