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Updated: March 15, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Dutch Team also defeats Seattle Mariners
PEORIA, Arizona (USA) - The Dutch Baseball Team added another victory, as it also defeated the Seattle Mariners on Friday-evening. It was the second of two exhibition games against Major League-teams to prepare for the Final Round of the World Baseball Classic, which begins on Sunday in San Francisco. The Dutch Team will play the second semi-final on Monday and then meets the winner of Pool 2 of the Second Round, which will be closed on Saturday. On Friday, Puerto Rico won 4-3 vs. the USA, which therefore was eliminated for the Final Round. Puerto Rico now will meet the Dominican Republic on Saturday to decide first and second place in the pool. The winner of that game will face the Dutch Team, while the losing team meets Japan on Sunday in the first semi-final. The two winners of the semi-finals advance to the Final on Tuesday.

Under a clouded sky, but with temperatures of 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius), the Orange won 8-1 vs. a split-squad team of the Seattle Mariners on Friday. Ten of the 15 players used by the Mariners are on their 40-man Major League-roster, the other five were non-roster players. After the game, the team traveled to the airport of Phoenix for the red eye 2-hour flight to San Francisco. There, at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, the Orange will practice at 2:15 PM on Saturday-afternoon and 9:45 AM on Sunday-morning.

...Greg Halman is remembered before the game...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Before the start of the game, there was a moment to remember Dutch outfielder Greg Halman, who sadly passed away in November 2011, a few weeks after he had participated again in the annual European Big League Tour of pitcher Rick van den Hurk. And also a few weeks after the Dutch Team celebrated the winning of the World Championship-title in Panama. Halman, who was born and raised in the Netherlands, participated with the Dutch Team in the World Baseball Classic of 2009. After playing in the Dutch big league for Kinheim in Haarlem, Halman signed a professional contract. The much-respected and loved Halman played for the Seattle Mariners since 2005 and appeared in 44 games of the Major League-team of the Mariners. In 2011, he played in 35 games for Seattle, hitting 20 basehits, including two homeruns, scored seven runs and had six runs batted in. With his appearance on the big league-level in 2011, Halman showed he was capable of playing at the highest level. Many predicted that he would be back in the Majors in 2012, but unfortunately tragedy struck after the season.

Manager Hensley Meulens gave his regular short stop Andrelton Simmons and designated hitter Andruw Jones the day off. With this, he moved Jurickson Profar to the lead-off spot, which was held by Simmons in previous games. Profar again played at second base, while Xander Bogaerts was the starting short stop today. Penciled in as DH today was Wladimir Balentien, who was able to play again after straining his left groin in the game against Cuba last Monday in Tokyo (Japan). With this, the Dutch Team has its number 3 (Roger Bernadina) and 4 (Wladimir Balentien) hitter of its batting order back in business. How valuable Balentien is in the batting order was proven today, as he collected three basehits, including a homerun and had five runs batted in.

The Dutch Team faced 33-year old righthander Jon Garland, who is trying to win a spot in the starting rotation of the Mariners. Garland, who is a non-roster player, had shoulder surgery in 2011 and didn't play at all last year.

The Dutch struck immediately in the first inning with three runs. Jurickson Profar led off with a single, then Jonathan Schoop walked. After the two advanced on a passed ball, Roger Bernadina struckout, but then Wladimir Balentien hit the second delivery he saw over the centerfield-fence for a 3-run homerun. Curt Smith and Xander Bogaerts followed with two more baseshits, but Jon Garland then recovered and struckout Kalian Sams and Dashenko Ricardo to end the inning.

The Mariners got one run back in its first at bat off of Kevin Heijstek. The righthander walked lead-off hitter Jason Bay, the 34-year old veteran with 10 years of Major League-experience. Bay, who played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, signed as a Free Agent with Seattle in December last year. A wild pitch Bay to second base, who then scored when Dustin Ackley followed with a double. Heijstek then followed with a strikeout and a lineout and groundout ended the inning.

The Orange added two runs in the second inning. Jon Garland first struckout Randolph Oduber and Jurickson Profar, but then walked Jonathan Schoop and gave up a double to Roger Bernadina. Wladimir Balentien followed with a single that enabled both runners to score and make it a 5-1 score. And it also meant that Balentien had batted in all five runs scored in the first two Dutch at bats.

Kevin Heijstek began the second inning by striking out Eric Thames, then gave up a single to Robert Andino, but he was left behind. After the Dutch offense was retired in order in the top of the third inning, Seattle threatened somewhat in the home of the at bat. Heijstek again struckout the first batter he faced, this time Jason Bay. An error then followed on a grounder by Dustin Ackley, who then moved to third base on a 2-out double by Carlos Peguero. But then Heijstek struckout 8-year Major League-vetaran Kelly Shoppach to end the inning.

Both teams were retired in order by two new pitchers in the fourth inning. Logan Bawcom got three groundouts, while Tom Stuifbergen struckout the first batter he faced (Eric Thames) and then also got two groundouts.

The Dutch Team added a run in the fifth inning. Roger Bernadina and Wladimir Balentien led off singles, but then Curt Smith grounded into a double play. A following single by Xander Bogaers then brought in Bernadina.

In the home of the fifth, the Dutch Team was forced to go earlier to the bullpen than scheduled. Tom Stuifbergen got two quick outs, but then had to be replaced by David Bergman due to an injury. Bergman was greeted with a single by Dustin Ackley and walked next batter Casper Wells. The two advanced when Bergman was charged with a balk, but then a flyout ended the at bat. Bergman then retired the side in the sixth and seventh inning, retiring the last seven batters he faced in a row.

In the eighth inning, rookie Jonathan Balentina took over the pitching and also retired the side, including a strikeout for Carlos Peguero.

The Orange squad then increased the lead to 8-1 in the top of the ninth inning off of new pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen, one of the pitchers on the 40-man roster of the Mariners. Randolph Oduber and Jurickson Profar led off with singles and then advanced on a wild pitch. Moments later, the two scored on a single by Michael Duursma, who had taken over at 3rd base in the fifth inning.

Berry van Driel closed the game for the Dutch and continued the fine pitching on the Orange-side, as he also retired the side. That meant that the last 13 batters of the Mariners were retired in order. Only two of the final 21 batters reached base. Seattle's leftfielder Eric Thames struckout four times.

Pitching Stats
Kevin Heijstek, W341311
Tom Stuifbergen1.210000
David Bergman2.111100
Jonathan Balentina110000
Berry van Driel110000

Playing in today's game were:
Jurickson Profar (2B, 2-for-4, walk), Jonathan Schoop (3B, 0-for-1, 2 walks), Michael Duursma (3B, 1-for-2), Roger Bernadina (CF, 2-for-3), Hainley Statia (RF, 0-for-2), Wladimir Balentien (DH, 3-for-5), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-3), Quintin de Cuba (1B, 0-for-2), Xander Bogaerts (SS, 2-for-4), Kalian Sams (LF, 0-for-3, walk), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 0-for-3), Bas Nooij (C, 0-for-1), Randolph Oduber (RF-CF, 1-for-4).

...An overview of Peoria Stadium...

...The picnic-area in the outfield...

...Manager Hensley Meulens signs one his cards...

...Jonathan Schoop greets Wladimir Balentien after his homerun...

...Physical Therapist Rob Tamminga accompanies injured pitcher...
...Tom Stuifbergen off the mound in the 5th inning...
...Manager Hensley Meulens signals for a reliever...

...Bench Coach Robert Eenhoorn, Hitting Coach Tjerk Smeets...
...and Manager Hensley Meulens look on from the dug-out...

...Jonathan Balentina pitched the eighth inning...

...Jurickson Profar dives into second base in the 1st inning...
...2B Dustin Ackley gets the ball too late...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

(March 15)

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