The WBSC Softball Europe/Africa Qualifier the first softball Olympic qualifier of the year will start on Tuesday 23, July in Utrecht Netherlands with the top two African nations and the best six European countries battling for one berth in the Tokyo Summer Games 2020.
Botswana, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain will play the five-day tournament divided into two groups. Fans who want to watch the live-action of Olympic Softball in Olympic 2020 can get Olympic Softball Tickets online.
Group A of the Europe/Africa Qualifier includes No. 10 Netherlands No. 12 Great Britain, No. 28 South Africa and No. 35 Spain. The Netherlands will try to advance to the Olympic Games for the third time in history. Previously the orange team competed at the Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
The host team must improve their European Championship performance if they want to an advance to Tokyo. Two weeks ago they finished the continental championship as runner up after a tough 2-1 loss against Italy in the final. Olympians Britt Vonk and Rebecca Sumeru will guide the team in Utrecht.
The infielder led her team in ten different categories, including batting average home runs hits and runs scored. Last year Netherlands finished eighth place in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan.
Great Britain is looking to advance to the Olympic Games for the first time in history. They claimed the bronze medal in the European Championship in the Czech Republic they arrived unbeaten to the Super Round, but then lost to Netherlands and Italy and was eliminated from the final game. IN the Bronze Medal game Great Britain defeated Czech Republic 5-1 to earn third place.
Former NPF infielder Nerissa Myers will be the most dangerous offensive weapon for the British team while Georgina Corrick will be the main arm from the circle she posted a 3-1 record in the European Championship, with a 2.76 ERA. Last year Great Britain ended eleventh in the World Championship.
Coming as the second place from the African continent South Africa is aiming to become the first African nation to qualify for the Olympic Games softball competition. They lost to Botswana in the final of the continental championship held in Pretoria in January. Last year South Africa finished winless in the World Championship.
The Group B of the Softball Europe/Africa Qualifier consists of No. 9 Italy No. 15 the Czech Republic, No. 26 France and No. 43 Botswana.
As the European champions, Italy needs to repeat the gold medal performance to advance to the Olympic Games for the third time in history. The azzurre participated in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 ending in fifth and eighth positions respectively.
Italy had an impressive offensive performance in the European Championship earlier this month they led the field of teams in eleven collective categories, including home runs with 40 bombs in only 12 games. Erika Piancastelli, Laura Vigna and Amanda Fama hit over 500 for the tournament and combined for 23 dingers.
In the final against Netherlands Greta Cecchetti fanned 12 in seven innings with 5 hits 2 runs and 3 walks. For the tournament, the right-hander pitched 30 innings with a record of 5-0 with 0.60 ERA.
The fourth team in the group B is Botswana after winning the Africa tournament last May. They defeated South Africa, 8-1 at Rietondale Stadium in Pretoria. Botswana finished winless in the World Championship last year.
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