Grand Slam

Baseball & Softball Headlines
January 2007

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2007 by Marco Stoovelaar

Index News Archive JANUARY 2007

Dutch Baseball
Cordemans to try-out in Taiwan. (January 10)
ADO gets license to play. (January 11)
Kinheim honors Van Driel Krol, Beljaards. (January 14)
European Cup-competitions announced. (January 22)
Thijssen resigns as national team coach. (January 22)
Kinheim, Smeets fells short in Haarlem-voting. (January 23)
Regular Baseball Season opens in 80 days! (January 24)
Former international Henk Lukkien passed away. (January 26)

Dutch Softball Women
Carrousel wins Indoor Cup. (January 15)
Preliminary Roster Dutch Team announced. (January 15)
First Olympic Qualifier opens soon. (January 21)
Haarlem honors Sparks, Kluijskens, Lablans. (January 23)
Regular Softball Season opens in 80 days! (January 24)
ISF awards Junior World Championships to Netherlands! (January 31)

International Baseball
Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn in Hall of Fame. (January 9)
European Cup-competitions announced. (January 22)
Victoria wins Claxton Shield. (January 28)

International Softball Women
Caroussel wins Indoor Cup. (January 14)
First Olympic Qualifier opens soon. (January 21)
ISF awards Junior World Championships to Netherlands! (January 31)

News Archive 2006

Dutch Baseball
Cordemans to try-out in Taiwan

...Rob Cordemans...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
THE HAGUE (Neth.) - ADO's pitching ace Rob Cordemans might be off to play in Taiwan this year instead of the Dutch big league. The Algemeen Dagblad - The Hague-edition newspaper reported that the national team righthander will travel to Chinese Taipei (or Taiwan) at the end of January to participate in a six-week try-out. After this period, it will be decided if Cordemans has the qualities to play in the Taiwanese professional league. In that case, he will sign a contract, meaning ADO will have to start a search for a new pitcher.

Last year, Cordemans played in his first season for ADO and was 9-3 with an 1.72 ERA. He led the league with 127 StrikeOuts and 131 Innings Pitched. Before that, Cordemans threw 12 seasons for DOOR Neptunus, with whom he won the Dutch title seven years in a row (1999-2005) and eight times overall, as the team also won in 1994. In 2005, his last season with Neptunus, Cordemans was 13-1 and had an 0.77 ERA and was named Best Pitcher. Since 1995, Cordemans is a member of the Dutch national team and played in 54 official international games. (January 10)

ADO gets license to play
THE HAGUE (Neth.) - ADO has been given a license, which give the team from The Hague permission to play in the Dutch big league.
Last month ADO didn't receive a license from the Dutch Association, as recommended by the License Committee, due to debts to the KNBSB.

In December, Instant Holland Almere '90 was the lone club to get a full license, while the other seven clubs got a temporarily license. ADO was the only club not to get a license. Last week, the Association has reviewed the situation again and this time found grounds to retract last months decision and also hand ADO a temporarily license.
This means, all clubs now have a license to play in this years big league, which opens its season on Saturday, April 14. As reported earlier, instead of eight teams, the highest division will exist of nine clubs this season. That's the result of the construction of last year when their was no relegation from the big league, but on the other hand, the First Division-champion got the right to promote, but had to comply to the big league-rules. RCH-Pingu´ns, which captured the title in this division, opted for promotion to become the ninth team.
(January 11)

Kinheim honors Van Driel Krol, Beljaards

...Hans van Driel Krol...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)

...Patrick Beljaards...
(Photo: Mario Klardie)
HAARLEM (Neth.) - Corendon Kinheim on Sunday, January 14, during its new years reception, honored Hans van Driel Krol and Patrick Beljaards by naming them Member of Merit of their club. Topsport Chairman Peter Jager addressed the two Kinheim-personalities, who have been with the club their entire career.

Hans van Driel Krol, a solid infielder, but also a back-up catcher, made his debut at age 18 in the first team of Kinheim in 1965 when it was better known as HCK (which stands for Honkbal (= baseball) Club Kinheim). He remained a member of the main squad until 1986, meaning he played for them in 21 seasons, including 11 in the Dutch big league. In 1978, he was a member of the team that captured the Dutch title. After retiring from the top-level, Van Driel Krol remained active as a player in a lower team. With this team, mainly existing of former first team-players, he participated a few times in the Senior Baseball World Series in Arizona and Florida in the USA. As he still is active, Van Driel Krol now enters his 42nd season as a player on the senior-level in the Kinheim-organization.

Patrick Beljaards started his career as a First Baseman, but evolved into a lefthanded pitching ace, made his debut in the main Kinheim-squad in 1996. He still is a member of the team and last season captured the Dutch title, which was the first for Kinheim since 1994. Between 1997 and 2005, Beljaards played for the Dutch National Team, appearing in 53 official international games. In 1995, Beljaards received the Ron Fraser Award for most promising youth player, in 1997 he was named best national team player under 23 years old and won the Guus van der Heijden Memorial Trophy.
(January 14)

Thijssen withdraws as national team coach
NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - Ben Thijssen, who has been the third base coach for the Dutch National Team since 2001, has withdrawn himself from the coachingstaff, as he hasn't enough time to fully commit himself to this position, the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association announced on Monday.

...Ben Thijssen...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Ben Thijssen joined the coaching staff of the Dutch National Baseball Team in 2001 when Robert Eenhoorn took over as Field Manager. Thijssen is the only coach who has been on Eenhoorn's staff ever since. In these six years, the Dutch team participated in 18 international events and played 120 official international games.
A successor for Thijssen has not yet been named. Currently, Eenhoorn's coachingstaff exists of Bench Coach/Pitching Coach Brian Farley and 1B Coach Marcel Joost, while Wim Martinus was added to the staff for the Intercontinental Cup-tournament last November. Last year, the Dutch team won the European Baseball Series, the Haarlem Baseball Week and captured the Silver Medal on the Intercontinental Cup after an 11-inning loss in the Final vs. Cuba.
This year, the Dutch Team has a busy schedule. First, the team will leave for a weeklong practice session on Curašao on February 2. Later, there will be a trip to the USA where some games will be played against the American National Team (July 25-29), followed by the World Port Tournament (August 2-12) in Rotterdam (Netherlands), the European Championships (September 8-16) in Barcelona (Spain) and the World Cup (November 6-18) in Taiwan. The European Championships also has the status of Olympic Qualifier for next years Games in Beijing (China).

Last year, Ben Thijssen made his debut as Head Coach with Corendon Kinheim and won the national championship. In the previous four seasons, Thijssen combined coaching for the national team with being the 3B Coach and Hitting Coach for DOOR Neptunus, with whom he won the Dutch title in all those seasons. This season, Thijssen returns as Head Coach with Kinheim. In 1999, he made his big league-debut as Head Coach, when he led Vitron Tilburg. That team secured itself of a place in the highest league for the 2000 season, but had to withdraw, because too many players left the team.
(January 22)

Regular Basbeall Season opens in 80 days!
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - The Regular Season 2007 in the Dutch Major League opens on Saturday, April 14, exactly 80 days from Wednesday-afternoon (today). At the moment, the first exhibition game is scheduled for Saturday, March 3 when DOOR Neptunus is hosting Sparta/Feyenoord.

In the preliminary schedule, which was presented last week, reigning champion Corendon Kinheim will open on the road and play at Sparta/Feyenoord, while vice-champion Konica Minolta Pioniers opens at home against Amsterdam Pirates.
Also on the Opening Day-schedule is the game between Instant Holland Almere '90 vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW at Almere, while newcomer RCH-Pingu´ns, which promoted last season, will play its first game at home and meets ADO. For RCH-Pingu´ns, this will be their first big league-game since the 2002 season. In that year, the team opened with a 1-4 loss vs. PSV Kenneth Smit Trainingen and went on to win only one game of the 27 played in the first half of the season, after which the league was split in a championship and relegation pool.

DOOR Neptunus, which was dethroned last season after winning the national title seven years in a row from 1999 through 2005, is the first team to have a day off. Because of the total of nine teams playing in the big league, one team will have a day off on every scheduled game day. Neptunus will play its first game on Sunday, April 15 at Amsterdam Pirates. This will mark the fourth time since 2003 that Pirates will play its first home game of the season against the Rotterdam-squad. So far, Neptunus won 4-3 in 2003, then Pirates won 2-1 in 2004. Last year, Neptunus won 3-1. The Sparta/Feyenoord vs. Kinheim meeting on April 14 is the fourth scheduled opening game at Rotterdam between the two teams since 2002. In both 2002 and 2004, Kinheim won 11-1, after which the 2005 contest rained out.

In the schedule, the teams will face another opponent on almost every game-day. In the season, there a 10 2-game series scheduled, with seven of them having games scheduled on Thursday and Saturday. Two are on Saturday and Sunday, with the third being scheduled for Saturday and Monday with another game scheduled in between on Sunday. The schedule will be interrupted in July and August for the trip by the Dutch National Team to the USA and the World Port Tournament (August 2-12) in Rotterdam. After completion of the regular season, another break follows for the European Championships in Spain. Thereafter, the Holland Series is scheduled to decide the Dutch championship. The schedule will become official early next month. The 12 teams who play in Pool A of the First Division also will open their season in the weekend of April 14-15. From Friday, April 20, the nine teams, who play in Pool B, will join in the first Interleague-series of the First Division-season.
(January 24)


...Henk Lukkien...
(1930 - 2007)
Former international Henk Lukkien passed away
HAARLEM (Neth.) - Henk Lukkien, who helped win the European title win in three consecutive years in the fifties, has passed away. In November, Lukkien had turned 76.
Henk Lukkien was primarily an outfielder, but was also a back-up catcher, while playing for Schoten from Haarlem. He went behind the plate in situations when regular catcher Joop Geurts was unable to catch or didn't play.

In 1954, Henk Lukkien was selected for the Dutch National Team for a game against an American team (stationed in England), but then didn't play. Two years later, he made his debut when the Dutch team faced the Bittburg Bombers (American military team stationed in then West-Germany) in an exhibition game for the upcoming European Championships. A month later, Lukkien was a member of the Dutch team which for the first team participated in an European Championship. In Rome (Italy), he made his international debut in the opening game against Italy. He played in leftfield and went 2-for-5. The Dutch team went on to win the game 13-2 and captured the European title five days later. Besides winning the European title, the winner also qualified to participate in the Global World Series, which was held in Milwaukee (USA). Lukkien was a member of the team that played in this event.
In 1957 and 1958, Lukkien again was selected for the national squad which participated in the European Championships, being held these years in Mannheim, West Germany (1957) and Dutch capital Amsterdam (1958). The Dutch team went on to add two more titles and Lukkien played in all games in leftfield. In 1957, the winning of the European title was for the last time combined with qualification for the Global World Series. This time, Lukkien went with the Dutch team to Detroit. In total, Lukkien played in 17 official international games for the Dutch squad.

As a player for Schoten, Lukkien was one of their outfielders for a lot of seasons. With the Haarlem-based club, he won the Dutch championship title four times. Besides playing soccer, he started playing baseball at age 13 and went on to remain with Schoten his entire career, which ended in the early sixties. With Schoten, Lukkien played together with such players as Joop Geurts, Frans Klooster, Gerrit Nanne, Johan Munsterman and playing/coach Henk Keulemans. The latter was also Manager of the Dutch National Team when it captured the three consecutive European titles from 1956-1958 winning all eleven games played during these events.
(January 26)

Dutch Softball Women
Carrousel wins Indoor Cup
SCHIEDAM (Neth.) - Carrousel from Russia, which didn't participate last year, won the annual Indoor Cup in Schiedam last Sunday after a 3-0 shutout-win in the final vs. Eagles (USA), which a year ago finished in 15th and second-to-last-place. Twins finished in third place and was the highest qualified Dutch team.
Last year, five Dutch teams, including the National Junior Team participated in the Indoor Cup-event, this year six teams played in Schiedam, all from the Dutch big league. Among them was A4 Terrasvogels, which last year won the tournament for second time in a row and third time in four years, but this year, the team finished in ninth place.

How did the Dutch teams do?

Twins (3rd place) opened on Friday with a 2-0 shutout win vs. Stripes (USA) by scoring twice in the fifth inning on a single by Marjan Smit and a double by Eveline Vonk. On Saturday, Twins handed Saronno (Italy) a big 14-0 loss. Pitcher Michelle Haen threw a 4-inning No-Hitter, while Carolien Sins went 3-for-4. Later in the day, another shutout followed, this time 3-0 vs. Canadian Leafs (Canada). Marjan Smit scored twice in this game.
In the Second Round, Twins trailed 2-1 vs. Joudrs Praha (Czech Republic), but scored twice in the fourth inning on a fielder's choice-grounder by Daisy de Peinder (who will play for the Italian club Macerata this year) and a basesloaded walk for Sandra Catoen to win 3-2. On Sunday, Twins defeated Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers, 2-1. Again, Twins trailed, as Tex Town Tigers opened the score in the first inning. In the third, Twins came alongside, then scored the winning run in the seventh inning on an RBI-grounder by Eveline Vonk. Twins closed the Second Round with a 0-0 tie vs. Carrousel (Russia) and only Marjan Smit was able to register a basehit in this game.
Final Standings Indoor Cup 2007
4Canadian LeafsCanada
5Computer SOS Tex Town TigersNetherlands
7Joudrs PrahaCzech Rep.
9A4 TerrasvogelsNetherlands
10Euro StarsNetherlands
13Amsterdam PiratesNetherlands
15Brasschaat BravesBelgium
Twins then met Canadian Leafs in the Bronze Medal Game and won 1-0. The lone run was scored in the third inning on a grounder by Carolien Sins, while winning pitcher Christel Vuister struckout eight batters.

Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers finished in fifth place. The team from Enschede played its first game under guidance of new Head Coach Monti VanBrunt and opened on Friday-evening with a 2-1 victory vs. Firestix (USA). TTT scored twice in the third inning on two errors. On Saturday, TTT lost 2-1 to Stars (USA), which broke a 1-1 tie on three hits in the fourth inning. TTT closed the First Round with a 19-0 shutout-win vs. Brasschaat Braves (Belgium) on 15 basehits, including three by Breedge Quinn, Mieke van der Zwaan and Virginie Anneveld, who would be the Best Hitter of the tournament. Pitchers Kirsten Holshof and (newcomer) Anna-Be Bartels combined on a No-Hitter.
In the Second Round, TTT started with a 1-0 loss vs. Carrousel (Russia), then was beaten 2-1 by Twins. After taking an 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI-double by Virginie Anneveld, losing pitcher Rebecca Soumeru gave up runs in the third and seventh inning. Soumeru, who is on the roster of Dutch champion Sparks Haarlem, struckout eight and gave up only three hits as a guestpitcher with Tex Town Tigers. In the next game, TTT won 4-1 vs. Joudrs Praha. After trailing 1-0, TTT scored four runs in the fifth inning. Rebecca Soumeru and Anna-Be Bartels threw a combined No-Hitter.
Tex Town Tigers then had to play for fifth and sixth place vs. Stars (USA) and won 1-0 with the lone run being scored in the fifth inning by Merel Oosterveld on a wild pitch. Rebecca Soumeru struckout nine batters.

Centrals finished in eighth place. The team, which made their big league-debut last year, opened with an 1-0 shutout-loss against eventual tournament-winner Carrousel from Russia. The run was scored on four hits in the fifth inning. Kim van der Helm started for Centrals as a guest-pitcher, as she is on the roster of Van der Peijl DSC '74. On Saturday, she was the winning pitcher, as Centrals defeated last years winner A4 Terrasvogels, 3-1. After tying the game in the fourth, Centrals scored twice in the fifth inning on a double by Amber Dammers. Centrals closed the First Round with a 0-0 tie vs. Bulls (USA).
In the Second Round, Centrals opened with 2-0 loss vs. Stars (USA), then was shutout again on Sunday vs. Eagles (USA). In the third game of this round, Centrals again didn't score, as it played a 0-0 tie vs. Canadian Leafs (Canada). Centrals had only one hit in this game, registered by FabiŰnne Stuart.
In the game for seventh and eighth place, Centrals played a 1-1 tie vs. Joudrs Praha, which was awarded seventh place according to tournament rules.

A4 Terrasvogels ended in ninth place. The winner of the last two tournaments, remained winless in the First Round. They started with an 1-0 loss on Friday-evening vs. Bulls (USA) on an error in the fourth inning. Dagmar Bloeming made her debut with the team and struckout eight, while giving up only one basehit. On Saturday, Terrasvogels was beaten 3-1 by Centrals. Terrasvogels took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Linda Hoenderdos, but failed to hold onto it. Terrasvogels closed the First Round with a 4-1 loss vs. Carrousel (Russia).
Individual Awards Indoor Cup 2007
Most Valuable Player
Mackenzie BrooksCanadian Leafs
Best Pitcher
Lauren BrownCanadian Leafs
Best Hitter
Virginie AnneveldComputer SOS Tex Town Tigers
Best Defensive Player
Ekatarina EroninaCarrousel
In the Second Round, Terrasvogels recovered and won three games. They opened with a 3-0 shutout vs. Firestix (USA) on a 4-hitter by Annemiek van Riessen. A single by Petra van Heijst, double by Olga Kleinlooh and grounder by Nicole Wessels accounted for the runs. On Sunday, two more shutouts followed. First, Amsterdam Pirates was shutout 7-0 on a 4-hitter by Sandra Gouverneur, while Nathalie Gosewehr had three RBI's. Next, a 4-0 shutout followed vs. Stripes (USA). In this game, Annemiek van Riessen threw an one-hitter.
In the game for ninth and tenth place, Terrasvogels won 5-2 vs. Euro Stars, but was outhit 8-4.

Euro Stars finished in tenth place. The team which finished in fifth place last year, opened on Friday with a 3-0 shutout-loss vs. Eagles, whose pitcher Sara Evans struckout 15 batters. On Saturday, Euro Stars had only three hits and ran into a 3-0 shutout-loss vs. Joudrs Praha (Czech Republic), then played a 1-1 tie vs. Amsterdam Pirates. Euro Stars took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a double by Kelly De Lannoy, but then an error accounted for the tying run in the home fourth.
In Round Two, Euro Stars opened on Sunday with 5-1 win vs. Saronno from Italy. Manon Schol had three hits in this game. Next, Euro Stars was beaten 5-2 by Bulls (USA), then ended with a 6-0 shutout-win vs. Brasschaat Braves (Belgium) on an one-hitter by Daisy Verstappen. Euro Stars had a 4-run third inning, thanks to RBI-singles by Dayanara Lucio and Davinia de Kwant and a 2-run double by Kim Donkers.
In the game for ninth and tenth place, Euro Stars outhit A4 Terrasvogels, 8-4, but committed six errors, resulting in a 5-2 loss.

Amsterdam Pirates finished the tournament in 13th place. Pirates, which last season won the championship in the First Division, will return to the big league this year. Of the seven games they played, Pirates won two and played one tie, making it a good preparation for their re-acquaintance with the big league later this year. Pirates opened well on Saturday-morning with a 1-0 win vs. Joudrs Praha (Czech Republic). The lone run was scored in the first inning when Montana van Maris scored on sac-bunt by Chantal v.d. Loosdrecht. Pirates had nine hits, including two by Montana van Maris and Iris Kolman. Pirates failed to add more runs in the fifth. Rookie Shanna van Vegten led off with a single, but later was forced out in this at bat, in which Pirates stranded three runners. In their next game, Pirates was shutout 9-0 by Eagles (USA), as pitcher Madelon Bronner had control-problems and walked nine batters. Next, an 1-1 tie followed vs. Euro Stars.
In the second round, Pirates opened with a 2-1 loss vs. Stripes (USA). Pirates stranded three runners in the first inning, then gave up two runs, before scoring their lone run in the third on a grounder by newcomer Antal Roos. Pirates recovered and won its next game vs. Firestix (USA), 2-1. Pirates opened the score in the first inning on a triple by Gallieth Haaker and added a run in the third. The Second Round was closed with a 7-0 loss vs. A4 Terrasvogels.
In the game for 13th and 14th place, Pirates won 5-1 vs. Bulls (USA), which last year finished in eighth place. Pirates had only two hits in this game and increased a 2-1 lead with three runs in the fifth inning on an RBI-single by Cindy Baretta, an RBI-grounder by Claudia Kotmans and a basesloaded walk for Shannah van der Kaaij. Baretta and Van der Kaaij are newcomers in the Pirates-squad.

In the Final, Eagles-pitcher Sara Evans struckout ten Carrousel-batters, but her teammates produced only three hits off Anna Moiseeva, who threw a 7-inning shutout.
(January 15)

Preliminary Roster Dutch Team announced
NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - Liz Kelly, the American Manager of the Dutch National Women Softball Team, and her staff have named 25 players to the preliminary roster of the national squad, the Dutch Association KNBSB announced.
This year, the Dutch team has two important events on its agenda. From May 28 through June 2, the squad will participate in the European Championships, which will be played on Sportpark Ookmeer, the site of Amsterdam Pirates, in the Dutch capital Amsterdam. A week later, from June 9-16, the Africa/European Olympic Qualifying Tournament is scheduled to be played in the Italian city of Trieste. The winner of that event will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (China). A trainingcamp is scheduled in the week before the European Championships.

Amongst the 25 players are nine who play for Dutch champion Sparks Haarlem and seven, who are on the roster of vice-champion A4 Terrasvogels. Experienced players Kim Kluijskens (1B) and Jolanda Kroesen (OF) return in the team after an absence of a few years. Three selected players, Debby Connor (IF / DP), Saskia Kosterink (OF) and Areke Spel (P), are combining softball at the moment with studying in the United States. Veteran infielder Daisy de Peinder will play in Italy this season. After having played a lot of years for Twins, she now will play for Macerata. Kristi DeVries (P) and Mackenzie Vandergeest (Utility), two American players with a Dutch passport, are also on the Dutch roster again. Vandergeest made her debut in November last year during the Japan Cup-tournament in Yokohama (Japan), while DeVries already is a member of the Dutch squad for a few years.

The Dutch roster is as follows:
Pitchers (6):
Dagmar Bloeming, Judith van Kampen (both A4 Terrasvogels), Kristi DeVries (Ohio State University, USA), Kirsten Scheele, Rebecca Soumeru (both Haarlem) and Areke Spel (Euro Stars).
Catchers (3):
Nina van Huissteden (A4 Terrasvogels), Kim KafoÚ (Sparks Haarlem) and Ellen Venker (Euro Stars).
Infielders (8):
NoÚmi Boekel, Lynn Geertman, Kim Kluijskens, Chantal Versluis (all Sparks Haarlem), Sandra Gouverneur, Petra van Heijst (both A4 Terrasvogels), Daisy de Peinder (Macerata, Italy), Marjan Smit (Twins).
Outfielders (6):
Marloes Fellinger, Jolanda Kroesen (both Sparks Haarlem), Nathalie Gosewehr, Marieke Jansen (both A4 Terrasvogels), Saskia Kosterink (Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers), Carolien Sins (Twins).
Utility Players (2):
Debby Connor (Euro Stars), Mackenzie Vandergeest (Chicago Bandits, USA).

(January 15)

Haarlem honors Sparks, Kluijskens, Lablans

...Sparks Haarlem - Sports Team of the Year...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
HAARLEM (Neth.) - On its annual Sports Gala, the Municipaly of Haarlem honored the best sporters of 2006 on Tuesday-evening. Voting was done by a jury as well as readers of the Haarlems Dagblad newspaper.

...Olga Lablans...
(Photo: Inge Consent)
The softball-team of Sparks Haarlem, which won the Dutch title last year for the third season in a row, was named Sports Team of the Year. Also nominated were baseball champion Corendon Kinheim and the men softball-team of DeMo EHS, which won the European Cup. Sparks edged these two nominees, as the women softball-team not only won the national title, but also reached the European Cup-final in which it lost.

Kim Kluijskens, who plays first base for Sparks Haarlem and last month was named Most Valuable Player of the softball-season, also was honored Tuesday-evening, as she was named Female Atlete of the Year.

Another award also went to the softball-community, as Olga Lablans was named Volunteer of the Year. Olga Lablans is an Official Scorer, but besides that has done a lot of volunteering work with Sparks Haarlem and SC Haarlem.

Tjerk Smeets, the catcher of Corendon Kinheim, was nominated for Male Atlete of the Year, but that title went to a karateka.
(January 23)

Regular Softball Season opens in 80 days!
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - The Regular Season 2007 in the Dutch Major League opens on Saturday, April 14, exactly 80 days from Wednesday-afternoon (today). On the same date, the First Division also opens its new season.

Sparks Haarlem, which last year claimed its third championship title in a row, opens the season with a double-header at Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers in Enschede. This is one of two double-headers to start at 4:00 PM, the other being Twins vs. Centrals at Oosterhout.
The season opens two hours earlier with two other double-headers. Euro Stars will host Amsterdam Pirates, which won the First Division-title lat year and promoted. For Pirates, this will be their comeback in the highest division after a one-year absence. In 2005, the team relegated from the big league. In the second 2:00 PM double-header, vice-champion A4 Terrasvogels plays as home vs. Van der Peijl DSC '74.

After playing seven double-headers between Saturday, April 14 and Thursday, May 17, the season will be interrupted for a long period. For six weekends, no regular season games will be scheduled. The first regular season games will then be played again on Tuesday-evening, July 3. The 46 days between regular season games will be an important period for the Dutch National Softball Team. From May 28 through June 2, the European Championships will be played in Amsterdam on the site of Amsterdam Pirates, followed by the African/European Olympic Qualifier in Trieste (Italy) from June 9-16.

The regular season in the big league ends on Saturday, August 25 with the Play-Offs to open on Friday, August 31.
In the First Division, four double-headers are scheduled on Saturday, April 14, all starting on a different time. The season opens on 12:00 PM when Van der Peijl DSC 2 plays at home against Alcmaria Victrix. Three more double-headers will follow then, starting at 2, 4 and 5:30 PM.
(January 24)

International Baseball
Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn in Hall of Fame

...Cal Ripken, Jr....
...Hall of Fame...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
NEW YORK, New York (USA) - As expected, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected almost unanimously into the Major League Hall of Fame on Tuesday-afternoon. Also, as more or less expected, Mark McGwire wasn't elected in his first try.
Former infielder (short stop, later third base) Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles received 537 votes of 98,5 percent to lead this years class. Outfielder Tony Gwynn, who played his entire career with the San Diego Padres received 532 votes or 97,6 percent. Players needed 75 percent to be elected. Pitcher Rich 'Goose' Gossage, who pitched for the New York Yankees amongst others, fell 21 votes short to be elected. Ripken and Gwynn are both icons in Major League Baseball and were both eligible for election for the first time.

...New Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr....
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Cal Ripken played in a record 2632 consecutive games between 1982 and 1998 to break the record held by legendary 'Iron Horse' Lou Gehrig, whose record whas long thought to be unbreakable. Gehrig accomplished his feat between 1925 and 1939 playing for the New York Yankees, but had to end his career prematurely because he suffered from ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Ripken played in 21 Major League-seasons in which he hit 3184 basehits, including 431 homeruns. He was the American League MVP twice and played in 19 All Star Games.

Tony Gwynn won the batting title eight times in the National League, in which he played in 20 seasons. Gwynn had 3141 basehits and batted .338 and he was a 15-time All Star.

But when today's election approached, there were discussions and doubts concerning a possible election of powerhitter Mark McGwire, who also was eligible for the first time. In his 16 seasons as a player for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire belted 583 homeruns, which total is seventh on the all-time list. In 1998, he was the first player to hit 70 homeruns in one season. However, in 2005 former teammate JosÚ Canseco wrote a book and therein stated that McGwire had used performance enhancing drugs when he played for the A's. But there never have been any hard proof that McGwire indeed used illegal substances and he always had denied using it. It is expected that McGwire will earn his place in the Hall of Fame in the future, but at the moment, the voting members of the American Baseball Writers Association thought it was too soon to elect him. Not only because of the stories surrounding his performaces, but probably also because he only had 1626 basehits in his career and never was named Most Valuable Player. McGwire received only 128 votes or less than a quarter percent than necessary. In 1983, McGwire played with the national team of the USA against the Netherlands during the Intercontinental Cup in Antwerp (Belgium).
(January 9)

European Cup-competitions announced
HAARLEM (Neth.) - The Technical Committee of the European Baseball Confederation (CEB) confirmed that the European Club Competions for 2007 will be played in the week from Monday, June 11 through Sunday, June 17. Representatives of the CEB Technical Commission will arrange the formation of the groups and the drawings on February 10 during a meeting in Prague (Czech Republic).
Dutch champion Corendon Kinheim will travel to San Marino for participation in the European Cup Tournament, while vice-champion and Cupholder Konica Minolta Pioniers will organize the CupWinners Cup Tournament on its complex in Hoofddorp. DOOR Neptunus, which finished third in the regular season last year, also is qualified to participate in an European competition, but as of now it is not yet known wether the Rotterdam-squad will play for the European Cup or the CupWinners Cup. It is proposed to improve the strenghth in both tournaments by adding a Dutch and/or an Italian team. On the meeting in Prague, it will be decided who the eighth teams will be in both events.

The scheduled tournaments are the following:

European Cup - A Pool at San Marino (San Marino) from Tuesday, June 12 - Saturday, June 16.
Participants are: San MarinoASD Rimini Pirates (Italy), Corendon Kinheim (Netherlands), Marlins Puerta Cruz (Spain), Draci Brno (Czech Republic), Solingen Aligators (Germany), Rouen Huskies (France) and a to be named eighth team.

CupWinners Cup - A Pool at Hoofddorp (Netherlands) from Wednesday, June 13 - Sunday, June 17.
Participants: Konica Minolta Pioniers (Netherlands), Kaunas Lithuanica (Lituania), Arrows Ostrava (Czech Republic), Apollo Bratislava (Slovakia), Barracudas Montpellier (France), Sant Boi de Llobregat (Spain), Regensburg Legionńre (Germany) and a to be named eighth team.

CEB Cup - A Pool at Zagreb and Karlovac (Croatia) from Wednesday, June 13 - Sunday, June 17.
Participants: BK Keltecs Karlovac (Croatia), FC Barcelona (Spain), Technika Brno (Czech Republic), BC Beograd (Serbia), Heidenheim Heidek÷pfe (Germany), STB Toulouse (France), BSK Zagreb (Croatia) and Dinamo Bucharest (Romania).

European Cup Qualifiers, one Group at Blagoevdgrad (Bulgaria) (8 teams) and one Group at Abrantas (Portugal) (6 teams).
Group-alignments will be decided on February 10.
As of now, the following teams have registered for participation: Tranas BK (Sweden), Bern Cardinals (Switzerland), Minsk (Belarus), Tigres de LoulÚ (Portugal), Buffaloes Blagoevdgrad (Bulgaria), TJ STU Trnava (Slovakia), Balashika Tornados (Russia), MKS Kutno (Poland), Espoo Expos (Finland), Vindija Varazdin (Croatia), Oslo Pretenders (Norway) and Spartacus Glyfadas (Greece).

CupWinners Cup Qualifier at Stockholm (Sweden). No dates confirmed yet.
As of now, the following teams have registered for participation: Stockholm (Sweden), KS Deby Osielsko (Poland), North Stars (Russia), Sissach Frogs (Switzerland) and Brest Zubrs (Belarus).

CEB Cup Qualifier at Szentendre (Hungary). No dates confirmed yet.
Participants: Dornbirns Indians (Austria), Sugar Storm (Belarus), Barracudas BC (Switzerland), Demony Miejska Gorka (Poland), MGPU SYOS N42 (Russia), Athletic Sofia (Bulgaria) and BG Juodasis Vikingas (Lituania).
(January 22)

Victoria victorious in Claxton Shield
PERTH (Australia) - The Victoria Aces are the new champions of the Australian Baseball League. On Saturday, Victoria defeated the New South Wales Patriots, 4-3, in the all-deciding final and scored the winning run in the home of the ninth inning. For Victoria this was their record-setting 21st Claxton Shield-championship.

It was the third time the two teams met in the eight-day tournament to decide the Australian championship. In the round-robin, the Patriots won 8-7, then the Aces reached the Final by winning 6-3 against the Patriots in the semi-finals. New South Wales got a second chance in the third place-game. In that match-up, the Patriots became the second finalist by scoring twice in the ninth inning to comeback and win 3-2 vs. South Australia, where former Dutch big league-pitcher Tajah Merrill, he pitched for Kinheim, was one of the pitchers.

In the Final, NSW opened the scoring in the second inning when veteran Brendan Kingman scored when first baseman Daniel Berg had to come off the base on a throw from short stop Brad Harman. Kingman had led off with a single and moved to third on two groundouts, before scoring on the infield-single by Andrew Graham. Victoria immediately came alongside in the home of the second. Matthew Kent led off with a single, moved on a single and a sac-bunt, then scored when Andrew Russell reached first base on a 2-out error.
The Patriots regained the lead in the next at bat. With two outs, experienced (international) players Gavin Fingleson, Glenn Williams and Brendan Kingman produced three consecutive singles, resulting in a 2-1 lead. NSW added a run in the sixth inning on a double by Kingman, which enabled Glenn Williams, who walked, to score all the way from first base. Victoria answered in the home sixth when Matthew Kent led off with a homerun. Then, in the seventh inning, Victoria tied the score again when captain Ben Utting, another veteran, also homered.
In the top of the ninth inning, NSW got a runner on third base, but failed to score. In the home ninth, Victoria decided the game. With a runner on first base, a sacrifice bunt failed, but then Ben Utting's line drive could not be handled, putting runners on first and second base. Next, Paul Weichard appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play, but beat the throw to first base. Now, with runners on first and third base, closer Andrew Cooke was brought in. He faced Paul Rutgers, who hit a 2-0 pitch into leftfield for a single to give Victoria a 4-3 victory and win the Claxton Shield-championship tournament.
Victoria-catcher Matthew Kent won the Helms Award for the Most Valuable Player of the Claxton Shield.
(January 28)

International Softball Women
First Olympic Qualifier opens soon
PLANT CITY, Florida (USA) - The first of three regional Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will begin in less than two weeks. In these events, the last three remaining countries will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (China). Five participants are already known. Besides organizing country China, four countries qualified during last years World Championships, being Australia, Canada, Japan and USA.

From February 1-7, the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be played in Tainan City (Taiwan) at the site of last yearĺs World University Softball Championship. Participating in that event are Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, (South) Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore. Taiwan got the right to organize the event as it was the highest ranking Asian country on the World Championships, but then didn't qualify for the Olympics.
The softball-team of Chinese Taipei departed on Saturday, January 20 for an intensive four-day training in Guangzhou (China). There, the Taiwanese squad will play against the national team of China, as well as a team from the Guangdong Province. The Taiwanese team already is training since the Spring of 2005 to prepare for Olympic qualification. Last month, Taiwan won the Silver Medal during the Asian Games in Doha (Qatar).
The Philippine squad, nicknamed 'Blue Girls', is having daily practices, including games, to prepare for the upcoming event. As part of their preparation, the team last year also participated in the 1st Cebuana Lhuillier Softball Invitational Tournament, competing against the country's top collegiate men's softball teams, and finished in third place.
New Zealand Head Coach Dean Rice has selected a team high on experience and recalled five players to the national squad of the 'White Sox', being IF Lisa Kersten, UT Togi Lote, C Kiri Shaw, C Jackie Smith and OF Kim Dermot, but also selected debutants OF Brooke Cutting and UT Amelia Rika. Before traveling to Taiwan, New Zealand will play six practice games in Melbourne (Australia). Earlier this month, most players took part in the National Provincial Cup Tournament in Wellington.

This event will be followed by the Africa/Europe Olympic Qualifying Tournament, to be held June 9-16 in Trieste (Italy). The International Softball Federation (ISF) reported that it already has received entry forms for that event from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia and South Africa.
The Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be held from August 18-26 in Venezuela.
(January 21)

ISF awards Junior World Championships to Netherlands!
PLANT CITY, Florida (USA) / ENSCHEDE (Neth.) - The International Softball Federation (ISF) on January 30 announced that the organization of the 2007 ISF VIII Junior Women's Fast Pitch World Championship (19-and-under) was awarded to the Netherlands and will be held in the city of Enschede. The dates for the event are Wednesday, June 20 through Saturday, June 30 and will be held at the complex of Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers. The last Championship was held in Nanjing (China) in 2003 where Japan won the title. This will mark the first time that a softball World Championship will be held in the Netherlands. In its announcement, the ISF cited Dutch Association President Jan Rijpstra. He said: ,,We are very excited and looking forward to being the host for this important ISF event''. A total of 16 countries are expected to participate. It will be the first time, the Junior World Championships will be held in Europe.
Previous Jr. World Championships
1981Edmonton (Canada)JapanUSAChina
1985Fargo (USA)ChinaJapanUSA
1987Oklahoma City (USA)USAChinaJapan
1991Adelaide (Australia)JapanUSAChina
1995Normal (USA)USAJapanAustralia
1999Taipei (Taiwan)JapanUSATaiwan
2003Nanjing (China)JapanUSAAustralia
2007Enschede (Netherlands)
The event will follow another important tournament in the Netherlands, to be held only three weeks earlier. From May 28-June 2, the European Women's Championships will be organized on the complex of Amsterdam Pirates in the Dutch capital. In between the two tournaments, the Africa/Europe Olympic Qualifier will be held in Trieste (Italy) from June 9-16.

Initially, the tournament was to be held in Kutno, but the Polish Federation withdraw from organizing the event. Hereafter, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands were considered as candidates for the organization.
The Dutch Association approached Tex Town Tigers for the organization, as this club has a lot of experience of organizing international events, including the 2000 Junior European Championships, which was one of the best organized events ever. Besides this, Tex Town Tigers annually organizes the international J.C.J. Mastenbroek Tournament, 4-day event for both baseball and softball. In this years edition, being held April 6-9, teams from Belgium, Russia and Czech Republic will join the Dutch participating teams. Currently, eight players of Tex Town Tigers are members of the Dutch National Junior Team. Because of their experiences, Tex Town Tigers has a good feeling and confidence that they will be able to set up a good organization for the upcoming Junior World Championships.
Jan van der Molen, Bertil Haage and chairman/tournament director Joop Hassink, who were members of the EC 2000 Organizing Committee, are returning to this year OC.
Additional information is expected later.
(January 31)

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