Dutch beat Australia; Final in view!
SANTIAGO DE VERAGUAS (Panama) -
The Dutch Baseball Team on Thursday-afternoon resumed its game against Australia and immediately struck with a run in the seventh inning, leading to a 2-1 victory.
With the win, qualifying for the all-deciding final of the World Cup now becomes a real possibility.
When the Dutch Team does indeed reach the final it will become the first European country in history to do so.
Except for the very first 'World Championship' in 1938 when Great Britain win the title in a series of games against the USA, the only other participating team in that 'tournament'.
With the win, the Dutch clinched a spot in the top-4, meaning the squad will play for some kind of medal on Saturday.
If the calculations of your webmaster are right, it appears that only Canada can prevend the Dutch from reaching the final.
After viewing all kind of combinations in the final ranking after tomorrow's games, the Dutch cannot finish lower that fourth place.
The win was the eighth for the Dutch during this Championship, equaling the all-time record set by the Dutch Team during the World Cup of 2005 when it finished in fourth place.
The Dutch registered the record-tying win on the date that 25 years ago (October 13, 1986) baseball became an official medal sport in the Olympic Games starting in 1992.
Tonight, the Dutch Team meets Cuba.
Tomorrow, the squad ends the Second Round against Venezuela, which might decide for which medal the Dutch Team will play on Saturday.
On Wednesday-afternoon, the game against the Aussies was halted after two hours and 14 minutes when heavy rain made playing impossible.
Both teams had scored a run in the second inning, meaning the game had to be resumed at some moment, as tie games are not possible in World Cup-competition.
After an almost 3-hour delay, the game finally called.
On Wednesday-evening, the Technical Commission and Tournament Directors changed the remaining schedule for the Second Round, resulting in some teams having to play double-headers.
Another decision was that all remaining games now will exist of seven innings only due to the double-header format.
This is one of the rules for tournaments involving professionals.
In the professional Minor Leagues, double-header games also last only seven innings.
And so, the Dutch and Aussies resumed their game on a sunny afternoon in Estadio Omar Turrijos in Santiago de Veraguas.
After 36 minutes, the game was history and the Dutch had won 2-1.
For Australia, it was its second 2-1 loss in a row.
Earlier in the day, starting at 11 AM this morning (Panamanian time), Australia met the USA and also lost 2-1.
In that game, Team USA scored twice in the sixth inning on a single by Joe Thurston and a sac-fly by Chad Tracy.
Australia scored once in its seventh at bat.
Because of the loss against the Netherlands, Australia was eliminated for the final and also appears to have only a theoretical chance of playing in the bronze medal game.
Dutchman Jan Esselman was one of the Technical Commissioners for this game.
Also this morning, Canada shutout Venezuela 7-0.
Winning pitcher Kyle Lotzkar gave up only three hits in five innings.
Canada rallied for five runs in the first inning, including two on a homerun by Brock Kjelgaard.
Two runs were added in the second at bat.
Canada collected nine basehits, eight of which were hit in the first two innings.
Dutchman Henri van Heijningen was the umpire at second base in this game.
When the game resumed in the top of the seventh inning, Australia had runners on first and third base with two outs.
David Bergman was brought in as new pitcher by Manager Brian Farley, replacing Diegomar Markwell, who had just entered the game when it was stopped by rain a day earlier.
And Bergman again did a great job!
With one strike on batter Justin Huber (thrown by Markwell the previous day), Bergman finished the inning by fielding a comeback-grounder.
The Dutch then immediately struck in its seventh at bat.
They didn't face Dushan Ruzic anymore.
The tall righthander, who dominated from the third through sixth inning on Wednesday, today of course didn't return to the mound.
Andrew Russell took his place and immediately ran into problems.
He hit lead-off hitter Curt Smith with a pitch, then gave up a single to Bryan Engelhardt.
Next, his pick-off to second base ended in a throwing error and runners on second and third base.
Smith then scored the go-ahead run on a comeback-grounder by Sharlon Schoop, which changed direction when touched by Russell.
It marked the end for the unfortunate pitcher, who was replaced by Brendan Wise.
The veteran ended the inning with two groundouts, but the damage had been done and the Dutch had taken a 2-1 lead.
A day earlier, Smith also had scored the first run, but then on a grounder by 'the other' Schoop, Jonathan.
In the eighth Australian at bat, Bergman retired the side on three grounders.
Wise did the same with the Dutch side, but that also included a line drive out by Mariekson Gregorius.
Australia had only one chance left and got the tying run on second base, but a crucial baserunning mistake then happened.
Bergman gave up a lead-off single to Joel Naughton (who had started the remainder of the game as new catcher), who was then replaced by pinch-runner Davis Kandilas.
The latter then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Wearne.
But then, Kandilas was eliminated at third base trying to advance on a grounder to short (!) by Brad Harman.
At short, Mariekson Gregorius fielded the ball and threw it to third baseman Jonathan Schoop, who tagged out the runner and ended Australia's scoring opportunity.
Next, Harman stole second base to get into scoring position, but then the game ended when James Beresford grounded out to first baseman Curt Smith.
The line-up vs. Australia was as follows:
Danny Rombley (LF, 0-for-4), Mariekson Gregorius (SS, 1-for-4), Sidney de Jong (C, 0-for-3), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-2), Bryan Engelhardt (DH, 1-for-3), Sharlon Schoop (2B, 1-for-3), Jonathan Schoop (3B, 0-for-3), Kalian Sams (RF, 0-for-3) and Shaldimar Daantji (CF, 0-for-3).
There were no changes this game.