The 8th edition of the European Super Cup Co-ed Slowpitch (ESCCS) took place in Wiener Neustadt in Austria, August 1 - August 6. With 14 teams from 7 different countries, this year's most prestigious slowpitch club event was the largest in history, as far as the number of participants is concerned.
The Diving Ducks' venue in Wiener Neustadt comprises two fields: a 71-meter softball field and - for the sake of this tournament - a shorter version of a baseball diamond. Because of the dimensions, special alterations to the rules had to made, in which the teams were limited to 3 homeruns per game. The hitters were trying to save the long-distance shots for when they had more runners in scoring position, a solo homerun was ironically a fail.
As part of the slowpitch softball development, US men's national team head coach, Steve Shortland conducted a number of clinics for the participants. Thanks to the generosity and continued cooperation from USA Softball, in total 12-13 teams received individual clinic sessions and a game appraisal meeting with team coaches and managers was held as well. Steps were taken in order to approach closer towards Team Europe project's participation in the Border Battle Showcase in North America.
The competitors were split into two pools for the round robin, from which the top 6 teams advanced to the playoff system. Two teams from Germany, as well as two from both Great Britain and the Czech Republic made up the top six. On Friday, the weather disrupted the schedule, but as the skies cleared out later on, games were rescheduled to Saturday. UCE Travellers, one of the three German squads in the tournament and the defending champions, defeated DNAce (CZE) 14:6 in the quarter-final game, and earned a chance to go all the way into the grand final once again. But H20 (GBR), who would later go on to win the ESCCS, were standing in their way. Despite the last-inning effort, during which the Travellers managed to drive in 3 runs, the German team fell to the British 12:16 and took the bronze.
In the British-only final game, London Chromies were looking to cut their silver streak, as they had finished in second place in both 2012 and 2014. But H20, who lost to the Chromies in 2014 in their Super Cup debut and took the bronze in Pardubice, kept adding more and more runs to their early lead. Going into the bottom of 7th, H2O had a fairly comfortable 12-run lead, 19:7. What better way to finish up the tournament than with a nail-biting climax of this championship game. London Chromies capitalized on 10 hits by their batters, and the 3 opponent's errors added to their 7th-inning rally. Down to their final out, trailing by one, with the tying run in scoring position, Chromies decided to put in a pinch hitter, Michaela Sulcova, who flied out to Michael MacDowell in right field. H20 erupted in celebration of their first championship title. They led the tournament stats in 10 of 12 offensive categories and deservedly took the golden medals. Chromies placed second for the third time in a row.
1. H2O (GBR)
2. London Chromies (GBR)
3. UCE Travellers (GER)
4. DNAce (CZE)
5. Mannheim (GER)
6. Sparks Mlade Buky (CZE)
7. Triple Play (GER)
8. Linz (AUT)
9. Wiener Neustadt Chucks (AUT)
10. TNT (IRL)
11. Oddsox (IRL)
12. Akademiks Sofia (BUL)
13. Aferburners (BEL)
14. Titans BSC (BEL)
PHOTOS AND RESULTS
Complete results and statistics are available here.
Photos are available on ESCCS's Facebook site.
/photos by Nutville Photography/
/clinic photo by John Austin/
/cover photo by ESCCS official Facebook site/