(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Netherlands ends up short against Japan
ROTTERDAM (Neth.) -
The Netherlands Baseball Team ended up short against Japan on Wednesday-evening (July 5), losing 7-3.
With the loss, the Netherlands finished the preliminary round on fourth place, while Japan finished second.
The result of tonight's game led to the final ranking in the preliminary round.
With tonight's win, Japan finished in a tie for first place with Cuba.
Based on its head-to-head result, Cuba earned first place and Japan second.
The Netherlands ended in a tie with Chinese Taipei.
As the Netherlands had lost its game against the Asians, it closed the preliminary round in fourth place and Taipei in third.
When the Netherlands would have won, it would have finished in a tie for first place with Cuba.
As the Orange-squad won against Cuba on Tuesday, the Netherlands would end up in first place and Cuba in second.
They would be followed by Japan and Chinese Taipei, who would also be tied.
Japan would have finished third in this case, as it had won against Taipei.
Curaçao had a chance to finish in fourth place today, but the team lost 6-3 to Chinese Taipei.
With that, Curaçao remained winless and finished in fifth place.
However, nothing is decided yet, as Curaçao still can become the tournament-winner, but then has to win its next two games in the next round to reach the final.
On Thursday, Cuba and Japan will meet in the afternoon-game, while the Netherlands meets Taipei in the evening.
Curaçao will play against the loser of the Cuba vs. Japan match-up on Friday.
The Netherlands was unable to be productive tonight.
The team recorded only two basehits in the first seven at bats, which were both hit by Stijn van der Meer.
The Orange-squad got only one runner in scoring position in the first inning.
Japan was limited to only two runs in the first five innings by rookie righthander Kaj Timmermans.
In the third inning, he gave up a 2-run double to Kenta Fukuhara.
Japan added three more runs in the sixth.
With two runners on base, Timmermans was relieved by Jim Ploeger.
The lefthander got the bases loaded with a walk, then gave up two runscoring singles and also enabled a runner to score on a wild pitch.
Japan scored two more runs in the seventh off of new pitcher Kevin Kelly.
In the eighth inning, rookie Rachid Engelhardt registered the third Dutch basehit, but was eliminated in a double play.
The ninth inning was the most productive for the Netherlands Team.
It added two basehits, scored three runs and almost came alongside!
With one out, the Orange got the bases loaded when Max Draijer singled, a force play-grounder by Stijn van der Meer ended in an error and Gianison Boekhoudt walked.
Dudley Leonora then delivered a 2-run single and the bases got loaded again when Nick Urbanus was hit by a pitch.
With two outs, the next run was scored when Rachid Engelhardt walked.
With the bases still loaded, pinch-hitter Dwayne Kemp drilled the ball down the leftfield-line.
The ball did leave the ball, however, it ended up in foul territory.
A grand slam would have tied the score at 7-7.
Moments later, Kemp struckout and the game ended.