Dutch again beaten by Japan, despite late comeback
TOKYO (Japan) -
The day after the spectacular win against Cuba to reach the semi-final of the World Baseball Classic, the Dutch Baseball Team faced Japan again to decide first and second place in Pool 1 of the Second Round.
After an initial 1-0 Dutch lead in the first inning, Japan rallied for eight runs in the second at bat.
It then appeared that this game would become a blow-out, but the Dutch pitching held Japan scoreless after the second inning and was able to come back late in the game.
With the comeback, the Dutch avoided another mercy-rule loss against the strong Japanese team and lost 10-6, but outhit Japan 10-9.
With the loss, the Dutch finished in second place in this Pool and now will play its next game in the WBC on Monday, March 18 in San Francisco where it meets the winner of Pool 2 of the Second Round, which opens tonight.
The final of the WBC will be played the next day.
After the game, it was off to the airport for both teams for the long flight to the USA.
Both teams travel to Arizona, where they will play two exhibition games in the upcoming days to prepare for the semi-finals.
The Dutch Team will travel to Peoria.
There, the team already played an exhibition game during the training camp to prepare for the WBC, before heading to Taiwan for the First Round.
In Peoria, the Orange will play two games, one against the Seattle Mariners, the other against San Diego Padres.
Japan will play against the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
Hereafter, the two teams will fly to San Francisco for the final round.
Dutch Manager Hensley Meulens had to make more adjustments to his line-up today, as Roger Bernadina, Wladimir Balentien (two-time homerun-king in the Japanese Major League) and Yurendell de Caster were all unavailable due to injuries.
If needed, it is possible to replace injured players on a roster between rounds, as long as they are on the provisional rosters, which were handed in earlier in January.
The Dutch Team was off to a good start, as Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a homerun into left-centerfield on the second delivery by Japanese starter Kenji Otonari.
But hereafter, the 28-year old lefthander of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks struckout next hitters Hainley Statia, Jonathan Schoop and Andruw Jones.
...Andrelton Simmons is greeted after his 1st inning HR...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
David Bergman made his first start of the tournament for the Dutch.
The righthander pitched in relief on March 5 against Australia, but also warmed up completely and threw several innings in the bullpen yesterday during the game against Cuba.
Bergman started well, as he retired the side in the first inning, but then gave up seven runs in the second at bat.
In the second Dutch inning, Otonari began with another strikeout, followed by a pop-up, then walked Xander Bogaerts, but ended with his fifth strikeout.
Japan then struck in their half of the second inning.
First, Shinnosuke Abe led off with a homerun that tied the score, then Bergman walked Yoshio Itoi, hit Sho Nakata with a pitch and gave up a bunt-single to Katsuya Kakunaka that loaded the bases.
It was clear that he was in problems, but recovered briefly and struckout next hitter Ginjiro Sumitani.
However, Nobuhiro Matsuda followed with a single, that gave Japan a 2-1 lead.
Next, Hisayoshi Chono doubled into leftfield to clear the bases and increase the lead to 5-1.
And it wasn't over yet.
A grounder by Kazuo Matsui moved Chono to third, then Bergman walked Hirokazu Ibata and was relieved by Jonatan Isenia.
The 19-year old righthander was greeted with the second homerun in the inning by Shinnosuke Abe, that made it an 8-1 score.
Another walk followed, before a flyout finally ended the long, productive at bat of Japan.
The Dutch Team was retired in order in the third inning and Kenji Otonari added another strikeout.
In the fourth inning, he was relieved by Hirokazu Sawamura, who gave up a 2-out single to Curt Smith, but he then was forced out.
Jonatan Isenia got three quick outs in the home of the third, then also retired the first two batters he faced in the fourth.
He then got two strikes and one ball on Hirokazu Ibata, but hurt his shoulder on his next delivery.
Isenia left the game and was replaced by Mark Pawelek, who took over with a 2-2 count and got Ibata to flyout and end the inning.
...Dutch starter David Bergman gave up 7 runs...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The fifth inning also went scoreless.
For the second time in the game, the Dutch were retired in order, this time by new pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Japan got one batter on base after being hit and advance to second base on a wild pitch, but he stranded, as Mark Pawelek also struckout two batters.
Both teams got runners in the sixth inning, but that also went scoreless.
For the Dutch, Hainley Statia was walked by new pitcher Takeru Imamura with one out, but was forced out.
For Japan, Nobuhiro Matsuda doubled with one out off of new pitcher Kevin Heijstek, but he stranded as two flyouts followed.
The seventh inning then saw some runs again.
With Masahiko Morifuku, Japan brought in its fifth pitcher to throw the seventh inning.
He walked Curt Smith, then Kalian Sams doubled (his third of the tournament) down the leftfield-line.
Smith then scored the second Dutch run when Xander Bogaerts reached on an infield-hit.
Morifuku followed with a strikeout for Quintin de Cuba, who entered the game in the fifth inning as catcher and made his first appearance of the tournament.
Next, Randolph Oduber followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Sams and narrowed the deficit to 8-3.
With Bogaerts on first base, next batter Michael Duursma grounded out the end the inning.
Duursma entered the game as pinch-hitter for Andrelton Simmons in the sixth inning and also played in his first game of the event.
Duursma became the 28th and last Dutch player to get into action during the Classic.
In the home of the seventh, Kevin Heijstek held Japan scoreless.
He gave up a lead-off single, but then a double play and groundout followed.
The Orange then did some more scoring in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs with two outs to narrow the deficit to only 8-6.
New pitcher Tetsuya Yamaguchi gave up a lead-off single to Hainley Statia, then walked Jonathan Schoop.
The two advanced on a grounder by Andruw Jones, then Statia scored on a grounder by Curt Smith.
Next, Kalian Sams singled through the middle to bring in Schoop.
That led to another pitching change.
Hideaki Wakui took over and was greeted with a double by Xander Bogaerts.
With runners on second and third base, Quintin de Cuba followed with a single to make it 8-6.
But then, Randolph Oduber struckout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Japan got two runs back and scored for the first since the 8-run rally in the second at bat.
Heijstek gave up a lead-off single, but then a force out followed.
With two outs, the righthander walked the next batter, then gave up a single to Hisayoshi Chono.
That scored lead runner Katsuya Kakunaka, who was followed by next runner Nobuhiro Matsuda.
In the meantime, leftfielder Kalian Sams threw the ball to home, where catcher Quintin de Cuba was in position to reach the ball.
But pitcher Kevin Heijstek cut the ball off and so, Matsuda could also score.
So, it will never be known if he would have scored when De Cuba would have received the ball to make a play at the plate.
In the top of the ninth, Hainley Statia and Jonathan Schoop singled with one out.
A force out then followed, then a strikeout ended the game.
|David Bergman, L||1.2||1||2||4||7||7|
Playing in today's game were:
Andrelton Simmons (SS, 1-for-2), Michael Duursma (PH-SS, 0-for-3), Hainley Statia (RF, 2-for-4, walk), Jonathan Schoop (2B, 1-for-4, walk), Andruw Jones (DH, 0-for-5), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-4, walk), Kalians Sams (LF, 2-for-4), Xander Bogaerts (3B, 2-for-3, walk), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 0-for-2), Quintin de Cuba (C, 1-for-2), Randolph Oduber (CF, 0-for-3).
...Andrelton Simmons homers in the 1st inning...
...Jonathan Isenia took over in the 2nd inning...
...Mark Pawelek came on in the 4th inning...
...and struckout two in the fifth at bat...
...Katsuya Kakunaka steals 2nd base in 8th inning...
...Jonathan Schoop can't prevent that...
...Quintin de Cuba played in his first game...
...and hit an RBI-single...
...Michael Duursma also made his first appearance...
...CF Randolph Oduber makes a catch...
...Nobuhiro Matsuda scores the 10th Japanese run...
|(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)|