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Updated: June 25, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Netherlands loses thriller against Dominicans in Olympic Qualifier

PUEBLA (Mexico) - The Netherlands Baseball Team also has lost its second game of the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier in Puebla (Mexico). On Thursday-evening (June 24), the Orange Team lost 4-3 in a thriller against the Dominican Republic, which decided the game late. On Wednesday-evening, the Netherlands lost 9-3 against Venezuela, which had opened the event on Tuesday with a 10-7 loss against the Dominicans.

The Netherlands trailed 3-0, but scored twice in the eighth inning, then came alongside in the ninth. The Dominicans then scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on an error. With today's victory, the Dominican Republic advanced to the all-deciding Final that will be played on Saturday. The Netherlands and Venezuela will meet each other on Friday to decide who will be the second finalist.

The winner of the tournament becomes the sixth and final country to qualify for the Olympic Games next month in Japan.

(June 24)

The game against the Dominican Republic initially was a 5-inning pitching-duel, as the game remained scoreless in the first five at bats. The Dominicans then struck with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Tom de Blok threw five strong innings for the Orange Team. In these at bats, the righthander got six baserunners, but only one of them got into scoring position.

The first three innings were all similar.

With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, De Blok gave up a single to Julio Rodríguez, but closed by striking out Juan Francisco.

...Tom de Blok...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the second inning, the second Dominican reached base with two outs when Ramón Torres singled. Torres played in 42 Major League-games for Kansas City Royals in 2017-2018. Again, De Blok closed with a strikeout, this time for Roldani Baldwin (Double-A Boston Red Sox).

In the third, with two outs, it was former Major Leaguer Melky Cabrera, who reached base for the Dominicans. The 36-year old veteran played in 15 Major League-seasons (2005-2019) for eight teams. Cabrera, nicknamed The Melkman, reached when his grounder was misplayed by second baseman Calten Daal. For the third time, De Blok closed with a strikeout.

With one out in the fourth, Johan Mieses walked. This time, the Orange-defense turned a double play on a grounder by Diego Goris to end the at bat.

In the fifth inning, the Dominicans got into scoring position for the first time. Ramón Torres led off with a double and moved to third base with one out on a grounder by Gustavo Núñez. De Blok then walked Emilio Bonifacio, but for the fourth time, the righthander closed with a strikeout. This time with a runner on third base.

The Netherlands faced Osvaldo Bidó (Double-A Pittsburgh Pirates), who retired the side in the first inning, but then got the first Orange-runner in scoring position in the top of the second. With one out, Juremi Profar doubled and moved to third base on a grounder by Calten Daal. He stranded there, as Bidó closed by striking out Denzel Richardson.

The Dominicans made a rare double play in the top of the third inning. With one out, John Polonius walked. He was then forced out on a grounder by Jiandido Tromp. But after having reached first base and after an initial attempt to complete a double play at first base, Tromp overran first base and was then eliminated at second base. And that ended the at bat.

In the fourth inning, the Netherlands got into scoring position again. With two outs, Ademar Rifaela singled and Juremi Profar walked, but the inning when Calten Daal struckout.

The Netherlands reached base again in the fifth inning off of new pitcher Marcos Diplán. Denzel Richardson led off with a single, but hereafter, Dashenko Ricardo grounded into a double play. Next batter John Polonius singled, but stranded on first base.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Netherlands got on base in its fifth consective at bat. With one out, Sharlon Schoop walked, but Marcos Diplán then struckout the next two batters.

The Dominicans then struck with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Tom de Blok began with a strikeout, then got a groundout, but thereafter, he gave up a homerun to Johan Mieses (Double-A Boston Red Sox), which broke the scoreless tie. When next batter Diego Goris doubled, Manager Hensley Meulens came out to make a pitching change. Tom de Blok, who had a fine outing, was relieved by Mike Groen, who is his teammate at L&D Amsterdam Pirates and made is international debut in the National Team. Groen walked Ramón Torres, then gave up a 2-run double to Roldani Baldwin. The inning ended with a grounder, but the Dominicans led 3-0.

...Curt Smith...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the top of the seventh, Luís Castillo became the third Dominican pitcher. He struckout the first two batters, then walked Dashenko Ricardo, but a comeback-grounder ended the at bat.

After Dominican lead-off hitter Emilio Bonifacio reached on an error in the bottom of the seventh inning, a long rain-delay of almost 1½ hour followed. When the game was resumed, Shairon Martis took over the Orange-pitching from Groen. Also, two defensive changes were made, as Yurendell de Caster replaced Juremi Profar at first base and Dwayne Kemp took over at second base for Calten Daal. Martis, also a former Major Leaguer, faced Melky Cabrera, who hit into a double play. The righthander then closed with a strikeout.

Martis and Cabrera also faced each other in the Major League. On June 16, 2009, Martis was the starting pitcher for Washington Nationals against New York Yankees, where Cabrera then played. Twelve years ago, Cabrera batted three times against Martis, two flyouts and one grounder.

In the top of the eighth, Carlos Ramírez took over the Dominican pitching and he saw the Orange Team come back into the game. With two outs, he gave up a single to Sharlon Schoop, then Curt Smith was inserted as pinch-hitter for Ademar Rifaela. On the third pitch by Ramírez, Smith connected well and hit a 2-run homerun! Hereafter, Yurendell de Caster singled, which led to another pitching change. Jairo Asencio took over and he got an inning-ending force play-grounder from Dwayne Kemp.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shairon Martis retired the side.

The Netherlands came alongside in the top of the ninth inning off of the 38-year old Jairo Asencio, who pitched in the Majors in four seasons. He gave up a lead-off double to Denzel Richardson, who then scored the tying run when Dashenko Ricardo followed with a single! Moments later, Ricardo was forced out on a grounder by John Polonius. After Jiandido Tromp had flied out, Asencio closed by striking out pinch-hitter Randolph Oduber, who batted for Major League-veteran Roger Bernadina.

With the score now at 3-3, Franklin Van Gurp became the new pitcher for the Orange Team in the bottom of the ninth and he saw the Dominicans come back again. He gave up a lead-off single to Ramón Torres, then walked Roldani Baldwin. Hereafter, Gustavo Núñez placed a bunt-single back to Van Gurp. Third baseman Sharlon Schoop fielded the ball, but then made a throwing error, which enabled Torres to score the winning run.

Dominican Republic - Netherlands 4-3
Dominican Republic000003001-480
(no outs when the winning run was scored in the bottom of the ninth inning)
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Tom de Blok5.262522

Mike Groen0.1 (*)-1111

Shairon Martis21----

Franklin Van Gurp, L (0-1)- (**)-121-

(*) - Groen pitched to one batter in the seventh inning
(**) - Van Gurp pitched to three batters in the ninth inning

pitchers Dominican Republicinn.SOBBHRER
Osvaldo Bidó4322--

Marcos Diplán2212--

Luís Castillo, H (1)121---

Carlos Ramírez, H (1)0.2--322

Jairo Asencio, BS (1), W (1-0)1.11-211

Homeruns: Netherlands: Curt Smith (1)(8th,2-run,2 outs,off Ramírez); Dominican Republic: Johan Mieses (2)(6th,solo,2 out,off De Blok).
Box Score
HP-Ruben Ramos (Puerto Rico), 1B-Edgar Huerta (Mexico),
2B-Angel Campos (USA), 3B-Ramiro Alfaro (Colombia).
Clock Operator-Edgar Estivison (Panama).
Official Scorer-Gabriel Almaraz (Mexico).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Luis Matsuo (Mexico).
Technical Commissioners-Frank Marcos (USA), Enrique Burgos (Panama).
Starting Time-5:00 PM.
Time Played-2:57 hrs.
Site-Estadio de Béisbol Hermanos Serdán, Puebla (Mexico).

Game Notes:
One hour, 21 minutes rain-delay in bottom 7th inning with the Dominican Republic leading 3-0, no outs and a runner on first base.
860th international game of the Netherlands Baseball Team.
18th game of the Netherlands against the Dominican Republic.
Weather conditions at game time:
Partly cloudy, 22° C (71,6° F); wind direction south-southeast; wind speed 13 kmh (8,1 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 52%.

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