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Updated: September 8, 2019
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Netherlands suffers unexpected loss vs. Czech Republic at European Championship

BONN (Germany) - The Netherlands Baseball Team suffered an unexpected 8-6 loss against the Czech Republic on Sunday (September 8), Day 2 of the 35th European Championship in Germany. In the last European Championship-game between the two teams in 2016 in Hoofddorp (Netherlands), the Orange squad shutout the Czechs 10-0 in seven innings.

On a very rainy day, the playing fields in Bonn clearly were effected by the weather conditions. Due to a heavy rain-shower, the game of the Netherlands started almost 40 minutes later than scheduled. Remarkable enough, at the same time, the game between Austria and France on Field #2 in Bonn was not interrupted.

While the weather, with sometimes heavy rain, was unfavorable, the Netherlands didn't play well, committed five errors and faced a 5-1 deficit halfway the fifth inning. The Orange Team managed to come back somewhat, but in the end was left empty-handed.

For the Czech Republic, this was only the second win against the Netherlands in 13 games. The first time, the Czechs won was exactly seven years ago. Back then, also on a Sunday, it was September 9, 2012 when the two teams faced each other in Rotterdam (Netherlands), also during the European Championship. The Czechs then won 3-2 in ten innings. Five players, who played for the Czechs in that game, also were on the field today. Amongst them, pitcher Marek Minařík. Seven years ago, he pitched 1 1/3 in relief to become the winning pitcher. Today, he started, threw six fine innings, and again was the winning pitcher. On the Dutch side, three players from the 2012 game also were in the game today, being Curt Smith, Kalian Sams and Juan Carlos Sulbaran. In 2012, Sulbaran started, gave up two hits in seven innings, but had a no-decision. Today, he threw 1 2/3 inning in relief and gave up four hits and one run. What the officials are concerned, Slovakian Frantisek Bunta was the Technical Commisssioner seven years ago and today.

In 2014, Minařík also started against the Orange Team during the European Championship in Ostrava (Czech Republic). The Netherlands then won 5-0 in game that was shortened to five innings due to rain.

The last time, the two teams met was during the Super6 last year in Hoofddorp (Netherlands). That game also was played under windy and rainy conditions. The Netherlands led 7-1 after seven innings, but the Czechs then scored five runs in the eighth. In the end, the Orange Team won 7-6.

The Netherlands opened the European Championship on Saturday in Solingen with a fine game against Great Britain. However, with the Netherlands leading 10-2, the game was halted after eight complete innings, due to darkness as there is no light-installation on the site in Solingen. The game will be completed on a yet to be decided day. In that game, the Netherlands led 10-0 when the bottom of the seventh inning began, but Great Britain then scored to avoid a mercy-rule loss.

On Sunday, there almost was another surprise, as Italy had its hands full against Croatia. Trailing 1-0, Italy came alongside in the fifth inning. Italy finally won 2-1 in ten innings on a walk-off single by 29-year old, American-born John Andreoli. The centerfielder plays professionally since 2011. In the first seven seasons (2011-2017) in the organization of the Chicago Cubs. During the 2018 season, Andreoli played in 26 Major League-games for Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles. After the 2018 season, the outfielder was part of several organizations. In October 2018, he returned to Seattle, but was designated for assignment in January 2019. He then was claimed by Texas Rangers a few days later, designated for assignment again two weeks later. Andreoli then was acquired by San Francisco Giants, who sent him to Triple-A, invited him for Spring Training as non-roster player, but then traded him to Minnesota Twins in March. On June 2, he was then traded again, this time to Seattle Mariners. This season, he played in Triple-A for the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners.

On Monday, the Netherlands plays against Sweden, starting at 3 PM. On Sunday-afternoon, Sweden played a fine game, but lost 4-3, against Israel, which is compiled of American players with an Israeli background. Sweden led 3-2 halfway the ninth inning, but was unable to hold onto the minimal lead. In the ninth, Jacob Syren took over the pitching for Sweden, but ran into problems. Syren, who last season pitched in the Dutch big league for Twins Oosterhout, got the bases loaded after two basehits and a walk. A wild pitch then accounted for the tying run. After setting a force play via an intentional walk, Syren followed with a strikeout, but then walked Jeremy Wolf and that brought in the winning run for Israel.

(September 8)

Complete schedule European Championship
Complete provisional schedule Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The Netherlands didn't play wel against the Czech Republic. In the first four innings, the team scored only once off of Czech starter Marek Minařík. Halfway the fifth inning, the Orange squad faced a 5-1 deficit and defensively, the team commited five errors, which led to three unearned.

The game started 38 minutes later than scheduled due to rain and maintenance to the field. When the game went underway, it still rained and it would do so throughout the game. Because of the weather, the field of course was not in a good condition.

Tom de Blok took the mound for the Netherlands and retired the side, closing with two strikeouts.

...Tom de Blok started for the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the bottom of the first inning, his teammates supported him with a run. Calten Daal led off with a single, then advanced to second base when a strikeout for Roger Bernadina ended in a passed ball. As first base was occupied, Bernadina was out, but Daal moved into scoring position. Moments later, he scored on a double by Curt Smith.

And so, the first inning went well for the Netherlands, but that wasn't the case in the following innings.

De Blok again retired the side in the top of the second inning. The Netherlands then got its first two batters on base in the bottom of the second inning, but failed to take more distance. Sharlon Schoop led off with a double and Yurendell De Caster walked. With this De Caster made his comeback in the team. On July 13, he got injured after a collission in the second game of the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands). He was sidelined for the remainder of the tournament. But with runners on first and second base, Dashenko Ricardo grounded into a double play. Schoop stranded on third base, as the inning ended with a grounder from John Polonius.

In the top of the third inning, the Netherlands defense made its first error. Lead-off hitter Petr Zýma reached on a throwing error from third baseman Sharlon Schoop. He stranded on first base, as De Blok got two pop-ups, then closed with a strikeout.

For the Netherlands, Roger Bernadina walked with one out in the third Dutch at bat, but later was caught stealing.

From the fourth inning, the game started to turn the way of the Czechs. With one out in the top of the fourth, Martin Červenka homered to tie the score. The 27-year old catcher plays professionally since 2011. First in the organization of the Cleveland Indians, since 2018 for Baltimore Orioles. After having played primarily in Single-A through 2017, he promoted to Double-A in 2018. During Spring Training this year, Červenka briefly was with the Major League-team of Baltimore. This season, he played in Double-A and Triple-A.

In the bottom of the fourth, Marek Minařík retired the Orange-side in order on three grounders.

The Czechs then struck with a 4-run rally in the top of the fifth inning off of two pitchers. Tom de Blok, who had done well in the first four innings, now gave up three consecutive singles. Martin Mužík, Petr Zýma and Adam Hajtmar (bunt) all singled to load the bases. An error by second baseman Calten Daal on a grounder by Jakub Hajtmar then put the Czechs ahead. A pop-up then accounted for the first out, but also marked the end for De Blok. He was relieved by Juan Carlos Sulbaran, but he gave up two more basehits. First, Matěj Hejma reached on an infield-hit, which was just out of reach for a diving third baseman Sharlon Schoop. That brought in a run and kept the bases loaded. With two outs, veteran Petr Čech surprised with a bunt-single. That led to another run, but when the bunt was followed by a throwing error from Sharlon Schoop, another run was added to put the Czechs ahead, 5-1!

In the bottom of the fifth, the Netherlands recovered somewhat from the sudden deficit and scored three runs. Yurendell De Caster led off with a infield-hit, then John Polonius was hit by a pitch with one out. Both scored when Calten Daal followed with a homerun, which just stayed in fair territory inside the leftfield foul-pole. That narrowed the deficit, but the Orange Team still trailed 5-4.

...Marek Mina&#rďk was the winning pitcher for the Czechs...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Czechs answered with another run in the top of the sixth when it also started to rain harder again. Lead-off hitter Martin Mužík reached on an error by short stop John Polonius, but a double play followed. However, the problems weren't over yet. Adam Hajtmar was walked by pitcher Juan Carlos Sulbaran, who was bothered by the rain, as his spikes couldn't get a good grip on the gravel. Moments later, Jakub Hajtmar singled. Hereafter, a 5-minute interruption followed for some maintenance to the mound, as the inclement weather clearly had its effect on the field. When the game resumed and it still rained hard, Martin Schneider delivered a runscoring single to increase the lead to 6-4.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Netherlands scored its fifth run, but left two runners behind. The team got runners on second and third base with one out, but scored only once. Kalian Sams led off with a double and Sharlon Schoop walked with one out. The two runners advanced on a passed ball, but hereafter, Yurendell De Caster popped out. Hereafter, pinch-hitter Sicnarf Loopstok walked and as ball-four ended in a wild pitch, Sams was able to score. The inning ended when Loopstok was forced out on a grounder by John Polonius.

In the top of the seventh inning, Mike Bolsenbroek became the new pitcher for the Netherlands. He also gave up two baserunners, but the defense avoided giving up another run. Bolsenbroek began with a strikeout, but then gave up a double to Petr Čech and hit next batter Tomáš Juněc with a pitch. With two runners on base, next batter Martin Mužík opted to hit on the first pitch and grounded into an inning-ending double play.

For the Netherlands, Roger Bernadina walked with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning off of reliever Daniel Padyšák. He stranded on first base, as a flyout and strikeout followed.

Both teams got on base again in the eighth inning, but didn't score.

For the Czechs, Adam Hajtmar doubled with one out and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. With two outs, Tom Stuifbergen took over the pitching and closed with a strikeout.

The Netherlands faced new pitcher Martin Schneider (who had been the short stop) in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs, he gave up a single to Yurendell De Caster, but he was left behind on first base.

And so, there was one inning left for the Netherlands to erase the unexpected 6-5 deficit.

Instead, the Czechs took more distance in the top of the ninth, scoring two more insurance runs. Matěj Hejma led off with a single, then scored on a double by next batter Martin Červenka. That was followed a throwing error from short stop John Polonius which enabled Červenka to move to third base. Červenka then scored another run on a grounder by Petr Čech. Stuifbergen followed with a strikeout and the inning ended with a line out into rightfield, but the Czechs now led 8-5.

Facing a 3-run deficit, the Netherlands got the bases loaded quickly in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, the team was unable to turn the game around, scored only once and suffered a surprise loss. Pinch-hitter Dwayne Kemp led off with a single, then Calten Daal (who was 3-for-5) also singled. An error on a force play-grounder by Roger Bernadina loaded the bases. A run was then scored on a sacrifice fly by Curt Smith. With runners on first and second base and only one out, powerhitter Kalian Sams went after the first pitch he saw and fouled out to the catcher. Next batter Ademar Rifaela then hit a line drive into centerfield, but the ball was caught there by Matěj Hejma to end the game.

Playing for the Netherlands were:
Calten Daal (2B, 3-for-5), Roger Bernadina (CF, 0-for-3), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-4), Kalian Sams (RF, 1-for-5), Ademar Rifaela (LF, 0-for-5), Sharlon Schoop (3B, 1-for-3), Yurendell De Caster (DH, 2-for-3), Dashenko Ricardo (C, 0-for-2), Sicnarf Loopstok (PH/C, 0-for-1), John Polonius (SS, 0-for-2), Dwayne Kemp (PH, 1-for-1) and pitchers Tom de Blok, Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Mike Bolsenbroek and Tom Stuifbergen.

Netherlands - Czech Republic 6-8
Czech Republic000141002-8121
pitchers Czech Republicinn.SOBBHRER
Marek Minařík, W (1-0)644654

Daniel Padyšák, H (1)111---

Martin Scheider, SV (1)21-311

pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Tom de Blok, L (0-1)4.13-453

Juan Carlos Sulbaran1.211411

Mike Bolsenbroek1.22-2--

Tom Stuifbergen1.12-221

Homeruns: Czech Republic: Martin Červenka (1)(4th,solo,1 out,off De Blok); Netherlands: Calten Daal (1)(5th,3-run,1 out,off Minařík).
HP-Marco Taurelli (Italy), 1B-Ibón Arévalo Lafuente (Spain), 3B-Mojmír Jankovič (Slovakia).
Official Scorers:
Robert Schuhmacher (Germany), Hauke Brockmann (Germany), Gerhard Gilk (Germany).
Technical Commissioner-Frantisek Bunta (Slovakia).
Starting Time-3:38 PM.
Time Played-2:58 hrs.
Site-Field #1, Baseballstadion Rheinaue, Bonn (Germany).

Game Notes:
35th European Baseball Championship.
13th game in history against Czech Republic.
Second loss in history against Czech Republic.
5-minute delay for field-maintenance (mound) in top 6th inning with 2 outs, runners on 1st and 2nd base and the Czech Republic leading 5-4.
Weather conditions at game time: Overcast/drizzling, 14,4° C (57,9° F); wind direction north;
wind speed 11 kmh (6,8 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 80%.

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