At the U18 European Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic the Netherlands and Italy have reached the Gold Medal Game (7pm). Host Czech Republic and France need to settle for the game for third place (3pm). The Dutch team had edged out France, while the Czech lost the finals rematch from 2013 to Italy. Germany defeated Russia to claim fifth place in the final standings. Spain and Sweden prevailed in the consolation round on Saturday.
Semi-Final: Netherlands – France 9-7
The Netherlands defeated France 9-7 in the first semi-final on Saturday afternoon. After France took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, the Dutch countered with four in the bottom half. They never trailed again even though the French Juniors remained contenders until the end. A three-run rally in the ninth made things interesting, but a pair of groundouts ended the rally. Ruben Prins drove in three runs for the Netherlands. Marco Wijst hit a solo home run. Koen Halderman scored three times. Fred Walter went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI for France. Luke Duris collected three RBI. Timo Lingen earned the win with five strong innings in relief. Lorian Andro got charged with the loss.
Semi-Final: Italy – Czech Republic 12-6
Italy scored three runs apiece in the second, third and sixth en route to a 12-6 win over the Czech Republic in the second semi-final in the evening. Davide Azzali and Matteo Friggeri hit home runs and combined for five RBI. Gabriele Orefice went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored. Marek Chlup had two more RBI for the Czech team. Michele Pomponi issued five hits, four runs (2 ER) and two walks in seven innings for the win. Krystof Travnik conceded three hits, six runs (3 ER) and four base on balls in 2 2/3 frames to take the loss.
Game for 5th Place: Germany – Russia 4-2
Germany erased an early 0-1 deficit to defeat Russia 4-2 in the game for fifth place in Rybnik, Poland. Sascha Koch and Philipp Meyer combined for 12 strikeouts in nine six-hit innings to keep the Russian offense short. Pascal Amon, who had signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, hit a solo home run. Anton Kuznetsov pitched five solid innings for Russia and collected two hits at the plate. Evgeny Libin replaced him in the sixth and got charged with the loss.
Consolation Round: Spain – Croatia 15-0 (5)
Spain crushed Croatia 15-0 in five innings in the first game of the consolation round. Orlando Decena hit two home runs and drove in five runs. Adrian Herrera went 4-for-4 with three doubles, four runs and two RBI. Alejandro Martin conceded just three hits and two walks in five scoreless innings for the win. Roko Matijevic took the loss.
Consolation Round: Sweden – Great Britain 5-3
In the second game of the consolation round on Saturday Sweden downed Great Britain 5-3 for their second win of the tournament. A 3-0 lead by the Swedes got equalized in the fifth. But a two-run single by Max Hill in the bottom of the eighth broke the tie and put the Scandinavians back in front. Leonard Backstrom also drove in two. Simon Andersson struck out seven in five innings of three-hit relief for the win. Laura Hirai took over for a solid Elijah Hackney in the eighth and got charged with the loss.
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