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Updated: March 20, 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 loses exhibition game against Arizona Diamondbacks

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (USA) - The Netherlands Kingdom Team played an exhibition game against the Major League-squad of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday-afternoon (March 18). The Orange squad lost 12-5.

The game was played in between the Second Round and the Final Round of the World Baseball Classic. A few days ago, the Netherlands qualified for the Semi-Final by finishing in second place in Pool E in Tokyo (Japan).

After completion of that Pool, the squad then traveled back to Arizona, where it already had stayed for two weeks to prepare for the global event. In Arizona, the team has daily practices before leaving for Los Angeles, where it will play in the Semi-Final on Monday against Puerto Rico. That team claimed first place in Pool F on Friday. Japan also traveled to Arizona and also played an exhibition game today. Japan lost 6-4 to the Chicago Cubs.

Before today's game, Netherlands Manager Hensley Meulens planned to use a different pitcher each inning and indeed used eight in the game. With that, these pitchers not only kept their pitching rhythm, but it gave Meulens also the opportunity to use his pitchers in different situations with runners on the bases.

Also, all position players in the Orange roster played. With that, they all got to play defensively, as well as getting several at bats. Meulens also made some defensive changes in the late innings, which included moving Didi Gregorius to second base, Xander Bogaerts to short stop and Stijn van der Meer to third base.

Also, Designated Hitter Dwayne Kemp entered the game defensively in the bottom of the seventh inning as new second baseman, which officially put the pitcher in the batting order when this would have been an official game. However, when Kemp went on to play defensively, Gregorius, who had been the second baseman, became the new designated hitter (and thus stayed in the batting order), meaning the pitchers never came into the batting order. This led to a talk between Meulens, Arizona-Manager Torey Lovullo and Home Plate Umpire Ramon De Jesus, as the first explained what he was planning to do with his batting order.

...D. Baxter the Bobcat, the mascot of..
...the Arizona Diamondbacks...
...throws the ceremonial first ball...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
For Gregorius, this was a return to his former club, as he played for the Diamondbacks in 2013 and 2014.

After completion of today's game, the team flew from Phoenix to Los Angeles, where the Final Round will begin on Monday.

(March 18)

Complete Schedule

Related Articles:
Puerto Rico beats USA; Will meet Netherlands in Semi-Final. (March 17)
Dominicans shutout Venezuela. (March 16)
Netherlands to play exhibition game; Jansen joins team. (March 16)
USA comes from behind to win against Venezuela. (March 15)
Big W Netherlands vs. Cuba; in Semi-Finals after W Japan. (March 15)
Puerto Rico defeats Dominicans in Second Round-opener. (March 14)
Japan wins vs. Cuba, but Pool is not decided yet. (March 14)
Venezuela comes from behind & eliminates Italy. (March 13)
A dream come true for Dutch WBC-umpire Winfried Berkvens. (March 13)
Netherlands wins convincingly against Israel. (March 13)
Three teams qualify for 2nd Round; Tie-breaker Italy vs. Venezuela. (March 12)
Netherlands ends up short in extra innings vs. Japan. (March 12)
WBC-wins for Colombia, Venezuela & Dominican Republic. (March 11)
USA needs extra inning to win; Puerto Rico wins big. (March 10)
Cuba advances to Second Round WBC; Australia eliminated. (March 10)
Italy wins opener on walk-off single; Dominicans win big. (March 9)
Netherlands empty-handed vs. Israel; finishes 2nd in Pool. (March 9)
Orange in 2nd Round WBC after walk-off win; Israel also in. (March 8)
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)
Orange roster announced for World Baseball Classic. (February 8)
Netherlands Team to prepare in Arizona. (February 8)

Netherlands vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Netherlands faced Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke, who had made one start so far during this years Spring Training. On March 3, the 33-year old righthander started against the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched the first 1 2/3 inning. Greinke stuckout one batter, walked one and gave up one basehit. When he left the mound in the top of the second inning, the Diamondbacks led 2-0 and with that, Greinke became the winning pitcher.

...Arizona-starter Zack Greinke...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Greinke made his Major League-debut in 2004 with the Kansas City Royals, for whom he played through 2010. He was then traded to Milwaukee Brewers in December 2010. Halfway the 2012 season,Greinke was traded again, this time to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. A few months later, he became a Free Agent and signed with Los Angeles Dodgers. After having played three seasons with the Dodgers, Greinke again opted for Free Agency and then signed with Arizona Diamondbacks in December 2015.

Last season, Greinke was 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA having started 26 games. In his career, the righthander is 155-100 with a 3.42 ERA. Greinke won the Cy Young Award in 2009 and played in the All Star Game in 2014 and 2015. On March 1, Arizona-Manager Torey Lovullo announced that Greinke will be his starting pitcher on Opening Day.

Andrelton Simmons led off the game for the Orange squad with a single off of Greinke. The righthander followed with a strikeout for Xander Bogaerts, then was supported with a double play.

Veteran Rob Cordemans was the starter for the Netherlands. With that, he made his third start in an exhibition game. Cordemans gave up singles to Kristopher Negron and Daniel Descalso to put runners on first and third base. A week ago, Descalso participated with Italy in the World Baseball Classic in Pool D in México. There, Italy played a tiebreaker-game last Monday against Venezuela, lost 4-3 and was eliminated. Next batter Chris Owings flied to centerfielder Jurickson Profar in short centerfield. Negron took off from third base, but returned, however, Profar threw the ball past catcher Shawn Zarraga and that enabled Negron to score the first run after all. Descalso advanced to second base, then scored on a following single by Jason Pridie to make it 2-0 in favor of Arizona.

In the second inning, Jonathan Schoop singled with two outs for the Netherlands, but stranded. The Diamondbacks then enlarged its lead to 5-0 by adding three more runs in the bottom of the second inning off of new pitcher Mike Bolsenbroek. The righthander began with walks for Colin Bray and Jake Goebbert. The lead runner was forced out on third base on a bunt by pitcher Zack Greinke. Bray reached third base just in time to beat the throw from catcher Shawn Zarraga. However, he was called out by 3B Umpire Doug Eddings, who also was in México a week ago. There, he was one of the three Major League-umpires in the 6-man crew, which also included Dutch umpire Winfried Berkvens. Hereafter, the bases got loaded after all when Kristopher Negron reached on an infield-hit and then Daniel Descalso delivered a 2-run single. With runners at the corners, Descalso stole second base. Moments later, Negron scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Owings to make it a 5-0 score. When Bolsenbroek hit next batter Jason Pridie with a pitch, he was replaced by Shairon Martis. The former Major League-pitcher struckout Chris Iannetta to end the inning.

The Netherlands showed some hitting of its own in the top of the third inning, resulting in one run. Yurendell de Caster led off with a single and Kalian Sams followed with a double. Hereafter, Andrelton Simmons hit a sacrifice fly to bring in De Caster and made it a 5-1 score. Shortly thereafter, Sams was picked off second base by Greinke. Xander Bogaerts then singled, but was left behind.

The D-backs got the run back in the bottom of the third inning off of Martis. Oswaldo Arcia led off with a double, but Martis followed with two strikeouts. Arcia then scored on a single by Zack Greinke. That brought in Loek van Mil as new pitcher and he closed the at bat.

...The game was played at Salt Rivers Field at Talking Stick,...
...the Spring Training-home of the Arizona Diamondbacks...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
After the Orange-side was retired in order in the top of the fourth, Arizona struck with four runs in its fourth off of Van Mil, three of which were unearned. With one out, Chris Owings homered. Van Mil followed with a strikeout, but then gave up a double to Chris Iannetta and walked Oswaldo Arcia. The bases got loaded when an grounder by Colin Bray ended in an error. He grounded to short stop Didi Gregorius, but then first baseman Yurendell de Caster dropped the ball, which loaded the bases. That led to the next pitching change, as Tom de Blok took over for Van Mil. The righthander was greeted with a baseclearing, 3-run double by Jake Goebbert that lifted the lead to 10-1.

In the top of the fifth, Shawn Zarraga led off with a single for the Netherlands. However, with one out, he was eliminated in a double play after Kalian Sams had lined out to third baseman Daniel Descalso.

In the bottom of the fifth, Arizona scored another run. De Blok walked lead-off hitter Kristopher Negron, but retired the next two batters. With Negron on second base, lefthander Jim Ploeger was brought in as new Dutch pitcher. He gave up a runscoring double to Jason Pridie that made it 11-1, but closed with a strikeout.

Zack Greinke left the game after five complete innings. Jorge De La Rosa took over in the sixth, but he walked Andrelton Simmons and Xander Bogaerts. The latter was forced out and the Netherlands stranded runners at the corners.

Arizona added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Stewart Ijames led off with a homerun off Ploeger. With one out, the lefthander hit Jake Goebbert with a pitch. Lars Huijer then became the new pitcher and the Dutch defense ended the inning with a double play.

While Huijer and his successor Juan Carlos Sulbaran held Arizona scoreless in the seventh and eighth inning, the Netherlands scored four runs in the last three innings.

J. Hoover became the third Arizona-pitcher in the seventh inning. With two outs, he saw Curt Smith reach on an error, then gave up a homerun to Kalian Sams that made it 12-3.

In the top of the ninth, off of new pitcher Erik Davis, two more runs were scored. With one out, Stijn van der Meer and Dashenko Ricardo singled, then the bases got loaded when Curt Smith walked. Hereafter, Kalian Sams singled to bring in two runs and made it a 12-5 score. With that, Sams batted four of the five runs the Netherlands scored. He was 3-for-4 today. With runners on first and second base, next batter Dwayne Kemp went after the first pitch of Davis and grounded into a game-ending double play.

The following players got into action:
Andrelton Simmons (DH, 1-for-1, RBI, walk), Dwayne Kemp (PR-DH-2B, 0-for-2), Xander Bogaerts (3B-SS, 1-for-3, walk, 2 strikeouts), Jurickson Profar (CF, 0-for-2), Sharlon Schoop (CF, 0-for-2), Wladimir Balentien (RF, 0-for-2), Randolph Oduber (RF, 0-for-2, strikeout), Didi Gregorius (SS-2B-DH, 0-for-4, strikeout), Jonathan Schoop (2B, 1-for-2), Stijn van der Meer (2B-3B, 1-for-2, run), Shawn Zarraga (C, 1-for-2), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 1-for-2, run, strikeout), Yurendell de Caster (1B, 1-for-2, run), Curt Smith (0-for-1, run, walk), Kalian Sams (LF, 3-for-4, double, homerun, run, 4 RBI's).

...Left: A view from the outfield of Salt Rivers Field at Talking Stick in Scottsdale...
...Right: Xander Bogaerts and Bench Coach Andruw Jones hand out signatures...

...Pitching Coach & Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and Didi Gregorius hand out signatures before the game...

...Left: Netherlands Team Physical Therapists Kevin Sprengers and Pepijn van Ingen...
...Right: The players listen to the Netherlands National Anthem...

...Left: Kalian Sams stands in front of the picknick-area in leftfield...
...Right: Daniel Descalso played for Italy in the First and Second Round of the World Baseball Classic...
...Shawn Zarraga is the catcher; Ramon De Jesus is the Home Plate Umpire...

...Left: Andrelton Simmons dives back safely to first base...
...Right: Oswaldo Arcia slides past catcher Shawn Zarraga to score a run in the 3rd inning...

...Left: Chris Owings homered for the Diamondbacks in the fourth inning...
...Right: Manager Hensley Meulens asks for the ball when Tom de Blok is relieved in the 5th inning...

...Left: Jim Ploeger took over the pitching in the fifth inning...
...Right: After the game, the equipment is packed for transport to the airport...

...After completion of the game, the Orange Team flew to Los Angeles; at the airport of Phoenix, Kenley Jansen joins the team...
(© All Photos: Henk Seppen)

Arizona Diamondbacks - Netherlands 12-5
Netherlands Kingdom Team001000202-5102
Arizona Diamondbacks (USA)23141100X-12141
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Rob Cordemans, L (1-1)1--322

Mike Bolsenbroek0.2-2233

Shairon Martis13-211

Loek van Mil111241

Tom de Blok1-1111

Jim Ploeger0.21-211

Lars Huijer1.21-1--

Juan Carlos Sulbaran1211--

pitchers Diamondbacksinn.SOBBHRER
Zack Greinke, W (2-0)52-611

Jorge De La Rosa112---

J. Hoover11-12-

Keyvius Sampson11----

Erik Davis1-1322

Homeruns: Netherlands: Kalian Sams (2)(7th,2-run,off Hoover); Arizona: Chris Owings (3)(4th,solo,off Van Mil), Stewart Ijames (1)(6th,solo,off Ploeger).
WBC Scores
WBC Schedule
HP-Ramon De Jesus, 1B-Ben May, 2B-Mike Muchlinski, 3B-Doug Eddings.
Starting Time-1:11 PM (local time).
Time Played-3:10 hrs.
Site-Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale, Arizona (USA).

Game Notes:
Exhibition game between Second Round and Final Round of the World Baseball Classic 2017.
First game of the Netherlands against Arizona Diamondbacks.
15th game of the Netherlands against a MLB-team, split squad or minor league-affiliate.

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