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Updated: March 8, 2013
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Dutch Team opens 2nd round with win vs. Cuba
Nederlands
TOKYO (Japan) - In its first game of the Second Round of the World Baseball Classic, the Dutch Baseball Team underscored that winning (twice) against Cuba during the World Championship of 2011 in Panama was not an exception. Today, the squad of Manager Hensley Meulens convincingly defeated the once dominating Cuban team with a 6-2 score. With this, the Orange opened the Second Round strongly and set its first set towards the final-four round, which will be played in San Francisco (USA).


...Curt Smith and Andrelton Simmons...
...celebrate the win...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In today's game, Jonathan Schoop contributed with four runs batted in, including three with a homerun. The prospect in the organisation of the Baltimore Orioles also had a single and double, missing only the (difficult) triple to complete a cycle. Schoop went 3-for-6 in the game, which lasted three hours and 38 minutes. The Dutch Team showed good hitting (14 basehits) and had fine pitching, but it was the defense that (again) made the biggest contribution, turning five (!) double plays. Offensively, 14 runners were left on base, including nine in scoring position and three times the bases loaded. The Cubans collected 12 basehits off of three pitchers, who didn't record a strikeout.

,,We hit good today'', Manager Hensley Meulens said during the press conference. ,,We could've scored a lot more runs. We had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh and we didn't score. Line drive, hard hit, right at the third baseman, then a popup and then a ground ball.''

Cuban Manager Victor Mesa was not impressed. ,,I don't think they're a very good team, to be honest'', he said during the press conference. ,,I think we could've scored more. I think we should've scored four or five more runs.''


...Curt Smith is welcomed...
...after his homerun...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dutch Team threatened right from the beginning, as it got the bases loaded in the first at bat off of starting pitcher Ismel Jimenez. With two outs, Roger Bernadina walked, Wladimir Balentien singled and Andruw Jones also walked. But then, Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end the at bat.

The Orange squad then dealt the first blow in the second inning, as Curt Smith led off with a homerun. Next, Kalian Sams doubled, moved on a sac-bunt by Dashenko Ricardo and scored on a following single by Andrelton Simmons. Jonathan Schoop followed with another single, but Simmons was then thrown out trying to advance to third base. Schoop's hit was the end for Jimenez, who was relieved by Freddy Alvarez. He saw Roger Bernadina reach on an error, but then Wladimir Balentien flied out to end the inning.

Dutch starter Diegomar Markwell face an agressive hitting Cuban team, but held the multi-world champion to only one run. In the first inning, Markwell gave up a lead-off single to Guillermo Heredia, but then Alexei Bell grounded into the first Dutch double play. Josť Fernandez followed with a double and then Frederich Cepeda walked, but both were left.

In the second inning, Alfredo Despaigne led off with a homerun to narrow the deficit to 2-1. With one out, Eriel Sanchez singled, then the second double play was made when next batter Erisbel Arruebarruena popped out.

The Dutch were retired in order in the third, then left a runner in the fourth inning. Kalian Sams then reached on an error, stole second base and advanced on the second sac-bunt by Dashenko Ricardo, but then two outs followed. In the third and fourth Cuban at bats, the Dutch defense turned two more double plays, meaning they made one in each of the first four innings.

In the fifth inning, Andruw Jones singled with two outs, but was forced out, then Cuban threatened to score in its half of the fifth at bat. Yulieski Gourriel led off with a single, but was forced out on a grounder in front of home plate by next hitter Eriel Sanchez. Arruebarruena then followed with another single, but then two force out-grounders ended the at bat.


...Roger Bernadina...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dutch took more distance in the sixth inning, scoring three runs. With one out, Kalian Sams hit his second double and moved to third base when Dashenko Ricardo flied out. Andrelton Simmons walked and that led to a Cuban pitching change. Yadier Pedroso took over and faced Jonathan Schoop, who drilled his second delivery over the left-centerfield wall for a 3-run homerun and increase the lead to 5-1.

In the Cuban sixth, Josť Fernandez led off with a single. But after a flyout, the Dutch then turned its fifth double play of the game.

The Dutch Team got three runners on base in the seventh inning with no outs, but all stranded. Wladimir Balentien and Andruw Jones led off with singles, then Yander Guerrera became the new Cuban pitcher. He gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts to load the bases. Curt Smith then lined out to third base, Kalian Sams popped out on foul territory and Dashenko Ricardo struckout, leaving the bases loaded.

Cuba then got a run back in the home of the seventh off new pitcher Leon Boyd, who took over for Diegomar Markwell, who threw six fine innings with great support from his defense. With one out, Boyd gave up a homerun to Yulieski Gourriel, then Frank Morejon followed with a single. A flyout followed and pinch-hitter Yosmany Tomas added a single to put runners on first and second base. It appeared that Cuba could do some damage, but then veteran player Alexei Bell grounded to third baseman Xander Bogaerts for a force play.

In the eighth inning, the Orange added an insurance run. Andrelton Simmons led off with a single and scored when Jonathan Schoop followed with a double to bring in his fourth run. Veteran Norberto Gonzalez then became the next Cuban pitcher. He saw Roger Bernadina put down a successful sacrifice bunt to move Schoop and was replaced by Raciel Iglesias. The latter ended the inning, as a pop-foul and strikeout followed.

In the ninth inning, the Dutch Team again left the bases loaded. With one out, Curt Smith doubled and Kalian Sams walked. The two advanced on a grounder and then the bases got loaded when Andrelton Simmons was hit by a pitch. This brought in the seventh Cuban pitcher, Diosdany Castillo. Jonathan Schoop then grounded out, leaving the bases loaded.

Cuba was retired in order in the eighth and ninth inning. In the eighth by Leon Boyd and in the ninth by closer Loek van Mil. The eighth inning ended with a controversial call. With two outs, Josť Abreu popped up into foul territory behind first base. First baseman Curt Smith went after the ball trying to catch it. Smith clearly missed the ball, reached over the photographer's wall and nearly knocked Dutch photographer Henk Seppen from his chair. While hanging over the ball, Smith picked up the ball with his glove, got back on his feet and started to return to first base, thinking it was a foul ball. But then, veteran umpire Alfonso Marquez, a Major League Umpire since 1999, made the out-call and so Smith turned and went to the dug-out. 1B Umpire Gerry Davis, a Major League Umpire since 1984, was down the first base line in foul territory in rightfield and couldn't make the call.

Pitching Stats
pitcherINNSOBBH
Diegomar Markwell, W6019
Leon Boyd2003
Loek van Mil1000

Playing in today's game were:
Andrelton Simmons (SS, 2-for-4, walk), Jonathan Schoop (2B, 3-for-6), Roger Bernadina (CF, 0-for-3, walk), Wladimir Balentien (RF, 2-for-5), Andruw Jones (DH, 2-for-4, walk), Xander Bogaerts (3B, 1-for-5), Curt Smith (1B, 2-for-5), Kalian Sams (LF, 2-for-4, walk), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 0-for-3).


...Lining up for the National Anthems...

...The game is on the scoreboard...

...Starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell...

...3B Ben Thijssen greets Curt Smith after he...
...led off the 2nd inning with a homerun...

...Kalian Sams slides into 2nd base with a double...
...in the 2nd inning, 2B Josť Fernandez has no play...

...Andrelton Simmons is thrown out at 3rd base in 2nd inning...
...3B Yulieski Gourriel receives the ball in time...



...Short stop Andrelton Simmons catches a pop-up...
...that starts a double play in 2nd inning...
...Jonathan Schoop and Roger Bernadina look on...

...3B Xander Bogaerts goes after a line drive...
...in the fourth inning...

...Yulieski Gourriel is eliminated in the 5th inning...
...Andrelton Simmons puts on the tag...

...3B Yulieski Gourriel tries to eliminate a hitter...
...but LF Alfredo Despaigne runs into him...

...Jonathan Schoop singled, doubled and homered...
...scored once and had four RBI's...

...Kalian Sams after his second double in the 6th inning...

...Loek van Mil pitched the 9th inning...

...Alexei Bell is forced out in...
...3rd inning by Andrelton...
...Simmons to start 3rd DP...

...Cuban Manager Victor Mesa...
...has something to say to...
...catcher Eriel Sanchez...

...Leon Boyd pitched...
...the 7th and 8th...
...for the Dutch...

...End of the game, the Orange beat Cuba (again)...

...The crowded press conference...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

(March 8)


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