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Updated: September 15, 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)

Dutch Team comes from behind to beat Spain; qualifies for Championship Round
OSTRAVA (Czech Republic) - The Netherlands Baseball Team initially faced a quick 7-1 deficit against Spain tonight (Monday, September 15), but turned the game around into a 19-7 victory. And with that, the Dutch Team prevented a what would have been a major upset and surprising loss. By winning, the Orange squad also kept its winning streak against Spain intact. Since facing Spain for the first time in 1956, tonight was the 32nd consecutive Dutch victory.

Earlier in the day, the Netherlands had qualified already for the Championship Round of the European Championship. This afternoon, the Dutch secured a spot thanks to the 10-3 win of Croatia vs. Russia led by Jimmy Summers, who went the distance. With this, the Dutch Team and Spain both finished in the top-3 of Group B. On Tuesday-evening, the Dutch Team closes the Preliminary Round against Russia.

In Group A, Italy became the first finalist due to the combination of results of the first two games played in Regensburg (Germany).

After completion of yesterday's games, there were several possibilities left over. In one scenario, Greece, which was winless after three games, still had a chance before today of reaching the top-3. It would then have to win its final two games and this would mean that the Czech Republic would be eliminated.

In another scenario, Russia could reach the top-3 and could secure its spot by winning vs. the Netherlands, which then could have been eliminated in case the Dutch also has lost vs. Spain.

In two other scenarios, there could have come a three-way-tie for third place, including the Czechs, Greece and either Russia or Croatia.

But all of these scenarios could be swept from the table during the day. First, when Croatia won 10-3 vs. Russia. Thanks to this result, both the Netherlands and Spain became certain of a spot in the top-3, whatever the outcome of their match-up tonight. That left over the third spot, but that was decided later in the afternoon when the Czech Republic won 17-2 vs. Greece to become the third finalist in Group B.

...Randolph Oduber led the Dutch offense...
...He was 5-for-5 with a double and 2 HRs...
...and he scored five runs...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Since the first European Championship in 1954, Spain captured 15 medals, including 13 bronze and the title in 1955. Two years ago, Spain won the bronze medal for the fourth time in the last five Championships.

Before traveling to the Czech Republic, Spain had won the 3-team Italian Baseball Week, beating Italy 5-2 in the final. Spain has a team compiled from several experienced players, including Venezuelan-born Oscar David Angulo, Jesus Enrique Golindano and Blake Ochoa, while Jesus Fernando Martínez comes from the Domician Republic. These players form a productive quartet offensively, which they underscored again tonight. Angulo and Golindano played one year professionally in the minor leagues, but Ochoa was active for eight seasons in the organizations of the Florida Marlins and Seattle Mariners. Martínez also played eight seasons professionally, including 99 games in the Major League between 2009-2013 for the New York Mets and Houston Astros.

The roster also includes several players, who play abroad, like pitchers Jorge Balboa (Japan), Andres Pérez (Stuttgart Reds, Germany), Ivan Granados (Mr. Cocker HCAW, Netherlands), Ricardo Hernandez (Vaessen Pioniers, Netherlands) and infielder Aritz García (Stealers, Germany).

Tonight, Spain almost recorded a surprise victory, but the Dutch Team turned the game around in the fourth inning. While scoring 19 runs, the Dutch Team registered 'only' 13 basehits, including five by Randolph Oduber. Five Spanish pitchers contributed with 13 walks, four of which were issued to Shawn Zarraga and three to Kalian Sams.

Spain struck with three runs in the first inning, then added four in the third at bat. Dutch starter Orlando Yntema gave up seven basehits, including two homeruns, that gave Spain an early lead. Daniel Martínez and Oscar David Angulo led off the game with singles, then Yntema followed with a strikeout and an infield-fly accounted for the second out. The Dutch appeared to escape unharmed, but then Jesus Enrique Golindano connected for a 3-run homerun.

In the home of the first inning, Randolph Oduber led off with a homerun, but three outs followed.

Spain then left a runner on second base in the second inning, but rallied for four more runs in the third. Oscar Angulo and Francisco Figueroa hit back-to-back doubles, then Jesus Fernando Martínez drilled the ball into right-centerfield for another 3-run homerun that lifted the Spanish lead to 6-1. Hereafter, Yntema was replaced and Tom Stuifbergen took over. The former pro struckout the first two batters he faced, but he then gave up the third Spanish homerun, which this time was hit by Blake Ochoa.

...Yurendell de Caster is greeted after his grand slam... Gianison Boekhoudt (17) and Kalian Sams (35)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Trailing 7-1, the Dutch Team rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third inning, but also left three runners behind. Randolph Oduber led off with his second homerun of the game, then, with one out, Curt Smith walked and stole second base, then scored when Gianison Boekhoudt singled. This led to a pitching change, as Andres Pérez took over for Jorge Balboa. That move wasn't successful, as Pérez first uncorked a wild pitch, then walked the next three batters to bring in a run and load the bases. Pérez was quickly replaced by José Cruz, who saw Sharlon Schoop and Nick Urbanus pop up the ball to end the inning, but the Dutch had narrowed the deficit to 7-4.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Orange squad turned the game its way. Randolph Oduber led off with a single, then Hainley Statia was hit by a pitch. Oduber advanced when Curt Smith flied out, then scored on a single by Gianison Boekhoudt. The bases got loaded when Kalian Sams also singled and that brought in a new pitcher. Ivan Granados, who this season pitched in the Dutch big league for Mr. Cocker HCAW, took over. The lefthander began by walking Shawn Zarraga, which brought in the sixth Dutch run and he then gave up a grand slam homerun to Yurendell de Caster that gave the Dutch a 10-7 lead. Sharlon Schoop followed with another walk, but the inning then ended when Nick Urbanus lined into an unassisted double play.

Wendell Floranus relieved Stuifbergen in the top of the fifth inning. The righthander got the bases loaded with two outs, but Spain left the three runners behind.

The Dutch Team then took more distance in the home of the fifth, adding three runs, thanks to two Spanish errors. For the fourth time in this game, Randolph Oduber led off and for the fourth time, he reached on a basehit, this time a double. Next, Hainley Statia walked and then a single by Curt Smith was followed by an outfield-error enabling Oduber to score. Granados then struckout Gianison Boekhoudt, the only player whom he had faced before this year. Boekhoudt was the lone player in the Dutch line-up who plays in the Dutch big league (DOOR Neptunus). Hereafter, Granados also struckout Kalian Sams, but then loaded the bases again when he walked Shawn Zarraga. The Dutch then added two runs when the Spanish third baseman dropped a fly ball.

A 6-run rally followed in the sixth inning that lifted the lead to 19-7. Nick Urbanus led off with a single, then Randolph Oduber delivered his fifth basehit. The bases got loaded when Hainley Statia walked and that led to another pitching change. Borja Jones took over and was greeted with a baseclearing, 3-run triple by Curt Smith and Gianison Boekhoudt followed with a 2-run homerun that made it 18-7. Kalian Sams then walked and went on to score the 19th Dutch run on a double play-grounder by Sharlon Schoop.

The Dutch line-up was as follows:
Randolph Oduber (LF, 5-for-5), Hainley Statia (2B, 0-for-2), Curt Smith (1B, 2-for-4), Gianison Boekhoudt (DH, 3-for-5), Kalian Sams (CF, 1-for-2), Shawn Zarraga (C, 0-for-1), Yurendell de Caster (RF, 1-for-3), Sharlon Schoop (SS, 0-for-4), Nick Urbanus (3B, 1-for-5). There were no changes tonight.

...Manager Steve Janssen heads the team during...
...the playing of the National Anthem...

...Starter Orlando Yntema had a rough outing, giving up... hits, including 2 HRs and six runs in 2-plus innings...

...Hitting Coach Sidney de Jong talks with Orlando Yntema...

...3B Coach Ben Thijssen greets Randolph Oduber after a HR...

...Jesus Golindano homered for Spain in the 1st inning...

...HCAW-pitcher Ivan Granados in action for Spain...

...3B Nick Urbanus catches a pop-fly...

...Tom Stuifbergen took over in the 3rd...
...inning and was credited with the win...

...Gianison Boekhoudt (17) is greeted...
...after the Grand Slam HR of...
...Yurendell de Caster in the 4th inning...

...Short stop Sharlon Schoop retires a Spanish batter...

...Wendell Floranus completed the game and earned a save...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

In other games today:

Group A

Day 4 in Regensburg began with a 5-0 shutout-win of Belgium vs. Great Britain in Group A, which still had several clinching-options after this game. Cedric Desmedt went the distance for Belgium. The 19-year old righthander struckout six batters and gave up only three hits, needing 142 pitches to complete his nine innings. Belgium opened the score in the second inning when Steven Delannoy scored on a force play-grounder by Benjamin Dille. An error led to the second run in the second inning, then a double by Thomas De Wolf made it 3-0 in the third at bat. Belgium hit only six basehits, including two by Delannoy. Dutch umpire Stenar van Groningen Schinkel was at third base in this game.

In the afternoon, France won 8-3 vs. Sweden. With this result, in combination with the final score of today's first game, Great Britain and Sweden were both eliminated for the Championship Round. It also meant that Italy became the first finalist in Group A. There are several scenarios left over, including a 4-way tie, but that would all be in favor of the Italians. Sweden initially took a surprising 2-0 lead in the first inning. The first two batters walked, then scored on an error and single by Nicholas Filice. France got a run back in the second at bat via an error, then took the lead by scoring twice in the third inning, thanks to singles by René Leveret and Jorge Hereaud. France added two runs in both the fourth and fifth inning. Two unearned were scored in the fourth when two errors were made with two outs. In the fifth, Jacques Boucheron delivered a 2-run single. France scored its eighth run in the eighth inning on a single by Omar Williams, then Sweden scored its third and last run in the home half when Par Axelsson walked with the bases loaded, but the Swedes then left the bases loaded.

In the evening, Italy won 5-1 vs. Germany after initially trailing 1-0 after four innings. In the second inning, Germany opened the score on a single by Maik Ehmke, but that was to be the lone run for the Germans. Italy took over the lead by scoring three runs in the home of the fourth inning. The first two runs were scored on a 2-run single by Alex Liddi, who is playing professionally since 2006. This season, Liddi played at the Triple-A level in the organizations of the Chicago White Sox (who released him in May) and Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2011-2013, Liddi, who was a teammate of the late Dutch outfielder Greg Halman, appeared in 61 Major League-games of the Seattle Mariners. Later in the fourth inning, Italy added a run on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Italy increased its lead to 5-1 thanks to a 2-run double by Alessandro Vaglio.

The second and third place in Group A will be decided on Tuesday when Belgium faces France in a crucial gamem while Germany meets Sweden. The outcome of the first game will decide the ranking, which can result in a 3-way-tie between Belgium, France and Germany.

Group B

OSTRAVA (Czech Republic)
The first game on the fourth day in Ostrava produced the first two teams that will team in the Championship Round, thanks to the 10-3 win of Croatia vs. Russia. Mexican-born American Croatian Jimmy Summers took the mound for Croatia and went the distance. Summers, who turned 41 last Saturday, gave up six hits and struckout six batters, throwing 128 pitches. Summers, who played for ADO in the Dutch big league several years ago, was supported by 10 basehits of his teammates, including three by Ivan Racić, who hit a 2-run homerun in the fourth inning. His homerun came moments after Andrija Tomić had hit a 3-run homerun. The two homeruns hightlighted a 6-run rally. Croatia then added two runs in the fifth and two more in the eighth inning, when Racić delivered a 2-run single.

In the afternoon, the Czech Republic registered a convincing 17-2 win vs. Greece in a 6-inning game. Initially, the Czechs trailed 1-0 in the second inning after Theodorakis Bourdaniotis singled in a run, but the Greeks also left three runners behind. The Czechs answered with a 6-run rally, which was decisive for the game. The rally was hightlighted by a 3-run homerun by Matěj Hejma. After the lead was increased to 8-1, Greece scored its second run in the top of the fourth inning, but the Czechs got it back immediately in the home half. The Czechs then rallied for five runs in the fifth. Jakub Sládek delivered a 2-run double, then Petr Čech added a 3-run homerun. The 15-run difference was reached in the sixth. With a 15-2 lead, Jan Drábek delivered a walk-off, 2-run double to end the game. With the win, the Czech Republic became the third team to qualify for the Championship Round.

(September 15)

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