Dutch beat USA; clinch Play-Offs!
AGUADULCE (Panama) -
The Dutch Baseball Team stunned reigning world champion USA on Friday-evening by taking a big 7-1 lead in the third inning and went on to win 7-5, remain unbeaten after five games and officially became the first team to clinch a spot in the Second Round of the World Championship.
The Dutch, who were outhit 11-7, struck early with three runs in the first inning, then rallied spectacularly for four runs in the third at bat.
The Dutch win was only the fifth in 33 games played vs. the USA and the first since a 9-3 victory in 2007 when the Orange won in Durham (North Carolina) to end a 3-game friendly series.
The victory was the first World Cup-win against the USA since the Dutch won 3-1 in the opening game of the 1998 World Championship in Palermo (Italy).
Rob Cordemans then was the starting pitcher and still is a member of the the current squad.
Also with the team then as an infielder was Danny Rombley, who thereafter went on to play professionally in the organization of the Montreal Expos.
In the next five World Cups, the Dutch and USA met three times.
After not facing each other in 2001 (in Taiwan), their match-up in 2003 (in Cuba) was canceled by rain in the fourth inning with the Dutch leading 2-0.
They then didn't meet in 2005 (in the Netherlands), but the Dutch lost in 2007 (Taiwan) and 2009 (Italy).
About an half hour after completion of the Dutch game, Panama became the second team to reach the Second Round.
Panama also won its fifth game and won 12-3 to hand Canada its first loss.
There are now three unbeaten teams, as Cuba won 5-1 vs. Italy in Group 2.
In the Second Round, which also might be called Play-Offs or Quarter Finals, the top-4 of each of the two groups will meet each other.
This means all teams will play four more games in this Second Round.
After completion of the Second Round, the ranking will determine the pairings on the final day of the event.
The teams in first and second place will meet in the final and so on for third, fifth and seventh place.
On Friday-afternoon, Greece and Taiwan became the first two teams in the Dutch pool to be eliminated for the Second Round.
Greece lost 10-1 to Puerto Rico, while Taiwan was beaten 3-1 by Japan.
All teams in the other group still have a chance of finishing in the top-4, but some of them only theoretically, including Germany, which has lost all of its five games played so far.
The Dutch Team struck early in the first inning of American starter Matt Shoemaker, who pitched in Double-A/Triple-A this season in the organization of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
With one out, the righthander walked Kalian Sams, who was in the starting line-up and played rightfield instead of Danny Rombley.
Next, Sidney de Jong singled, then Curt Smith homered to make it 3-0.
After Bryan Engelhardt struckout, Sharlon Schoop reached on an infield-hit, but then the inning ended when his brother Jonathan Schoop grounded out.
The start of Sams was one of four changes Manager Brian Farley had made for tonight's game.
Also not in the starting line-up was leftfielder Dwayne Kemp.
His position was taken by Bryan Engelhardt, who was the designated hitter in three of the four previous games.
Taking the DH-spot today was Sidney de Jong, who was the catcher in all four previous games.
Shawn Zarraga was the catcher in tonight's game.
Dutch starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell, who pitched in relief three days ago against Japan, gave up a 2-out double in the first inning, but ended with a flyout.
The lefthander then gave up the first American run in the second at bat.
With one out, he walked Brett Carroll (who this season played in two Major League-games for the Milwaukee Brewers), but he was forced out on a double play-grounder by Tommy Mendonca (AA, Texas Rangers).
The latter advanced to second base when short stop Mariekson Gregorius' throw to first base to complete the double play went errant.
Mendonca then scored when Tuffy Gosewisch (AA, Philadelphia Phillies) singled.
The latter then advanced to third base on a failed pick-off by Markwell, but stranded there, as the lefthander struckout Andrew Garcia (AAA, Chicago White Sox) to end the inning.
In the third inning, the Dutch team increased its lead to 7-1 by scoring four runs.
Sidney de Jong led off with a walk, then Curt Smith flied out.
Next, the bases were loaded when Bryan Engelhardt singled and Sharlon Schoop also walked.
The bases were then cleared when rookie Jonathan Schoop drilled a 3-run triple and he was able to continue running and score himself when a throwing error followed, making it a spectacular baserunning show by the Dutch.
Shawn Zarraga then followed with another single, but then Shaldimar Daantji grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In its third at bat, Team USA got one run back when A.J. Pollock (AA, Arizona Diamondbacks) homered with one out.
Joe Thurston (who played this season in the Majors for the Florida Marlins) then singled, but was left behind.
In the fourth inning, Justin Cassel (AAA, Chicago White Sox) took over the pitching for the USA and faced only nine batters in the three innings he threw.
He started with two strikeouts in the fourth, added a strikeout in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
In the fifth, the righthander gave up a lead-off single to Curt Smith, but he was eliminated when Sharlon Schoop grounded into a double play.
In the seventh and eighth inning, the Dutch offense also was silenced by Jeff Beliveau (AA, Chicago Cubs), who struckout two batters in both innings.
After having retired his first five batters, he walked Sharlon Schoop with two outs in the eighth, but then Jonathan Schoop became his fourth strikeout victim.
After giving up the homerun in the third inning, Markwell retired the side in the fourth, including two strikeouts.
In the fifth, the Americans reached base again, but didn't score.
Andrew Garcia led off with a single, but was forced out and Joe Thurston was hit by a pitch, but two runners were left behind.
...Winning Pitcher Diegomar Markwell...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the sixth inning, Markwell gave up an one-out single to Brett Carroll, who played in the Majors for the Florida Marlins in 2007-2010, including 92 games in the 2009 season when he was a teammate of Dutch pitcher Rick van den Hurk.
But after Carroll's single, a strikeout and flyout ended the at bat.
Team USA then scored twice in the seventh inning to narrow the deficit to 7-4.
Andrew Garcia and Brett Jackson (AAA, Chicago Cubs) led off with singles, which marked the end for Markwell.
He was replaced by Leon Boyd, who made his first appearance of the tournament.
The righthander allowed both runners to advance, as he started with a wild pitch, but then followed with a strikeout.
Next, the two runners scored on a single by Joe Thurston, who himself was thrown out at second base, trying to advance.
A pop-fly then ended the inning.
In the ninth inning, Scott Patterson became the fourth American pitcher and retired the side, including striking out the first two batters he faced, Bas Nooij (who made his first appearance) and Shaldimar Daantji.
Leon Boyd also got an one-two-three inning in the eighth, including one strikeout, then David Bergman took over in the ninth.
There must have been some nerves involved with two outs, as the Dutch Team gave up one run and saw three batters reach base, but in the end hold onto the lead.
With one out, Bergman walked Andrew Garcia, who then stole second base when next batter Brett Jackson struckout.
Next, A.J. Pollock singled to bring in Garcia, then stole second base and advanced to third when Joe Thurston (who was 4-for-4) also singled.
And that brought the tying run to bat, but Chad Tracy (AAA, Texas Rangers) grounded out to first baseman Curt Smith to end the game, earning Bergman a save.
Today's starting line-up was as follows:
Mariekson Gregorius (SS, 0-for-4), Kalian Sams (RF, 0-for-3), Sidney de Jong (DH, 1-for-3), Curt Smith (1B, 2-for-4), Bryan Engelhardt (LF, 1-for-3), Sharlon Schoop (2B, 1-for-2), Jonathan Schoop (3B, 1-for-4), Shawn Zarraga (C, 1-for-2) and Shaldimar Daantji (CF, 0-for-4).
During the game, Dwayne Kemp pinch-hit for Engelhardt and took over in leftfield, while Bas Nooij entered the game in the seventh inning as the new catcher.
Also on Friday:
In the afternoon, Japan won its first game, beating Taiwan 3-1, but the team was officially eliminate when Panama won 12-3 vs. Canada in the evening.
Chun-Hsin Chen put Taiwan ahead with a homerun in the second inning, but then a 2-run single by Takato Kobayashi gave Japan the lead to keep in the third at bat.
Puerto Rico won 10-1 vs. Greece on 14 hits, including a 2-run homerun by Cesar Crespo.
Venezuela trailed 5-2 after two innings vs. Germany, but won 10-5 on 18 hits, including a 2-run homerun by former Mr. Cocker HCAW-player Wuillians Vasquez.
Dutchman Henri van Heijningen was the umpire at second base in this game.
Australia led comfortable with an 8-1 score in the eighth inning against the Dominican Republic, but failed to hold onto the lead.
The Dominicans scored three runs in the eighth, then came alongside by scoring four in the ninth to force extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, Australia then re-took the lead on a 3-run double by Mitchell Dening and went on to win 11-9.
Justin Huber (2-run) and Stefan Welch (solo) homered for Australia in this game, which was interrupted by storm in the eighth inning.
In the evening, Cuba won 5-1 vs. Italy.