McAuliffe masterclass gives Ireland 10-0 victory over Greece as they progress to Baseball Qualifiers final

James O'Connor

Brian McAuliffe’s batting masterclass gives Ireland a 10-0 victory over rivals Greece as they progress to the European Championship Baseball Qualifiers final on Saturday.

A crowd of over 1,000 poured into the International Baseball Centre in Ashbourne to see Ireland’s runaway victory, and McAuliffe followed his three-run homer on Monday with four hits from four ‘at bats’ last night.

Keelan Smithers also showcased his reliable pitching holding the Greeks to no runs, and now Ireland are in pole position to progress to the Division B qualifiers for Tokyo in October 2019.

Baseball Ireland PRO Adrian Kelly said:

"These games came down to pitchers. Both Keelan Smithers and Billy Greenfield have pitched exceptionally for Ireland this week. It’s hard to know what pitchers are needed when, but Ireland certainly beat them up last night."

Despite Ireland’s convincing victory last night, Greece have pitchers coming back from injury, and will have a point to prove at the weekend.

Kelly continued:

We think it will be a much more competitive final. They’ll want to win this final just as much as us. There’s a lot on the line and Getting to Division B would be huge.

"We’re expecting very big crowds for the final. We’ve been blessed with the weather, the sunshine is giving it a real carnival atmosphere up here and with Ireland winning there’s a real upbeat mood.”

The final will take place at 2.30pm in Ashbourne on Saturday.

A live stream of the games this week is available here while updates will be posted here.

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