Back-to-back champions: Czechia clinches gold at U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023

Back-to-back champions: Czechia clinches gold at U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023
05/08/2023
In the gold medal game of the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023, held in Prague, Czechia, the host nation clashed with Italy in the gold medal game. Both teams had already secured their positions in the upcoming WBSC World Cup due to their top two finishes in the championship. The bronze medal had been claimed by Ireland, prevailing over the Netherlands.

The gold medal game of the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023 witnessed Czechia's aggressive offensive. 

In the opening inning, the visiting team, Czechia, seized the initiative by amassing six runs. The fifteen-year-old EL GHANNAM ignited the scoring with a pivotal 2-RBI single, which was succeeded by NOSKOVÁ's 2-RBI double. FRÝBOVÁ and STRAKOVA further bolstered the lead by successfully crossing the plate, resulting in a formidable 6-0 advantage.

Advancing to the second inning, the Czech national team extended their lead with an additional run. WENCLOVÁ's double was capitalized upon by VLČKOVÁ's double, augmenting the Czech lead to 7-0.

Italy managed to break the Czech stronghold in the bottom of the third inning, with SPIOTTA registering their first run through a sacrifice fly executed by CORTESI, narrowing the margin to 7-1.

A resilient Czechia responded swiftly in the ensuing inning, as WENCLOVÁ's single facilitated KALČEVOVÁ's run, and EL GHANNAM contributed the ninth run via a sacrifice fly by VLČKOVÁ.

The Italian side struggled to regain ground, failing to score in the top half of the fifth inning. Consequently, the game was concluded via the mercy rule with a final score of 9-1 in favor of Czechia. 

This victory marked Czechia's third European championship title, with the national team securing consecutive championships.

Ireland secured the third position on the podium.

The Netherlands finished in fourth place. Great Britain and Ukraine secured the fifth and sixth positions, respectively.

The tournament also witnessed France and Israel securing the seventh and eighth spots. Spain and Germany earned the ninth and tenth positions, respectively. Austria's efforts earned them the eleventh place, followed by Croatia at twelfth.

Sweden and Poland secured the thirteenth and fourteenth spots, respectively. Switzerland, Hungary, and Denmark occupied the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth positions, respectively. Meanwhile, Finland and Slovakia claimed the eighteenth and nineteenth places, respectively, in the overall standings.

All games of the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023 can be watched on the WBSC Europe YouTube Channel. Boxscores are available on the WBSC Europe website.

Cover photo by Grega Valancic