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Updated: March 18, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Dutch Team ends up short in semi-final
SAN FRANCISCO, California (USA) - The third World Baseball Classic ended on Monday-evening, March 18 for the Dutch Baseball Team. The squad of Manager Hensley Meulens took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning against the Dominican Republic, but ended up empty-handed, as the Dominicans produced a 4-run rally in the fifth inning to win 4-1. With the win, the Dominican Republic became the second finalist and will meet Puerto Rico on Tuesday-evening in a final between two Caribbean countries, which both played in Pool D, which was played in San Juan (Puerto Rico). With the loss, the event ended for the Dutch Team, which qualified for the Final Round of the WBC for the first time. And so, the Orange-squad left the field with its heads up and again underscored that it belongs in the top of the international baseball-world. A congratulation to everyone involved is in place!

For the Dominicans, it was its record-setting seventh win in a row to remain unbeaten.

Infielder Jurickson Profar and closer Kenley Jansen were with the Dutch Team for their first WBC-game, replacing injured Yurendell de Caster and Jonatan Isenia. Profar went 0-for-3 with a walk. Jansen arrived late on Sunday-evening in San Francisco. He initially was scheduled to arrive on Saturday, but he then became a father and was with his wife before travelling to San Franciso. Jansen didn't pitch in today's game.

The Dutch was unable to show its offense today, hitting only four basehits against the strong pitching of the Dominicans. In previous games, it was the offense, in combination with its defense and starting pitching, that led to success. But today, the Orange squad was simply unable to get on base enough after the first inning to produce runs.

It was a windy, cool evening in San Franciso, which is not uncommon there. Candlestick Park, the previous stadium of the San Francisco Giants, which also was located close to the Bay, was known for its sometimes cold evenings, even in the summer. The wind came from the Bay, as well as the wellknown fog which frequently covers the famous Golden Gate Bridge. And also in AT&T Park, the new stadium of the Giants since 2000, there are frequent cool evenings.

...Felipe Alou and Hensley Meulens throw out the first ball...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Before the game, one of the ceremonial first pitches was thrown by Felipe Alou, who played for the San Francisco Giants in 1958-1963. The Dominican also was the Manager of the Giants in 2003-2006, where he was named Manager of the Year twice. Alou was accompanied by Hensley Meulens, the Hitting Coach of the Giants and of course the Manager of the Dutch Team. Meulens threw out the ceremonial first pitch, representing the Netherlands, but of course also his affiliaton with the Giants.

The Dutch Team faced righthander Edinson Vólquez, an eight-year Major League-veteran, who pitched for the San Diego Padres last season. Vólquez made is big league-debut in 2005 with the Texas Rangers, where he played three seasons. From 2008-2011, he was on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds. Overall, Vólquez is 44-40 in 126 games. Last year, he was 11-11 for the Padres and led the National League with 105 walks, but he also struckout 174 batters in 182 2/3 innings. In his last WBC-start, Vólquez pitched against Italy and then walked the first three batters he faced. He also gave up three hits and four runs, but the Dominicans later turned the game around to win it after all.

On March 7, 2009, Vólquez also was the starting pitcher against the Dutch Team in the first game between the two teams during the previous World Baseball Classic. He then pitched three innings, struckout three batters, walked two and gave up three (unearned) runs, which proved to be decisive. The Dutch Team won 3-2 and Vólquez was the losing pitcher. Three days later, the Dutch upset the Dominicans again, this time 2-1 in eleven innings to eliminate them and advance to the Second Round.

Tonight, Vólquez walked the first two batters he faced with one of them scoring. Andrelton Simmons first led off with a walk, then advanced on a wild pitch and then Jurickson Profar also walked in his first WBC-at bat. The two moved to the next base on a grounder by Roger Bernadina, who didn't hit the ball well. He hit the ball back to Vólquez, who might have had a chance at second base, but instead opted to eliminate Bernadina at first base. With runners now on second and third base, a following grounder by Wladimir Balentien then enabled Simmons to open the score. The inning then ended with a great catch by leftfielder Moises Sierra on a foul-fly by Andruw Jones.

Dutch starter Diegomar Markwell gave up a 2-out single to Major League-veteran Robinson Canó in the first inning, but he was then forced out. An important play followed in the second Dominican at bat. Markwell walked lead-off hitter Hanley Ramirez, but moments later, the lefthander showed his great pick-off move and Ramirez was eliminated. Ramirez is also an experienced player with eight years in the Majors and played for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. A groundout and flyout then ended the inning. Another important play followed in the third at bat. After two flyouts, Markwell gave up a single to José Reyes. Hereafter, 15-year Major League-veteran Miguel Tejada then opted for a bunt, but popped up to catcher Dashenko Ricardo. Markwell then retired the side in the fourth inning.

On the Dutch side, batters didn't reached base after the first two batters were walked in the first inning. Edinson Vólquez then retired the next eleven batters in a row. Wladimir Balentien, the last of them, drilled the ball into deep leftfield for a long foulball, then struckout. But with two outs in the fourth inning, Andruw Jones hit the ball through the middle for the first Dutch basehit, but was forced out.

And so, a pitching duel was unfolding in the second semi-final of the Classic.

...Players of Haarlem-based Kinheim's 'Driemteam' were in attendance...
...wearing specially made sweaters commemorating Greg Halman...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the top of the fifth inning, the second Dutch basehit was registered (at this moment, the Dominicans also had only two). With two outs, Dashenko Ricardo singled into rightfield, which brought up Andrelton Simmons, who was the team-leader before the game with nine runs and ten hits, hitting .370. But he struckout and so another scoreless inning got into the books.

The Dominican Republic was finally able to do something back off of Markwell with one out in the fifth inning. Carlos Santana then doubled down the leftfield-line, just out of reach for third baseman Jonathan Schoop. And so, Santana became the first Dominican player to reach second base in this game. Moments later, Moises Sierra also doubled into leftfield with the ball landing just in fair territory. Sierra, who was put into the line-up late before the game by Manager Tony Pena, already had made a nice catch in the first inning and now delivered an important hit to tie up the score. The run was only the second this WBC allowed by Markwell, who also threw strongly in the two won games against Korea in Round One and Cuba in Round Two. Next, Sierra scored the go-ahead run when José Reyes singled on a 3-2 count into centerfield. Markwell remained in the game and then also gave up a single to veteran Miguel Tejada that brought Reyes to third base. That marked the end for Markwell, who was relieved by Tom Stuifbergen. With Reyes taking off somewhat from third base, Stuifbergen's first delivery ended up in the backstop for a wild pitch, leading to the third Dominican run. With Tejada now on second base, Robinson canó was walked intentionally to set up a force play, but then Edwin Encarnacion singled through the middle. Tejada scored the fourth run, but the inning ended when Canó was thrown out at third base, trying to advance. But the Dominicans had taken a 4-1 lead.

In the sixth inning, off of new pitcher Kelvin Herrera, Wladimir Balentien doubled and became the first Dutch player to reach second base since the first inning. With two outs, he hit the ball into right-centerfield for what might have been a triple. But the powerhitter still is recovering from his groin-injury and showed character by playing today. But Balentien stranded at second base, as Andruw Jones struckout.

In the bottom of the sixth, Tom Stuifbergen gave up a lead-off infield-hit to Hanley Ramirez, but then rightfielder Wladimir Balentien accounted for two flyouts. Ramirez was left at first base, as the inning when Moises Sierra grounded out on the tenth delivery to him by Stuifbergen.

And so, trailing 4-1, the Dutch Team started to run out of innings when the seventh at bat began. In the seventh, Kalian Sams walked with two outs, but stranded.

The Dominicans got another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the seventh off of new pitcher Leon Boyd. With two outs, he gave up a single to Miguel Tejada, which was followed by a throwing error by 2B Jurickson Profar. Next, Robinson Cano, who had a 7-game hitting streak in the WBC, was walked intentionally for the second time tonight. The two runners were left behind, as a flyout followed.

In the eighth inning, Pedro Strop became the new pitcher for the Dominican Republic. As Strop has a Dutch background, he also was eligible to pitch for the Netherlands, but opted to be with the Dominican Republic. Strop's status is similar to that of Orlando Yntema, who also was born in the Dominican Republic and has a Dutch father. Strop retired the first two players he faced on comeback-grounders, but then gave up a single to Roger Bernadina. Strop then also made the third out himself on a grounder by Wladimir Balentien.

In the ninth inning, Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays closed the game for the Dominicans. Rodney, who celebrated his 36th birthday today, retired all three batters he faced, the last two with a strikeout, to earn his recordsetting sixth save of the tournament.

Pitching Stats
Diegomar Markwell4.201644
Tom Stuifbergen1.101200
Leon Boyd111100
Loek van Mil100000

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

...The National Anthem...

...Andrelton Simmons scores the lone Dutch run...

...Starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell...

...Jurickson Profar fields a ball...

...Wladimir Balentien after hitting his double in the 6th...

...Loek van Mil closed the game for the Orange...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

(March 18)

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Copyright © 1997-2013 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.