Friday 20 August – Clearly, The Mix have saved the best for last at the 2021 European Women’s Cup in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria.  Following their first win and then a hard-fought loss to the tournament leaders yesterday, The Mix thumped the Croatian team Princ Zagreb 11-3 this morning.

Today’s win gives The Mix a final record of 2-5 in the round-robin stage of the tournament and means they will meet Akademiks Sofia from Bulgaria in the fifth-place playoff game at 10.30 am UK time tomorrow (Saturday).

When the two teams met on the opening day of the tournament on Monday, the Bulgarians won by 5-2.  But The Mix have gained in confidence since then and, as the only British national or club team competing in Europe this summer, will hope to close out their trip with a win.

The action

GB Women’s Team player Amie Hutchison pitched the full seven innings today, giving up only three runs to the Croatians in the bottom of the fourth inning when they got four of their six hits.  Amie took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, retired the Croatians in order in four of the seven innings, and threw an economical 78 pitches, 53 of them for strikes.

That strong pitching performance provided the foundation for the offense, and The Mix pounded out 11 hits in scoring 11 runs, led once again by Alana Snow, who capped a 3-for-4 performance with a two-run home run to right field in the top of the seventh inning to put a final two runs on the board and the icing on the cake.

Anna-Be Bartels, Barbara Killer and Amie Hutchison all contributed two hits to the cause.

Most of the damage was done early, as The Mix scored five runs in the top of the first inning and four more in the top of the second off Princ Zagreb starter Paula Duvnjak, who nevertheless survived to pitch the full seven innings.

In the first inning, Alana Snow opened the game with a single to centre field and Sian Wigington bunted Alana to second.  Then the roof fell in on the Croatians as Anna-Be Bartels singled, Barbara Killer tripled, Katie Jessop reached on an error, Amie Hutchison singled and Chelsie Robison brought in the fifth run of the inning on a sacrifice fly.

It didn’t take long for Amie Hutchison to set down the first three Princ Zagreb hitters in order in the bottom of the first inning, and then The Mix were at it again.

Holly Newell singled to right field to open the top of the second inning, Alana Snow reached on an error, and with one out, we had a reprise of the first inning: a single by Anna-Be Bartels followed by a triple from Barbara Killer and a single by Amie Hutchison.  The result was four more runs on the board, a 9-0 lead for The Mix and, essentially, game over.

Although The Mix continued to put runners on base, the only scoring over the next four innings was the three-run outburst by Princ Zagreb in the bottom of the fourth inning, the only frame in which they mounted any real threat.  A walk and four singles in quick succession at the start of the inning produced three runs and left Croatians on all three bases with no one out.

But Amie Hutchison pulled herself together and got a strikeout, a pop fly to shortstop and a 1-3 ground ball out to choke off the uprising, and the Croatians only managed two more baserunners over the rest of the game.

The main result of those three Croatian runs was that the game, with The Mix leading 9-3, went the full seven innings, and that allowed the British team to add on in the top of the seventh.

Megan Beard reached base on a throwing error by to open the inning, Holly Newell bunted Megan to second, and Alana Snow’s team-leading 13th hit of the tournament was that two-run home run to right field, producing the final margin of 11-3.

In their first four games of the tournament, The Mix scored a total of 10 runs; in their last three games, including a meeting with the undefeated round-robin leader, they’ve scored 31.  That might well reflect the lack of competitive opportunities this summer for most members of the team, and suggests that The Mix are a better team than their final placing will indicate.

Results and standings

Results from Friday’s play so far are:

Wesseling Vermins 12, Angels Dupnitsa 1 (5 inns)
The Mix 11, Princ Zagreb 3
Western Fire 4, Wroclaw Panthers 4 (11 inns)
Vienna Wanderers 7, Akademiks Sofia 7 (to be continued)

The final game of the day, between Vienna Wanderers and Akademiks Sofia, was stopped for bad light with the teams tied 7-7 after eight innings.  The game, which will determine which teams wind up in places 2, 3 and 4 in the round-robin standings (see Playoff Round, below), will be finished on Saturday morning and places in the gold and bronze medal games will then be assigned.

Round-robin standings after Day 5, but with the Wanderers v Akademiks game still to be concluded, are:

1 -- Wesseling Vermins (Germany)  (7-0)
2 -- Western Fire (Ukraine)  (5-2)
3 -- Wroclaw Panthers (Poland)  (5-2)
4 -- Vienna Wanderers (Austria)  (4-2)
5 – Akademiks Sofia (Bulgaria)  (2-4)
6 -- The Mix (GB)  (2-5)
7 -- Angels Dupnitsa (Bulgaria)  (1-6)
8 -- Princ Zagreb (Croatia)  (1-6)

Playoff Round

Some of the match-ups for the playoff round tomorrow (Saturday) are know, but others are dependent on the Wanderers v Akademiks result:

Seventh Place Game (8.00 am UK time)
Princ Zagreb v Angels Dupnitsa

Fifth Place Game (10.30 am UK time)
The Mix v Akademiks Sofia

Bronze Medal Game (1.00 pm UK time)
Teams TBD

Gold Medal Game (3.30 pm UK time)
Wesseling Vermins v TBD