Dutch also beat Panama!
PANAMA CITY (Panama) -
The Dutch Baseball Team keeps on rising eyebrows in the international baseball world, as the squad of Manager Brian Farley closed the preliminary round on Sunday with a 7-3 win vs. Panama to hand that team its first loss.
With the win, the Dutch Team will finish in second place in Group 1, even when Panama wins its make-up game on Monday vs. the USA.
It was a day with several surprises, in scores, as well as comebacks.
It also was a day of decisions.
And the last one will come on Monday in a make-up game.
On Sunday-afternoon, Canada won 6-1 vs. the USA.
Canada took a 3-0 lead in the second inning via a 3-run homerun by Brock Kjeldgaard.
The Americans got one run back in the seventh when Matt Clark homered, but then Canada added three runs in the ninth, including one on a double by Kjeldgaard.
The loss meant that the Americans were on the brink of being eliminated for the Play-Offs.
The only way for the reigning champion to advance was a loss by Puerto Rico in the evening against Taiwan combined with a victory of their own on Monday in a make-up game against Panama.
The first part of the scenario indeed happened when Puerto Rico suffered a surprise 3-1 loss vs. Taiwan, which registered its first victory.
Kuan-Wei Yang hit a 2-run homerun in the second inning and the Asians held onto the lead.
With this, elimination of the USA (and its dethroning as world champion) was avoided at least one more day.
The decision now will fell on Monday in the make-up game between the USA and Panama.
When the Americans win, they will advance to the Second Round, a loss means elimination.
Also in the afternoon, Japan won 9-4 vs. Greece with Dutch umpire Henri van Heijningen behind the plate.
In Group 2, a 5-way tie remained possible through the playing of the two afternoon-games, but when the last match-up ended, things change quickly.
Australia won 9-6 vs. Germany and a victory by Italy against Venezuela could have set-up the 5-way tie in case the Dominican Republic would have won vs. South Korea in the evening.
But Italy failed to hold onto the lead twice in a thriller vs. Venezuela.
Italy led 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, but then Venezuela came alongside.
In the tenth inning, Italy re-took the lead by scoring twice, 6-4.
But then, things went wrong after all.
The two Venezualan tie-break runners got company when a batter was hit, then an infield-fly accounted for the first out. But then, a walk and wild pitch accounted for another tie and a single followed to give Venezuela a 7-6 victory.
With this, Venezuala became the second team in this group to qualify for the Second Round, while Italy was eliminated.
Also, the 5-way tie was not possible anymore, but a 3-way tie was.
That 3-way tie also vanished in the evening in another surprising outcome.
The Dominican Republic appeared to lead comfortably with a 4-0 score vs. South Korea.
But in the top of the ninth, the Asians suddenly scored four runs.
After a run was scored, Hae-Min Park belted a 3-run homerun to tie the score.
Korea then went on to score a run on a basesloaded walk in the tenth to win 5-4 and qualify for the Second Round, while the Dominicans were eliminated.
Cuba became the lone unbeaten team by winning 6-0 vs. Nicaragua.
On Sunday, the Technical Commission announced that it was decided that four games to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Second Round will change from playing site.
The four games were all scheduled to be played in Estadio Rod Carew in Panama City, but weather predictions state rain will hit the area on these days.
The games will now be played in Chitre and Santiago.
On Thursday, play will resume again in Panama City.
Before the game started, lefthanded pitcher Bruce Chen of the Kansas City Royals, who was born in Panama City, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
This season, Chen was 12-8 in 25 starts for the Royals.
In front of 7500 spectators at Estadio Rod Carew in Panama City, the Dutch Team appeared to face a tough pitcher in Alberto Acosta, who not only struckout three batters in the first two innings, but also picked off two baserunners.
However, the team rallied in the third at bat off this pitcher.
In the first inning Danny Rombley struckout, but then Mariekson Gregorius walked.
Next, Sidney de Jong also struckout and then Acosta ended the inning himself by picking off Gregorius at first base.
In the second inning, trailing 1-0, the Dutch Team got two quick outs when Curt Smith struckout and Bryan Engelhardt grounded out, but then Sharlon Schoop doubled and scored the tying run on a single by his brother Jonathan Schoop.
Moments later, the latter also was picked off by Acosta and was tagged out when he ran towards second base.
Panama, which outhit the Orange 12-8, opened the score in the first inning off Dutch starter Rob Cordemans.
The righthander started with a strikeout and a groundout, but then gave up a double to Angel Chavez, who then scored when Fernando Seguinol followed with a single.
A force play ended the at bat.
After the Dutch had come alongside in the second inning, Panama re-took the lead in its second at bat.
With one out, Cordemans walked Joel Vega, then gave up a single to Jeffer Patiņo.
Cordemans then struckout the next batter, but that was followed by an RBI-single by Luis Castillo, who himself was eliminated trying to advance on the throw to home, but catcher Sidney de Jong got the ball in time on second base to end the inning.
The Dutch Team then struck in the third inning, scoring four unearned runs with two outs.
Kalian Sams (who again played in rightfield) led off with a walk, then Shaldimar Daantji reached when an error was made on his sacrifice bunt.
The two runners moved on a sac-bunt with two strikes by Danny Rombley.
Sams then scored the tying run on a grounder by Mariekson Gregorius, which would have been the third out when the error wasn't made.
Hereafter, Sidney de Jong singled in the go-ahead run.
Curt Smith followed with another single, then the two runners scored when Bryan Engelhardt doubled to make it 5-2.
...Sidney de Jong (24) and Curt Smith (30) score in the 3rd inning...
...on a double by Bryan Engelhardt...
Panama got one run back in the home of the third inning when Cordemans gave up three consecutive singles with two outs.
After two flyouts, Fernando Seguinol and Conception Rodriguez singled, as did Carlos Quiroz.
The first then scored, but the inning again ended when a runner was thrown out trying to advance.
Rodriguez was eliminated at third on a throw by De Jong after receiving the ball from leftfield and ended the inning with another fine defensive play by the Dutch.
In the fourth inning, Cordemans gave up another basehit with two outs, but this time a foul-fly followed.
After the side was retired in its fourth, the Dutch Team reached base again in the fifth.
With one out, Mariekson Gregorius singled and with two outs, Curt Smith reached on an error, which led to a pitching change.
The two runners then were left behind when Bryan Engelhardt grounded out off new pitcher Gilberto Mendez.
In the sixth inning, the Dutch added another run.
Sharlon Schoop walked and moved to third base when Jonathan Schoop singled.
A double steal of the two brothers then led to the run, but moments later Jonathan was picked off second base.
...Danny Rombley - sac-bunt, homerun...
...5 outs, 2 assists...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Leading 6-3, the Dutch Team was silenced by the third Panamanian pitcher in the next two innings, but then made it 7-3 in the ninth when Danny Rombley homered with two outs.
Cordemans retired the side in the fifth and sixth inning.
After retiring 10 out of 11 batters since the fourth and the last eight in a row, Cordemans gave up two singles with one out in the seventh and was replaced by Berry van Driel, who got two flyouts to end the inning.
The first single in this at bat was just missed fielding by Cordemans, while the second single went off the leg of Cordemans towards short stop Gregorius, who made a great play, but just making the out.
Both flyouts in this at bat where made by leftfielder Danny Rombley, the first in foul territory, the second one a shoestring catch.
In the eighth, Van Driel gave up two singles, but also struckout two batters of the hardhitting Panamanian line-up.
Lead-off hitter Fernando Seguinol singled, but was thrown out at second base by leftfielder Danny Rombley when he tried to stretch it into a double.
A strikeout then followed and a single, but then Van Driel finished with his second strikeout.
In the ninth, David Bergman came on to close the game and again did great, retiring the side, including one strikeout.
The last out was a flyout to leftfielder Danny Rombley, his fifth out in this game.
The Dutch Team opens the Second Round on Tuesday.
Today's starting line-up was as follows:
Danny Rombley (LF, 1-for-4), Mariekson Gregorius (SS, 1-for-3), Sidney de Jong (C, 1-for-4), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-4), Bryan Engelhardt (DH, 1-for-4), Sharlon Schoop (2B, 1-for-2), Jonathan Schoop (3B, 2-for-4), Kalian Sams (RF, 0-for-3) and Shaldimar Daantji (CF, 0-for-4).
No position changes were made.