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Updated: September 10, 2019
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2019 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Monique Dijkshoorn & Janneke Louisa-van der Ploeg)

Ademar Rifaela powers Netherlands to win vs. Germany with 3 homeruns

BONN (Germany) - The Netherlands Baseball Team recorded another convincing win on Tuesday-evening (September 10), Day 4 of the 35th European Championship in Germany. The Orange Team outscored host Germany 8-1, thanks to an offensive show by leftfielder Ademar Rifaela and strong pitching from Lars Huijer, who struckout eleven batters in 6 2/3 inning.

Rifaela, the 24-year old prospect in the organzation of the Baltimore Orioles, belted three homeruns to bat in seven of the eighth Dutch runs. This season, Rifaela played in 60 games for Bowie Baysox (Double-A) and in 38 games for Norfolk Tides (Triple-A). Overall, he batted .249 (86-for-345) with 18 doubles, six triples and ten homeruns. Rifaela made his National Team-debut last year during the Super6. In February of this year, he won the Guus van der Heijden Trophy, which is handed out annually to the best National Team-player Under-23.

...The players and coaches of the Netherlands listen... the National Anthem before the game...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
The last time a player hit three homeruns in one game for the Netherlands was three years ago. On September 12, 2016, during the European Championship in Hoofddorp (Netherlands), it was Kalian Sams who hit three homeruns and batted in seven runs. He accomplished the feat in a 10-0 win against the Czech Republic.

With the win, the Netherlands remained unbeaten against Germany and extended its winning streak to 18 games. When the former West-Germany is included, this was the 29th consecutive win.

For Germany, this was its second loss in two days. On Monday-evening, Germany led 2-1 against Israel after seven innings. Israel then came alongside in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, Marco Cardoso led off with a triple for Germany, but was left behind, meaning the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Israel scored two runs and went on to win 4-2.

On Wednesday, Germany faces the Czech Republic in what now has become a crucial game for both teams.

The Netherlands opened the 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. 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. The remainder of the game will be played on Wednesday-evening after both teams have played the final game in the Preliminary Round.

On Sunday, the Netherlands suffered a surprising 8-6 loss against the Czech Republic in Bonn. The team didn't play well and committed five defensive errors. For the Czechs, it was their second win and first since 2012 against the Netherlands.

On Monday, the Orange Team recovered fine after the loss and recorded a convincing 9-0 shutout against Sweden. In this game, Donny Breek had a strong debut and struckout ten batters in six innings, while Sharlon Schoop collected five of the 18 basehits the team recorded.

On Wednesday-afternoon (3 PM), the Netherlands will close the Preliminary Round against Israel. In the evening (6:30 PM), the team will complete the game against Great Britain.

On Tuesday, Israel stayed unbeaten (4-0) in Pool A by winning 7-4 against Great Britain to become the first team from this group to secure a spot in the Quarter Finals. Later in the day, Sweden lost to the Czech Republic (10-3) to be eliminated. For the other four teams in this Pool, there are several scenarios to clinch a spot in the top-4 or be eliminated.

In Pool B, Italy and Spain qualified for the Quarter Finals on Tuesday. On Wednesday, everything in this Pool was decided when France won 12-2 vs. Belgium, who both also advance to the Quarter Finals. Later in the day, Austria and Croatia, which were both winless, were to play against each other. One of these teams could end in a tie, but the head-to-head results against the other teams were not in their favor. With that, Austria and Croatia were eliminated for the top-8 and therefore, also for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The Netherlands has the day off on Thursday, then, while not officially qualified yet, plays in the Quarter Final on Friday.

(September 10)

Complete schedule European Championship
Complete provisional schedule Olympic Qualifying Tournament

The Netherlands opened the score against Germany quickly, scoring a run in the first at bat. Two runs, both on a homerun by Ademar Rifaela were then added in the second and fourth inning. In the eighth, Rifaela added a 3-run homerun.

...Ademar Rifaela hit 3 homeruns and batted in 7 runs...
(© Photo: Janneke Louisa-van der Ploeg)
Lars Huijer started for the Netherlands and did very well. In the top of the first inning, the righthander gave up an one-out single to veteran Simon Ghring. The inning ended when the defense turned a double play on a grounder by Donald Lutz, another veteran on the German roster.

Simon Ghring made his debut in the National Team during the 2001 European Championship, which then also was played in Bonn. In 2004, the 36-year old catcher played in the Dutch big league for ADO. Ghring also played professionally briefly in the organization of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. Thereafter, he returned the Germany and went on to play for Heidenheim Heidekpfe, where he is the playing coach since 2009.

30-year old Donald Lutz played in 62 Major League-games for Cincinnati Reds in 2013-2014. With that, he became the first player to grow in Germany to reach the Major League. Lutz, who was born in the USA, made his professional debut in 2008 and since then, he played at all levels for the Cincinnati-club. In 2017, Lutz played in Mexico and since 2015, he also plays in Australia.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Orange Team opened the score off of starter Daniel Thieben. The righthander gave up a lead-off single to Calten Daal, but then struckout powerhitter Roger Bernadina. Moments later, Daal stole second base and scored on a 2-out single by Sharlon Schoop. That was his sixth consecutive basehit, after going 5-for-5 on Tuesday against Sweden.

Germany came alongside in the top of the second inning. Lars Huijer began with two strikeouts, but then walked Eric Brenk (who made some nice defensive plays as third baseman). He went on to score when next batter Marco Cardoso hit the ball down the rightfield-line for a double.

The Netherlands immediately re-took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Hendrik Clementina led off with a single, then Ademar Rifaela followed with a homerun into deep centerfield. With one out, Daniel Thieben gave up a single to Dwayne Kemp, but he was caught stealing.

Huijer retired the side in the third and fourth inning, while Thieben did the same in the fourth Dutch at bat. But in the bottom of the fifth, the Netherlands added two more runs and the same two players were involved as two innings earlier. With one out, Hendrik Clementina walked and thereafter, Ademar Rifaela again drilled the ball over the fence, this time in left/centerfield to lift the lead to 5-1. Next, Kalian Sams walked and Dwayne Kemp reached on an infield-hit, but the inning ended when Calten Daal grounded into a double play.

...Winning pitcher Lars Huijer struckout 11 batters...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
In the meantime, Lars Huijer continued dominating on the mound for the Netherlands. He struckout two batters in the second, third and fourth inning. Huijer began with another strikeout in the fifth, then gave up a single to Marco Cardoso. Huijer struckout the next two batters to give him three in this at bat.

Huijer retired the side again in the sixth (one strikeout), then gave up a lead-off double to Max Boldt in the seventh. After a flyout, Huijer struckout his eleventh batter, and then Manager Evert-Jan 't Hoen came out to make a pitching change. Kevin Kelly took over and got an inning-ending grounder.

With this, the Netherlands got two strong perfomances from its starting pitchers with 10-plus strikeouts in back-to-back games. On Monday, Donny Breek struckout ten batters in his debut, tonight, Lars Huijer struckout eleven.

Kevin Kelly gave up a 2-out double to Philipp Schulz in the eighth, but closed with a strikeout.

The Dutch offense was held scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh inning. The side was retired in order by Daniel Thieben in the fifth, then also by his successor Maurice Wilhelm in the sixth. In the bottom of the seventh, Kalian Sams led off with a walk and he stole second base with one out, but was left behind.

But in the eighth inning, it was Ademar Rifaela, who struck again. Facing new pitcher Lukas Steinlein, Sicnarf Loopstok and Hendrik Clementina both singled with two outs. Hereafter, Ademar Rifaela again contacted very well, as he hit his third homerun in the game. After hitting his first in centerfield, the second in left-centerfield, he now hit his third down the rightfield-line to increase the lead to 8-1.

Tom Stuifbergen closed the game for the Orange Team by pitching the ninth inning. With two outs, he gave up a single to Pascal Amon, but then closed the game with a stikeout. This was the 14th strikeout by a Dutch pitcher in this game. Yesterday, the Dutch pitching struckout 15 Swedish batters.

,,We faced good pitching, so I have to give credit to their pitching. We didn't play against the Netherlands today, we played against Rifaela'', German Manager Steve Janssen said afterwards. In previous years, Janssen has been Pitching Coach, Bullpen Coach and Manager of the Netherlands. Last year, Janssen was a pitching instructor in the Rookie League in the organization of the Chicago Cubs.

Playing for the Netherlands were:
Calten Daal (2B, 1-for-4), Roger Bernadina (CF, 0-for-4), Curt Smith (1B, 0-for-4), Sharlon Schoop (SS, 1-for-4), Sicnarf Loopstok (DH, 1-for-4), Hendrik Clementina (C, 2-for-3), Ademar Rifaela (LF, 3-for-4), Kalian Sams (RF, 0-for-2), Dwayne Kemp (3B, 2-for-3) and pitchers Lars Huijer, Kevin Kelly and Tom Stuifbergen.

...Left: Calten Daal on his way to score the first run in the 1st inning; At left is 3B Coach Ben Thijssen...
...Right: Sharlon Schoop at 1st base after batting in the first run for the Netherlands...
...1st baseman is Max Boldt, at right is Italian Umpire Marco Taurelli...

...Kalian Sams steals 2nd base in the 7th inning, sliding past short stop Alexander Schmidt...

...Kevin Kelly (left) pitched in relief and Tom Stuifbergen closed the game for the Netherlands...
(© All Photos above: Janneke Louisa-van der Ploeg)

...Left: Managers Evert-Jan 't Hoen and Steve Janssen greet each other before the game...
...Right: Sharlon Schoop batted in the first run in the 1st inning with his sixth consecutive basehit...

...Left: Calten Daal scores the first Orange-run in the 1st inning; At right is Sicnarf Rifaela...
...Right: Ademar Rifaela is greeted by Hendrik Clementina (25) after hitting his first homerun in the 2nd inning...

...Left: Roger Bernadina in the batter's box for the Netherlands...
...Right: Ademar Rifaela (2) is greeted by Hendrik Clementina (25) and Sicnarf Loopstok (28) after hitting his 3rd homerun...

...The players celebrate the victory...
(© All Photos above: Monique Dijkshoorn)

Netherlands - Germany 8-1
pitchers Germanyinn.SOBBHRER
Daniel Thieben, L (0-1)542755

Maurice Wilhelm211---

Lukas Steinlein11-333

pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Lars Huijer, W (1-0)6.2111411

Kevin Kelly1.12-1--

Tom Stuifbergen11-1--

Homeruns: Netherlands: Ademar Rifaela 3 (3)(2nd,2-run,0 out,off Thieben; 4th,2-run,1 out,off Thieben; 8th,3-run,2 outs,off Steinlein).
HP-Fabrizio Fabrizi (Italy), 1B-Marco Taurelli (Italy), 3B-Ibn Arvalo Lafuente (Spain).
Official Scorers:
Robert Schumacher (Germany), Gerhard Gilk (Germany), Linda Steijger (Netherlands).
Technical Commissioner-Stephen Lesfargues (France).
Starting Time-7:03 PM.
Time Played-2:29 hrs.
Site-Field #1, Baseballstadion Rheinaue, Bonn (Germany).

Game Notes:
35th European Baseball Championship.
18th game in history against Germany.
18th victory in history against Germany.
Weather conditions at game time: Sunny, 16,4° C (61,5° F); wind direction northeast;
wind speed 8 kmh (4,9 mph); wind force 1 Bft; humidity 43%.

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