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Updated: December 13, 2014
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Copyright © 1997-2014
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2014 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen, Alfred Cop & Fred Versluis)

Robert Eenhoorn honored; Bas de Jong MVP; Kevin Heijstek Best Pitcher; more awards

...Bas de Jong...
...Most Valuable Player & Best Hitter...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
ROTTERDAM (Neth.) - Bas de Jong is the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 season in the Dutch big league and Kevin Heijstek is this years Best Pitcher. Both played for L&D Amsterdam Pirates. De Jong also was the MVP of 2013. It marks the first time in history that the Most Valuable Player comes from one club in four consecutive years. In 2011, Vince Rooi won the Award, followed by Rob Cordemans in 2012 and then De Jong last year. The winners were announced tonight (Saturday, December 13) during the Star Awards at the Van der Valk Hotel Rotterdam-Blijdorp in Rotterdam during the annual European Baseball & Softball Coach Clinic of the KNBSB. It was the sixth time, the awards were handed out in Rotterdam, but the first time in the Van der Valk Hotel.
Tonight, the best softball-players also were honored.

Also tonight, Robert Eenhoorn was honored by the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) for whom he was active the last fourteen years. In October, Eenhoorn left as Technical Director to become the General Manager of AZ (professional soccer). In his playing career, Eenhoorn played for Neptunus and Haarlem Nicols, but also played professionally in the USA. Eenhoorn was signed by the New York Yankees, where he made his Major League-debut in 1994. During the 1996 season, Eenhoorn moved to the California Angels, with whom he also played in the Majors. He finished his professional career with the New York Mets. After returning to the Netherlands, he also made his comeback as a player in the Netherlands National Baseball Team, became the Head Coach of Neptunus (where he initially also played again) and led the Rotterdam-club to three consecutive Dutch championships. In 2001, he took over as Manager of the National Team, leading the Orange squad ton the European title in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. He also led the team during the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008, plus the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Three years, later he became Technical Director, but returned in uniform briefly during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, as the Bench Coach of then-Manager Hensley Meulens, who also attended tonight's ceremony.

For his great contribution to Dutch baseball, Eenhoorn was named Honorary Member of the KNBSB, which was handed out by Acting President Frits Mulder. He also got the Erasmusspeld of the City of Rotterdam. This decoration is handed out since 1979 to persons, who have made a big contribution in the Rotterdam community on social, cultural or economical affairs or in sports. Alderman Adriaan Visser handed out the recognition.

Professional players Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar had made a special video message for Eenhoorn.

(photo gallery Star Awards)

Bas de Jong won his second MVP-trophy. The rightfielder of L&D Amsterdam Pirates led the league in hitting (.373), slugging percentage (.590) and runs batted in (42). He shared second place in basehits (50).

Also nominated for the MVP Award were Gianison Boekhoudt (DOOR Neptunus), Bryan Engelhardt (Corendon Kinheim) and Vince Rooi (Vaessen Pioniers). The latter also was nominated last year.

Kevin Heijstek won his first Best Pitcher-trophy. Heijstek, who won the Roel de Mon Award for best youth-pitcher twice, led the league in victories (10) and innings pitched (101 1/3). He had the second best ERA (1.33) and was second in strikeouts (77). It was a close decision by the Scoring Committee, as Heijstek had a close contender in Orlando Yntema, who had the best ERA (1.15), but in the end the more analytical stats were in favor of Heijstek.

Also nominated were Arshwin Asjes (Corendon Kinheim) and Orlando Yntema (DOOR Neptunus).

...Kevin Heijstek...
...Best Pitcher...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
It is the fifth time that a pitcher of Amsterdam Pirates wins the award, while it is the eighth time that a Pirate-player is named MVP. It also marks the fourth year in a row that both awards are going the Amsterdam.

With his .373 batting average (50-for-134), Bas de Jong was the Best Hitter of the season for the third consecutive year. With that, De Jong wrote history, as he becomes only the second player to accomplish this feat. The only other player was Hamilton Richardson (Sparta), who was the Best Hitter in four consecutive years. Richardson did it in 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966. But now, 48 years later (!), Richardson has company.

Bryan Engelhardt (Corendon Kinheim) again was crowned as Homerun King. The lefthanded hitting first baseman/designated hitter hit nine homeruns this season to lead the league. It was the seventh time that Engelhardt led in homeruns, he also did so in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and last year.

...Bryan Engelhardt...
...7th Homerun-title...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Roelie Henrique (L&D Amsterdam Pirates) stole the most bases with 22. Last year, Henrique also stole the most bases and then became the first player of Pirates to win this award in 25 years.

Berry van Driel received the award for Holland Series MVP, which already was announced after completion of the championship series of DOOR Neptunus.

The Guus van der Heijden Memorial Trophy for Best Player in the Dutch Team under 23 went to Stijn van der Meer of DOOR Neptunus. Van der Meer earns the award for his fine accomplisments during the regular season, but also during the World Port Tournament of last year and Haarlem Baseball Week this year.

Paul Brands (APPM Rabbits) won the Ron Fraser Award for best youth player, while Maickel Rietel (Mr. Cocker HCAW) was named best junior-pitcher, winning the Roel de Mon Award. Brands, a catcher, this season made his debut in the Rookie-team of Hoofddorp Pioniers, hitting .300. He also played for the Netherlands National Junior Team. Rietel played in his first full big league-season and became an ace for HCAW. He also was a member of the Netherlands Under 21 Team.

Peter van Dalen is this years winner of the In Memoriam Leen Volkerijk Award for his longtime devotion to and involvement in player development. After having served as one of the coaches of the Netherlands National Junior Team, Van Dalen next season will make his debut as softball-coach, leading champion Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem.

The Bill Arce Award, which was handed out for the third time, went to Robin van Doornspeek, who this season was the Head Coach of the Rookie-team of Hoofddorp Pioniers. In the past, Van Doornspeek was a youth-coach at APPM Rabbits (Kennemerland Baseball Academy) and the National AA Team. The award is handed out to the Most Promising Coach.

Coach of the Year was Steve Janssen, who led the Netherlands National Team to the European Champion-title this year. With that, the title returned to the Netherlands for the first time since 2007.

Also tonight, the Slugger was handed out for the first time again since 1999. The Slugger is the highest recognition of the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) for a person, or group, or organisation for promotional activiies. The award was handed to the Organizing Committee of the World Championship Softball Women, which was held in Haarlem (Netherlands) in August.

...Roelie Henrique...
...Most Stolen Bases...

...Berry van Driel...
...Holland Series MVP...

...Stijn van der Meer...
...Guus van der Heijden Memorial...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

...Steve Janssen...
...Coach of the Year...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)

...Maickel Rietel...
...Roel de Mon Award...
(© Photo: Alfred Cop Fotografie)


(December 13)

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