European top six determined
Tuesday and Wednesday games determined the top eight teams in the tournament: Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, Greece, Sweden.
While the first five mentioned teams made their way to the top eight without any significant complications, the remaining national selections had to go through some extra innings for their chance on their playoff attendance.
Spain played a nine-inning game against France. French players found themselves unlucky once again; in 2015 they lost the same game in ten innings.
Sweden started their important game against Austria by scoring four runs, but Austria wouldn’t give up till the very end of the game. In the sixth inning, Austria fought back and cut the Swedish lead to a single run. That was it, luckily for Sweden.
When Greece won their first game at this tournament, it was against Germany, and it was not an expected result. And Greece kept going. When they lost to Italy only 0-2, everyone knew, that they had to take the Greek team seriously.
After Thursday’s schedule, we’re now down to top four teams. But it all started on Wednesday with another evening storm when eight games had to be rescheduled for Thursday.
The organizer in Bollate set up one more field and the teams had to get ready to play possibly three games a day.
Russia and the Czech Republic were supposed to finish the last two innings of their rescheduled game from Wednesday evening, but it took them three extra-innings to end the game. The Czechs scored their winning run on a base on balls.
Sweden lost to Greece, and Greece tried to make their way to the top four by beating Russia, but that was not an option for the Russian team – they won 4-2. There was only a few minutes break for the players though - Russia had to get ready quickly and play another game against team GB. Russia started their game against Greece at 17:20 and left the field at around 22:45. It was a very difficult day for the Russian squad, that second consequent game would’ve possibly advanced them into the top four. But the British were stronger also in the second clash of the two teams in the Championship and they left Russia behind.
Italy and the Netherlands have requested to not to start their Thursday game at the very late night as the game was technically only supposed to determine the home/visitor teams for the next-day game, therefore a coin flip solved the situation.
To confirm the current top four teams in Europe - the Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, the Czech Republic – last games of the top-six group need to be finished today.
The Netherlands will take on Greece, Great Britain will play the Czech Republic, and the top-six group will be closed by the game between Italy and Russia.
23 TEAMS AT THE CHAMPIONSHIP
There are 23 teams at the Women’s Softball European Championship and all of them are fighting for their best possible position in the final scoreboard. During this second tournament phase, the teams, who are on similar softball level face each other and the competition is more exciting.
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Championship schedule is available here