Great Britain U18’s bowed out of the European Championship U18 Qualifier in Sundbyberg, Sweden, on Friday.
After Belgium mounted a 5-run final inning comeback to beat Israel, Great Britain entered their game on Friday evening against Sweden knowing that a win would send them through to Saturday’s final, but a defeat would leave their fate in the hands of the CEB’s dreaded Teams Quality Balance equation.
Unfortunately a 6-2 defeat, including a lengthy delay in the bottom of the sixth inning due to a problem with the floodlights, meant the latter did come into play and brought an end to their tournament.
Will Lintern’s team mounted a typically spirited final-inning fightback, plating one run and then having the bases loaded when Sweden were able to get a ground-out to end the threat.
Despite getting the victory, it turned out to be a frustrating night for the home team. Had Israel held onto their lead in the earlier game then Sweden’s 2-0 record against GB and Belgium would have sent them through to the final. Instead, the TQB tie-breaker was needed to separate Sweden, Britain and Israel’s 2-2 records and the Swede’s fell one run short of bettering Israel’s TQB score.
Positives to take
Every tournament gives players the opportunity to develop and there were plenty of signs of that on display for Great Britain.
Jack Seppings went 6-for-14, led the team in runs scored (7) and stolen bases (4 from 4 attempts, including 3 in the game against Switzerland) whilst also pitching 6.1 innings across three appearances.
Michael Flaherty went 6-for-13 with 3 doubles and James Warren proved to be an RBI machine, leading the team with 8 runs batted in.
William Baranello will surely learn a lot from his two starts in the event, showing a real ability to miss bats with 12 strike-outs over 8 innings pitched. If he can pair that with developing his control (11 walks and 3 wild pitches) then he could prove to be an exciting prospect.
Aside from what shows up in the stats, every inning pitched, every inning in the field and every plate appearance would have been valuable learning experience for the young Lions. The future looks bright even though the team didn’t quite go as far as they might have hoped this time around.
Full tournament details can be found on the CEB website.
Up next …
Great Britain’s U23 team are in tournament action next, heading to Prague in the Czech Republic for the U23 Euros. The competition begins on 7 August.