Categorized | Europe, Tournaments

2010 EC: Netherlands Subdues Germany

GERMANY – Leon Boyd showed again why he is one of the top pitchers in European baseball. The right-hander limited Germany to a pair of singles and a walk as the Netherlands claimed the top seed in Pool A with a 3-0 shutout win Wednesday on a soggy evening at Heidekoepfe Ballpark in Heidenheim.

Boyd (1-0, pictured), who has posted a 7-0 record and a Dutch League-best 0.47 ERA over 57-plus innings this year, overcame a trio of fielding gaffes with a stellar 99-pitch outing and six strikeouts.

The Germans put a runner in scoring position in each of the first two frames, but came away empty-handed. Boyd struck out Dominik Wulf and Ludwig Glaser to escape a jam in the first, and fanned Cedric Bassel an inning later to defuse another threat.

The Dutch broke through against German starter Tim Henkenjohann in the third. Michael Duursma reached on a leadoff single before the Bonn Capitals staff ace walked three of the next five hitters to force in the first run of the game.

Henkenjohann opened the sixth with two quick groundouts before surrendering a pair of two-out hits to Dirk van’t Klooster and Dwayne Kemp. However, the hard-throwing right-hander retired Duursma on an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

The bad weather that has plagued the tournament over the past week reared its ugly head, again, with one out in the bottom of the seventh. When play resumed, German skipper Greg Frady turned the game over to his bullpen.

Reliever Eugen Heilmann walked Raily Legito to put runners on first and second with one down, and then allowed back-to-back RBI singles off the bats of Bryan Engelhardt and Sidney de Jong. The righty bounced back to end the inning without further damage, but the insurance runs all but settled the outcome.

Dutch manager Jim Stoeckel called on Arshwin Asjes to close out the game on the mound, and the 24-year-old reliever wiggled out of a major jam in the eighth to seal the Germans fate.

Bassel opened the frame with an infield hit before Sasha Lutz, who reached base three times, walked on four pitches to put the host nation back in business. Asjes rebounded to get a pair of outs on a twin-killing groundball off the bat of Jendrick Speer, but Duursma botched a potential inning-ending groundout to give Germany another clutch hit opportunity. But the relief pitcher punched out Glaser to end the frame, and dialed up a 1-2-3 ninth to collect the save.

Henkenjohann (0-1), who allowed two runs on four hits with six walks and four strikeouts, was charged with the loss despite an erratic but solid outing.

Germany stood eye-to-eye with Europe’s premier national team, but faltered in the clutch going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Ivan Racic homered and collected three RBIs to lead Croatia to a lopsided win over Greece in a Pool B matchup on Wednesday. Both squads used a combined 26 players in a meaningless game that saw the Croatians notch their first tournament win.

Racic went 4-for-4 with a two-run blast in the sixth to finish off the scoring, and Benjamin Goldstrom drove in three scores with a trio of hits.

Danijel Levak (1-0) went the distance allowing a lone run on four hits while striking out seven.

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

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