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Updated: March 8, 2017
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2017 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Netherlands advances to Second Round WBC after walk-off win; Israel also in

SEOUL (South Korea) - The Netherlands Kingdom Team won 6-5 against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday-evening (March 8) to advance to the Second Round of the World Baseball Classic. Because of the win, Israel also qualified for the Second Round, which will be played in Tokyo (Japan) and opens next Sunday. The advancing of Israel, which plays in its first WBC, is a major surprise, as Asian powerhouses South Korea and Chinese Taipei are now eliminated. South Korea also was eliminated in the First Round four years ago.

The Netherlands now has advanced to the Second Round of the Classic for the third consecutive time. Four years ago, the Orange-squad reached the Semi-Final and finished in fourth place. The World Baseball Classic also officially has the status of World Championship.

The Netherlands opened the event on Tuesday with a 5-0 shutout-win against South Korea, which already had lost its first game. 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.

Today's win didn't come easy, as the first two Dutch pitchers saw Taipei reach base frequently, which led to a 5-4 deficit halfway the fifth inning. The Orange squad came alongside in the eighth on the third double in the game by Didi Gregorius, who was 3-for-4, scored twice and batted in three runs. Gregorius was responsible for the first five Orange-runs. The Netherlands then got the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth and won on a walk-off walk for Jurickson Profar.

In the 75th game in history against Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands collected 13 basehits, including four by Wladimir Balentien.

The Netherlands will close the First Round in Pool A on Thursday against Israel, which had won its first two games. After winning against South Koreans, Israel won 15-7 against Chinese Taipei on Tuesday. The winner of the Netherlands vs. Israel-game will finish in first place in Pool A.

In Pool B, in Tokyo, Cuba shutout China 6-0 on Wednesday-afternoon. Cuba had lost its opener to Japan 11-6 on Tuesday. Cuba rallied for four runs in the fourth inning on four basehits, including (back-to-back) a runscoring single by Yoelqui Cespedes, 2-run double by Roel Santos and RBI-triple by Alexander Ayala. Four Cuban pitchers gave up only one basehit. Cuban starter Bladimir Banos retired the first 13 batters he faced, then gave up one-out single in the fifth to Shunyi Yang, which would be the lone Chinese hit. Banos, who threw five complete innings, then retires the next two batters again. China would reach base only two more times in the remainder of the game.

In the evening, Japan won 4-1 vs. Australia in a suspenseful game to register its second win to get into a good position to advance to the Second Round. Australia took an 1-0 lead in the second inning on a homerun by Allan de San Miguel, but Japan came alongside in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Nobuhiro Matsuda. Japan then broke the tie in the seventh inning when Sho Nakata led off with a homerun. In the eighth, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh added a 2-run line drive homerun down the rightfield-line to lift the lead to 4-1.

(March 8)

Complete Schedule

Related Articles:
Netherlands opens WBC with shutout vs. South Korea. (March 7)
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)

...Didi Gregorius celebrates his third double...
...He was 3-for-4 (all doubles), scored twice...
..and batted in three runs...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei
Manager Hensley Meulens used the same starting line-up as he did in the opener against South Korea on Tuesday. Former Major Leaguer Jair Jurrjens was the starting pitcher for the Orange squad.

The righthander gave up an one-out single to Chih-Hao Chang in the first inning, but he was forced out. Jurrjens then walked the next batter, but closed with a strikeout.

In the bottom of the first inning, Taipei-starter Chia-Hao Sung retired the side, but he gave up a run in the next at bat.

First, Jurrjens returned to the mound in the second inning. He began with two strikeouts, then walked the next two batters. The two runners stranded, as a pop-out ended the at bat.

The Netherlands then opened the score in the bottom of the second. Wladimir Balentien led off with a single, then Didi Gregorius doubled with one out. Hereafter, Balentien was eliminated at the plate trying to score on a grounder to third by Curt Smith. That brought Gregorius to third base and he then scored when Dashenko Ricardo followed with a single.

In the top of the third inning, Jurrjens again got baserunners and also gave up two runs. Chih-Hao Chang and Chih-Hsien Chiang led off with singles, which led to runners on first and third base. Moments later, Chang scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Chiang advanced to third base and scored on a following sacrifice fly by Chih-Sheng Lin to give Taipei a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the third, Sung retired the Dutch side again.

Lars Huijer took over the Orange pitching in the top of the fourth and also retired the side. The Netherlands then rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Wladimir Balentien and Jonathan Schoop began the at bat with singles. They both scored on a following double into left-centerfield by Didi Gregorius, which put the Netherlands ahead 3-2. After next batter Curt Smith flied out, Shao-Ching Chiang became the new Taipei-pitcher. He was greeted with a runscoring single by Dashenko Ricardo that made it a 4-2 score. Hereafter, Randolph Oduber was hit by a pitch, but a force out ended the at bat, stranding two runners.

...Short stop Andrelton Simmons forces out a Taipei-runner...
...Simmons also made a double play again today...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Chinese Taipei reacted immediately by scoring three runs on five hits in the top of the fifth inning to re-take the lead off of Huiijer, who had a tough inning. Huijer gave up a lead-off single to Chin-Lung Hu, then Chih-Hao Chang homered to tie the score. Next batter Chih-Hsien Chiang also singled, advanced on a wild pitch, then moved when Chih-Sheng Lin delivered the fourth consecutive basehit. The latter was forced out, but that enabled Chiang to score and put Taipei ahead, 5-4. Huijer followed with a strikeout, then hit Yung-Chi Chen with a pitch and gave up a single to Kun-Sheng Lin which loaded the bases. The righthander avoided giving up more runs, as a flyout ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jurickson Profar led off with a single for the Netherlands, but was eliminated when Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play. Another single followed, this time by Wladimir Balentien, but he stranded.

Taipei got its lead-off hitter on base again in the top of the sixth off of new pitcher Mike Bolsenbroek. Chin-Lung Hu led off with a single, but a double play and pop-out followed. Bolsenbroek gave up a 2-out single in the seventh, but that didn't harm him. The righthander retired the side in the eighth.

In the meantime, Taipei-reliever Shao-Ching Chiang retired the side in the sixth and seventh inning. He returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth, but this time, he gave up a lead-off single to Xander Bogaerts. Hereafter, Wladimir Balentien connected for his fourth basehit in the game. With its first two batters on base, the Netherlands had something in the making, but hereafter Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play. Schoop was the last batter Chiang faced, as Fu-Te Ni entered the game as new pitcher with Bogaerts on third base. He faced Didi Gregorius, who then connected for his third double in the game (down the leftfield-line) to bring in Bogaerts and tie the score at 5-5. That immediately led to another pitching change, as Hung-Wen Chen took over. With Gregorius on second base, Yurendell de Caster entered as pinch-hitter for Curt Smith, but he grounded out to end the inning.

...Celebration Time...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the top of the ninth, Shairon Martis took over the Dutch pitching and retired the side.

In the bottom of the ninth, Orange lead-off hitter Dashenko Ricardo reached on an error by Taipei's third baseman. He got into scoring position when next batter Randolph Oduber was hit by a pitch and the bases then got loaded when Andrelton Simmons singled. Dwayne Kemp then replaced Ricardo at third base as pinch-runner and represented the winning run. He then indeed scored the winning run when Jurickson Profar received a walk-off walk that made it 6-5 in favor of the Netherlands. Profar hit the ball into rightfield on the first pitch he saw, but the delivery came just after Japanese 3B umpire Chikara Tsugawa called a time-out, which wasn't noticed by American Major League-Home Plate Umpire Ted Barrett. The ball that Profar hit was caught by the rightfielder (which would have been the first out), but the action was reversed. Orange Manager Hensley Meulens of course came out to ask for an explanation. Barrett and Tsugawa had a brief discussion, making it clear that a time-out had been called. And so Profar, stepped back into the batter's box and ended the game with his walk.

And with that, Pool A was decided, as because of the Netherlands wins, the Orange squad and Israel advance to the Second Round.

The following players got into action:
Andrelton Simmons (SS, 1-for-5), Jurickson Profar (CF, 1-for-4, RBI, walk, strikeout), Xander Bogaerts (3B, 1-for-4, run), Wladimir Balentien (RF, 4-for-4, run), Jonathan Schoop (2B, 1-for-4, run), Didi Gregorius (DH, 3-for-4, 3 doubles, 2 runs, 3 RBI's), Curt Smith (1B, 0-for-3), Yurendell de Caster (PH-1B, 0-for-1), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 2-for-4, 2 RBI's), Dwayne Kemp (PR, run), Randolph Oduber (LF, 0-for-2, hit by pitch).

...Left: Jair Jurrjens was the starting pitcher for the Netherlands today...
...Right: 2B Jonathan Schoop waits for the ball, while Kun-Sheng Lin steals 2nd base in the 2nd inning...

...Left: Wladimir Balentien is chased by 3B Chih-Hsien Chiang in a rundown near the plate in the 2nd inning...
...Right: Didi Gregorius advances to 3rd base after a flyout in the 3rd inning; 3B Chih-Hsien Chiang cannot avoid that...

...Left: Mike Bolsenbroek threw three fine innings today (6th, 7th, 8th) for the Orange-squad...
...Right: American Major League-umpire Ted Barrett was behind the plate in this game...
...Barrett works in the Major League since 1999 and officiated in the World Series 2007, 2011 and 2014...

...Left: Xander Bogaerts slides into 3rd base in the eighth inning...
...Right: Didi Gregorius is greeted in the dug-out after hitting an RBI-double...
...Standing in the front are Dwayne Kemp and Xander Bogaerts; visible in the back are Equipment Manager Jaap Visser,...
...pitcher Rob Cordemans and Physical Therapist Pepijn van Ingen (with glasses)...

...Jurickson Profar received a walk-off walk in 9th that gave the Netherlands a 6-5 win, then gets a 'celebration shower'...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

Netherlands - Chinese Taipei 6-5
Chinese Taipei002030000-5101
Netherlands Kingdom Team010300011-6130
(no outs when winning run was scored in the ninth inning)
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Jair Jurrjens343322

Lars Huijer22-533

Mike Bolsenbroek31-2--

Shairon Martis, W (1-0)1-----

pitchers Chinese Taipeiinn.SOBBHRER
Chia-Hao Sung3.11-644

Shao-Ching Chang4.1--511

Fu-Te Ni, BS (1)- (*)--1--

Hung-Wen Chen, L (0-1)0.1-111-
(*) - Ni pitched to one batter in the eighth inning

Homerun: Chinese Taipei: Chih-Hao Chang (1)(5th,2-run,off Huijer).
WBC Scores
WBC Schedule
HP-Ted Barrett (USA, Major League), 1B-Brett Robson (Australia),
2B-D.J. Reyburn (USA, Major League), 3B-Chikara Tsugawa (Japan).
Starting Time-6:38 PM (local time).
Time Played-3:21 hrs.
Site-Gocheok Sky Dome, Seoul (South Korea).

Game Notes:
75th game in history of the Netherlands playing vs. Chinese Taipei.
45th victory in history for the Netherlands against Chinese Taipei.
Second game Netherlands Kingdom Team on World Baseball Classic 2017.

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