Judging by the its performance so far in the sport’s first ever European Championships — taking place right now in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius — France really has gotten “into the spirit of Baseball5,” as Le Baseblog reported back in December.
After a dominant first day of competition, in which they won five of their six games, Team France roared into the elimination phase Saturday morning with a beat-down of Belarus (5-1 and 8-1).
Next up for Les Bleus was a semi-final showdown that evening with Italy.
Against the talented Italians, France got off to an early lead in Game 1. Italy fought back, though, and capitalized on some slopping defense in the bottom of the fourth inning to come within striking distance. But in the top of the 5th and final inning, Chiara Enrione-Thorrand reached base safely to spark a two-out rally that gave France two insurance runs and the game. Final score: 7-4.
Italy got its revenge in Game 2, scoring six and keeping France to just two runs. In the third and final game, however, France again found its form, scoring three runs in the opening frame and another three in the top of the fourth to go up 7-3.
The French defense held strong in the final two innings, and voila! Les Bleus have just earned themselves a spot in tomorrow’s finals against the host team from Lithuania.
What’s more, the victory also guarantees Team France a coveted berth in this year’s inaugural Baseball5 World Cup, to take place in Mexico in December.