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Updated: March 7, 2017
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Copyright © 1997-2017
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
International Baseball
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2017 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Netherlands opens World Baseball Classic with shutout against South Korea

SEOUL (South Korea) - The Netherlands Kingdom Team started the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday (March 7) with a 5-0 shutout-win against South Korea, the host of the First Round. The Orange squad showed strong hitting with two homeruns, had great defense with three double plays and solid pitching which gave up only six basehits. The fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic opened on Monday with a major upset, as Israel, which made its WBC-debut, won 2-1 in ten innings against South Korea.

Earlier today, Israel recorded its second victory, winning with a convincing 15-7 score against Chinese Taipei. The Israeli squad registered 20 basehits, including homeruns by Ryan Lavarnway (2-run) and Nate Freiman (3-run). Starting and winning pitcher Corey Baker (Double-A/Triple-A, St. Louis Cardinals) gave up only three hits in 4 2/3 inning. Israel opened with four runs in the first at bat. Trailing 6-0 in the sixth, Taipei scored three runs, but Israel then added nine more runs in the final three innings, highlighted by a 5-run rally in the seventh.

The Netherlands will meet the team from Taipei on Wednesday, then close the First Round against Israel on Thursday. The two best teams of this round advance to the Second Round, which will be played in Tokyo (Japan).

While Israel is now 2-0 and South Korea is 0-2, nothing has been decided yet in this pool. Israel of course is in a good position to advance On the other hand, South Korea needs to win its final game on Thursday against Chinese Taipei and has become dependent of other results.

It is possible that three teams finish with a 2-1 record. In that case, the first tiebreaking rule to determine the ranking will be according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial) played in defense in the games against the teams who are tied. The team who then finishes in first place advances, while the other two will play a tiebreaker game to decide the second team that will advance.

Another possibility is that three teams finish with an 1-2 record (in this scenario Israel will finish in first place with a 2-1 record). The same rule as above will be applied to determine the ranking. The first two ranked teams then will play a tiebreaker-game to determine the second team that will advance.

Four years ago, South Korea was eliminated in the First Round. In 2009, the team lost the Final to Japan after having finished in third place in the first Classic in 2006.

In Tokyo, host country Japan opened Pool B today with an 11-6 win against Cuba. Japan broke an 1-1 tie in the fourth inning, then rallied for five runs in the fifth to enlarge its lead. Cuba scored five runs in the seventh and eighth inning combined, but in these same at bats, Japan also added four runs. Nobuhiro Matsuda (3-run) and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (2-run) homered for Japan. Alfred Despaigne, who plays in the professional Japanese league, hit a solo-homerun for Cuba.

(March 7)

Complete Schedule

Related Articles:
Israel upsets South Korea in WBC-opener with 10-inning win. (March 6)
Netherlands Team closes WBC-preparations with loss. (March 5)
Netherlands Team wins big in Korean exhibition game. (March 3)
Netherlands closes exhibition series in Arizona with loss. (February 25)
First game Netherlands vs. Twins ends in tie. (February 24)
Netherlands Team wins big in exhibition game vs. Geckos. (February 23)
Exhibition losses Netherlands Team in Arizona. (February 20)

Netherlands vs. South Korea
Rick van den Hurk started for the Netherlands and made his first appearance in the squad. He was not with the team in trainingcamp in Arizona, as he was in Spring Training with the team of Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, preparing for the new season in Japan. The righthander didn't pitch in one of the two games, the Orange squad played in Seoul during its final preparations.

...2nd baseman Jonathan Schoop (left) and short stop...
...Andrelton Simmons participated in all three...
...Orange-double plays today...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
For Van den Hurk, this was his first appearance in the Netherlands squad since he threw for the squad in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Back then, he was the starter against Puerto Rico in the First Round, then started his next game in the Second Round against the USA.

Van den Hurk retired the side in the top of the first inning, then was supported with two runs in the bottom of the at bat. Andrelton Simmons led off with a single off of starter Kyu-min Woo, then next batter Jurickson Profar drove the ball into deep rightfield for a homerun to give the Orange an early 2-0 lead. With this, the two Major Leaguers, respectively Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Rangers, paved the way for the Orange squad, as the two runs proved to be decisive. Hereafter, Xander Bogaerts tripled, but hereafter Woo recovered. He struckout Wladimir Balentien, then Jonathan Schoop popped out and Didi Gregorius grounded out.

Van den Hurk gave up a lead-off single to Dae-ho Lee in the second, but the Dutch defense then turned a double play. Byung-hun Min then connected for the next Korean basehit, but stranded at first base.

In the bottom of the second inning, Woo struckout the first two batters, but then gave up another run. Randolph Oduber singled, stole second base and advanced to third base when a throwing error by the catcher followed. Moments later, Oduber scored when Andrelton Simmons doubled to make it a 3-0 score.

...A.J.A. (Lody) Embrechts, the...
...Ambassador of the Netherlands... South Korea throws...
...the ceremonial first ball...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Van den Hurk walked two batters with one out in the third, but another double play followed. In the fourth, South Korea stranded another runner in scoring position. With two outs, Ah-seop Son doubled, but a flyout ended the at bat.

Diegomar Markwell took over the Orange pitching in the top of the fifth. The lefthander was greeted with a lead-off double by Suk-min Park. A pop-out and line out followed, then Markwell walked Yong-kyu Lee. However, another runner stranded in scoring position, as a force out ended the at bat.

The Netherlands got a runner in scoring position again in the bottom of the fifth, but was unable to add another run. With one out, Jurickson Profar singled and stole second base with two outs. Wladimir Balentien then walked, but the two runners stranded when Jonathan Schoop flied out.

The Kingdom-squad then did add two insurance runs in the sixth off of Jong-hyun Won, who had taken over in the fourth. With two outs, Dashenko Ricardo singled, then Randolph Oduber homered to make it a 5-0 score. Hereafter, Won was replaced by Woo-chan Cha, who closed the inning.

With a 5-0 lead, Shairon Martis became the third Netherlands-pitcher in the top of the seventh and retired the side. Tom Stuifbergen took the mound in the eighth. He gave up a lead-off single to Yong-kyu Lee. A flyout followed and then, the Netherlands defense turned its third double play in the game. All three double plays were made by second baseman Jonathan Schoop, short stop Andrelton Simmons and first baseman Curt Smith. Schoop started two of them. Simmons showed some nice defensive plays today. He is known for his defensive qualities, which earned him two Gold Gloves (2013, 2014) and one Platinum Glove (2014) when he played for Atlanta Braves.

In the bottom of the eighth, it was South Korea that made a double play. Didi Gregorius led off with a single, but hereafter, Curt Smith grounded into a double play. A strikeout ended the Dutch at bat.

Loek van Mil closed the game for the Netherlands in the ninth. With two outs, he gave up a single to pinch-hitter Hyun-wook Choi, but the righthander then closed the game with a strikeout. Which was the lone strikeout by the Dutch pitching in this game!

...Winning pitcher Rick van den Hurk...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Rick van den Hurk was the winning pitcher in this game. According to the Scoring Rules for a Regular Season, he would not have been the winner, as he threw only four innings as a starter. However, during the World Baseball Classic (as well as in Spring Training-games, exhibition games and All Star Games), the ruling to determine a Winning Pitcher is different. A starting pitcher will be credited with the Win when he leaves the mound with his team leading, regardless how many innings he has pitched. The reason herefore is simple, as pitchers are limited to a pitch-count during the WBC and (almost) none of them will throw the normal required five innings. In the other mentioned games, pitchers also use pitch-counts or just get a specific total of innings to pitch. In an All Star Game no starter will throw the required total of innings. In the regular season, a starting pitcher must have pitched at least five complete innings to become eligible for the Win. Hereafter, relievers can be credited with a Hold, Blown Save or Save (and of course, they also can be credited with a Loss of a Win when the score changes). These same Hold, Blown Save and Save-rules apply for the relievers in the WBC, Spring Training, exhibition games and All Star Games.

Manager Hensley Meulens started Andrelton Simmons at short, Jurickson Profar in centerfield and Xander Bogaerts at third base, while Didi Gregorius was the designated hitter. All four are regular short stops for their respective clubs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. In today's game, Meulens made no changes, except in his pitching.

The following players got into action:
Andrelton Simmons (SS, 2-for-4, double, run, RBI), Jurickson Profar (CF, 2-for-4, homerun, run, 2 RBI's, stolen base), Xander Bogaerts (3B, 1-for-4, triple), Wladimir Balentien (RF, 1-for-3), Jonathan Schoop (2B, 0-for-4), Didi Gregorius (DH, 1-for-4), Curt Smith (1B, 0-for-4), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 2-for-4, run), Randolph Oduber (LF, 2-for-3, homerun, 2 runs, 2 RBI's, stolen base).

...Left: Didi Gregorius hands out signatures before the game...
...Right: Rick van den Hurk was the starting and winning pitcher today...

...Jurickson Profar connects well in the first inning and hits a 2-run homerun; he is greeted by Jonathan Schoop...

...Left: Jurickson Profar celebrates his homerun, Andrelton Simmons (right) also scored...
...Right: Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is the Pitching Coach of the Orange-squad...

...Left: Short stop Andrelton Simmons retires another Korean batter...
...Right: Curt Smith, who played at first base, hitting for the Orange squad...

...Left: Diegomar Markwell pitched the fifth and sixth inning for the Netherlands...
...Right: Randolph Oduber is greeted by Andrelton Simmons and Dashenko Ricardo after his 2-run homerun in the 6th inning...

...Left: Manager Hensley Meulens gives signs; standing at right is Bench Coach Andruw Jones...
...Standing at left are Bullpen Coach Steve Janssen and 1B Coach Wim Martinus...
...Right: Xander Bogaerts was the third baseman for the Kingdom-squad...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

Netherlands - South Korea 5-0
South Korea000000000-061
Netherlands Kingdom Team21000200X-5110
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Rick van den Hurk, W (1-0)4-23--

Diegomar Markwell, H (1)2-21--

Shairon Martis1-----

Tom Stuifbergen1-----

Loek van Mil11----

pitchers South Koreainn.SOBBHRER
Kyu-min Woo, L (0-1)3.23-633

Jong-hyun Won2-1322

Woo-chan Cha2.11-2--

Homeruns: Netherlands: Jurickson Profar (1)(1st,2-run,off Woo), Randolph Oduber (1)(6th,2-run,off Won).
WBC Scores
WBC Schedule
HP-D.J. Reyburn (USA, Major League), 1B-Brian Knight (USA, Major League),
2B-Brett Robson (Australia), 3B-Frantisek Pribyl (Czech Rep.).
Starting Time-6:39 PM (local time).
Time Played-3:03 hrs.
Site-Gocheok Sky Dome, Seoul (South Korea).

Game Notes:
33rd game in history of the Netherlands playing vs. South Korea.
11th victory in history for the Netherlands against South Korea.
First game Netherlands Kingdom Team on World Baseball Classic 2017.

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