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Updated: September 8, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Pioniers second finalist for Holland Series!
HOOFDDORP / ROTTERDAM / DORDRECHT / VLEUTEN (Neth.) - On Sunday, Vaessen Pioniers became the second team to qualify for the Holland Series by winning 2-1 vs. L&D Amsterdam Pirates on an one-out, walk-off double by Michael Pluijmers.

DOOR Neptunus, which clinched the final on Saturday, completed the 9-game Play-Off series with a 8-3 loss vs. Corendon Kinheim in a game that had no value anymore.

With the loss, Amsterdam ended in a tie with Pioniers. The two were joined by Kinheim, thank to their win today. But as reported last week in the scenarios for the final series of the Play-Offs, this 3-way tie would be in favour of Pioniers, as the Hoofddorp-squad had won its series against both Pirates and Kinheim.

UVV won 7-5 to complete a 3-game sweep vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW, while ADO Lakers lost 5-4 to Mampaey The Hawks. With these results, ADO Lakers would have secured a spot in next year big league, as it would have closed the Play-Downs two points above HCAW. However, ADO Lakers was handed an 8-point subtraction, due to an ineligible player. This administrative error in the club's management now proves to be very costly. As a result, ADO Lakers never could finish above HCAW in the remainder of the season, whatever the result in its last three games. And so, ADO Lakers now will play a best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Play-Off against TWins, which on Sunday captured the championship-title in the second highest league, the 'Overgangsklasse'.

Twins closed its season today winning 8-0 vs. RCH-Pinguïns to finish two points ahead of DSS, which today won 3-2 vs. Orioles.

Vaessen Pioniers vs. L&D Amsterdam Pirates
At Hoofddorp, the final Play-Off game between Vaessen Pioniers and L&D Amsterdam Pirates was an exciting one, but had several crucial moments for both teams. After trailing 1-0 in the second inning, Pioniers turned the game around and went on to win 2-1 in the ninth inning on an one-out, walk-off double by Michael Pluijmers.

...Before the game, number 15 of...
...Norbert Lokhorst was retired... Pioniers...
...Coach Peter Barentsen (right)...
...hands some gifts to Lokhorst...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Before the game, Pioniers officially retired uniform number 15, which belongs to Norbert Lokhorst. The former infielder/outfielder retired after the 2012 season after having played in 462 games for Pioniers. The number is the third retired by Pioniers. Also retired are numbers 1 and 23. Number 1 was symbolically was linked to the late Arie van Zuilen, one of the founders of the club. Number 23 belonged to pitcher Marc Steenhof.

When today's game started, third baseman Michael Pluijmers batted only .037, as he hit only one basehit in 27 at bats during the previous eight Play-Off games. Today, Pluijmers went 2-for-4, including a very important double that brought his team to the Holland Series.

Both teams had the chance to turn the game its side and it began right in the first at bat for Pioniers. Despite a slight injury, Eddie Aucoin started for Pioniers and retired the side in the opening at bat. In the home of the first inning, Pioniers got the bases loaded with no outs, but failed to score. Zerzinho Croes led off with a single and Phil Ortez followed with another basehit. Next, Danny Rombley drove the ball into leftfield, where leftfielder Wesley Connor caught the ball, but then dropped it, advancing the runners and loading the bases. Amsterdam's Head Coach Sidney de Jong argued with 3B umpire Olav Steijger, stating that Connor dropped the ball when transfering it to throw the ball to the infield after he had caught it. Steijger discussed the situation with his two colleagues Efrem Silvania and Winfried Berkvens, but the call was upheld that the ball was in play and so, Pioniers had the bases loaded with no outs. Remarkably, Pirates got out of the inning unharmed. Next batter Vince Rooi popped up for an infield-fly, then Jos de Jong struckout Mark-Jan Moorman. The inning then ended when Mark Duursma flied out to Connor.

Amsterdam then opened the score in the very next at bat, which also had a crucial, and possible decisive, moment. With one out, Kenny Berkenbosch reached on an infield-hit, then Rashid Gerard walked. Next, Bas Nooij drilled the ball into leftfield for a double. Berkenbosch scored the opening run, but Gerard, who was coming all the way from first base, also was waved home, while leftfielder Kevin Dirksen already had fielded the ball. And so, a the moment Gerard had passed third base en route to home plate, Dirksen made a perfect throw to catcher Mark Duursma, who had time enough to await Gerard and tag him out. Should Gerard have been hold at third base, Amsterdam would have had runners on second and third base with one out with Wesley Connor being the hitter. But now, Amsterdam had two outs and the inning ended when Eddie Aucoin struckout Connor.

From here on, Jos de Jong and Eddie Aucoin played an important part for their respective teams and kept each other in balance. Aucoin gave up a lead-off single to Michael Duursma in the third, but then retired 14 of the nex 15 batters. After Duursma moved to second base on a sac-bunt by Roelie Henrique, Aucoin got some defensive support when first baseman Mark-Jan Moorman made a great catch on a line drive by Björn Hato. In the fifth, Aucoin gave up an one-out single to Wesley Connor, but Pioniers then turned a double play.

De Jong had to allow some more baserunners, but also got fine support from his defense. In the second inning, Michael Pluijmers and Zerzinho Croes singled with two outs for Pioniers, but stranded. Another crucial moment for Pioniers then followed in the third inning. With two outs, Mark-Jan Moorman singled. He then tried to advance to third base on a single by Mark Duursma, but was thrown out at third on a strong throw by rightfielder Bas de Jong.

In the fourth inning, Pioniers left another runner in scoring position. Kevin Dirksen led off with a double, then moved on a following single by Dè Flanegin. But again, Pioniers failed to score, as a flyout, strikeout and groundout followed. In the fifth inning, Pioniers finally scored, thanks to a lead-off homerun by Danny Rombley. Hereafter, short stop Michael Duursma made two great defensive plays to help De Jong, but Pioniers had tied the score, 1-1.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, De Jong began by striking out Zerzinho Croes, then was relieved by Kyle Ward. The lefthander did a fine job, as he retired five batters in a row. Pioniers went to the bullpen in the top of the eighth inning when former pro Swen Huijer took over for Aucoin. The big righthander gave up an one-out single to Wesley Connor, but he stranded.

And while most spectators might already have looked ahead to extra innings, the ninth inning, which had another crucial moment, then was decisive. For Pirates, lead-off hitter Björn Hato grounded out, but then Bas de Jong singled. This led to a pitching change, as Pioniers' Head Coach Robert Klaver brought his closer Bayron Cornelissen to the mound to relief Huijer. Cornelissen was greeted with a single by Percy Isenia and so, Amsterdam appeared to have something in the making. However, the inning ended unexpectedly. Kenny Berkenbosch flied out to centerfielder Danny Rombley for the second out, but it was turned into double play. The experienced De Jong had took off on the fly by Berkenbosch and was approaching third base when Rombley made the catch. And so, De Jong became an easy victim for the third out, as Rombley tossed the ball to second baseman Zerzinho Croes to complete the double play.

Moments later, Pioniers struck to end the season for Amsterdam. Kevin Dirksen led off with a single and advanced to second base on a sac-bunt by Dè Flanegin. Hereafter, Amsterdam-closer Jurrian Koks took over for Ward. He ran the count to next batter Michael Pluijmers to 2-2, but his next delivery was lined into rightfield out of reach of the Amsterdam-defense for a walk-off double. Dirksen raced around the bases to score the winning run, then joined his teammates to embrace Pluijmers to celebrate the victory and the clinching of the Holland Series.

...Left: Wesley Connor catches a fly ball in the 1st inning, but then losses control...
...Right: the umpire-crew discusses the situation...
...Left: Amsterdam's Head Coach Sidney de Jong argues with umpire Olav Steijger about the dropped fly ball...
...Right: Pioniers-starter Eddie Aucoin...
...Left: Catcher Mark Duursma is ready to tag out runner Rashid Gerard in the second inning...
...Right: 3B Rashid Gerard tags out Mark-Jan Moorman in the third inning...
...Left: Amsterdam-starter Jos de Jong - Right: Danny Rombley homers in the 5th inning...
...Left: Players of Pioniers celebrate the win and embrace Michael Pluijmers (left) after his walk-off double...
...Right: Bas de Jong leaves the field, while Pioniers celebrates...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

DOOR Neptunus vs. Corendon Kinheim
Until 2010, a best-of-five Play-Off series followed the regular season. A series between the winner of the regular season and the team that finished in fourth place and a series between the second-best and third-best team of the season. The winners of these series would then advance to the Holland Series. Of course, if needed games were not played when a team had won the series.

Since 2011, the top-4 teams of the regular season meet in a different Play-Off format. All teams play a 3-game series against each other. The two best teams of the 9-game series then qualify for the Holland Series. However, the consequence of this format is that some games might lose their value when the winners are known. And that's the case with today's final game of DOOR Neptunus vs. Corendon Kinheim. On Saturday, Neptunus reached the final, while Kinheim was dethroned, but they still had to face each other today to complete the Play-Off series. And so, Neptunus used a few rookies in its starting line-up and put some players on other than their familiar positions. On the other hand, one can also say, that these games create a possibility for already qualified teams to try things out for the upcoming final. Oh, Kinheim won today's game with an 8-3 score.

Kinheim decided the game with a 7-run rally in the first inning on seven basehits. Remco Draijer, René Cremer and Dirk van 't Klooster led off with singles off of starter Tim Roodenburg. The latter was then forced out on a grounder by Jeffrey Arends, but that also gave Kinheim an 1-0 lead. The second run was then scored on a single by Mervin Gario and the third run was added when an outfield-error followed on a single by Ramiro Balentina. Next, Quintin de Cuba also singled in a run to lift the lead to 4-0. A throwing error on a grounder by Rachid Engelhardt then brought in two more runs and a following single by Roy Seltenrijch then made it 7-0. Next, Remco Draijer walked in his second at bat in the inning, which then ended when Cremer grounded into a double play.

And so, a high-scoring game appeared to be in the making. However, in the remainder of the game, Kinheim added only one more run and four basehits. The run was scored in the second inning when Mervin Gario was hit by a pitch with two outs and scored on a single by Quintin de Cuba.

In the fourth inning, rookie Misja Harcksen took over for Roodenburg. He walked a batter and gave up a single with one out, but then retired the side in the fifth and was supported with a double play in the sixth at bat. Diornick Sanchez, another rookie, became Neptunus' new pitcher in the seventh and he retired all three batters he faced. Jorian van Acker and Brendan Wise then pitched the next two innings and also faced only three batters.

Leon Boyd started for Kinheim and threw seven good innings. The former Neptunus-pitcher struckout seven batters and gave up only five basehits. The righthander retired the first seven batters he faced, then walked Mourik Huijser, who did the catching today instead of Rudy Van Heydoorn, who played at first base. With two outs, Boyd gave up a double to Adrian Anthony, but Neptunus stranded two runners, as Boyd ended the inning by striking out rookie Daniel Fernandes.

In the sixth inning, Neptunus scored its first run. Anthony led off with his second double, moved on a grounder by Fernandes and scored on a 2-out single by Kalian Sams, who played in his second game after joining the Neptunus-roster on Friday.

In the eighth inning, Steven van Groningen took over for Boyd and gave up two runs. He walked Fernandes, who then advanced on a wild pitch. Next, Dwayne Kemp also walked. After the two runners advanced on a passed ball, Neptunus got the bases loaded when Sams also walked. Hereafter, Gyenuar Lopez grounded into a double play, leading to a run. A following single by Rudy Van Heydoorn then brought in another run to make it an 8-3 score. But that was it for Neptunus today.

Mampaey The Hawks vs. ADO Lakers
At Dordrecht, Mampaey The Hawks won 5-4 vs. ADO Lakers to end its first season on the big league-level. Despite the loss, ADO Lakers would also have returned to the highest division next year, as it would have ended the season in seventh place, two points ahead of Mr. Cocker HCAW, which was swept by UVV. However, ADO Lakers finished in last place instead due to the subtraction of eight points following the playing of an ineligible player in four games during the Play-Down Series. And so, starting next Saturday, ADO Lakers will meet Twins in a best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Play-Off.

Today, The Hawks took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on a wild pitch and a single by Thomas Soederhuijsen. But in the sixth at bat, ADO Lakers scored three runs, thanks to a throwing error, single by Jeffrey Ruiz and another throwing error.

In the home of the sixth, The Hawks came alongside on an RBI-single by Allard Lammerts van Bueren. The home team then took a 5-3 lead by scoring twice in the seventh inning on a triple by Bob de Bruijn and a sacrifice fly by Gregory Trinidad. ADO Lakers scored another run in the eighth on a grounder by Ruiz.

UVV vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW
At Vleuten, UVV won 7-5 vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW and decided the game with a 6-run rally in the first at bat.

UVV collected only three hits in the inning, as the HCAW-defense added two errors. In the at bat, two throwing errors led to the first two runs, then Rossini Frolijk brought in the next run when he walked with the bases loaded. A force out on a grounder by Brennan Nijhoff and 2-run single by Andy Raaff lifted the lead to 6-0.

A sacrifice fly by Mike Bazuin made it 7-0 in the next inning. Hearefter, UVV was held scoreless by Gijs van Els and Sander Helmendach.

From the fifth inning on, HCAW started to come back. In the fifth, HCAW scored its first run on a single by Peter van Doesburg, but the team also left the bases loaded.

Three runs were added in the sixth at bat on back-to-back doubles by Levine Gabriels (2 runs) and (after a pitching change) Arjan Elshof. HCAW scored another run in the ninth on a throwing error, but ended up short and was swept by UVV.

And so, HCAW would have finished the season in last place, but due to the eight points subtracted from the total of ADO Lakers, the Bussum-squad ended in second-to-last place to secure its big league-spot for next year.

(September 8)

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