From February 28th til March 1st in Vilnius, Lithuania was held the first big championship in the history of this young street version of baseball and softball – The European Baseball5 Championship 2020. The games have taken places at the halls ot LITEXPO, the international exhibition center in Lithuania at a specially prepared fields.
Bulgaria was represented by the following players: Dimitar Nassapov – playing manager, Gergana Handjiyska, Ralitsa Velcheva, Martina Kostelyanchik, Yavor Andreev, Teodor Karakashev, Gergana Leontieva and Yoanis Alexandrov, elected during the National Baseball5 Chamiponship and the Balkan Championship 2020.
The Bulgarian team, Balkan champion for 2018 and 2020, started expected strong with 2 wins against Estonia and the Czech Republic, there was an underestimation of the opponent in the match against Israel, followed by an unfortunate loss after a very contested match from the future finalist in the tournament – Lithuania with 12 to 11 Our team led 11: 8 in the 5th and last inning when a controversial referee turned the score in favor of the Lithuanians.
The subsequent losses from the future champion – France and bronze medalists Russia, in which shone Andrei Lobanov, the main pitcher of the national baseball team sent our team out of the quarterfinals.
In the second phase of the championship the Bulgarians defeated the Belgian and Estonian teams and thus took 9th place in the final standings.
The European champion is France, who, along with the finalist Lithuania, are eligible to represent the Old Continent in the World Baseball5 Championship in November in Mexico.
The next major competition will be the European Baseball5 Championship U18 in August this year.
Bulgaria also participated in the game officials group that led the matches during the championship. After the two-day clinic, our representative Iliana Mihovska was selected as a team leader in the first phase, and in the second phase she recorded appearances as chief judge. The clinic was led by Andrea D’Auria (Italy) and Rafael James (Cuba), representatives of the World Confederation of Baseball and Softball.
The technical director of the championship was Yuri Alkalaj Vice-President of the European Confederation of Baseball and Softball, who in the company of Andrea D’Auria and Virmidas Neverauskas, Chairman of the Organizing Committee presented the awards to the teams of France, Lithuania and Russia and individual – many hits and most points scored by Tigo Mino (Fr.) and for the best defense team – Russia.
The championship recieved high evaluation by the Heads of Delegation and personally by the President of the World Confederation of Baseball and Softball – Prof. Ricardo Fracari.
The matches were broadcast live via the European Confederation of Baseball and Softball platform baseballsoftball.tv, watched by over 5,000 spectators from Europe and Africa.