Dutch Team claims first place in Pool
ROTTERDAM (Neth.) -
The Dutch Baseball Team on Tuesday-evening closed the preliminary round of the European Championship with an 11-2 victory vs. Great Britain to finish in first place of Pool B.
Despite the surprising loss against the Czech Republic, the Dutch Team finished in a tie for first place with Germany, but was ranked in in the top-position based on the win on Monday against the Germans.
The Czechs finished in third place after winning 12-3 vs. Belgium on Tuesday-evening, meaning the Dutch Team takes the loss against the Czechs with them to the Final Round.
Belgium held a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning in the game at Vleuten, but the Czechs reacted with a 4-run rally and went on to win big.
A Belgian victory would have led to a 3-way tie for third place between the Czechs, Belgium and France.
In that case, a statistic formula would have designated the final order.
Italy shutout Russia 10-0 on Tuesday-evening in Haarlem to remain unbeaten and finish in first place in Pool A.
Spain and Sweden join Italy in advancing to the Final Round.
Spain won 6-0 vs. Croatia in the afternoon, while Sweden won 5-3 vs. Greece.
On Wednesday, six teams will play their last game of the European Championship, which are the teams that finished in 4th, 5th and 6th place in pool-play.
At Vleuten/Utrecht, France and Greece will play for seventh/eighth place.
At Haarlem, Belgium and Croatia will decide ninth and tenth place.
And in Rotterdam, Great Britain and Russia meet in the game for 11th and 12th place.
By finishing in last place in their pool, Great Britain and Russia both will relegate.
Next year, there will be two European Championship Qualifying Tournaments, meaning both countries will get the opportunity to promote back to the A-tournament, which will be held again in 2014.
All three games will start at 2 PM and will be free of charge.
The top-6 teams have the day off on Wednesday and will start the Final Pool on Thursday.
From that day on, games only will be played in either Haarlem or Rotterdam.
On Thursday, Spain meets the Czech Republic at 2 PM in Haarlem and Italy meets Germany at 7:30 PM in Haarlem.
Starting at 7:30 PM in Rotterdam, the Netherlands opens the Final Round against Sweden.
The Dutch play against Spain on Friday and meets Italy on Saturday.
These two games also will be played in Rotterdam.
The game between the Dutch and Great Britain on Tuesday-evening was the first between the only two European countries that ever captured the World Championship-title.
In 1938, Great Britain became the very first champion by winning four of five games played against an American team.
73 years later, in October 2011, the Netherlands became the second European country to become World Champion and also the last, as the World Baseball Classic will replace the global event starting in March of next year.
...Starter Orlando Yntema...
...five no-hit innings...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Manager Brian Farley made a few changes to his starting line-up, as Rudy van Heydoorn was the starting catcher for the first time.
Quintin de Cuba was the starting catcher in the previous four games.
With De Cuba out of the line-up, Wesley Connor moved up from the number 7 to number 6 slot with Van Heydoorn batting seventh.
Orlando Yntema became the fifth different starter for the Dutch Team.
The righthander began his outing on the mound with a walk for Aaron Hornostaj, but moments later, he was picked off and caught stealing, while being tagged out by 1B Curt Smith.
The Dutch Team opened the score in the second inning.
Kalian Sams led off with a walk, stole second base and scored when Wesley Connor singled through the middle with one out.
He then also stole second base, but then stranded at third base.
The Orange added a run in the third at bat.
With one out, Michael Duursma walked, then advanced to third base on an errant pick-off throw by pitcher Gregory Hendrix and scored when a throwing error followed on a grounder by Hainley Statia.
Curt Smith then also walked, but two runners stranded, as Hendrix struckout next batters Kalian Sams and Bryan Engelhardt.
After a somewhat slow start, the Dutch offense got into action from the fourth inning on.
In the six innings played from that moment on, the Dutch collected nine basehits, six of which were extra basehits, including four triples.
In the fourth, Wesley Connor led off with an infield-hit, then moved to third base when pitcher Gregory Hendrix against threw the ball passed his first baseman during a pick-off attempt.
Hendrix then struckout Rudy van Heydoorn and Danny Rombley, but then hit Nick Urbanus.
After the latter stole second base, a throwing error by the catcher followed, enabling Connor to score and Urbanus to advance to third base.
The bases then got loaded when Hendrix also hit Michael Duursma and walked Hainley Statia.
Next, the bases were cleared when Curt Smith drove the ball into deep right-centerfield for a stand-up triple.
It led to a pitching change and new pitcher Paul Waterman then struckout Kalian Sams, but the Dutch had enlarged their lead to 6-0.
In the fifth inning, Danny Arribas entered the game as pinch-hitter for Bryan Engelhardt.
It was the first game that Arribas played during this tournament and it also became the first official international game for the catcher, who then tripled in his very first at bat to lead off the inning.
He scored when Wesley Connor followed with a sac-fly.
...Curt Smith - 2 stand-up triples and a double...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Dutch starter Orlando Yntema held the British squad hitless in the first five innings.
Two batters reached base, one on a walk, the other on an error, but neither of them moved beyond first base.
In the fifth inning, Yntema's No-Hitter was held intact thanks to a great play by 2B Dwayne Kemp, who had just taken over from Nick Urbanus, who had moved to short.
In the sixth, Yntema's No-Hitter ended when Maikel Azcuy Perez led off with a single.
Next, Kemp caught a line drive, but then Aaron Hornostaj walked.
After a foul-pop-fly, Matthew Roxburgh and Aeden McQueary-Ennis both singled to bring in two runs and make it a 7-2 score.
Yntema was replaced by Berry van Driel, who struckout the first batter he faced to end the inning.
The Dutch Team added three more runs in the seventh inning to make it 10-2.
Curt Smith led off with his second stand-up triple, then scored when the second baseman caught a fly ball on foul territory, making it a sacrifice fly.
Arribas then struckout in his second at bat, but Wesley Connor followed with his third single of the evening and he went on to score, as Rudy van Heydoorn followed with the fourth Dutch triple of the evening.
Another pitching change took place hereafter, but Van Heydoorn then scored when an error was made on a grounder by Danny Rombley.
In the eighth, with one out, Curt Smith and Shaldimar Daantji (who had just entered the game defensively as centerfielder) hit back-to-back doubles to make it 11-2.
Van Driel, who struckout three batters after giving up a lead-off single in the seventh, was followed by David Bergman, who retired the side in the eighth inning.
Loek van Mil pitched the ninth inning, gave up a 2-out double, but finished the game with a strikeout.
With his three basehits tonight, Wesley Connor raised his batting average to .625 to become the best Dutch hitter and third placed hitter in the tournament.
Tyler LaTorre (Italy) is the leading hitter after the preliminary round with a .667 average, followed by Kevin Kotowski (Germany), who hits .643.
Michael Duursma leads the event with nine runs scored, Connor has the most basehits (10) and Kalian Sams the most runs batted in (14).
...Nick Urbanus steals 2nd base in the 4th inning...
...2B Nick Urbanus retires a batter...
...1B Curt Smith tags out a runner in the 1st inning...
...Wesley Connor collected 3 basehits...
|(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)|