(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)
First game Netherlands Baseball Team against Twins ends in tie
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (USA) -
The Netherlands Kingdom Team played its fourth exhibition game during its stay in Arizona on Friday-afternoon (February 24).
In that match-up, the Orange squad faced LG Twins, one of the South Korean professional teams that are currently in Arizona to prepare for the new season in the Korean Baseball Organization.
For the Netherlands baseball-squad, the series of games is part of its preparations for the upcoming fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic, that begins on March 6.
Before today's game, the Netherlands had played three other games, including two against other professional squads from South Korea.
The series began with a 5-2 loss against KT Wiz and a 10-9 loss against NC Dinos a week ago.
The third game was played against the Geckos, the team of GateWay Community College.
After the game rained out on Monday, it was re-scheduled for Thursday.
The Netherlands recorded an easy victory, winning 15-0.
In today's game, played at the Spring Training-complex of the San Francisco Giants, the Netherlands was leading twice (3-1 and 6-3), but the bullpen was unable to hold onto the lead.
The Orange squad also had leads in the first two games against the Korean professionals, but then went on losing both games.
Today, the game ended in a 6-6 tie.
Both teams will meet again on Saturday on what will be the final game of the exhibition series for the Netherlands Team.
The Twins already are in Arizona since early this month.
After two scoreless innings, the Koreans opened the score in the third inning off of Juan Carlos Sulbaran.
He had come on the mound in relief of starter Diegomar Markwell, who had thrown two fine innings.
In the first inning, the lefthander had been hit in his stomach by a comeback line drive (which ended in an 1-5-3 out), but was able to come back in the next inning.
In the third, Sulbaran gave up the first run on a wild pitch (following two singles), but the bottom of the third, the Orange scored three runs to take over the lead.
Yurendell de Caster batted in a run with a single and Curt Smith added a 2-run double moments later, barely missing a homerun.
Sulbaran encountered more problems in the fourth inning.
Two singles, a hit batter and a double accounted for two runs and made it a 3-3 tie.
With runners on second and third base and still no outs, lefthander Jim Ploeger was brought in to take over.
He got a groundout, then an out at the plate followed on the next grounder.
With two runners on base, but now with two outs, Sulbaran re-entered as pitcher and completed the at bat successfully.
The Netherlands re-took the lead in the sixth inning when Sharlon Schoop hit a ground-rule double and scored on a wild pitch.
Hereafter, two more runs were added.
Stijn van der Meer scored on a sac-fly by Curt Smith and De Caster was able to score on a single by Dwayne Kemp.
De Caster collected four basehits in today's game.
After Mike Bolsenbroek had pitched two scoreless innings, Orlando Yntema took over the Orange-pitching.
He also ran into problems, as he gave up two runscoring singles in the eighth inning that narrowed the Dutch lead to only 6-5.
In the ninth, Tom Stuifbergen saw the Korean opponent come alongside on back-to-back doubles.
And the 6-6 score didn't change anymore, as the game ended after nine innings.
One of the pitchers, the Orange-batters faced today was veteran righthander Henry Sosa.
The 31-year old Dominican was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2004 and then played several seasons in the Minor Leagues.
In 2011, he made his Major League-debut and pitched in ten games for the Houston Astros, where he was 3-5.
Hereafter, Sosa pitched in Triple-A for the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 2012, the righthander made his debut in the professional league in South Korea.
He first pitched for Kia Tigers (2012-2013), then was with Nexen Heroes in 2014.
Since 2015, Sosa pitches for the Twins.
Netherlands Team wins big in exhibition game vs. Geckos. (February 23)
Exhibition losses Netherlands Team in Arizona. (February 20)