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Updated: September 11, 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)

Netherlands advances to Quarter Finals; Ademar Rifaela homers twice

BONN (Germany) - The Netherlands Baseball Team secured a spot in the Quarter Final by recording a convincing 13-4 victory against Israel on Wednesday (September 11), Day 5 of the 35th European Championship. With the win, the Netherlands also almost was sure of first place in Pool A, but that became official after the team had successfully completed the suspended game against Great Britain on Wednesday-evening. That game was halted on Saturday with a 10-2 lead after eight innings and that also became the final score.

Israel played four strong games before facing the Netherlands and was unbeaten. The team is compiled of American players with an Israeli background, most of them having played (or still play) in the Minor Leagues.

...The players and coaches of the Netherlands listen... the National Anthem before the game...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
It was the third time that the teams faced each other. The previous two games were both played during the World Baseball Classic in two different countries. In the First Round of the Classic, the Netherlands lost 4-2 in Seoul (South Korea). The teams then met again in the Second Round in Tokyo (Japan). This time, the Netherlands recorded a convincing 12-2 win in eight innings.

The Israel Association of Baseball was established in 1986 and it joined the European Baseball Condeferation in 1995. It is the first time that Israel participated in the European Championship and it took a trip to two other countries to reach Germany. In July, Israel won Pool 2 of the European B-Championship in Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria), winning the Final against Russia, 5-3. With that, the team qualified for the European B-Championship Play-Off against the winner of Pool 1. That Pool, played in Trnava (Slovakia), was won by Lithuania, which outscored Ukraine, 7-5 in the Final. On July 26-28, Israel and Lithuania met in a best-of-three in Utena (Lithuania). Israel recorded two convincing victories (12-2, 15-0) to win the Play-Off and become the twelfth and final team to qualify for the European Championship in Germany. In 2008, 2011 and 2014, Israel also had participated in Qualfying Tournaments.

Before today, everything was decided in Pool B. Italy secured first place on Tuesday, while Spain secured second place. Also on Tuesday, Belgium and France qualified for the Quarter Finals. Today, Belgium lost 11-4 to Italy and therefore, the ranking in Pool was finalized. Belgium finished in fourth place, France in third.

In Pool A, there were more possibilities. Israel qualified for the Quarter Finals on Tuesday, while Sweden was eliminated. In case of a Dutch loss against Israel, there was even a theoretical possibility that the Orange Team could still be eliminated. For that to happen, the team also had to lose the game against Great Britain and then end up in a tie with the Czech Republic. That didn't happen. The Netherlands handed Israel its first loss and with that, reached the Quarter Finals.

There were more possibilities in this Pool. Earlier today, the British team won 13-7 vs. Sweden. In case, Great Britain then would come back from the 10-2 deficit against the Netherlands and win, it would reach the Quarter Final. The winner of the evening-game between Germany and the Czech Republic then would become the fourth team to advance. That also didn't happen. The Netherlands hold onto the 10-2 lead and with that, it finished in first place in Pool A. Because of the Dutch win, Germany also qualified.

For the British team, there was now one last chance left. When Germany should win in the evening against the Czechs, Great Britain would advance, as it had won 4-3 against the Czech Team. When the Czechs should win, the British were eliminated, as it had lost only 1-0 to Germany which then would decide the final ranking. Again, the British were left empty-handed, as the Czech Republic won 10-6 to become to final team to reach the Quarter Finals.

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. As mentioned, the game was completed tonight.

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 Tuesday, the Netherlands recorded another convincing win, outscoring host Germany 8-1, thanks to an offensive show by leftfielder Ademar Rifaela (3 homeruns) and strong pitching from Lars Huijer, who struckout eleven batters in 6 2/3 inning.

The Netherlands has the day off on Thursday. On Friday, the team meets Belgium in the Quarter Final.

In the other Quarter Finals on Friday, Israel meets France, Spain plays against the Czech Republic and host Germany faces Italy.

The winners of these games not only will advance to the Semi-Final, but also will advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week in Italy.

(September 11)

Complete schedule European Championship
Complete provisional schedule Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Netherlands vs. Israel

The Orange-batters put on another offensive show on a rainy Wednesday-afternoon at the main-site in Bonn. This time, the team collected 14 basehits, including three by Calten Daal and Ademar Rifaela. There are were four homeruns, two of them hit by Rifaela, who already had hit three on Tuesday against Germany.

Initially, it was Israel that opened the score and led 2-0 after the first two innings, but the Netherlands came alongside in the third at bat, then had two productive rallies in the fifth and seventh inning, scoring a total of ten runs.

...Kalian Sams warms up before the game... front of the scoreboard...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
In the top of the first inning, the Netherlands got into scoring position, but was unable to open the score off of 40-year old starter Shlomo Lipetz, the only player on the roster who was born and raised in Israel. Lipetz also was with the team during the World Baseball Classic in 2017. With one out, the righthander walked both Roger Bernadina and Curt Smith, then an infield-fly followed. That brought Ademar Rifaela in the batter's box, who had homered three times the evening before against Germany. Rifaela drilled the ball to deep leftfield, where it was caught by Rob Paller just in front of the fence.

In the bottom of the first inning, Israel scored twice off of veteran righthander Rob Cordemans, who is participating in his twelfth European Championship since making his National Team-debut in 1995. The 44-year old Cordemans began with a strikeout, but then walked Blake Gaillen. That was followed by a homerun from Danny Valencia. As always, Cordemans kept his cool, recovered and struckout the next batter. After next batter Ty Kelly walked, a grounder ended the at bat.

The 34-year old Danny Valencia, who was the designated hitter, is the most experienced player on the roster Israel. Between 2010 and 2018, he played in 864 Major League-games, hitting 96 homeruns, scoring 360 runs and batting in 397. Valencia, who is an infielder, played for Minnesota Twins (2010-2012), Boston Red Sox (2012), Baltimore Orioles (2013), Kansas City Royals (2014), Toronto Blue Jays (2014-2015), Oakland A's (2015-2016), Seattle Mariners (2017) and again Baltimore Orioles (2018). He was a regular for Minnesota in 2011 (154 games), Oakland in 2016 (130 games) and Seattle in 2017 (130 games). Last year, he appeared in 78 games for Baltimore, then was released in August 2018.

The Netherlands was retired in order in the top of the second when it also started to rain again in Bonn. Moments later, Israel again got into scoring position. Simon Rosenbaum led off with a single. Hereafter, Zach Penprase hit a line drive, but that was caught by rightfielder Kalian Sams. With one out, Cordemans hit Tal Erel with a pitch, but the at bat bat then closed with a double play.

Catcher Tal Erel played for the second team of UVV in the Dutch competition in 2017. On May 13 of that year, Erel was inserted as pinch-runner in a game of the main-squad in the big league against DSS. However, that game was declared invalid, as Erel was not listed on the official team-roster and therefore was not eligible to play. Six days later, playing for the second team, Erel broke his femur (thigh bone) while sliding into first base.

The Netherlands started to turn the game its way from the third inning on. While it started to rain heavier, the Orange-squad came alongside. Dwayne Kemp led off with a walk, then Calten Daal reached on a bunt-single. The two moved on a grounder by Roger Bernadina. The first run was then scored on a sacrifice fly by Curt Smith, then the tying run was scored when Daal was awarded home plate on a balk.

Israel reached base again in the bottom of the third, but was held scoreless. With one out, Danny Valencia reached on an error and with two outs, Ty Kelly singled. Cordemans closed with a strikeout.

A rare situation occured in the top of the fourth inning, which could have been very costly at that moment for the Netherlands. Ademar Rifaela led off with a double, then advanced to third base on a single by Hendrik Clementina. With that, the Orange Team had a good chance of taking the lead, scoring a run or maybe even two. But that changed quickly moments later. Next batter Yurendell De Caster popped up into short rightfield to second baseman Zach Penprase. Rifaela was off the base when the catch was made and slowly jogged back to third base. That was noticed by Penprase, who turned and threw the ball to third baseman Nick Rickles, who received the ball before Rifaela had returned. And so, he was out in this double play on a pop-fly behind the infield! When the double play was not made, Rifaela surely would have scored on the following flyout by Kalian Sams into deep rightfield, which was caught just in front of the fence. But now, that accounted for the third out and the score remained 2-2.

...Ademar Rifaela is greeted by Sharlon Schoop (15)...
...and Hendrik Clementina after his 1st homerun...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
After Israel was retired in order in the bottom of the fourth, the game turned around definitively, as the Netherlands rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth. Dwayne Kemp drove the ball into deep leftfield for a lead-off triple. There, Rob Paller ran backwards, appeared to catch the ball, but crashed into the fence and lost control of the ball. With Kemp on third base, Calten Daal was hit by a pitch. Roger Bernadina followed with a single. Kemp scored the go-ahead run and Daal advanced to third base, but he overran it and was tagged out by third baseman Nick Rickles on the throw from rightfielder Mitch Glasser. And that was another could-be costly out on the bases for the Netherlands. But after a pop-fly accounted for the second out, the inning went the Orange-way after all. Bernadina scored from second base when an error was made on a hit-and-run grounder by Sharlon Schoop. Hereafter, Ademar Rifaela hit the ball into deep right/centerfield for a 2-run homerun, his fourth in two days! With that, he made up for his baserunning-blunder in the previous at bat. A pitching change followed, as Jon Moscot took over. He got an inning-ending flyout, but the Netherlands now led 6-2.

In the top of the fifth inning, Mike Bolsenbroek took over the Dutch pitching. He was greeted with a lead-off double by Mitch Glasser, but avoided giving up runs. With one out, Danny Valencia hit a line drive to rightfield, but that was caught by Kalian Sams, who played a strong game defensively and also contributed with his bat. A pop-fly ended the at bat.

The Netherlands got one baserunner in the top of the sixth when it started to rain somewhat heavier. With one out, Kalians Sams flied out into deep centerfield, where the ball was caught just in front of the fence. Dwayne Kemp followed with a single, but stranded on first base.

Israel was more successful in the sixth inning when it scored two runs off of Bolsenbroek to narrow the deficit to 6-4. The righthander first walked lead-off hitter Ty Kelly. With one out, he also walked pinch-hitter Benjamin Wanger, then got the bases loaded when he gave up a single to Zach Penprase. A grounder towards third base followed from Tal Erel. Third baseman Dwayne Kemp made a nice play fielding the hard hit ball, turned around and attempted to make the force out at second base, where Penprase arrived safely. Perhaps, he had better opt to make the sure out at first base, as everyone was safe now. With that, Kelly scored and the bases remained loaded. Hereafter, Bolsenbroek struckout the next batter, but then Israel added another run on a single by Blake Gaillen. Penprase was also waved home to score, but he was eliminated at the plate after a great throw from rightfielder Kalian Sams to end the inning.

The Netherlands then struck with a 6-run rally on six basehits (three homeruns) in the top of the seventh to take a convincing 12-4 lead. New pitcher Dean Pelman quickly ran into problems. He gave up a lead-off single to Roger Bernadina, then walked Curt Smith. The two moved on a passed ball, then were unable to advance on a grounder by Sharlon Schoop. But then, the Orange Team again showed its offensive power, as Ademar Rifaela (3-run) and Hendrik Clementina (solo) hit back-to-back homeruns. For Rifaela, this was his second homerun and gave him two consecutive multi-homerun games. Yurendell De Caster followed with an infield-hit and this time, it was Kalian Sams, who drove the ball over the fence down the leftfield-line for a 2-run homerun. Sams already had come close in his previous at bat, but this time the ball traveled the right distance and that put the Netherlands ahead 12-4. However, a 10-run lead to end the game via the mercy-rule was not reached.

...Tom Stuifbergen closed and was the winning pitcher...
(© Photo: Monique Dijkshoorn)
After new pitcher Juan Carlos Sulbaran had retired the side in the bottom of the seventh, the Netherlands added a run in the top of the eighth off of new pitcher Eric Brodkowitz. He also got the bases loaded quickly. Curt Smith led off with a walk, Sharlon Schoop reached on an error and Ademar Rifaela also walked. Smith then scored on a grounder by Dashenko Ricardo, who had entered the game as new catcher in the seventh inning. With two outs, the bases were loaded again when Kalian Sams walked, but three runners were left behind when Dwayne Kemp flied out.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Tom Stuifbergen took the mound for the Netherlands. He saw lead-off hitter Rob Paller hit a line drive down the rightfield-line. But there, Kalian Sams made a great diving catch. Two grounders closed the at bat.

The Netherlands got one more baserunner in the top of the ninth inning off of new pitcher Jake Rosenberg. Calten Daal led off with a line drive single into deep leftfield. He was then eliminated in a double play after a line drive by Roger Bernadina was caught by second baseman Mitch Glasser, who had taken over this position in the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Tom Stuifbergen retired the side to end the game. Stuifbergen was credited with the win. Starting pitcher Rob Cordemans left the mound with a 6-2 lead, but had thrown only four innings. A starter only gets credited with a win when he pitches five complete innings. In situations like this, when the leading team stays ahead, the Official Scorer credits the win to the pitcher that pitches the most effective in the remainder of the game.

With the win against Israel, the Netherlands officially secured its spot in the Quarter Final. And almost surely, the first spot in Pool A. However, there a slim chance that the Orange Team could end up in second place. In order for that to happen was that Great Britain had to erase a 10-2 deficit in the remainder of the suspended game. The ninth inning of that game, which was halted by darkness on Saturday, was played some 45 minutes after completion of this game.

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

...Left: The Orange-coaches greet each other during the introductions before the game...
...Left to right: Manager Evert-Jan 't Hoen, Bench Coach Sharnol Adriana, 1B Coach Wim Martinus (34),...
...Pitching Coach Robin van Doornspeek, 3B Coach Ben Thijssen (44) and Hitting Coach Sidney de Jong...
...Right: Managers Evert-Jan 't Hoen and Eric Holtz greet each other...

...The umpires, players and coaches listen to the National Anthems...

...Left: Rob Cordemans started for the Netherlands...
...Right: Yurendell De Caster makes contact in the 2nd inning...

...Left: Catcher Hendrik Clementina looks to the dug-out to check the signs...
...Right: Curt Smith hits a sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning...

...Left: Dwayne Kemp scores on the sacrifice fly by Curt Smith in the 3rd inning...
...Right: Hendrik Clementina returns during a pick-off attempt at first base in the 4th inning...
...1st baseman is Simon Rosenbaum, Croatian umpire Tomislav Ozimec looks into the play...

...Left: Mike Bolsenbroek took over the pitching in the fifth inning...
...Right: Ademar Rifaela is greeted by Curt Smith and Roger Bernadina after his 2nd homerun in the 7th inning...
...At left is German Home Plate Umpire Jens Waider...

...Left: Hendrik Clementina circles the bases after hitting a homerun in the 7th inning...
...Right: Yurendell De Caster (77) preceedes Kalian Sams, who has just hit the 3rd homerun in the 7th inning...

...The players shake hands after the game...
(© All Photos: Monique Dijkshoorn)

Israel - Netherlands 4-13
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Rob Cordemans442322

Mike Bolsenbroek212322

Juan Carlos Sulbaran11----

Tom Stuifbergen, W (1-0)21----

pitchers Israelinn.SOBBHRER
Shlomo Lipetz, L (0-1)4.213663

Jon Moscot1.1--1--

Dean Pelman1-1666

Eric Brodkowitz113-11

Jake Rosenberg1--1--

Homeruns: Netherlands: Ademar Rifaela 2 (5)(5th,2-run,2 outs,off Lipetz; 7th,3-run,1 out,off Pelman), Hendrik Clementina (1)(7th,solo,1 out,off Pelman), Kalian Sams (1)(7th,2-run,1 out,off Pelman); Israel: Danny Valencia (1)(1st,2-run,1 out,off Cordemans).
HP-Jens Waider (Germany), 1B-Tomislav Ozimec (Croatia), 3B-Oswald Tscharf (Austria).
Official Scorers:
Gesa Khler (Germany), Felix Dosch (Germany), Marc Zang (Germany).
Technical Commissioner-Luis Redin (Spain).
Starting Time-3:05 PM.
Time Played-2:48 hrs.
Site-Field #1, Baseballstadion Rheinaue, Bonn (Germany).

Game Notes:
35th European Baseball Championship.
3rd game in history against Israel.
Second win in history against Israel.
Weather conditions at game time: Overcast, 17,5° C (63,5° F); wind direction west;
wind speed 14 kmh (8,7 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 54%.

Netherlands vs. Great Britain

Some 45 minutes after completion of the game against Israel, the Netherlands was back in action. The team moved from Field #1 to Field #2 at the main location in Bonn to complete the game against Great Britain, which was halted after eight innings on Saturday, the first day of the tournament. The game was played in Solingen and the Netherlands was leading 10-2, but after eight complete innings, the game was halted due tot darkness.

Only one inning was needed to complete the game and that was played today. The two teams were on the field for only eleven minutes and the score didn't change. With that, the win became official and so, the Netherlands also secured first place in Pool A. Because of this result, Germany also advanced to the Quarter Finals.

Coincidentally, the three umpires who were assigned to the original game on Saturday were able to complete the game. Moments before, the same trio had led the Netherlands vs. Israel game.

When the game resumed, Gary Davison took the mound for Great Britain. He walked Kalian Sams, but a double play followed on a grounder from pinch-hitter Dashenko Ricardo. One Orange basehit was then added hereafter and it was Ademar Rifaela, who accounted for it to continue his strong performance with the bat. Rifaela stranded, as a flyout ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the ninth, Shairon Martis returned as pitcher for the Netherlands. Last Saturday, he had taken over the pitching in the seventh inning and gave up the two British runs. Today, he retired the side and closed with a strikeout. As he threw the final three innings of the game, he was credited with a save.

Playing for the Netherlands were:
Dwayne Kemp (DH, 0-for-5), Roger Bernadina (CF, 1-for-5), Curt Smith (1B, 1-for-4), Kalian Sams (RF, 2-for-3), Sicnarf Loopstok (C, 1-for-3), Hendrik Clementina (PH/C, 0-for-1), Dashenko Ricardo (PH/C, 0-for-1), Ademar Rifaela (LF, 2-for-4), Sharlon Schoop (3B, 3-for-5), John Polonius (SS, 2-for-4), Calten Daal (2B, 2-for-4) and pitchers Orlando Yntema and Shairon Martis.

Recap of the original game on Saturday

...Shairon Martis (left) completed the game, then the players celebrate finishing in first place...
(© Both Photos: Monique Dijkshoorn)

Great Britain - Netherlands 2-10
Great Britain000000110-283
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Orlando Yntema, W (1-0)6723--

Shairon Martis, SV (1)32-522

pitchers Great Britaininn.SOBBHRER
Ethan Solomon, L (0-1)515844

Cody Chartrand1.1-5464

Daniel Cooper1.22-1--

Gary Davison1-11--

HP-Jens Waider (Germany), 1B-Oswald Tscharf (Austria), 3B-Tomislav Ozimec (Croatia).
Official Scorers:
September 7: Gerhard Gilk (Germany), Gesa Khler (Germany), Thomas Sippenauer (Germany).
September 11: Felix Dosch (Germany), Philipp Wrfel (Germany), Stephanie Winkler (Germany).
Technical Commissioners-Stephen Lesfargues (France) (Sept. 7), Frantisek Bunta (Slovakia) (Sept. 11).
Starting Time-5:15 PM (Sept. 7), 6:32 PM (Sept. 11).
Time Played-2:43 hrs (Sept. 7), 11 minutes (Sept. 11); Total: 2:54 hrs.
Site September 7-Stadion Am Weyersberg, Solingen (Germany) (1st through 8th inning).
Site September 11-Field #1, Baseballstadion Rheinaue, Bonn (Germany) (9th inning).

Game Notes:
35th European Baseball Championship.
11th game in history against Great Britain.
11th victory in history against Great Britain.
John Polonius and Hendrik Clementina make their debut in the Netherlands National Team.
4-minute rain-delay at the beginning of the 3rd inning.
Game halted after 8 complete innings due to darkness on Saturday, September 7 in Solingen.
Game completed on Wednesday, September 11 on Field #2 in Bonn.
Weather conditions at game time September 7: Cloudy, 15,8° C (60,4° F); wind direction northwest;
wind speed 6 kmh (3,7 mph); wind force 1 Bft; humidity 88%.
Weather conditions at game time September 11: Overcast, 16° C (60,8° F); wind direction south;
wind speed 10 kmh (6,2 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 70%.

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