GB U-18 Men bow out of European Qualifier

Sat 19 Oct 2019

Saturday 19 October – The GB Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch Team fought hard but could not overcome a six-run rally by Israel in the second inning of their playoff game today at the European Under-18 Men’s Qualifier at Kibbutz Gezer, Israel, and the 8-1 loss in five innings put GB out of the tournament.

The Israelis will play Denmark this evening, with the winner claiming a second qualifying place in next year’s WBSC Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch World Cup.  The first qualifying place has already been won by the Czech Republic, who went undefeated during the round-robin phase of the tournament.

GB v Israel Playoff Game

This game was essentially a pitcher’s duel between GB’s Matthew Eder and two Israeli pitchers, Seth Ross and Itai Dabush -- except for the bottom of the second inning, when Israel parlayed three hits, five walks and two errors into six runs.

Take that half inning away, and the score would have been 2-1 to Israel, not the 8-1 margin which ended the game on the mercy rule after GB failed to score in the top of the fifth inning.

Following the six-run Israeli outburst that broke open a 0-0 game, the host country scored one more run in the bottom of the third inning and a final run in the bottom of the fourth.

GB’s lone run came in the top of the fourth inning off Israel’s second pitcher, Itai Dabush.  Josh Stanley, GB’s leading hitter during the tournament with a .462 batting average, beat out a bunt single to third base to open the inning and later came all the way around to score on an infield throwing error.

GB’s other two hits in the game were a single by Daniel Downes in the top of the first inning and an infield single by Joseph Wright in the top of the third.  Neither of the two Israeli pitchers issued a walk.

Summing up

Today’s loss gave the GB Under-18 Men’s Team an 0-7 record over the course of the four-day, four-team event, but the team came here primarily to give international competition experience to players who had had little or none of it before, and many lessons will have been learned that can be put to good use in next summer’s European Under-18 Men’s Championship.

The change in this age group category over the past year, from Under-19 to Under-18, meant that a number of more experienced players aged out of the category more quickly, and forced Under-18 Head Coach Ian Tomlin to recruit new players, many of whom were coming to softball or to the fastpitch format for the first time.

Given that, the team has performed well this week, including almost beating Israel the first time they met in the opening game of the tournament on Wednesday, and holding the all-conquering Czech Republic to just a 7-0 scoreline on Thursday. 

The team can be proud of having scored at least a run in every game except that 7-0 loss to the Czechs, and the players will fly back home from Israel with a lot of good memories.

The GB Team

Bruce Candlish
Hayden Dabelstein
Bryn Davies
Jack Dyerslade
Matthew Eder
Matthew Green
Finley Macknay
Owen Randell
Harvey Robinson
Joshua Stanley
Oliver Thornhill
Samuel Whatmore
Joseph Wright

Head Coach: Ian Tomlin
Assistant Coach: John Brown
Team Manager: Jill Russell

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