Categorized | Europe, Tournaments

Dutch Nears European Championship Title

GERMANY – Sidney de Jong drove in three runs and the Netherlands used a pair of five-run outbursts to advance to the 2010 European Championship title game with a 15-0 win against Sweden on Friday at the Heidekoepfe Ballpark in Heidenheim.

The Dutch (7-0; 4-0), which have won 20 gold medals in 30 tournament appearances, will be making their 21st consecutive trip to the championship matchup.

Swedish starter Peter Jansson lasted just three innings as the Dutch came out swinging red-hot sticks. Danny Rombley followed a leadoff walk to Eugene Kingsale with a two-base hit, and Raily Legito opened the flood gates with a single before de Jong cleared the bases with a three-run drive. Jansson (0-1) walked Shaldimar Daantji with the sacks full to put his team in an early five-run hole.

The Dutch parlayed two walks and a single into a score in the second, and Kingsale and Legito tallied RBI hits the following frame to give the Dutch a comfortable 8-0 cushion. A two-run error in the fourth stretch the lead to 10 runs before Kemp singled home a pair of scores to highlight a game-ending, five-run fifth.

David Bergman (1-0) allowed two hits, a walk and struck out eight to earn the five-inning complete game win.

NETHERLANDS 10, GREECE 0
Raily Legito and Dwayne Kemp both went deep and the Netherlands blasted Greece to move within one win of advancing to the championship game. The five-time reigning European champion claimed their sixth win in as many games, and improved to 3-0 in the final round.

Legito teed off against Greek starter Constantinos Kapothanasis (1-2) with a two-run shot in the opening frame, and Kemp singled home a score the following inning. Sidney de Jong padded the lead in the third with a two-run base hit.

The Dutch went down quietly in the fourth before Bryan Engelhardt plated a run in the fifth with a double. Kemp homered with two outs and the sacks empty one frame later, and Engelhardt collected his second RBI of the game in the seventh. Danny Rombley finished off the rout the next inning with a two-run double.

Rob Cordemans (2-0) scattered six strikeouts with seven hits and four walks over six innings to notch his second win of the tournament. Michiel van Kampen hit two batters and fanned one in a pair of relief frames to preserve the shutout.

CZECH REPUBLIC 8, GREAT BRITAIN 4
Karel Hrusovsky homered and Petr Minarik tossed four-plus shutout innings out of the bullpen to help the Czech Republic earn seventh place with a win over Great Britain. The Czech team won its last three games to finish the tournament with an overall 3-3 record.

Jakub Malik put the Czech Republic on the board in the first with a double, but the British answered back with two scores in the bottom of the inning on RBIs by Matt McGraw and Sam Wiley. The two squads traded lone runs the following frame before the Czech took the lead for good in the third on a two-run single by Jakub Hajtmar.

Meanwhile, Minarik (1-0) and Boris Bokaj combined to throw six scoreless frames as the Czech squad built an 8-3 lead. Hrusovsky, who popped a solo homer earlier in the game, drove in a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly and the Czech tacked on three more scores en route to the win.

2010 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE:

Saturday, July 31
Italy vs. Netherlands (Stuttgart)
Sweden vs. Germany (Stuttgart)
Greece vs. France (Heidenheim)

Sunday, August 1
Netherlands vs. TBD (Stuttgart)

Photo courtesy of Ezio Ratti/FIBS

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