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2017 B-Level European Championship

From BR Bullpen

The 2015 B-Level European Championship featured the two worst teams from the 2016 European Championship (Flag of Greece Greece and Flag of Russia Russia), the top teams from the 2016 C-Level European Championship (Flag of Poland Poland and Flag of Serbia Serbia - Poland having played in the 2015 B-Level Euros but being relegated to the C Pool) and returning middle teams from the 2015 B-Level European Championship (Flag of Belarus Belarus, Flag of Lithuania Lithuania, Flag of Austria Austria, Flag of Slovakia Slovakia, Flag of Ukraine Ukraine, Flag of Bulgaria Bulgariaand Flag of Switzerland Switzerland). From the 2015 B-Level, Flag of Croatia Croatia and Flag of Sweden Sweden had moved up to A and stayed there in 2016 and Flag of Slovenia Slovenia had fallen to the C Level and not returned. Held in July and August 2017, the event took place in Belgrade and Miejska Gorka. Unlike prior B-Level championships, this one did not guarantee a spot in the next European Championship. Instead, the pool winners would face off in the 2018 European Championship Playoff for a spot in 2019 and another B-Level European Championship would take place for the other spot.

July 24[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Flag of Austria Austria 15, Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 2. CF Dominik Talir drives in four and 3B Samuel Hackl homers twice and scores three times in a rout. Christian Tomsich allows four hits and no walks in a seven-inning complete game as the mercy rule ends it early. 18-year-old Paul Midili is toasted for nine runs in one inning in taking the loss.
  • Flag of Israel Israel 10, Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 0. Israel starts off strong as Shlomo Lipetz throws a four-hitter, walking one and fanning eight in another 7-inning mercy rule game. CF Harry Wischnewski goes 3 for 3 but the rest of his team goes 1 for 24. For Israel, CF Arie Weinberg, SS Noam Calisar, 1B Ari Fabian and 2B Alon Leichman all go deep, Leichman with a 3-run shot. Hideori Oshima takes the defeat.
  • Flag of Serbia Serbia 22, Flag of Greece Greece 5. The team fresh from the C-Level European Championship pummeled the team that was defending its spot in the A pool, with a 22-5, 6-inning mercy rule romp. CF Dusan Nakic goes 4 for 4 with 3 RBI off the bench, 2B/SS Bojan Ninic is 4 for 4 with four runs and five RBI and 3B Vlustim Arandjelovic goes 3 for 6 with three runs and four RBI. Danijel Kozijak gets the win. 2012 European Championship star Theon Bourdaniotis gets rocked for 12 hits and 11 runs (3 earned) in 2 2/3 IP and Angelos Argyropoulus also gets pummeled (10 H, 7 BB, 11 R in 3 1/3 IP). LF/2B Jim Lomis is a bright spot for Greece, going 2 for 2 with a walk and a run.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  • Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 9, Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 2. 3B Denis Brachko has 3 hits and two runs to lead a balanced Ukrainian offense while Serhii Shtapura pitches well in a win. Former Reds farmhand Jakub Ižold takes the loss in a complete game. All of Slovakia's offense comes on two solo homers - by LF Martin Lukačka and C Mário Gottschall.
  • Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 3, Flag of Belarus Belarus 2. The first close game of the championship is an exciting affair. Marius Balandis (Lithuania) and Yauheni Kurhun (Belarus) each pitch no-hit ball through 3 1/2 before CF Edvardas Matusevičius singles off Kurhun. The game remains a scoreless duel until Matusevičius strikes again in the 6th, with a two-run homer. Balandis exits after 7 with one hit, one walk and 13 strikeouts in a gem. In the 8th, Eimantas Zickus relieves Balandis and struggles, serving up a tying two-run homer to C Vadzim Harun. In the bottom of the 8th, against reliever Kiryl Kazlouski, SS Andrius Polikaitis singles and advances on an error by SS Siarhei Sokal and another error, this one by Kazlouski, to score the winning run. After being the offensive hero, Matusevičius relieves Zickus in the 9th and goes 1-2-3 for the save.
  • Flag of Russia Russia vs. Flag of Poland Poland - game suspended at 1-1 after 6 due to rain

July 25[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Flag of Israel Israel 10, Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 2. CF Arie Weinberg scores twice in a nine-run first, including a three-run homer. Orr Gottlieb gets the win, Vladimir Markov the loss.
  • Flag of Austria Austria 16, Flag of Greece Greece 6. Greece again suffers a blow-out loss while Austria goes to 2-0. SS/2B Felix Zimmerle (3 R, 4 H), LF Tobias Schermer (4 BB, 3 R) and C/3B Samuel Hackl (4 RBI, including a 3-run homer) power the Austrian offense. Moritz Hackl is the winning hurler. Greek player-manager Joey Vreonis, who had US pro experience, struggles in the loss (5 H, 7 BB, 7 R, 5 ER in 3 1/3 IP).
  • Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 24, Flag of Serbia Serbia 11. The hosts again show strong offense but can't match the Swiss attack. 3B Tobias Siegrist (4 for 4, 2 BB, 2 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI) and SS Takanobu Oshima (3 for 3, 3 HR, 3 BB, 4 R, 8 RBI) post gaudy numbers. Stefan Koller gets the win despite allowing 10 runs (5 earned) in two innings. SS David Balich hits a grand slam for Serbia, while Aleksander Milic takes the loss.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

July 26[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Flag of Austria Austria 4, Flag of Israel Israel 3. A match-up of the two unbeaten teams proved to be a close affair. In the second, Austrian 2B Benjamin Salzmann started the scoring with a solo homer off Alejandro Eskenazi. In the 4th, Israel tied it off Ryan Rupp when C Ophir Katz singled in DH Alon Leichman. Salzmann homered again in the 4th to put Austria back ahead. In the 6th, Salzmann walked, DH Dominik Loffler singled with one out and SS Moritz Hackl cracked a RBI double. In the 8th, Israel narrowed the gap; RF Josh Weiss reached on a passed ball by C Samuel Hackl on strike 3, 1B Ari Fabian drew a two-out walk and 3B Nate Fish singled in Weiss. Austria got second and third (Salzmann to third) in the 8th but Eskenazi retired Moritz Hackl to end it. Clemens Cichocki relieved Rupp in the 9th and began by walking 2B Assaf Lowengart. PH Dan Rothem walked and a Katz bunt single loaded the bases with none away. Weiss hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice to tie it then Cichocki retired CF Arie Weinberg and SS Noah Calisar to escape further harm. That proved big in the bottom of the frame. Against Orr Gottlieb in the bottom of the 9th, PH Ferdinand Obed walked, then Leichman replaced Gottlieb. 3B Felix Zimmerle bunted Obed over and CF Dominik Talir singled him in with the game-winner.
  • Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 6, Flag of Greece Greece 1. Stefan Haltmeier keeps Switzerland in the race with a 3-hit complete game gem (3 BB, 1 UER, 6 K); SS Max Warren has two of the three hits for Greece. SS Takanobu Oshima has 2 runs and a RBI for the victors. Andy Orfanakos takes the loss.
  • Flag of Serbia Serbia 10, Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 9. Bulgaria leads 8-2 after 5 1/2 but the hosts rally for their second win. It goes down to the final batter as Bulgaria has two men in scoring position with two outs in the top of the 9th when Christian Bolich fans Teodor Dimitov to end it. Nicholas Mitovich gets the win (3 UER in 4 IP) over Alexander Blagoev. SS Daniel Balich (3 for 5, 2B, R, RBI) and backup 1B Nikola Ignjatovic (2 for 2, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI) lead the Serbian offense.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  • Flag of Belarus Belarus 7, Flag of Poland Poland 6. Belarus rallies for their first win as Mikhail Kechko pitches 4 1/3 shutout innings of relief (1 H, 1 BB, 5 K). SS Yauheni Karalevich scores 3 runs, SS Siarhei Sokal has 3 hits (including the game-winning single in the 8th) and LF Andrei Tatarevich steals five bases. Jacob Sokolowski takes the loss, while C Przemyslaw Paluch hits a 3-run homer for Poland.
  • Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 13, Flag of Belarus Belarus 5. LF Martin Lukačka homers twice and drives in five for the victors, while Marek Červený gets the win with three shutout innings in relief (1 H, 0 BB). Dzmitry Dziamyanenka is handed the loss as Belarus finishes the day with a split.
  • Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 11, Flag of Russia Russia 10. Lithuania stuns Russia in an upset win in a game limited to 7 innings due to try to make room for a 4th game today to make up time for the rain suspension from day one (that plan did not pan out). 2B/SS Andrius Polikaitis scores 3 and drives in 3, CF Edvardas Matusevičius hits a big three-run homer and Eimantas Žičkus gets the win with a long relief outing (6 2/3 IP) after starter Justinas Rackauskas gives up 4 runs in 1/3 IP. Former Twins farmhand Nick Lobanov takes the loss for Russia. 1B Denis Leonov goes 3 for 4 with two homers and five RBI while backup 3B Artemiy Artamonov goes 2 for 2 with a homer, two runs and two RBI for Russia. SS Alexey Kobrinets reaches base with two outs in the bottom of the 7th but Žičkus retires RF Daniil Khomyakov on a game-ending grounder.

July 27[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Flag of Greece Greece 2, Flag of Israel Israel 1. Greece gets their only win of the tournament (not enough to avoid last place) by beating a contender. Jonathan Kountis strikes out 15 in a workhorse effort, throwing 151 pitches (8 H, 3 BB) to outduel Daniel Supple, who also goes the distance. In the top of the 5th, Israel strikes first when C Ophir Katz walked with one out, stole and scored on a double by CF Arie Weinberg. In the bottom of the 8th, Greece finally got to Supple. RF Theon Bourdaniotis bunted his way aboard; with one out, C Jamie Lekas was plunked and with two away, SS Max Warren smacked a two-run double for the winner.
  • Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 12, Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 9. Bulgaria follows Greece in playing the role of spoiler, also getting their first win. RF Teodor Dimitov drives in four, 2B Dimitar Nassapov drives in 3 and LF Petar Petrov raps three hits. Stefan Beshkov gets the win, Colin Bruce the loss.
  • Flag of Austria Austria 14, Flag of Serbia Serbia 4. Austria becomes the first team to clinch a spot in the finals with a fine win. DH Dominik Loffler and 1B Joachim Frick each have 3 hits, two runs and two RBI, SS Moritz Hackl adds 3 more hits (two doubles) and three runs and Dominik Talir drives in three. Moritz Scheicher gets the win, Christian Bokich the loss.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  • Flag of Poland Poland 19, Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 5. Poland got their first win in dominant fashion. SS Dominick Golubiewski homers twice, scores three and drives in three, 2B Pawel Lakomy has 4 hits and falls a triple shy of the cycle, scoring three and driving in five in the rout. Pawel Sztejka gets the win. Bohdan Levandovskyi retires none of five batters in the loss.
  • Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 3, Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 2. A reversal of fortune for both teams. Lithuania, fresh off a win over favorite Russia, loses to Ukraine, fresh off a rout by 0-2 Poland. Heorhii Hvrytishvili fans 10 in getting the win. Robertas Vilimas allows only two hits but walks six; all three runs he allows came in the first and are unearned.
  • Flag of Russia Russia 15, Flag of Belarus Belarus 0. Denis Leonov and Nikolay Markov combine on a two-hitter. SS Alexey Kobrinets has 3 hits, 3 runs and 3 RBI, Leonov has 3 hits to back his own cause and both 3B Artemy Artamonov and CF Maxim Monakhov drive in three. Kiryl Kazlouski takes the loss.
  • Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 5, Flag of Poland Poland 4. Like Ukraine, Poland shows a different face in their second game of the day. Martin Lukačka gets the win with three hitless innings of relief, while Artur Strzalka is handed the loss despite fanning six in 2 2/3 IP. 1B Jaroslav Sitar has two doubles and two runs and 2B Alexander Vaclavick hits a two-run homer.

July 28[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 12, Flag of Greece Greece 7. The team defending its spot in the Euros finishes last as Bulgaria scores the last 7 runs, Alexander Blagoev getting the win over Theon Bourdaniotis. P/1B Teodor Dimitrov scores three runs and CF Panayot Zhaltov drives in three.
  • Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 12, Flag of Austria Austria 1. Austria becomes the last team in the B-Level Euros this year to suffer a loss, but they had already locked up a spot in the finals. Lukas Croton allows only a homer to DH Samuel Hackl, while Paul Astl gives up 9 runs in 1 1/3 IP. CF Harry Wischnewski drives in three, SS Takanobu Oshima scores three and 2B/3B Thierry Burkhardt has 4 hits, drives in four and finishes a triple shy of the cycle.
  • Flag of Israel Israel 15, Flag of Serbia Serbia 0. Alon Leichman throws a four-hit shutout against the hosts as Israel advances to the finals. CF Arie Weinberg and SS Noam Calisar each score three runs while 2B Assaf Lowengart drives in three.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  • Flag of Belarus Belarus 4, Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 3. Belarus finishes ahead of Ukraine in the standings with a close win, Yauheni Kurhun fanning 10 in a complete game while Serhii Shtapura strikes out 9 in 8 innings for Ukraine. Belarus gets three straight singles in the bottom of the 9th to put across the winning run, SS Siarhei Sokal driving in LF Andrei Tatarevich with the winner.
  • Flag of Russia Russia 6, Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 0. Andrei Lobanov fans 8 and allows 3 hits in 8 then Maksim Makarkin closes it out. C Nikita Monakhov goes 3 for 5 with a run and two RBI to lead a balance offense. Jakub Ižold takes the defeat.

July 29[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  • Finals: Flag of Austria Austria 12, Flag of Israel Israel 2. The rematch of Austria-Israel is not nearly as close as Austria gets a shot next year at making their second European Championship. Christian Tomsich goes the distance in a 7-inning mercy rule win, while Shlomo Lipetz is hit hard in the loss. RF Ferdinand Obed has 3 hits and 3 RBI and SS Moritz Hackl drives in four; both go deep. CF Dominik Talir bangs out 3 hits, two doubles. 3B Nate Fish drives in both runs for Israel.

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  • Flag of Poland Poland 10, Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 0. Lithuania has a rough game before the finale, but they are resting some of their top players. Marek Deska and Sebastian Kaluza combine on a two-hitter, fanning nine and walking none, while CF Kacper Kaminski homers twice and drives in five. Gytis Morkunas takes the loss.
  • Finals: Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 8, Flag of Russia Russia 3. Lithuania had gone 2-2 other than their upset of Russia in the round-robin, while Russia was 4-0 other than their loss to Lithuania. This game, though, Lithuania was even more dominant, with a 5-run win over Russia instead of a one-run win, getting them the closest to a European Championship yet, as they would face Austria in 2018 for a spot in 2019. It is a mix of old and young for Lithuania as 20-year-old SS Andrius Polikaitis drives in 3 (including a two-run homer) and 19-year-old Marius Balandis allows one run (3 H, 2 BB) and fans 8 in 7 1/3 IP for the young. For the old, 39-year-old 1B Andrius Stravinskas and 42-year-old LF/RF Evaldas Žarkaitis each rap 3 hits, Žarkaitis scoring twice. Edvardas Matusevičius pitches the final 1 2/3 IP (4 K, 2 BB, 1 H, 2 UER). Denis Leonov, working on only one off-day, matches Balandis for four but fades in the 5th. Lithuania scores five 5th-inning runs off Leonov, former minor leaguer Nick Lobanov and Viacheslav Shmelev. RF Alexander Bolgov is a bright spot for Russia, going 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBI.

MVP[edit]

  • Austrian third baseman Samuel Hackl hit .343/.464/.957 with 4 homers, 8 runs and 8 RBI in six games and fielding perfectly to win MVP of the Belgrade pool.

Standings[edit]

Belgrade[edit]

  1. Flag of Austria Austria, 5-1
  2. Flag of Israel Israel, 3-3
  3. Flag of Switzerland Switzerland, 3-2
  4. Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria, 2-3
  5. Flag of Serbia Serbia, 2-3
  6. Flag of Greece Greece, 1-4

Miejska Gorka[edit]

  1. Flag of Lithuania Lithuania, 4-2
  2. Flag of Russia Russia, 4-2
  3. Flag of Slovakia Slovakia, 2-3
  4. Flag of Belarus Belarus, 2-3
  5. Flag of Poland Poland, 2-3
  6. Flag of Ukraine Ukraine, 2-3