The first day of the Women’s European Championship didn’t bring any big surprises as the clear favorites won their games without hesitation. Maybe Slovakia’s loss to Croatia is a result that wasn’t expected, but the Dutch have fulfilled their role as well as the Italians, the Czechs or the Russians.
Group A – The Czechs began according to their plan
Two wins on the opening day of the Championship in front of a great crowd is something everyone was expecting. At first, the home team managed to end it up with Switzerland already after the top of the fourth inning as they made 12 runs from 12 hits. After the opening ceremony, they defeated Austria in a nail-biter with three late runs in the bottom of sixth – 3:0. The other game offered a game between Belgium and Hungary. The Belgians confirmed they role and won the game in a similar way like the Czechs with the Swiss. Hungary was defeated 12:2.
„It’s a great result for us as there is nothing better than win the opening game. However, the Czechs are in the way now and it will be really tough.“ said Belgian on first base Griet de Schijvere.
Group B – Cup holders showed their strength
4-member pool with the current champions from the Netherlands started with a little surprise as the Slovaks didn’t manage to beat Croatia and wasted a 6:0 lead to lose 6:9 in the end of the game. On the other side, the next game ended up as expected. The Dutchwomen played well and took advantage of each mistake the Spanish have made. 8:0 lead after the first inning was a hint that the game will end early and since Karin Tuk hit an RBI double home-run in the bottom of the second, the game was over after the top of the fourth with a 10:0 victory for the Netherlands.
„They made one or two errors and our team is strong when our opponent makes errors. We take advantage of them,“ said head coach of the Dutch team, Craig Montvidas, after the game with Spain.
Group C – Russia goes for first and Great Britan won over Germany
Similar situation as the one in the home team pool. Favorite from Russia won both their games with nice results. Firstly they spent six innings on field with Israel and won 9:1, then they‘ve beaten the Danish 8:0. The third match was certainly the most equal one as there were two teams possibly fighting for the second place. The British were losing, but they finally managed to win thanks to some mistakes in German defense. 4:2 win for the United Kingdom might be a crucial one as said by Hayley Scott, the head coach of team Great Britain.
„It’s a bit frustrating for a coach when the team isn’t scoring with the bases loaded, but we fought our way through to win. I’m proud of my team,“ celebrated Hayley Scott first victory of her team.
Group D – Italy and Sweden won with shutouts behind
Morning game was played between Ukraine and France. The East-Europeans took a five-run lead in the fourth and manage to keep it until the last one, where the French just decreased. Later, the Italians played their first game as they met Poland. The game lasted five innings and Italy has won it 9:0. Last one was then won by the Swedes, who managed to defeat Ukraine. Therefore there’s one win for Italy, Sweden and Ukraine at the moment, but the Ukraines have just two games left for the pool.
„I am fully satisfied with the result of my team. The game went just as we wanted and we played fantastic. We have a strong, fast and a determined team,“ belives Marina Centrone.
2013 XVIII. EChW, Prague (CZE): 7 - 13 Jul
Federation: CZECH REPUBLIC - CESKA SOFTBALLOVA ASOCIACE