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Updated: April 29, 2018
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Copyright © 1997-2018
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)

Rookie wins game for Amsterdam Pirates; Retired numbers unveiled

AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - A rookie who made his big league-debut not only recorded a basehit in his first at bat, he also batted in the winning runs with a triple for L&D Amsterdam Pirates on Saturday (April 28) in its home-opener against DSS. Last Thursday-evening, DSS had surprised with a 5-3 win in Haarlem.

On a cloudy and rainy afternoon, Mikey De La Cruz Santana, who was added to the roster of Amsterdam during the exhibition season, hit a 2-run triple in the eighth inning, which resulted in a 2-0 win for the home team.

But there was more in Amsterdam. The game was the first one at the highest level to be played on the new playing site of Amsterdam, which got an all-artificial infield in the off-season. And it looks beautiful! On Thursday-evening, it was Amsterdam Pirates 2 that played the first game on the field in a make-up game against HCAW 2 in the second highest league ('Overgangsklasse'). This is the third all-artificial infield in the Dutch big league after HCAW and DSS.

Also in the off-season, solar panels were installed on top of the clubhouse, which made the site of Amsterdam Pirates the first green sports site in Amsterdam.

...Ronald Mauer throws the ceremonial first pitch...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Ronald Mauer, who represented the Board of the Amsterdam-borough Nieuw-West (where the Pirates-site is located), threw the ceremonial first pitch to not only open the new big league-season, but also to officially opened the renovated baseball-field.

Mauer threw out the pitch after all players and coaches of both teams were introduced. Amsterdam Pirates, HCAW and Hoofddorp Pioniers are the only three big league-teams who have a long tradition of introducing the players and coaching-staffs of both teams on Opening Day. The players and coaches are always accompanied by youth-players of the host-club and there are several other activities before (and during) the game, including the throwing of a ceremonial first pitch.

After the introduction of the players and before the ceremonial first pitch, there was another ceremony. In the previous 29 years, three uniform numbers have been retired by Amsterdam Pirates. In 1989, number 35 of first baseman Peter van Erk was the first to be retired. Hereafter, number 5 of catcher Ronald Stoovelaar followed in 1994 and the third one was number 19 of outfielder/pitcher Rikkert Faneyte in 2001.

At the previous site of Amsterdam Pirates at Sportpark Jan van Galen, the three uniform numbers hung at the fence in rightfield. When the club moved to its current location in 2001, the plaques moved to the Pirates Museum, along with the retired softball-numbers of the club. In following years, it was planned to install new banners with the retired numbers. In 2008, Pirates' longtime Public Address Announcer and handyman Joop Dousi had made some designs, but unfortunately, he passed away during a tragic accident.

Some four years ago, another unveiling was planned, but that also was postponed. But today, finally, the new designs were unveiled on the leftfield-fence by Beeball-players of the club. Amsterdam's new Chairman Koen Gijsbers addressed the spectators and led the ceremony. Peter van Erk and Rikkert Faneyte were present during the ceremony, but Ronald Stoovelaar was unable to be in Amsterdam. He is the Head Coach of Omron Pioniers in the second highest league and as such was with his team in Capelle a/d IJssel for an away-game at Euro Stars. Ronald was represented by his father Coen Stoovelaar, who has been the Team Manager of the Amsterdam-squad for many years, as well as serving as the Public Address Announcer for a longtime.

...Amsterdam Pirates Chairman Koen Gijsbers addresses...
...the spectators and the teams...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Peter van Erk played 15 seasons in the main-squad of Amsterdam Pirates, including eight at the big league-level. The first baseman, sometimes third baseman and sometimes pitcher, played in 233 regular season-games at the highest level. After retiring in 1989, his number 35 was retired. In later years, Van Erk started coaching and did so at youth-teams of Hoofdorp Pioniers, where he also led the Rookie League-team.

Ronald Stoovelaar played in 17 seasons for Amsterdam Pirates, including 14 in the big league. Ronald played in 500 official games at the big league-level for the main-squad, which still is a club-record. He also belongs to a small group of players with 500 or more games in the highest division and an even smaller group who played all those games for one club. Stoovelaar played in 46 official games for the Netherlands Baseball Team, with who he participated in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul (South Korea) and also three World Championships. After retiring in 1994, his number 5 was retired. In later years, he was a member of the Amsterdam coaching-staff and since last season, he leads the team of Hoofddorp Pioniers in the second hightest league.

Rikkert Faneyte played in eleven full seasons for Amsterdam Pirates, all in the big league. He played in 414 regular season-games for Amsterdam, mainly as outfielder, but also frequently as pitcher. After retiring in 2001, his number 19 was retired, but he came back in 2005 to play two more seasons. Faneyte played in 66 games for the Netherlands Baseball Team, with whom he participated in the Olympic Games of 1988 (Seoul, South Korea) and 2000 (Sydney, Australia), as well as two World Championships. Faneyte played six years professionally and in 1993, he became the second Dutch-born and raised player to reach the Major League when he played for San Francisco Giants. The first was pitcher Win Remmerswaal in 1979. Faneyte also played for Texas Rangers and played in total, he played in 80 Major League-games. Hereafter, he returned to play for Amsterdam Pirates, whom he led to the Championship-title in 2008 as its Head Coach.

Van Erk, Stoovelaar and Faneyte all played for the Amsterdam Pirates-team that captured the first National Championship-title in club-history in 1987. Three years later, Stoovelaar and Faneyte celebrated another Championship-title as player with Pirates.

All three started in youth-teams of the club and via its own development-program they climbed to the main-squad. All three come from baseball/softball-families, as their parents, brothers and sisters all played baseball/softball and were active in many club-activities, including coaching, member of the board or committees, game-secretary, scorer, team-management, umpire, announcer, clubhouse-attendant, club-magazine editor and much more.

Now, their numbers are finally visible (again) at the newly renovated baseball-field. ,,On a spot where they belong. They are the legends or our club'', stated Amsterdam-chairman Koen Gijsbers in his address during the ceremony.

(April 28)

Complete Schedule Regular Season

...Left: DSS 1st baseman Tino van Erk enters the field during the introductions...
...Right: DSS-pitcher Donny Breek will make his professional debut in June...

...DSS Head Coach Jerry Breek (left) and Amsterdam 1B Kenny Berkenbosch enter the field during the introductions...

...Amsterdam rightfielder Linoy Croes (left) and Head Coach Charles Urbanus enter the field during the introductions...

...The players and coaches of DSS and Amsterdam Pirates are lined up at the base-lines during the introductions...

...Left: Coen Stoovelaar, Peter van Erk and Rikkert Faneyte enter the field for the unveiling of the three retired numbers...
...At right, the three listen to their accomplishments during their career with Amsterdam Pirates...
...Coen Stoovelaar represented Ronald Stoovelaar, who was unable to attend the unveiling...

...Peter van Erk and Coen Stoovelaar applaud the acccomplishments of Rikkert Faneyte...

...BeeBall-players unveil the Retired Numbers of Peter van Erk (35), Ronald Stoovelaar (5) and Rikkert Faneyte (19)...

...Amsterdam Pirates Chairman Koen Gijsbers shakes hands with Rikkert Faneyte, Coen Stoovelaar and Peter van Erk...
...after the unveiling of the Retired Numbers, then introduces Ronald Mauer of Amsterdam-borough Nieuw-West...

...Left: Rob Schuurman made his debut as Official Scorer in the Dutch baseball big league...
...On his left are Scoreboard Operator Jolande Bierman and Public Address Announcer Richard de Wolff...
...Right: For some parts of the game, umbrellas were very welcome today...

...As it darkened due to the rain-clouds, the lights were ignited halfway the game...
(© Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

Despite the overcast and sometimes drizzling rain, the second meeting between Amsterdam Pirates and DSS was a well-played game by both teams with several nice defensive plays, a few line drives and some close calls. However, these calls were all handled perfectly by 1B Umpire Henny Jansen and 3B Umpire Peter de Haan, while Home Plate Umpire Stenar van Groningen Schinkel had a clear strike-zone for everyone.

DSS reached base nine times, including three in the top of the ninth inning. Eight times, a runner was left behind, including six in scoring position.

Amsterdam Pirates got seven baserunners and stranded four, including three in scoring position.

In the first seven innings, DSS got into scoring position four times. Amsterdam got only three (!) baserunners in its first seven at bats, two of them in scoring position.

That underscored that the defense played an important role in this game, while the pitching of both teams also did fine. In the end, it was a debuting rookie who accounted for the win for the home-team.

Lefthander Robin Schel started for Amsterdam Pirates. He retired the side in the first inning, but gave up a lead-off infield-hit to Denzel Richardson in the second at bat. A great defensive play by short stop Nick Urbanus then followed on a hard grounder by next hitter Tino van Erk. In a hit-and-run-situation, Urbanus broke towards second base, while the ball was hit towards his other side. With that, it appeared that Van Erk would reach on an infield-hit also. Instead, despite being off-balance, Urbanus was able to shift over, field the ball and got it in time to first base to eliminate Van Erk in a close play, but correctly judged by veteran umpire Henny Jansen. By the way, Tino van Erk is the son of Peter van Erk and nephew of Ronald Stoovelaar, two of the three Amsterdam-players that were honored before the game. On Van Erk's grounder, Richardson reached second base and he then executed a very early steal to move to third base, but he stranded there.

In the fourth inning, DSS got its next runner in scoring position. With two outs, Kevin Nieveld walked and stole second base, but was left behind.

In the fifth, Denzel Richardson walked with one out, but was then caught stealing after a pick-off by Robin Schel. Hereafter, Tino van Erk became the victim of another fine defensive play. This time, it was third baseman Rashid Gerard who made a good play on his grounder.

With one out in the sixth inning, DSS got two baserunners for the first time. First, Mitchel Dautzenberg lined out to Robin Schel. Hereafter, Kevin Nieveld walked and Odion Gouverneur singled, but they also stranded.

In the top of the seventh, Schel hit lead-off hitter Tino van Erk with a pitch and was relieved by Daan Hendrix. He saw Van Erk advance on a sacrifice bunt by Koen Halderman, but retired the next two hitters.

Righthander Tom Stuifbergen started for DSS. Initially, he was named to start the first game on Thursday, but then was unavailable due to sickness. Today's announced starter Lars Vogelaar therefore was moved to Thursday and Stuifbergen took the mound today.

Stuifbergen retired the first eight hitters he faced. He then faced rookie Mikey De La Cruz Santana, who made his debut in the Amsterdam-squad and in the big league. De La Cruz became the first baserunner and reached on an infield-hit in his first at bat. The speedy runner stole second base and reached third base on a wild pitch, but a grounder then closed the inning. De La Cruz joined the Amsterdam-team during the exhibition season. Last year, he played in Summer League in the Dominican Republic.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Nick Urbanus lined the ball into deep centerfield, but there, centerfielder Denzel Richardson made a great catch running backwards on the warning-track.

...Mikey De La Cruz Santana celebrates his game-winning 2-run triple... the 8th inning...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the fifth, there was a brief exhange of words between pitcher Tom Stuifbergen and hitter Linoy Croes after the latter stepped out of the box. That resulted in Home Plate Umpire Stenar van Groningen Schinkel issuing a warning to both teams. It was more a precautional warning, as nothing happened in the remainder of the at bat and in the following innings. In this at bat, Amsterdam got its second baserunner when Rodney Daal walked, but he was eliminated in a double play.

In the sixth inning, Amsterdam got its third baserunner and its second in scoring position. With two outs, Remco Draijer drilled the ball into rightfield for a double, but he also was left behind.

Mike Groen then took over the DSS-pitching in the seventh and retired the side.

And that brings us to the eighth inning, which not only was rainy, it also was to be decisive. Amsterdam-reliever Daan Hendrix retired the side in the top of the eighth. Mike Groen also took the mound again for DSS in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, two crucial moments followed. First, Rashid Gerard hit the ball towards the rightfield-line. He was late leaving the batter's box, maybe thinking the ball was to go foul, but reached first base in time with a basehit. It was then planned to move him into scoring position with a bunt. Niels van Weert indeed turned for a bunt and made contact with the ball. However, the ball was hit too hard and appeared to be caught. But the ball ended up over and out of reach for first baseman Tino van Erk near the foul-line where it was picked up by second baseman Kevin Nieveld. In the meantime, Van Weert had reached first base and Gerard had advanced to second base. Hereafter, Mikey De La Cruz Santana drilled the ball into right-centerfield for a stand-up triple that brought in Gerard and Van Weert and gave Amsterdam a 2-0 lead. Reggie Bomberg then took over the pitching for DSS. He faced Remco Draijer, who was eliminated on a great play by first baseman Tino van Erk, who with this kept De La Cruz on third base. Bomberg then hit next hitter Zerzinho Croes with a pitch, but a flyout ended the at bat.

The game wasn't over yet, as DSS came very close to do some scoring in the top of the ninth. Daan Hendrix got two quick outs While it had been drizzling several times during the game (the lights were on from the fifth inning), but it now started to rain much harder. However, the game appeared to end when Tino van Erk hit the ball into short leftfield. Short stop Nick Urbanus ran backwards, while leftfielder Mikey De La Cruz ran towards the infield. Urbanus appeared to have a chance of catching the ball, but it dropped between the two players for a basehit and so, the game continued. Next hitter Koen Halderman singled and the bases got loaded when pinch-hitter Tommy van de Sanden reached on an infield-hit. With the bases loaded and two outs, Jim Ploeger was brought in to close the game. He got a grounder from Devano Pieter that ended the inning and also ended the attractive game.

...Robin Schel and Tom Stuifbergen were the starting pitchers for Amsterdam Pirates and DSS...

...Left: 2nd baseman Kevin Nieveld retires a batter for DSS...
...Right: Veteran umpire Henny Jansen had some close calls at first base...

...Left: 2nd baseman Zerzinho Croes makes an out at first base for Amsterdam Pirates...
...Right: Niels van Weert connects for a bunt-single for Amsterdam Pirates in a rainy 8th inning...

...Left: Mikey De La Cruz Santana high-fives with 3B Coach Randell Hannah after his 2-run triple in the 8th inning...
...Right: Short stop Nick Urbanus made some nice plays for Amsterdam Pirates...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

L&D Amsterdam Pirates - DSS 2-0
L&D Amsterdam Pirates00000002X-250
pitchers DSSinn.SOBBHRER
Tom Stuifbergen6212--

Mike Groen, L (0-1)1.11-322

Reggie Bomberg0.2-----

pitchers Piratesinn.SOBBHRER
Robin Schel6 (*)432--

Daan Hendrix, W (1-0)2.23-3--

Jim Ploeger, SV (1)0.1-----
(*) - Schel pitched to one batter int he seventh inning
Box Score
Team Rosters
HP-Stenar van Groningen Schinkel, 1B-Henny Jansen,
3B-Peter de Haan.
Official Scorer-Rob Schuurman.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Marco Stoovelaar.
Public Address Announcers
Hans Jansen de Vries (introductions & 1st inning), Richard de Wolff.
Scoreboard Operator-Jolande Bierman.
Starting Time-2:05 PM.
Time Played-2:07 hrs.
Site-Pirates Honkbalstadion, Sportpark 'Ookmeer', Amsterdam.

Game Notes:
Opening Day Regular Season.
New banners of retired uniform numbers 5, 19 and 35, belonging to catcher Ronald Stoovelaar, outfielder Rikkert Faneyte and first baseman Peter van Erk are unveiled before the game.
Ceremonial first pitch thrown by Ronald Mauer, Member of the Board of Amsterdam-borough Nieuw-West.
Rob Schuurman makes his debut as Official Scorer in the Dutch baseball big league.
Mikey De La Cruz Santana (Amsterdam Pirates) makes his debut in the Dutch big league.
Mikey De La Cruz Santana (Amsterdam Pirates) hits an infield-hit in his first big league at bat in the 3rd inning.
Weather conditions at game time: Overcast & rainy, 13,4° C (56,1° F); wind direction southwest;
wind speed 21 kmh (13 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 76%.

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Copyright © 1997-2018 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.