(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)
Nick Stuifbergen new Head Coach of DSS
HAARLEM (Neth.) -
Former National Team-pitcher Nick Stuifbergen will lead the baseball-team of DSS in the remainder of the season as its Interim Head Coach.
For DSS, the remainder of the season is the best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Series against the champion of the second highest league ('Overgangsklasse'), which opens on Saturday, September 28.
It is the second time this season that DSS adjusts its coaching-staff.
After a 14-4 loss against Curašao Neptunus on June 16, it was deicded to separate with then Head Coach Marco Wels.
At that moment, DSS was 9-23 and in seventh place.
JosÚ Baez, who was the 3B Coach until then took over as Head Coach and led the team to days later in a make-up game against Neptunus, losing 3-1.
Assistant Coach Patrick Howell, Pitching Coach Richard Tensen and Hitting Coach Dirk van 't Klooster all remained part of the coaching-staff.
...Nick Stuifbergen takes over as Head Coach...|
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In the remainder of the regular season, DSS was 4-6 under the leadership of Baez and finished in seventh place.
With that, it faced sixth placed Twins Oosterhout in the following best-of-five Play-Downs.
In that series, DSS was swept 3-0 and therefore had to play another best-of-five, this time against Silicon Storks, which had lost its series against Quick Amersfoort, 3-2.
In the Play-Downs Final Series against Storks, DSS opened with a win.
Two days later, the second game of the series was halted by the umpiring crew and forfeited to Storks, meaning DSS ended up as the losing team.
At the moment, the game was halted at the start of the top of the eighth, Storks led 4-2.
DSS lost the next two games.
With that, Storks prolonged its stay in the big league, while DSS now had to play in the Promotion/Relegation Series.
However, as the remaining schedule in the 'Overgangsklasse' was far from over, DSS has to wait four weeks (!) to begin this series.
In that best-of-five, DSS will meet the 'Overgangsklasse'-champion with Kinheim and RCH-Pingu´ns being the lone two candidates for the title.
The two teams face each other in the final two games of the Top-8 Pool coming weekend.
Kinheim needs a win or a tie to capture the title.
RCH-Pingu´ns needs to win both games to end up in first place.
On September 28, the champion then will face DSS.
And it is in that Promotion/Relegation Series that DSS will be led by Nick Stuifbergen.
DSS confirmed on Thursday (September 19) that Head Coach JosÚ Baez has stepped down, as he is unable to combine coaching with his regular job.
Pitching Coach Richard Tensen also will not return, as Stuifbergen, a former pitcher himself, also will handle the pitching in the coming weeks.
Patrick Howell and Dirk van 't Klooster will remain part of the coaching-staff.
Michael Halderman, who was not active in coaching this year, has been added to the staff.
It marks the second time that Stuifbergen will lead DSS as Interim Head Coach.
On August 1, 2016, Stuifbergen succeeded then Head Coach Lennart Stut.
At that time, Stuifbergen was the Head Coach of the second team of DSS which then played in the Rookie League.
Stuifbergen led the team in the final three games of the regular season (1-2) plus the following Play-Downs.
Stut led the team during its first year in the big league in 2015.
During the 2016 Play-Downs, DSS finished in last place with a 3-6 record and also had to play in the Promotion/Relegation Series.
However, that Series was cancelled as the champion of the Overgangsklasse (Storks), as well as the runner-up (The Orioles) both declined to play in the Series.
With that, DSS stayed in the big league.
...Nick Stuifbergen pitching during the 2012...|
...season for L&D Amsterdam Pirates...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Nick Stuifbergen pitched at the highest level for 13 seasons, playing for three clubs, Kinheim, Amsterdam Pirates and HCAW.
He pitched for Amsterdam Pirates on three different stints.
Stuifbergen first played in the big league for Kinheim in 2001-2002, followed by two seasons for Pirates and two for HCAW.
He then returned to Amsterdam, where he played three more years.
A new transfer followed to Kinheim, but after having played there for two seasons, Stuifbergen came back to Amsterdam for the third time in 2012.
He last pitched during the 2013 season, but was bothered by injuries thereafter and retired.
Besides that, Stuifbergen also played for the Netherlands National Team for eight years.
With the Orange squad, Stuifbergen captured the title at the European Championship in 2005 and 2007.
He also participated in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006 and in two World Championships.
Last year, Stuifbergen made his debut as Pitching Coach of the Netherlands Under-18 Team, which then captured the title at the Under-18 European Championship in Grosseto (Italy).
Earlier this month, he was the Pitching Coach of the Under-18 Team that finished in seventh place at the Under-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan (South Korea).