By Bob Fromer

Saturday 5 August – The final game for the GB Under-18 Women’s Team at the European Under-18 Women’s Championship in Prague this week was a free-scoring affair against Italy on Friday evening, where GB took an early lead but Italy pulled away to win 17-7 in four innings.

Italy had 15 hits while GB had 11, and the Italians committed more errors, but Italy concentrated the majority of their hits in the final two innings when they took over the game.

Italy used three pitchers in the contest while GB used two, and all five pitchers surrendered runs.

This was effectively a “free game” for both teams, since whoever won, the result would have no bearing on the standings in this final round-robin group for the tournament’s top six teams.  Italy already knew before the game started that they would be in Saturday’s gold medal game against Czechia, and GB already knew that they would finish fifth in the group and in the final tournament standings.

Great start

The British team had the best possible start to the game in the top of the first inning.

Jessica Chan greeted Italian starter Delia Manera with a double to right centre field, and with one out, a Saige Sampson single drove in GB’s first run.  The next batter, catcher Cara Edwards, then blasted her second home run of the tournament over the centre field fence.

That made it 3-0 to GB, but the British team wasn’t finished.  Jenna Thompson’s single to left field was the end of the game for Delia Manera, with Silvia Aroldi replacing her in the circle.  Aroldi got the second out of the inning on a groundout, but then singles by Hannah Bingaman and Emma Smith brought two more runs home and gave the British team a 5-0 lead.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.  The first two Italian batters in the bottom of the first inning singled, and the next hitter, Lucia Polini, tripled to drive them both home before an out had been recorded by British starter Elena Clark-Wilson.  Later in the inning, a double by Lucrezia Moretti drove in two more runs and when the first inning ended, GB was clinging to a 5-4 lead.

Holding on

Both teams scored a single run in the second inning.

Jessica Chan was once again the spark for GB, leading off the inning with a single.  Jessica stole second base, went to third on an error, and scored on an infield hit by Kaitlyn Parisi.

Italy’s run in the bottom of the inning came on a triple by Caterina Binetti and a single by Lucia Polini, but GB still led by 6-5 when the inning ended.

Losing ground

That was the high point of the game for the GB Under-18s.

Despite getting two runners on base in the top of the third inning, including Jessica Chan’s third hit of the game, GB failed to score, and Italy then took the game over in the bottom of the frame.

Two singles, a double, a sacrifice bunt and another single brought in three Italians runs and brought Georgia Wilson in pitch for GB.  But the onslaught continued, and when the inning finally ended Italy had scored seven runs to take a 12-6 lead.

GB tried to come back in the top of the fourth inning, and scored a run against Italy’s third pitcher, Sara Desii, on Saige Sampson’s single, a ground rule double to right field by Cara Edwards, and an Italian error.

But Desii retired the next three batters, and in the bottom of the fourth inning, Italy scored five more runs to end the game on the mercy rule.


Towards the end of the game, a GB supporter wrote a summary of the week:

“Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and GB are finishing out their time on the dirt against Italy.

By virtue of GB's loss to Ireland earlier today, their wonderful week at the 2023 European Under-18 Championship will come to an end, win or lose, at the conclusion of this game.

“Team Great Britain will finish in fifth place, with no chance of qualifying for the 2024 WBSC World Cup.

It has been a great week of incredible ups and deflating downs, but at the end of it all, these 14 incredible athletes, their four coaches, the Manager and Trainer and families-in-tow will hold their collective heads high as they had the time of their lives and wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

“Perfectly ok, Team GB, perfectly ok.”


Though there is still one day to play in the tournament, which will change the final statistics, GB had a number of players on the tournament leaderboard after Friday’s games.

Jessica Chan led the way: she was second in batting average at .607, first in runs scored with 17, second in triples with four, third in on-base percentage at .667, fifth in slugging percentage at an even 1.000, and, defensively, led the tournament with 25 assists.

Cara Edwards was first in the tournament in at-bats with 31, fifth in runs scored with 12 and second in doubles with five.

On defense, GB first base player Aliyah Clarke was fourth in the tournament with 44 putouts.

As far as pitching was concerned, Elena Clark-Wilson was fourth in games started with four, Saige Sampson was fourth in wins with three, and Saige was tied for second place in saves with one.

Overall, GB had an amazingly good .381 team batting average, with a .432 on-base percentage and a .597 slugging percentage.  The offense had 22 doubles and 11 triples in 10 games, and eight players had batting averages over .300, with a ninth player at .292.

Scores and standings

Play in Group X, the final Championship round-robin where the top six teams in the tournament are fighting for places in Saturday’s medal games, got underway on Thursday night, continued on Friday morning and concluded on Friday evening.

Scores were:

Ireland 18, Ukraine 0
Netherlands 4, GB 0

Ireland 10, GB 1
Italy 14, Ukraine 5
Czechia 4, Netherlands 0

Netherlands 6, Ukraine 3
Italy 17, GB 7
Czechia 7, Ireland 0

Final standings in Group X, including results of played games brought through from the previous round-robin groups, were:

Italy (5-0)
Czechia (4-1)
Netherlands (3-2)
Ireland (2-3)
Great Britain (1-4)
Ukraine (0-5)

While the teams in Group X were fighting for places in the medal games on Saturday, the 12 teams that didn’t make the Championship playoffs have been playing for places 9-20 in the final standings.  All results from these games can be followed on the WBSC Europe website.