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Updated: October 18, 2010
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Copyright © 1997-2010
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

Dutch Team held hitless by Japan in exhibition-opener
TAIPEI (Taiwan) - The Dutch National Baseball Team on Monday-afternoon was held hitless by three pitchers and was shutout 6-0 by Japan, which is compiled entirely of professional players. Only two Dutch players were able to reach base, both on an error, while the Japanese pitchers struckout 12 batters. For the Dutch Team, this was its first of three exhibition games as part of their preparations for the upcoming Intercontinental Cup, which opens next Saturday in Taichung. On Monday-evening, Taiwan won its first exhibition game against Cuba, 3-2. On Tuesday-evening, the Dutch Team faces Taiwan, while Cuba is playing in the afternoon against Japan.

The trip to Taiwan had an unexpected start. The team left for the Asian island on Saturday-evening, but arrived hours later than expected in their hotel in capital Taipei on Sunday-morning. This, combined with the jet-lag and the fact that most players didn't play for some weeks, wasn't good for the preparations for the exhibition opener 24 hours later. Tom Stuifbergen and Orlando Yntema, the first two Dutch pitchers in this game, already left on Friday and had arrived on time. The other professional players flew directly to Taiwan from Curaçao, Aruba or the USA, but only Shawn Zarraga arrived later than scheduled due to visaproblems.

At the moment, it rains a lot at the moment in Taipei. The sometime heavy rain comes from the extensions of Super Typhoon Megi (also known as Typhoon Juan), which currently has reached the northeast of Manila, the capital of the Philippines with winds in excess of 269 kph, making it the most powerful storm since 2005. It is expected that the typhoon (category 5), which is the strongest in the region in past 20 years, will move across the Philippine island of Luzon in full force in the coming 24 to 36 hours and then will reach the Chinese Sea. But the heavy rain created by Megi might influence the weather the coming days in Taiwan.

But despite the rain throughout the day and strong winds in the stadium, the game between the Dutch and Japan could be played as scheduled in Taipei Municipal Tianmu Baseball Stadium, which also was the site of the World Championship in 2001 and 2007.

...Sharlon Schoop...
...first to reach base...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dutch Team was unable to produce offensively off three Japanese pitchers and reached base only twice. Japanese starter Iwao retired the first five batters he faced, including two with a strikeout, but then Sharlon Schoop reached base with two outs in the second inning on a throwing error by Japanese third baseman Ota. Schoop stranded on first base, as Iwao struckout next batter Danny Rombley to end the inning. From that moment, Iwao retired nine batters in a row, before facing Rombley again with two outs in the fifth inning. This time Rombley reached base when short stop Shota dropped a fly ball. But Rombley also would strand on first base, as next hitter Raily Legito grounded out. Rombley was the second and last Dutch player to reach base off Iwao, who struckout five. New pitcher Sunaga took over in the sixth inning and retired all six batters he faced. Sunaga started the sixth with a groundout, then struckout pinch-hitters Bas de Jong and Dwayne Kemp. In the seventh, Sunaga also struckout Curt Smith, Shawn Zarraga (who had just entered the game defensively as catcher to make his debut in the national team) and pinch-hitter Jason Halman. Kaga became the third Japanese pitcher and retired the side in the eighth and ninth inning, including two strikeouts.

...Danny Rombley...
...second to reach base...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Only three times, a Dutch batter hit the ball into the outfield. In the first inning, Curt Smith flied out to rightfield, as did Sidney de Jong in the second. The third hitter to hit the ball into the outfield was Bryan Engelhardt, who flied out to centerfield in the fifth inning.

Japan came close to its first run in the first inning when lead-off hitter Nakamura was walked by Dutch starter Tom Stuifbergen. Nakamura then stole second base and advanced to third on a grounder, but stranded there.

After issuing the lead-off walk in the first, Stuifbergen retired the next eight batters in a row, but then gave up four unearned runs in the third inning. With two outs in the third inning (both strikeouts), Nakamura again reached base, this time with a single, who then advanced on a single by next hitter Kokubo. Next hitter Ota then appeared to be the third out, but short stop Mariekson Gregorius dropped the ball, resulting in the first Japanese run. With runners on second and third base, a double by Iwamoto resulted in two more runs. Moments later, Iwamoto advanced on a wild pitch and scored himself on a single by Nohara to make ot 4-0. A hit batter followed, but then Stuifbergen got out of the inning with a groundout.

Orlando Yntema took over the pitching for the Dutch in the fourth inning and made his debut in the national team. The righthander did fine in his first international game and gave up only one hit in the three innings he pitched. He retired the side in the fourth, then gave up an one-out double in the fifth. In the sixth, the Japanese lead-off hitter Nakagawa reached on a throwing error by third baseman Raily Legito and stole second base, but was left there.

Leon Boyd became the third Dutch pitcher and threw the seventh inning, striking out the side. In the eighth, Dennis Neuman took over and gave up the two remaining Japanese run. He was greeted with a single by Hawhimoto, which was followed by a 2-run homerun by Nohara, who got two of the six Japanese hits in this game. Hereafter, Neuman walked the next batter, but then retired the next three in order.

(October 18)

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