ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – Team Italy safely defended their title in the 2012 Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) championship.
In arguably the most storied rivalry on the Old Continent, the Azzurri beat the Netherlands 8-3 in front of a packed house of fans that had come to witness the 2011 World Baseball Champions Holland add some hardware to the collection. But Team Italy disappointed the orange faithful and dominated the tournament from the start of the event, piling up a handful of shutout victories and consistently entering double-digit territory in the hits department, and the Sunday afternoon championship game was no different.
Italy outperformed the Netherlands on the mound and at the plate, outhitting and outpitching the local favorites, as both teams were stacked with MLB minor leaguers and with players having several years of international service under their belts.
Both Italy and the Netherlands already have free-passes to next year’s World Baseball Classic.
Later this week in Regensburg, a round of the qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic will be taking place, as three European squads (Czech Republic, Germany and Great Britain), along with Canada will be vying for a spot in the Classic’s big dance next March.