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Updated: September 2, 2018
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Copyright © 1997-2018
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Neptunus and Amsterdam Pirates again qualify for Holland Series

ROTTERDAM / AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - Reigning champion Curaçao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam Pirates will face each other in the 31st Holland Series, which opens on Thursday, September 27. The two teams qualified for the best-of-seven Championship Final on Sunday (September 2) by winning their respective games in front of a home crowd.

As both teams won, HCAW was eliminated. After completion of the final series of the Championship Pool, which begins on Thursday, HCAW can end up in a tie with either Neptunus or Amsterdam Pirates. However, the head-to-head results of HCAW against both teams is in favor of the two leaders. With that, Neptunus and Pirates secured themselves of another spot in the Holland Series.

Both Neptunus and Pirates trailed and were outhit by their opponents. In Rotterdam, Neptunus trailed twice against HCAW and was outhit 10-8, but won 6-3. In Amsterdam, Pirates was outhit 13-8 and also trailed twice against De Glaskoning Twins, but won 6-5.

It will mark the third year in a row and fourth time since 2014 that Neptunus and Amsterdam Pirates will meet each other in the Championship Final and the seventh time overall. It will be the third time that two teams meet each other in the Holland Series in three consecutive years. In 1993-1995, it was done by Neptunus and Kinheim. The record is five, which was set by Neptunus and HCAW in 2001-2005.

Neptunus will appear in its record-extending 24th Holland Series, Amsterdam Pirates will play in its ninth Final. For Neptunus, it will be the seventh year in a row that it will play for the Championship-title. Amsterdam Pirates will play in its third consecutive Series and its sixth since 2010.

Neptunus trailed 1-0 halfway the third inning, then came alongside on a sacrifice fly. HCAW re-took the lead in the fourth at bat on a grounder by Patrick Bok, but this time, Neptunus answered with a 5-run rally in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Greg Muller delivered a 2-run double. With two outs and after a pitching change, Neptunus got the bases loaded again and the three runners scored when Benjamin Dille followed with a 3-run double.

Amsterdam Pirates trailed 1-0, but came alongside in its fifth at bat. Twins re-took the lead in the sixth after a pitching change on a basesloaded, 2-run single by Bob van der Meer. Amsterdam then rallied for four runs in the seventh on a basesloaded hit batter for Niels van Weert, a wild pitch and a single by Nick Urbanus. With Amsterdam leading 5-3, Twins tied the score in the eighth after another pitching change, thanks to a double by Dennis De Quint and a force play-grounder by Jamie Verheyleweghen. In the bottom of the ninth, Amsterdam got the bases loaded with no outs when Max Clarijs led off with a single and Victor Draijer and Remco Draijer both reached on a bunt-single. A pitching change followed, then Clarijs scored the winning run when a grounder by Niels van Weert ended in an error.

In the Relegation Pool, Juan Carlos Sulbaran came within one out of a No-Hitter in Hoofddorp. The righthanded former professional pitcher of Silicon Storks threw a strong game against Meerlease Pioniers. He not only held the team hitless, he also struckout 13 batters. In the bottom of the ninth, with Storks leading 4-0, Sulbaran walked Duco Nuijten with one out, but followed with his 13th strikeout. Moments later, Nuijten advanced on a wild pitch, then scored when Joey Eeman connected for a double, ending the No-Hitter. Sulbaran was relieved hereafter and his successor Jurrian Koks gave up a runscoring double to Oliver van der Wijst Severino. Playing coach Mervin Gario also singled, but Koks closed with a strikeout, securing the win for Sulbaran and earning a save himself. Storks initially was held scoreless by Pioniers-starter Luuk ter Beek, who threw six innings. Ter Beek was relieved by Nick Loos in the seventh, who then gave up three runs. Storks won 4-2.

In Haarlem, DSS collected 14 basehits against Quick Amersfoort and won 10-2. Leading only 3-0, DSS added two runs in the seventh at bat. DSS-starter Tim Halderman held Quick not only scoreless, but also hitless in the first six innings. In the seventh, he gave up a lead-off single to Rachid Engelhardt, which ended his No-Hitter. Quick narrowed the deficit to 5-2 in the eighth, but DSS answered with a 5-run rally on six basehits, including a 2-run single by Tino van Erk.

(more later)

(September 2)

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