We have gone over the other top nine games in the Irish National baseball team's history and arrived at this single finest moment, this single greatest game.
The Top ten games in Baseball Ireland History (number 1)
- Game: Ireland v Belgium
- Tournament: European Pool B Championships
- Game type: Group game
- Venue: Antwerp, Belgium
This excerpt from my book on Irish Baseball breaks the game down for you like a fraction. From 'Pitching in - ten years on the Irish baseball team'
Ireland v Belgium
Summer of 2006
Ireland have realised part of their dream and reached the final of the Qualifying section of the European Championships. In the early game at 10 am they showed they can play ball with the big boys losing out narrowly to Croatia and in the afternoon semi final they stunned the home town Belgian side with a superb 4-1 victory on the back of West Virginia College star Brendan Bergerson and some excellent defence, including an outstanding double play turn started by Irish Team veteran Darran O'Connor.
Against Belgium in the semi final it was all about Brendan Bergerson. He absolutely overpowered the Belgian lineup with strikeout after strikeout and when he started to finally get a little tired in the 8th inning, his defence pulled a rabbit out of its hat in the form of Darran O'Connor, the wonderful servant to the game in Ireland and 10 year veteran of the team stopped a hard hit ball up the middle and flipped it to Kevin Corrigan who turned the double play getting Ireland out of a serious jam.
As a side note, I was out in the right field bullpen again for this game. I spent about five hours in total during the Belgium trip ‘warming up’, at least that’s how it felt! From my vantage point I had a perfect view of Darran’s play, and I firmly believe it was Ireland’s greatest defensive play ever.
If I had to rank a top three from memory they would be;
- Darran’s double play against Belgium ‘06
- TK’s diving catch v Austria ‘04
- Darran’s ground ball out to end the game v Hungary in ‘00
All Brendan needed was a massive two run home run in the first inning by Boston College's own Joe Kealty, and a couple of late, small ball runs built on the back of some clutch hitting and base running.It's Croatia again in the final now for Ireland. On the 10th anniversary of the Irish National team's inception the boys in green get a chance at the Gold Medal for the first time, and a chance to spend next summer playing the best teams in Europe.
- Read more at 'Pitching in - ten years on the Irish baseball team'
- The Top ten games in Irish baseball history list page
The games listed so far:
1. Ireland v Belgium: European Pool B Championships 2006
2. Ireland v Austria: European Pool B Championships 2004
3. Ireland v Hungary: European Pool B Championships 2000
4. Ireland v Yugoslavia: European Pool B Championships 1996
5. Ireland v Serbia Montenegro European Championships 2004
6. Ireland v Slocum Fenway Park 2001 (pictures here)
7. Ireland v Finland European Championships 2004
8. Ireland v Slocum RI tour 2001
9. Ireland v Lithuania Sweden 2002
10. Ireland v Serbia Montenegro European Championships 2004 3rd