Curaçao Neptunus vs. L&D Amsterdam Pirates
Less than a week before the start of the Holland Series, there was some surprising coaching-news from both teams.
On Monday, Neptunus announced that it will not continue with its Head Coach Evert-Jan 't Hoen after completion of the season.
A surprising move, as in the past few years, 't Hoen had been one of the most successful coaches in the Dutch big league.
In his first three seasons as Head Coach of Neptunus, he led the team to the Dutch Championship-title each year and won the European Champions Cup last year.
In a press release, the Board stated that the club wants to ensure that Neptunus continues to participate in the top of Dutch and European baseball and that it has the opinion that the current team had not reached its maximum potential.
Article on the separation between Neptunus and 't Hoen
On Tuesday, Amsterdam Pirates discharged its 3B Coach Ronald Jaarsma of his duties.
During the Play-Offs, Jaarsma had been approached by Neptunus for a coaching-position for next season and the Board of the Amsterdam-club stated it was not informed of these talks.
The Amsterdam-Board said that Jaarsma had been a valuable and respected member of its coaching-staff for four years, but blames Neptunus for the way of approaching him, especially when both teams still had to play important games against each other.
In a press release, the Board explained that with the Holland Series approaching, it decided to honorably discharge Jaarsma of his coaching duties.
Article on the discharge of Jaarsma
In the days leading up to the Series, the starting pitchers of Amsterdam Pirates could not be named yet.
Some of the team's pitchers were injured before the season was interrupted after completion of the Play-Offs for the European Championship and the preceeding international tournament in France.
While it appears that all pitchers, except for Kevin Heijstek (out for the season), were on their way back, the assignments still are made based on the pitcher's recovery.
Amsterdam Head Coach Charles Urbanus today started with veteran Rob Cordemans, who last Sunday had been the starting pitcher for the Netherlands National Baseball Team in the European Championship Final against Spain.
Cordemans returned to the mound in August and made two starts for Amsterdam.
He then pitched for the Orange squad in France and started two games during the European Championship.
Neptunus Head Coach Evert-Jan 't Hoen named Diegomar Markwel as his starter.
The lefthander had been the starting pitcher in almost all series-openers for the Rotterdam-squad this season.
In the top of the first inning, Amsterdam stranded a runner on first base, then Neptunus struck early with three runs in its first at bat.
With one out, Cordemans gave up four consecutive basehits, resulting in two runs.
Lead-off hitter Christian Diaz flied out to deep leftfield, but hereafter, Randolph Oduber and Raily Legito registered the first singles, then Gianison Boekhoudt (which appeared to be catchable) and Dwayne Kemp followed with runscoring singles.
An error following Kemp's basehit led to runners on second and third base.
Moments later, Boekhoudt scored the third run on a sacrifice fly by Dashenko Ricardo.
With that, Neptunus appeared to have taken an early comfortable lead.
In the top of the second inning, Amsterdam got one run back.
With one out, Danny Rombley (who had reached on a fielder's choice) advanced on a grounder by Linoy Croes, then scored on a single by Rashid Gerard.
This basehit also was followed by an error which brought Gerard to second base, but he stranded there.
...3 hits, homerun...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Neptunus had runners on second and third base with two outs in the second inning, but failed to add another run.
The team was then retired in order by Cordemans in the third inning.
Remco Draijer led off the third inning for Amsterdam with a single and moved on a sacrifice bunt and a grounder, but also stranded.
In the fourth, it was Markwell who retired the side.
Neptunus made it a 3-run difference again in the bottom of the fourth.
Rien Vernooij led off with a double and moved on a sacrifice bunt by Benjamin Dille, then scored on a single by Shaldimar Daantji.
That led to a pitching change, as Cordemans was relieved by lefthander Kyle Ward.
He walked Christian Diaz, which was followed by a double-steal.
However, they stranded on second and third base, as next batter Randolph Oduber popped out and Raily Legito struckout.
In the fifth inning, both teams scored once.
In the top of the inning, Rashid Gerard led off with a walk and Max Clarijs singled.
The two moved on a sacrifice bunt by Remco Draijer, then Michael Duursma followed with a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 score.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dwayne Kemp homered with one out and gave Neptunus another 3-run lead.
From that moment on, Neptunus failed to take more distance and the game started to turn the way of Amsterdam.
After both teams were retired in order in the sixth inning, Amsterdam and Neptunus both reached base frequently.
The difference was that Amsterdam was able to score, while Neptunus was held scoreless.
In the seventh inning, Berry van Driel took over the Neptunus-pitching.
He was greeted with a lead-off single by Linoy Croes, but he later stranded on second base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Neptunus again failed to do some scoring.
With two outs, they got the bases loaded when Gianison Boekhoudt, Dwayne Kemp and Dashenko Ricardo all singled.
They all stranded, as the inning ended when Rien Vernooij flied out.
As is the case in most of these kind of situations when leaving the bases loaded, it is the opponent who does the scoring.
That also happened today, as Amsterdam scored two runs in the top of the eighth to narrow the deficit to 5-4.
Kevin Kelly took over the pitching for Van Driel, but ran into problems.
He walked lead-off hitter Michael Duursma, then struckout Nick Urbanus.
However, Kelly then got the bases loaded when Gilmer Lampe walked and Kenny Berkenbosch singled.
That led to another pitching change for Neptunus.
Closer Loek van Mil was brought in, but he was greeted with a 2-run single by Danny Rombley that made it a 5-4 score.
Van Mil then struckout Linoy Croes and Rashid Gerard, but it now was an one-run game.
Amsterdam-reliever Daan Hendrix retired the side in the bottom of the eighth, then Pirates came alongside in the top of the ninth.
With one out, Van Mil walked Remco Draijer.
He moved on a grounder, then scored the tying run when Nick Urbanus followed with a single.
Gilmer Lampe also singled, but a force play ended the at bat.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Neptunus got another chance of scoring a run, but for the second time left the bases loaded.
Tom de Blok became the new pitcher for Pirates, but also encountered some problems.
With one out, Raily Legito's grounder ended in an error by Jesse Aussems, who had just entered the game as the new third baseman.
Hereafter, Urving Kemp was inserted as pinch-runner for Legito and Gianison Boekhoudt walked.
With one out and runners on first and second base, Dwayne Kemp followed with a single, which could have loaded the bases, giving Neptunus a good chance to score a run.
However, Urving Kemp was waved home and ended up short, as he was eliminated at the plate on a nice throw from rightfielder Danny Rombley.
There were two outs now with runners on first and second base.
Steven Wharwood was inserted as pinch-runner for Boekhoudt, then Neptunus got the bases loaded when Dashenko Ricardo singled through the leftside of the infield into leftfield.
That led to an apparent severe injury for third baseman Jesse Aussems.
In an attempt to come behind the ball, he seemed to slip somewhat and sustained an injury in his left leg.
A 6-minute injury delay followed and Aussems had to be supported from the field, leaving with a possible hamstring- or muscle-injury.
As some changes had to be made in the Amsterdam-defense, it's designated hitter was put in the field, which meant pitcher Tom de Blok now had to be moved into the batting order.
And so, the bases were loaded with two outs, while Amsterdam had lost it's third baseman.
On De Blok's next pitch, the inning ended when Ricardo was forced out on a grounder by Rien Vernooij, meaning the game went into extra innings.
...Tom de Blok...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
As the tie-break rule is not used in the Holland Series, the extra innings were played the old-fashioned way without the two free baserunners.
In the top of the 10th, Linoy Croes singled for Amsterdam with one out off of Van Mil, but then was eliminated in a double play.
In the bottom of the 10th, De Blok retired the side.
Both teams then stranded two runners in the eleventh inning.
In the top of the inning, De Blok led off as a batter and struckout, as did next batter Remco Draijer.
Hereafter, Michael Duursma singled and Nick Urbanus walked, but they were left behind.
In the home half of the at bat, De Blok returned to the mound and gave up a lead-off single to Randolph Oduber.
He was forced out on a grounder by Daniel Fernandes, who had entered the game defensively in the top of the 10th.
De Blok then struckout pinch-hitter Stijn van der Meer, but at the same time, Fernandes stole second base and was able to move to third base when a throwing error followed.
With that, Neptunus again had the winning run on third base.
To create a force play, Dwayne Kemp was walked intentionally.
He also stole second base.
With runners on second and third base, De Blok pitched to Dashenko Ricardo and struck him out to end the inning.
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
With that, the suspense remained, the game became a thriller and the twelfth inning followed.
In the top of the 12th inning, Misja Harcksen became the new pitcher for Neptunus.
It was Harcksen's first appearance of the season for Neptunus, as he was active in the USA in his third professional season in the organization of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 21-year old righthander started the season for the AZL Dodgers in the Rookie League, where he was 3-0.
In August, Harcksen was transfered to Ogden Raptors, which also plays at the Rookie League-level.
There, he was 0-1, pitching in nine games.
After completion of the season, Harcksen was released on September 18, making him eligible to pitch for Neptunus.
Last year, after his professional season had ended, Harcksen also was with Neptunus during the Holland Series, but he then had no permission to play for the Rotterdam-squad.
Harcksen was greeted with a lead-off single by Kenny Berkenbosch, who moved on a grounder by Danny Rombley.
To set up a force play, next batter Linoy Croes was walked intentionally, but the two advanced on a following grounder by Rashid Gerard.
Patrick Bok then entered the game as pinch-hitter for Tom de Blok and while he was in the batter's box, Berkenbosch scored on a passed ball to put Pirates ahead, 6-5.
Moments later, Bok walked, but two runners were left behind.
In the bottom of the 12th, Dennis Burgersdijk took over the Amsterdam-pitching.
Burgersdijk, who was a possible candidate to start Sunday's game, got two quick outs.
He then gave up a triple to Shaldimar Daantji.
But Neptunus again left a runner behind on third base, as a following grounder by Christian Diaz ended the long game that lasted almost 4½ hours.
In total, Neptunus left 14 runners behind, with twelve of them being in scoring position, including six on third base.
Neptunus outhit Amsterdam Pirates 14-11, including four by Dwayne Kemp.
A total of 35 players took part in today's game, 18 by Neptunus, 17 by Pirates.