Tuesday 29 August -- The 2023 European Men’s Super Cup, the only competition run by WBSC Europe for men’s fastpitch club teams, got underway on Monday evening with four games at three venues in and around Haarlem in the Netherlands.

One of these games involved the Stags, one of two British entries in the 20-team tournament, who went down in their opening game by 7-0 in five innings to the Chicaboos from Belgium. 

The other British team in the tournament, the Meteors, will have their opening game in the tournament on Tuesday morning.

Usually, this tournament would have begun on Monday morning or perhaps even on Sunday given the number of entries, but the start was delayed because of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix that was run at Zandvoort, near Haarlem, on Sunday.

Chicaboos 7, Stags 0

The Stags didn’t manage a hit over five innings against Chicaboos pitcher Roberto Ramos, who issued two walks, both to Will Sinclair, and struck out 14.

Tomas Pokorny pitched the first four innings for the Stags and gave up six runs; the final Belgian run was scored in the top of the fifth inning off reliever Josh Peat.

The Belgian team had only four hits off Tomas Pokorny and none off Josh Peat, but each of the Stags pitchers gave up four walks, and one Belgian batter was hit by a pitch.

Neither team committed an error over the course of the game.

The Belgian team got out of the gates quickly with five runs in the top of the first inning on a single, a double, and a triple, plus three walks.

After that, the game settled down.  Neither team scored in the second or third inning, but the Belgians added a run in the top of the fourth and a final run in the top of the fifth that took the score to 7-0 and brought the mercy rule into play after the Stags went down without scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Scores and standings

Scores from the four games played on Monday evening to open the 2023 European Men’s Super Cup – one game from each of the four five-team round-robin groups that will play over the first three days of the tournament – were:

Montpellier Barracudas (France) 8, Vennep Flyers (Netherlands) 1

Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium) 8, DVH Amstelveen (Netherlands) 6

Chicaboos (Belgium) 7, Stags (Great Britain) 0

Olympia Haarlem (Netherlands) 8, Duerne Spartans (Belgium) 0

Standings following those opening games are:

Montpellier Barracudas (France): 1-0
Stenlose Bulls (Denmark): 0-0
Meteors (Great Britain): 0-0
Czechia Under-23s: 0-0
Vennep Flyers (Netherlands): 0-1

Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium): 1-0
Hurricanes (Denmark): 0-0
Magos Tenerife (Spain): 0-0
Spectrum Prague (Czechia): 0-0
DVH Amstelveen (Netherlands): 0-1

Chicaboos (Belgium): 1-0
Locos Breclav (Czechia): 0-0
Span (Croatia): 0-0
VSC Sweden: 0-0
Stags (Great Britain): 0-1

Olympia Haarlem (Netherlands): 1-0
Painbusters Most (Czechia): 0-0
MRKI Medvedi (Croatia): 0-0
Rabbits (France): 0-0
Duerne Spartans (Belgium): 0-1

Looking ahead

A full slate of 18 games involving all 20 teams will be played on Tuesday 29 August.

The Meteors will play twice – against the Montpellier Barracudas from France at 10.00 am local time (9.00 am in the UK) and against the Czech Under-23 Team at 5.30 pm.

The Stags will have just one game on Tuesday, against VSC Sweden at 6.15 pm.

Both British teams will play twice on Wednesday as the opening round-robin comes to a close.

The Stags will play the Croatian team Span at 1.30 pm and the Czech team Locos Breclav at 8.30 pm.  The Meteors will take on the Stenlose Bulls from Denmark at 4.00 pm and the Dutch team Vennep Flyers at 8.30 pm.

After the opening round-robin has been played the top three teams from each group will go forward to the Super Cup while the bottom two teams from each group will play in the Europe Cup.  The format for both will be double elimination.