British Baseball Federation
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GB Baseball U18 Team wins at Euro Qualifiers Pool 1 in Sweden

Author: BBF - Greg Kettle , 09/07/19

Mon 8th July 2019 results, GB 10 (WIN) and Switzerland 8 at the European Qualifier U18 - Pool One.

Monday, 8th July 2019 

European Qualifier U18 - Pool One recap Great Britain defeats Switzerland.

The Great Britain U18s opened their Qualifier campaign in Sweden, on Monday with a close fought victory over Switzerland, ending in a victorious 10 to 8 final win for Great Britain Baseball (GB Baseball). The Swiss and GB Baseball teams have squared up many times across multiple competitions, creating somewhat of a rivalry between the two nations.

Head Coach Will Lintern selected the following line-up to open the tournament:

1.  Aidan Pearce - Catcher 
2.  Jack Seppings - Shortstop
3. Michael Flaherty- Third base
4. Jamie Warren - Centre Field 
5. Mitchell Vom Scheidt - Designated Hitter
6. Conor Baxter - First base
7. Jaime Gustafson - Second base
8. Ian Dellapina - Left field
9. Nathan Kettle - Right field
William Baranello - Pitching. 

GB Baseball came out of the gate with aggressive hitting, putting each of the first four men on base, including Michael Flaherty collecting his first GB hit on the first pitch he saw. The mentioned resulted in a quick two-run lead for Great Britain, but the lead would be shortened quickly. In the second inning, Switzerland's Michael Diaz would score on a wild pitch, giving the Swiss their first run of the game. The mentioned would be a rare mistake for the GB battery pairing of Baranello and Pearce.  Across five innings, Baranello looked sharp allowing five runs; four earned to go along with six strikeouts and four walks. When Barenello looked to be in trouble in the top of the 3rd inning after giving up a leadoff double to Swiss centre fielder, Dominik Scherrer,  GB Baseball catcher Aidan Pearce came to his aide with the help of an athletic tag from GB's Jack Seppings, by picking off Scherrer when he strayed too far from second base. That wouldn't be the only time that Pearce would use his arm to get outs from behind the plate, throwing out Swiss players, Livio Bundi trying to advance to second in the 5th inning.

The two to one scoreline would hold until the top of the 4th inning when Switzerland was able to manufacture three runs as the rain began to fall, capped off by a sacrifice fly from Scherrer to give the Swiss a 4 to 2 lead at the halfway point. Great Britain did not waste time in responding,
starting with back to back singles from Jaime Gustafson and Nathan Kettle followed by Aidan Pearce taking a pitch to the arm to load the bases. A Jack Seppings single to right centre scored two runs and levelled the score at four rubs for both sides. 

Switzerland added another run in the top of the 5th, meaning Great Britain once again trailed as they came to hit. The inning once again started quickly with Conor Baxter and Ian Dellapina walking. Switzerland decided not to
pitch to Aidan Pearce, i.e., intentionally walking him to load the bases for Seppings, who once again pulled through with a two-RBI single to give GB the lead. The GB Baseball offence didn't stop there, however, as Flaherty followed with an RBI single before Jamie Warren received an intentional walk to once again load the bases. Another GB Baseball player was hit-by-pitch, this time it was Mitchell Vom Scheidt, which led to a run being forced home. Two more unearned runs would score for GB Baseball before the inning would end, leaving the score GB Baseball ten to Switzerland five runs.

It was at this point that Great Britain turned to its bullpen as Jack Seppings came into the game in relief of Baranello; along with Mitchell Vom Scheidt taking over behind the plate for Aidan Pearce. Seppings worked quickly in the sixth inning, allowing only one hit and striking out two Swiss batters.
GB also had a quieter sixth inning, threatening to score but ultimately being unable to capitalise on the runners it put in scoring position. Heading into the last inning, Switzerland kicked it up a gear and began to mount a comeback. A leadoff single from Swiss player Livio Bundi was followed by a pair of GB Baseball errors, closing the deficit down to four runs. Then Swiss left fielder Luka Ivanisevic earned a walk, then advancing to third on a passed ball. Swiss, Luka Ivanisevic scored on a pair of wild pitches, further shortening the lead to three runs on GB Baseball. As GB Baseball pitcher, Seppings looked to get back on track, a bunt single by the Swiss centre fielder, Benjamin Loliger would once again score a run for Switzerland, leaving them only two runs down. 

As Seppings looked to get back on track, a bunt single by Swiss centre fielder Benjamin Loliger would once again score a run for Switzerland. Only two runs down, and with men, in the scoring position, it looked as though a Swiss comeback was possible. However, Seppings was once again able to find the effectiveness that he had shown the inning before, e.g., by striking out two more hitters before inducing the game-ending groundout to Conor Baxter at first base for the 10-8 Great Britain win. 

After the nail-biting win, coach Will Lintern had this to say:

"Our playing philosophy is simple. Win the free base war, have quality at-bats above 55%, and you win the game. The team followed and executed our plan to a person. I am extremely pleased not just with the result but with the effort and attitude on display. Today was a strong start, a good performance, and exactly what we needed to get this campaign started with a bang. But the game is done, and we have already begun our preparation in earnest for the next one." Will Lintern went on to say, " Today's win was indicative not only of the work done this offseason by the coaches and players but the work done over the last few years. A win in their opening win puts Great Britain in a good position for the rest of the tournament and gives them confidence heading into Wednesday's game against Israel, who also were victorious in their opening game against tournament host Sweden." 

Tuesday, 9th July is a day-off for Great Britain, before resuming action on Wednesday, 10th July against Belgium. 

Reporting Greg Kettle 

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