The 14th Men´s Softball European Championship has just begun. The record number of 12 teams came to Havlíčkův Brod to compete for the top three qualifying spots for the Worlds in 2019.

All games of the day ended prematurely on a mercy rule, but that is a natural thing to happen when teams of different levels meet in the beginning of the tournament.

The first day of the event started with a game of Israel versus Croatia which was expected to be a tight one, however, it ended on a mercy rule 8:0 for Israel.

“We have a really young team. I´m the oldest one and I´ve seen these kids grow up for the last couple of years. It´s amazing to see softball growing,” said the Israeli pitcher Daniel Winnick.

The next two games ended untimely on a run-ahead rule, again. Italy and Sweden came back after their debut in 2016. Italy started the tournament with a win against a complete newcomer from Lithuania. Sweden experienced a tough loss against Denmark (0:30).

Slovakia returned to the scene of European men’s fastpitch after eight years. They lost to the Netherlands, but their performance was a pleasure to watch.

The evening game paired up two medallists from 2016 – the Czech Republic, and Belgium. The Czechs supported by the home crowd proved their strength and won 15:0.

The most successful homerun hitters were the Danish player Martin Simonsen and James Darby from Great Britain; they both got the ball behind the fence twice. 

During the opening ceremony, a new mascot was introduced – Johny the Homerun will be the official mascot of the World Championship next year.