GB Under-16s ready for the action to start

Sun 9 Jul 2017

By Bob Fromer

Ostrava, Czech Republic: 9 July – Rain washed out training and a planned scrimmage game on Saturday for the GB Under-16 Girls’ Fastpitch Team, but both things happened on Sunday, and now the team is waiting for the start of the 2017 European Cadette Championship on Monday morning.

And an early start it will be indeed, as the GB Team will have to get breakfast at 6.15 am and leave the hotel at 7.00 to travel to the tournament venue, the Arrows Ostrava Baseball and Softball Club, to prepare for a 9.00 am meeting with France, the team they played an extended scrimmage game against on Sunday afternoon.

GB v France

The arrangement for the scrimmage game was that a full seven innings would be played, regardless of the score, and that each team would get six at-bats per inning, regardless of the number of outs recorded.

This even but artificial arrangement, in which each team used four pitchers and batted everyone on the roster in consecutive order, produced an action-filled game in which the French had more hits and scored more runs and came out on top by a score of 14-10.

GB also used this game to look at players in a variety of positions, so virtually the entire defensive alignment changed for Britain after every two innings, which was useful for Head Coach Johanna Malisani and her staff, getting only their second look at the team in a competitive situation, but not particularly conducive to defensive continuity and communication.

GB committed five errors and the French four, and GB pitchers walked five French hitters and hit a batter while French pitchers handed out no less than 13 walks to British batters.  On the other hand, the French had 14 base hits, many of them in the infield, to just six for GB.

But the most eye-opening aspect of the game, and one that the French will be pondering for tomorrow, is that the parade of hits, walks and runs that both teams were enjoying came to a screeching halt for the French in the fifth and sixth innings, when GB pitcher Hannah Edwards entered the game and struck out all 12 French batters she faced, nine swinging and three looking.

Hannah kept the ball almost entirely out of the middle of the plate, and got most of her strikeouts on rise balls or curve balls that broke low and away to a French line-up consisting entirely of right-handed hitters.

The French Under-16 coaching staff, augmented by French Senior Team Head Coach Celine Lassaigne, who is here to mentor and support them, will no doubt spend tonight thinking what they can do to get to Hannah Edwards, who they have to assume will start against them in the morning.

Looking ahead

While the French will only have the game against the British to worry about tomorrow, GB coaches will be planning not only for the game against France, but the second and last game of their first-round pool, against Serbia at 2.00 pm.

Win both, and GB will have won their first-round pool and will go into the first Championship playoff round in good shape.  Win one of the games, and GB will probably still go to the Championship playoffs.  But lose both games – something the GB staff is not really contemplating – and the team will be playing just one game a day for placings for the rest of the week.

The schedule will also give GB a possibly dubious bonus if they can beat both France and Serbia tomorrow: no game at all on Tuesday, but all three games in the first Championship playoff round on Wednesday, where the likely opponents would be the Czech Republic, Ukraine and either Italy or the Netherlands.

If it comes to pass, that will be a very long day!

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Carolyn Edwards 12:41

Way to go Hannah!  We’re very proud of you!

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