GB U12 finish 11th in European Championship
Reporting Tom Flack
The Great Britain U12 team have finished 11th in the European Championship, which took place in Hungary earlier this month. It was their first appearance at the tournament in over a decade.
The squad, many of whom were playing their first international competition, picked up valuable wins against Poland and in their final game against Austria. They finished 2-5 overall, good enough for 11th place among the 14 competing teams.
Head Coach Liam Carroll said the experience had provided a huge boost for the GB Baseball Programme.
“Returning to the U12 age group after more than a decade, the tournament proved a tremendous learning experience for the players, the staff, for GB Baseball and potentially for British Baseball as a whole.”
It was a challenging start to the competition with the team facing eventual runners up, the Czech Republic in their first game. The second opponents, France, finished in 5th.
In the third game, GB’s efforts finally bore fruit, as they edged out Poland 5-4 in a thrilling contest to notch their first win. After being blanked by Russia and Hungary in their next two games they rallied to score 7 runs against Ukraine, but could not overturn what had, at one point, been an 8 run deficit.
They went into their final game against Austria competing for 11th place, and duly plated 6 runs in the second inning - 3 of which were courtesy of an inside-the-park home run from Leonardo De Giorgi. The game finished 11-8.
Carroll said the programme would need to make some progress in order to achieve the target of finishing in 6th place at the U12 age group – part of the GB 2020 Vision. While CEB are yet to confirm the format for future U12 championships, it’s possible that GB will have to enter a Qualifier in 2019.
“This group of players will be better prepared for the next level (U15) of international competition,” he continued. “And, in alignment with the Long Term Athlete Development goals for the age group, the Inspire and Develop strands of the GB Baseball Mission were certainly met.
“With some bright individual performances alongside wins against Austria and Poland, the kids proved that they can do it, and I hope the experience sticks with them as they progress not only through their baseball careers, but in all their endeavours.
“Everyone should be so proud of this group – some of whom are playing in their first season of player pitch baseball.”
The tournament, which took place in Budapest from June 30th to July 8th, was won by Italy.
Special thanks to the tireless efforts of the U12 staff: Operations Manager Veronique De Giorgi (London Sports) and coaches Jon Gulliver (Brighton), Erik Gustafson (London Sports) and Dana Myzer (Herts).