(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)
Dutch win big vs. Russia; Top-3 Group A also set
OSTRAVA (Czech Republic) -
The Netherlands Baseball Team closed the Preliminary Round in Group B tonight (Tuesday, September 16) with a big 12-1 victory against Russia to remain unbeaten.
The game was highlighted by a grand slam homerun by Nick Urbanus and two homers by Curt Smith.
When Smith his his second homerun of the game in the ninth inning, this was the 17th for the Dutch Team during the event.
With this total, the Dutch Team leads the Homerun-category of the tournament.
In the preliminary round, the 12 teams hit 65 homeruns combined!
46 of these homeruns were hit at the Arrows Field in Ostrava.
In Group A in Regensburg, 19 homeruns were hit at the Armin-Wolf-Arena.
All teams hit at least one.
After completion of the Preliminary Round, the Dutch Team also leads the Championship in Batting Average (.416), Slugging Percentage (.866), On Base Percentage (.527), Runs Scored (68), Runs Batted in (61) and ERA (2.25).
The Orange Team is in third place with 62 hits, trailing Spain (68) and Italy (63).
The Dutch also are third with 12 doubles behind Spain (18) and Italy (15).
In StrikeOuts, the Dutch pitching is in a tie for sixth place with 32.
In this category, Germany leads with 47, followed by Belgium (38), Spain (37), Czech Republic (37) and Italy (36).
Today, the final day of the Preliminary Round of the European Championship resulted in the last decisions in Group A in Regensburg (Germany).
Who will join Italy to the Championship Round, which opens on Thursday in Brno (Czech Republic)?
|Homeruns, European Championship 2014|
|Group A, Regensburg||Group B, Ostrava|
| ||Germany|| ||Russia|
In the first game today, France nipped Belgium 5-4 to become the second finalist in this group.
And that also decided the third spot, which goes to Germany.
A surprise win by Great Britain vs. Italy and Sweden vs. Germany would end the day with a 3-way tie for third place between Germany, Great Britain and Belgium.
In that case, Germany would advance, as it has won against both Great Britain and Belgium.
But it didn't went that far, as Italy won 13-1 against the British.
That leaves the last possibility open, a 2-way tie between Germany and Belgium in case of a German loss vs. Sweden.
But in that case, the head-to-head result between Germany and Belgium also was in favor of the Germans.
So, whatever happens tonight in Regensburg, Germany becomes the third team to clinch a spot in the Championship Round.
In Group B, in Ostrava (Czech Republic), the top-3 was decided on Monday.
Whatever happens today, the Netherlands Baseball Team finishes in first place, which means it will play its next game on Thursday in Brno at 7 PM against the number 3 team of Group A, which will be Germany.
The Orange squad then plays its next game on Friday-morning at 11 AM against France and closes the Championship Round on Saturday at 7 PM against Italy.
However, the starting time for the last game is tentative and might change to accomodate home playing Czech Republic to another time slot.
The two best teams of the Championship Pool will then meet in the Final on Sunday-afternoon.
The day in Ostrava began with a surprising big 10-0 shutout-win of Greece vs. Croatia.
In the afternoon, Spain won 9-2 vs. the Czech Republic to take second place in this Group, while the Czechs will finish in third place.
There was a time that Russian baseball belonged to the subtop in European Championships.
After the former Soviet Union made its debut in 1991, Russia took over in 1993 and became a frequent participant.
The Russians finished in eighth place in 1993 and 1995, then climbed in the ranking in following years.
Russia ended in fourth place in 1997 and 1999, then the highlight came during the Championship of 2001 in Germany.
In the Preliminary Round, Russia almost suprised against the Netherlands, losing only 4-3.
Russia went on the reach the final and then was shutout 4-0 by the Dutch Team, a win which again didn't came easy.
But in the following years, the Russian baseball-team dropped in the rankings and two years ago even finished in twelfth and last place.
Tonight, the Dutch Team opened the score in the first inning with two outs.
Curt Smith and Kalian Sams then hit back-to-back doubles to bring in the first run.
After being retired in order in the second, three runs were added in the third at bat, also with two outs.
Nick Urbanus then singled and scored when Curt Smith followed with a homerun.
Next, Kalian Sams reached second base when his fly to rightfield was missed and scored when an error followed on a grounder by Yurendell de Caster to lift the lead to 4-0.
Jurrian Koks was the surprise starting pitcher for the Netherlands.
In the last four seasons, Koks has been solely a reliever with L&D Amsterdam Pirates, where he became the team's closer.
His last start in a regular season-game in the Dutch big league dates from June 1, 2010.
On that day, he started for ADO against Amsterdam Pirates.
Since then, Koks threw in relief in 99 consecutive regular season-games.
Koks didn't encounter much problems in the first three innings.
Several Russian batters reached base, but Koks was supported with two double plays.
But with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, he gave up three consecutive basehits, resulting in the first Russian run.
First, Andrey Shevchenko doubled, then scored when Ivan Korneev followed with a single.
A double by Alexey Kobrinets gave Russia runners on second and third base, but Koks then ended with a strikeout.
...Nick Urbanus hit a Grand...
...Slam in the 8th inning...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dutch Team immediately took more distance by adding two runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Randolph Oduber led off with a single and advanced on an outfield-error, then scored with one out when Curt Smit reached on the fourth Russian error.
Smith then moved on a double by Kalian Sams and scored when the later was eliminated at third base trying to advance on a grounder to short by Yurendell de Caster.
With a 6-1 lead, Arshwin Asjes took over the Dutch pitching in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With one out, he walked Victor Samchuk.
But he was then thrown out at third base on a nice throw by centerfielder Randolph Oduber when he tried to advance on a single by Kiril Chermoshenstev.
A foul-out ended the at bat.
The Dutch Team enlarged its lead to 12-1 with a 6-run (all unearned) rally with two outs in the top of the eighth inning.
Gilmer Lampe then walked and Dashenko Ricardo reached on an error, then Michael Duursma delivered an RBI-single.
The bases got loaded when Randolph Oduber was hit by a pitch and that brought Nick Urbanus in the batter's box.
With a 2-0 count, Urbanus connected well and drove the ball down the rightfield-line for a grand slam homerun, which gave the Dutch a 10-run difference lead.
Hereafter, Curt Smith followed with his second homerun of the game to make it 12-1.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, David Bergman retired the side to end the game.
Bergman had taken over from Asjes in the inning before.
The Dutch line-up was as follows:
Randolph Oduber (CF, 1-for-4), Nick Urbanus (2B, 2-for-5), Curt Smith (1B, 3-for-5), Kalian Sams (DH, 2-for-5), Yurendell de Caster (3B, 0-for-4), Danny Rombley (RF, 0-for-4), Gilmer Lampe (LF, 1-for-3), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 0-for-4), Michael Duursma (SS, 1-for-3).
There were no changes.
...Yury Bokalets is forced out by 2B Nick Urbanus in 3rd inning...
...Curt Smith homered twice tonight...
...HP Umpire František Přibyl checks is he touches the plate...
...Victor Samchuk is eliminated by SS Michael Duursma...
...who then completes a double play in the 3rd inning...
...Short Stop Michael Duursma tries to make another out...
...CF Randolph Oduber runs into the fence...
...in the 4th inning trying the catch a...
...ground-rule 2B by Andrey Shevchenko...
...Dashenko Ricardo did the catching...
...tonight for the second time...
...Pitcher Rob Cordemans is the lone...
...Dutch player who didn't saw...
...Arshwin Asjes pitched the 5th and 6th inning...
...David Bergman completed the game...
|(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)|
In other games today:
Day 5 in Regensburg began with France nipping Belgium only 5-4 to claim second place in Group A and qualify for the Championship Round.
France scored twice in the first inning off of starting pitcher Ben Van Nuffel, but couldn't really take some distance.
And that almost left the French empty-handed.
After adding a run in the fourth inning, France was leading 3-0 after six, but that wasn't enough.
Singles by Felix Brown and Pierre Turettes gave France the 2-0 lead in the first inning and a sac-fly by Brown made it 3-0 in the fourth.
But in the seventh inning, Belgium staged a comeback, scored three runs and tied the score!
With runners on first and second base and two outs, Jamie Verheyleweghen doubled to bring in a run.
Then, after a pitching change, Benjamin Dille also delivered a double, bringing two runs and tie the score.
A walk followed, but then two runners were left behind.
In the eighth inning, Belgium appeared to turn the game its way, taking a 4-3 lead, thanks to a single by Steven Delannoy, but again two runners stranded.
France then decided the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Lead-off hitter Arthur Paturel was hit by a pitch from Kenny Van Den Branden and moved on a wild pitch.
A strikeout followed, but then Felix Brown became the hero for France when he connected for a walk-off, 2-run homerun that won the game and clinched a spot in the next round!
Dutch umpire Stenar van Groningen Schinkel was behind the plate in this game.
In the afternoon, Italy won 13-1 vs. Great Britain in a 7-inning game.
Italy collected 15 basehits, including three by Alex Liddi and Mattia Reginato, who really led the Italian offense.
Liddi homered three times (!) and got four runs batted in, while Reginato had three doubles.
Liddi led off the second and third inning with a homerun, then added a 2-run homerun in the fourth inning, meaning he homered in three consecutive innings!
In the second inning, Liddi's first homeren started a 5-run rally, in the fourth his third homerun highlighted a 4-run rally.
The Preliminary Round in Regensburg ended with a 12-8 victory of home-playing Germany vs. Sweden.
Germany led 9-2 after five innings, but failed to end the game with a 10-run difference, as Sweden scored six runs in the last four at bats.
With a 12-4 lead, the German pitching gave up four runs in the top of the ninth.
Germany collected 13 basehits, including three by Max Boldt and Kevin Kotowski.
Sweden produced 11 basehits, including three by Peter Johannessen.
Veteran Philip Gajzler hit a 3-run homerun for the Swedes in the ninth inning.
His homerun was the 65th hit by all 12 teams combined in the two groups during the Preliminary Round.
Dutch umpire Henri van Heijningen was at first in this game.
OSTRAVA (Czech Republic)
The final day of play in Ostrava began with a 10-0 shutout-win of Greece vs. Croatia.
Greece collected nine basehits, including a homerun by Chris Christopoulos, who scored four runs.
A major part in this game was played by pitcher Panagiotis 'Pete' Sykaras, who went the distance in the 7-inning game and struckout 13 batters.
The 35-year old veteran righthander walked none and gave up seven hits, needing only 92 pitches.
The American-born Sykaras is one of the original members of the Greek Baseball Team and participated with the squad in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
After opening the score in the first inning on a wild pitch, Greece added three runs with two outs in the next at bat.
A passed ball and a 2-run single by Max Tzeďson Gouoren made it 4-0.
Three more runs were added in the third inning, also with two outs.
A single by Sykaras, basesloaded hit by a pitch and an error accounted for these runs.
In the fourth, Christopoulos hit a 2-run homerun and in the sixth, the 10-run difference was reached on a double by Georgis Thliveris.
In the afternoon, Spain won 9-2 vs. Czech Republic on 12 basehits, including three by Oscar Angulo.
The short stop homered twice and had four runs batted in.
Jesus Golindano also homered for Spain, while Petr Zýma homered for the Czechs.
Ricardo Hernandez Sanches started for Spain.
The lefthander, who this season pitched in the Dutch big league for Vaessen Pioniers, struckout four batters and gave up seven hits in 6 2/3 inning.
The game remained close for five innings, as Spain was leading only 3-1 when the sixth began.
The first homerun of Angulo had given Spain its first run in the first inning, then two were added in the second on a 2-run double by Daniel Martínez.
The Czechs got a run back in the third when Zýma hit his homerun, then the deficit was narrowed to 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning, thanks to a double by Jakub Malík.
Spain then decided the game with a 5-run rally in the home of the sixth on only two hits.
With the bases loaded and one out, two runs were scored when an error was made on a force play-grounder, then Angulo followed with a 3-run homerun to make it 8-2.
Golindano's homerun made it 9-2 in the seventh inning.