The Irish national squad seizes Bronze at the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship and secures the WBSC World Cup spot

The Irish national squad seizes Bronze at the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship and secures the WBSC World Cup spot
05/08/2023
The Irish national team secured victory in the bronze medal game at the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023, held in the city of Prague, Czechia.

In an intense bronze medal game at the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship, the Irish squad pitted against the Dutch team in an edge-of-the-seat encounter. This win not only earned the Irish team the European bronze medal but also punched their ticket to the next WBSC World Cup. 

Both the Irish and Dutch teams displayed determination right from the first inning. The Irish squad stormed the scoreboard early, with a powerful performance by their starting pitcher, HEGARTY, who smashed a two-run homerun. Responding in kind, the Dutch squad, led by Lizzy KWAKERNAAK, capitalized on a defensive choice to keep the Netherlands within striking distance.

The Irish team widened the gap to 3-1 in the second inning. MORIARTY, who was on base with a triple, was brought home by MCATEER, adding another point to their tally. 

The Dutch team was quick to come back. Dutch starting pitcher Lizzy ZWANENBURG scored on a fielder's choice to narrow the gap to 3-2.

In the subsequent inning, the Dutch team surged ahead, scoring two runs courtesy of NETTEN, STOLK, and BONORA's hits, giving them a 5-3 advantage. 

The Irish team, refusing to be outdone, demonstrated their mettle in the sixth inning. GLEESON and HEGARTY exhibited excellent teamwork, capitalizing on a single by WEAVER and a defensive error to tie the game at 5-5.

The Dutch team regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth, with DE GROOT's run, courtesy of another defensive error. 

The Irish, however, refused to let victory slip through their fingers. In their final opportunity, they managed to tie the game once more, with KELLY Cameron scoring on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 6-6.

The bronze medal game entered the tie-break. 

The game reached its climax as WEAVER struck a resounding RBI single to center field by BURKE, securing the crucial run that edged the Irish ahead at 7-6.

The Irish team's impeccable defense close the door for the Netherlands. A breathtaking diving catch by the Irish third baseman and two well-executed groundouts brought the Dutch's offensive efforts to a halt, cementing the Irish victory and punching their ticket to the WBSC World Cup.

All games of the U-18 Women's Softball European Championship 2023 are live-streamed on the WBSC Europe YouTube Channel. Additionally, boxscores are available on the WBSC Europe website.

Cover photo by Grega Valancic