(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)
Dwayne Kemp, Loek van Mil, Bas Nooij open season in Australia
ADELAIDE, South Australia / BRISBANE, Queensland / CANBERRA, ACT / GEELONG, Victoria / MELBOURNE, Victoria / PERTH, Western Australia / SYDNEY, New South Wales (Australia) / AUCKLAND (New Zealand) -
Infielder Dwayne Kemp and pitcher Loek van Mil, both players of the Netherlands National Team and Dutch champion Curaçao Neptunus will play in the Australian Baseball League in the upcoming winter months.
Former Netherlands Team-player Bas Nooij also will play again in the league, which opens on Thursday (November 15).
In the Dutch big league, the catcher played for L&D Amsterdam Pirates and he currently has the Australian nationality.
In the upcoming season in the Australian Baseball League, games will be played in Australia and New Zealand.
...Dwayne Kemp playing for...|
...the Netherlands in a exhibition...
...game vs. the Czech Republic...
...in September in Bussum (Neth.)...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
30-year old infielder Dwayne Kemp will make his debut in the Australian Baseball League and will play for Sydney Blue Sox.
Pitcher Loek van Mil and catcher Bas Nooij have played in Australia before.
Van Mil will play in his fourth Australian season.
In the previous three seasons, he pitched for Adelaide Bite.
This season, the closer will play for defending champion Brisbane Bandits.
Nooij is on the roster of Adelaide for his third Australian season.
34-year old Loek van Mil was 3-2 with five saves and a 2.93 ERA in his first season (2015-2016) for Adelaide, striking out 19 batters in 13 games.
In the following season, Van Mil appeared in 18 games.
The righthander was 0-2, but was credited with eight saves and closed with an 0.40 ERA.
He struckout 25 batters.
Last season, Van Mil pitched in 16 games and was 0-1 with six saves and a 3.63 ERA.
This time, he struckout 32 batters.
In his first season (2016-2017) for Adelaide, 30-year old Bas Nooij played in 13 games and batted .281 (9-for-32).
He scored three runs and batted in one.
Last season, Nooij got into action more.
He played in 27 games and batted .244 (21-for-86) with six doubles and three homeruns.
Nooij scored nine runs and batted in ten, but also struckout 40 times.
But there are also some other familiar names on the team-rosters, as some of them played in the Dutch league this year or in previous seasons.
Besides these players, there are of course players from the Australian National Team.
And there are former and current professional players who have played or are active in American Minor Leagues, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Besides players from Australia and New Zealand, players are also coming from Canada, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), South Africa South Korea, the USA and Venezuela.
Australian pitcher Greg Mosel (Adelaide Bite), short stop Ryan Dale (Melbourne Aces) and short stop Sam Kennelly (Perth Heat) and Japanese pitcher Shogo Nakashima (Sydney Blue Sox) all played in the Netherlands this year.
|...Bas Nooij (left) and Loek van Mil playing for the Netherlands...|
...during the Haarlem Baseball Week, respectively in 2012 and 2018...
(© Both Photos: Henk Seppen)
Greg Mosel was the Head Coach of DSS 2 in the second highest league, but was added to the main-squad of DSS to pitch in the Dutch big league.
Mosel pitched in 10 games (five starts) for the Haarlem-based team and was 1-2 with a 3.79 ERA, striking out 40 batters in 40 1/3 inning.
Mosel didn't pitch for DSS in the Relegation Pool.
Ryan Dale played for Quick Amersfoort.
Dale played in 24 regular season-games for Quick and batted .225 (20-for-89) with eight doubles and one triple.
He scored ten runs and batted in twelve.
In the Relegation Pool, Dale played in nine games and batted .250 (8-for-32), scored seven runs and batted in four.
Sam Kennelly played in all 42 regular season-games for De Glaskoning Twins and batted .255 (42-for-165).
He hit six homeruns, to share the lead in the Dutch big league with Denzel Richardson (DSS).
Kennelly scored 17 runs and batted in 20.
In the Champion Pool, Kennelly played in all nine games and batted .152 (5-for-33), scored three runs and batted in two.
Shogo Nakashima pitched in 14 games (five starts) for De Glaskoning Twins and led the team in ERA with 1.99.
He was 2-1 with two saves and struckout 32 batters in 49 2/3 inning.
In the Championship Pool, the righthander was 1-2 and started three games.
In 20 innings, Nahashima struckout nine batters.
Some other Australian players (all pitchers) played in the Netherlands in the past.
Craig Anderson (2011) and Dushan Ruzic (2008-2010, 2012) both played for Neptunus, Justin Erasmus (2016) played for Twins and Todd Van Steensel (2012) played for Kinheim.
Anderson and Van Steensel will play for Sydney Blue Sox, Ruzic for Melbourne Aces and Erasmus for Brisbane Bandits.
...Sam Kennelly playing for Twins...|
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Craig Anderson led Neptunus in his lone season in the Nethelands in 2011 with an 1.09 ERA, pitching in 16 games (five starts).
Anderson was 5-1 with one save and struckout 34 batters in 58 innings.
Dushan Ruzic led Neptunus in ERA in his first season (2008) with 0.84.
The righthander was 1-0 with seven saves, pitching in 20 games (all as closer) in which he then struckout 31 batters.
In his second season, Ruzic again pitched in 20 games (five starts) for Neptunus.
This time, he was 7-2 with six saves, struckout 55 batters and had an 1.05 ERA.
In 2010, Ruzic was more used as a starter.
He then started nine games also pitched nine in relief.
In his third season for Neptunus, he was 9-0 with two saves, closed with a1.56 ERA and struckout 78 batters.
In 2011, the roster-spot of Ruzic was filled in by Anderson, but he returned to Neptunus in 2012.
He then again was solely used as a reliever again, pitching in 23 games.
In his final Dutch season, Ruzic was 2-2 and earned seven saves and a 2.68 ERA.
Justin Erasmus helped Twins win the championship in the second highest league in 2015, which eventually led to promotion.
In the Dutch big league in 2016, Erasmus pitched in only five games for Twins and was 2-2 with an 0.55 ERA.
Hereafter, he went on to play in Germany for the remainder of the season.
Todd Van Steensel pitched in only six games for Kinheim during the 2012 season, all in relief.
He was 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA and struckout twelve batters in 9 2/3 inning.
...Todd Van Steensel and Craig Anderson pitching in the Dutch...|
...big league for Kinheim (2012) and Neptunus (2011)...
(© Both Photos: Henk Seppen)
American-born German first baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz played in the Major League for Cincinnati Reds (2013-2014).
He became the first player who grew up in Germany to reach the Major League.
Lutz earlier played for Brisbane Bandits in the 2015-2016 season.
After having played in Mexico and an Independent League, he returned to Brisbane for the 2017-2018 season.
He initially announced his retirement after the season, but in September he again signed with Brisbane for the upcoming season.
German pitcher Markus Solbach played professionally in the organization of the Minnesota Twins in 2011-2016.
Solbach also earlier played in Australia.
In the 2011-2012 season, he played for Melbourne Aces and in the 2013-2014 season, he pitched for Sydney Blue Sox.
This year, he played in the German Bundeliga for Bonn Capitals.
In the upcoming Australian season, Solbach will play for Adelaide Bite.
In September, Solbach participated with the National Team of Germany in the Super 6 Baseball Softball in Hoofddorp (Netherlands).
Italian pitcher Alessandro Maestri also participated in the Super 6, as well as in the Baseball Week Haarlem in July with the National Team of Italy.
The righthander played professionally in Japan for Orix Buffaloes (2012-2015) and in South Korea for Hanwha Eagles (2016).
From 2006-2010, Maestri played in the Minor Leagues for the Chicago Cubs.
He first played in Australia in the 2011-2012 season for Brisbane Bandits.
Maestri also played in Independent professional leagues in Japan, as well as in Mexico.
This year, he pitched in the Italian league for T&A San Marino with whom he participated in the European Champions Cup in June in Rotterdam (Netherlands).
In the upcoming season in Australia, Maestri is on the roster of Sydney Blue Sox.
...Alessandro Maestri pitching for Italy during...|
...the Super 6 in September in Hoofddorp...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
South African short stop Gift Ngoepe will play for Sydney Blue Sox.
In 2017, he became the first African-born player in the Major League when he made his debut playing for Pittsburgh Pirates for whom he went on to play in 28 games.
In November last year, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ngoepe played in 13 Major League-games for the Canadian club this season, but mostly played for its Triple-A team Buffalo Bisons.
He played in 48 games in Triple-A, batted .168, but was released in August by Buffalo.
On November 10, the governing body Baseball Australia announced that it had signed an agreement with Brut to be its first naming rights partner in the history of the league.
With that, it will become the Brut Australian Baseball League.
Brut is the number one men's toiletry brand in Australia.
For the first time, eight teams will play this season in the Australian Baseball League.
In the past months, the ABL expanded with two international teams, Auckland Tuatara and Geelong-Korea.
...Dushan Ruzic pitching for Australia during...|
...the 2013 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Auckland team becomes the first professional baseball team in New Zealand and will play its home games in Te Atatu, a suburb of New Zealand-capital Auckland.
Next season, the team will move into QBE Stadium in Albany, which also is a suburb of Auckland.
The Geelong team will be compiled entirely from players from South Korea and will play its games in Geelong, which is located southwest of Melbourne.
The team will be led by wellknown Dae-Sung Koo, who played for 23 seasons in the professional leagues in South Korea and Japan, as well as in the Major League.
Koo played for the New York Mets and participated with the National Team of South Korea in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia), winning the bronze medal.
The former pitcher also played the Australian Baseball League for Sydney Blue Sox and was its Pitching Coach in the 2016-2017 season.
Starting this season, a salary cap of 100,000 Australian Dollars has been introduced for each team.
Besides that, points will be given to each player who are on the rosters.
Marquee players (maximum two per team) have 0 points, players from Team Australia -1, other Australian native players -2, Asian League players 1, players assigned from MLB organizations 2 and all other players 4.
Marquee players are players who currently play in the Major League or the professional leagues in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, or players who have played at least five years in these leagues.
Each team will have 150 points to use during the 10-week regular season.
Each team will have a 30-man roster and for each round, 22 players from that list are eligible to play.
The new season in the ABL opens on Thursday (November 15).
Sydney Blue Sox then opens at home against Geelong-Korea, while reigning champion Brisbane Bandits plays at home against Adelaide Bite.
Last year, Brisbane captured its third consecutive title winning the Championship Series against Canberra Cavalry.