Monday 16 August – The British women’s fastpitch club team The Mix got off to an unfortunate start in the 2021 European Women’s Cup today in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria, dropping their opening game of the tournament by 5-2 to the Bulgarian team Akademiks Sofia.

This is a tournament where the eight participating teams will play a full round-robin, with the standings determining which teams go to medal games on the final day, so there is little room for error.  The Mix, who took the silver medal when this tournament was last played in 2019, will need to come back strong when they play the Wanderers from Austria at 10.30 tomorrow morning UK time and Western Fire from Ukraine at 3.30 in the afternoon.

Early lead

The Mix took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against Akademiks Sofia starter Ainsley Lopez on infield singles by Julie Winkel and Chelsie Robison and a throwing error on a ball hit by Barbara Killer.

The score stayed that way until the top of the third inning, when the Bulgarian team put up three runs against Mix pitcher Anna-Be Bartels.  The big hit was a two-RBI triple by Akademiks third base player Mariya Fetvova following an error and a single.

After that, The Mix struggled to mount much in the way of offense against Ainsley Lopez, who pitched the full seven innings, giving up just five hits and no walks while striking out nine.

Anna-Be Bartels also went the full seven innings for The Mix, striking out eight, but the Bulgarians managed nine hits and added single runs in the top of the fifth and seventh innings, holding a 5-1 lead as The Mix came up for their last at-bat.

The Mix then made things interesting.  Sian Wigington led off the bottom of the seventh and got all the way to third when her fly ball was dropped by the Akademiks centre fielder.  With one out, Crista Reed-Thomas reached on an infield hit, and Sian scored to cut the Bulgarians’ lead to 5-2.

But Ainsley Lopez struck out Katie Jessop and got Anna-Be Bartels on a groundout, and The Mix will hope to find more offense on Tuesday to keep their medal hopes alive.

Results and standings

Results from today’s play were:

Wroclaw Panthers 12, Angels Dupnitsa 4
Vienna Wanderers 12, Western Fire 8
Wesseling Vermins 6, Princ Zagreb 4
Akademiks Sofia 5, The Mix 2
Western Fire 8, Angels Dupnitsa 1

Standings after Day 1 are:

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