Opening day: The Dutch were amazing, Poland unfortunate. Five games finished early

The Under 22 Women’s European Championship has started. Six games on the opening day offered a lot of excitement, but only one of them finished full-length with seven innings played. The Netherlands proved their strength scoring at least three runs in each and every inning as they demolished Greece and the hosting Czech Republic. For more, they also hit the first two homeruns of the tournament. On the other side, Poland lost twice despite being not too far from a success in both games. 

Slovakia vs. Poland 9-7
The opening game of the tournament between Slovakia and Poland turned into a great drama lasting two and a half hours. The Slovaks started well and got the 7-1 lead after three innings, partly maybe thanks to Poland trying four (!) different pitchers one after another. Two errors by Slovak players in the fourth inning closed the gap between both teams to four points and kept Poland in the game. However, only two more runs in the seventh inning were not enough for the Poles.

The Netherlands vs. Greece 15-0 after 3rd inning 
The Dutchwomen fulfilled their role of a favorite in their first game. Greek pitcher Vlasi started with a first quick out, but then the opponent scored four times and kept a similar pace in the following innings. More precisely said – next two innings, because more innings were not played. Six runs in the second and five in the third closed the game in the fastest possible way by a 15-0 difference.

Lithuania vs. Ukraine 1-14 after 4th inning 
The Ukrainians entered the tournament better than they could have wished for. They still didn’t have a single player out when they pulled eight runs back home in the first inning! Lithuania changed the starting pitcher Neverauskait after third run scored and it was her, whose run in the bottom put her side on board as well. The score stayed untouched until the fourth inning when Neverauskait returned to pitch. The Ukrainians scored six more runs and celebrated a 14-1 win as they played only a couple of minutes more than the Dutch in the previous game.

Greece vs. Poland 9-1 after 6th inning
The fourth game of the day certainly could have last all seven innings. Greece and Poland both wanted to make up for the opening loss and played a decent equal game. The Greeks were more productive and scored in second and fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead. Poland stroke back in the sixth inning with its first run. Then they had a good chance with players on 3rd and 1st. However, another player at bat was out by shortstop after a decent hit. The Greeks saved themselves at the right moment. They added six runs in the bottom and the seventh inning didn’t have to be played.

Slovakia vs. Russia 0-7 after 6th inning
The result seems to be quite cruel for Slovakia after the game. The Slovaks didn’t play a bad game and can keep their head high, but the scoreline tells a different story. Russian pitcher Ilyashenko was the leading person throughout the game. She completed two runs and together with Barysheva, they completely eliminated the attack of the opposition, which seemed to be in a good shape in the second part of the game. The final score was mostly decided in first and fifth inning with three Russian runs scored in each of those. 

The Czech Republic vs. The Netherlands 7-21 after 5th inning
After the opening ceremony, the long awaited game for the host side took place. Unfortunately for the home team, it meant a great loss as well… The Dutch scored 11 runs in first three innings with van Veen on top of her form as she hit 3 RBIs with two out already. Then Wissink hit a first homerun and even though the Czechs showed their determination pulling back five runs in the bottom, the Netherlands had a clear path. Solo homerun by van Veen and a couple more runs set the final score at 21-7 for the favorites after five innings. The great Dutch offense will be hardly stopped by any of the opponents here in Pardubice.

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/photos by Libor Matějka/
-Martin Voltr, Marek Kratochvíl-