Israel, The Netherlands, Spain and Italy won in the quarter-finals of the Baseball European Championship and joined South Africa as participants to the WBSC Baseball Europe/Africa Qualifying Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020.
Israel defeated France, 8-2, to open the first playoff round in the European Championship.
Israel wasted no time in getting to French starter Owen Ozanich. In the first inning, centre fielder Gaillen doubled and third baseman and former Major Leaguer Valencia homered to make it 3-0. France got on the scoreboard against reliever David Sharabi when Israel had extended the lead to 7-0.
The defending European Champions The Netherlands needed only five innings to outscore Belgium, 17-2. The Dutch hit an outstanding eight home runs, with catcher Clementina connecting for two. Center fielder Bernadina also hit a home run and went 4 for 4. Orlando Yintema allowed only three hits over five innings of work.
Spain needed a two-out walk-off single by catcher Ochoa to defeat the Czech Republic, 5-4 in ten innings. Veteran lefthander Antonio Noguera earned the win, pitching a perfect tenth inning. Noguera was the fourth pitcher used by Spain, after Carlos Sierra, Andres Perez and Rhiner Cruz.
Martin Schneider homered in the fifth to put the Czechs ahead, but then he became the losing pitcher as he moved to the mound in the eighth.
Italy erased a 5-0 deficit and came back to defeat the hosts Germany, 7-5, in dramatic fashion. Alberto Mineo, who played 61 games at Double-A for the Toronto Blue Jays drove the first pitch by reliever Samuel Steiger to hit a two-run walk-off home run.
Michael Johnson pitched three innings of one-hit ball to earn the win. Former NPB starter Alessandro Maestri allowed four runs on four hits, including a home run by right fielder Amon, in the first inning. He limited Germany to four hits in the rest of his six-inning effort.
The fifth team to advance to the Qualifier will be determined by a mini playoff round. The Czech Republic will face Belgium and Germany will face France at 11 am (CEST) on Saturday, 14 September. The winners will play the fifth-place game on Sunday, 15 September, at 11.
The WBSC Baseball Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier is set to begin on Wednesday, 18 September, in Bologna and Parma, Italy.
The semifinals of the Baseball European Championship will see The Netherlands face Spain (3 pm) and Israel plays Italy (7 pm) on Saturday, 14 September.
The European Championship game is scheduled on Sunday, 15 September, at 7 pm.