Grand Slam

Baseball & Softball Headlines
February 2007

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2007 by Marco Stoovelaar

Index News Archive FEBRUARY 2007

Dutch Baseball
Theo Reitsma nominated for IBAF Presidency. (February 2)
Dutch Team travels with 21 players to Curaçao. (February 1)
Pioniers wins Award. (February 23)
New schedule released. (February 23)
Exhibition Season opens coming weekend. (February 25)
Cancelation and Exhibition Updates. (February 26)

Dutch Softball Women
Sparks announces main sponsor for European Cup-tournament. (February 8)
Logos released for European & World Championships. (February 25)

International Baseball
Three candidates nominated for IBAF Presidency. (February 2)
Dominicans, Puerto Rico dominate Caribbean Series. (February 4)
Domicans win Carribean Series. (February 8)

International Softball Women
Taiwan leads in Olympic Qualifier. (February 4)
Taiwan clinch Olympic spot. (February 8)

News Archive 2007
News Archive 2006

Dutch Baseball
Dutch Team off to Curaçao with 21 players
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - The Dutch National Baseball Team will leave for Curaçao on Friday. There, the squad of Manager Robert Eenhoorn will stage a training session, which will last one week. Manager Robert Eenhoorn and his coachingstaff (Brian Farley, Wim Martinus) will go to the Netherlands Antillles with 21 players. The team will play no games on Curaçao.
Not participating in the training camp are RHP Rob Cordemans (ADO), LHP Diegomar Markwell (DOOR Neptunus), IF Ivanon Coffie (Instant Holland Almere '90) and OF Kalian Sams (ADO). Cordemans and Coffie currently are in Taiwan, while Markwell will travel to the Asian country next week. It is very likely that this trio will play professionally in Taiwan this season. Sams will go to Arizona to prepare for his first professional season in the organization of the Seattle Mariners. RHP Tom Stuifbergen (Amsterdam Pirates) will be with the squad on Curaçao, but afterwards he will travel to Florida where he has to report in the Spring Training camp of the Minnesota Twins for his first professional season in the USA. On Curaçao, Eenhoorn's coaching staff will be joined again by Hensley Meulens, who in 2003 and 2004 already was a member of the Dutch coaching staff. The former American and Japanese Major Leaguer (New York Yankees amongst others) played for the Dutch team from 2000-2002, which included the Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia).

The weeklong practice session is part of the preparations for the upcoming international season, which include four events. This year, the Dutch Team has a busy schedule. In five months, the Dutch team will travel 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 the Barcelona-area (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).

While there have been training sessions before an event in the past, this will mark the sixth time that the Dutch Baseball Team includes a pre-season training session in its preparations and the third in the last four years that it will be held on Curaçao. The first time that the Dutch team went abroad was in 1999 when the team prepared in Florida (USA) with 22 players. A year later, the team went to Italy with 23 players. Back then, the team was managed by Jan Dick Leurs, who later in 2000 was succeeded by Pat Murphy, before Robert Eenhoorn took over in 2001. The next pre-season session was held in 2004, when 26 players went to Curaçao. A year later, the Dutch team returned to Curaçao with 25 players. Last year, there was no session on Curaçao, as the Dutch team participated in the World Baseball Classic in Puerto Rico. In the week before that event, the team prepared itself in Florida with a roster of 34 players.

Team Roster for Curaçao Trip

Pitchers (9):
David Bergman, Michiel van Kampen (both Corendon Kinheim), Kenny Berkenbosch, Nick Stuifbergen, Tom Stuifbergen (all Amsterdam Pirates), Leon Boyd, Gregory Gustina, Jurjen van Zijl (all DOOR Neptunus) and Dave Draijer (Konica Minolta Pioniers).

Catchers (4):
Johnny Balentina (DOOR Neptunus), Mark Duursma (Konica Minolta Pioniers), Sidney de Jong (Amsterdam Pirates) and Tjerk Smeets (Corendon Kinheim).

Infielders (5):
Sharnol Adriana (Tuneros de San Luis, Mexico), Michael Duursma (Konica Minolta Pioniers), Percy Isenia (ADO), Roel Koolen (Corendon Kinheim) and Raily Legito (DOOR Neptunus).

Outfielders (3):
Eugene Kingsale (Instant Holland Almere '90), Dirk van 't Klooster and Danny Rombley (both Corendon Kinheim).

Robert Eenhoorn (Manager), Brian Farley (Pitching Coach), Wim Martinus (Coach), Hensley Meulens (Coach), Martijn van Berkel (Physical Therapist), Frans Bergman (Equipment Manager), Kees Sleegers (Business Manager).

(February 1)

Pioniers wins Award
HOOFDDORP (Neth.) - Konica Minolta Pioniers, the vice-champion of last year, has been named the TopSport Team of 2006 in the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer where the city of Hoofddorp is part of.

The presentation of the award took place during the annual SportToppers-event, organized by the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, which was hosted by Humberto Tan, who is a sports talkshow-host for the Dutch TV-channel Tien.
Awards were handed out by (amongst others) Mrs. Tineke Netelenbos, the Mayor of Hoofddorp, and Mrs. Karin Ruckstuhl, who won the Silver Medal on the European Track & Field Championships. On behalf of Pioniers, team-captain Dè Flanegin accepted the TopSport Team Award.

Pioniers also was nominated for Sports Club of the Year, but that Award went to Volleyball Club Hoofddorp.
Last year, Pioniers dethroned Dutch champion DOOR Neptunus en route to the Holland Series. In the final, Pioniers faced Corendon Kinheim, which needed all five game to capture the Dutch championship.
(February 23)

New schedule released
NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - The new and final version of the game schedule for the 2007 season in the Dutch Major League and First Division has been released.

A new schedule was needed after some of the big league-teams criticized the original schedule. Because there are nine teams playing in the highest Dutch division, one team will be off on all game days. In the original schedule, teams would face a different opponent on every game day, meaning every team would play at least once in the weekend series. In the new schedule, teams are meeting the same opponent in a weekend series, just as in a season with an even total of teams. But this construction means, one team will be off for the entire weekend. Both formats have been used in the past, but clubs feel more comfortable with the weekend-off system instead of facing a different opponent every game day. There now will be only one weekend in which teams will face a different opponent on Saturday and Sunday, being July 14-15. In the Opening Weekend, there are two games with different opponents. The number of games to be played remains 40. The best-of-five Play-Offs will be played after completion of the European Championships in Spain with the first game being scheduled for Thursday, September 20. When all five games are needed in the Play-Offs, the all-deciding Holland Series will open on Thursday, October 4, with the fifth game being scheduled for Sunday, October 14.

Only one game of the Opening Weekend from the original schedule remained, being the game between Amsterdam Pirates and DOOR Neptunus on Sunday, April 15. The other seven games all changed.
On Saturday, April 14, the same four teams that opened at home in the original schedule will do the same in the new set-up, but face another opponent. Dutch champion Corendon Kinheim now will play its first game on Saturday at Almere vs. Almere '90 instead of facing Sparta/Feyenoord. Vice-champion Konica Minolta Pioniers, which initially would have faced Amsterdam Pirates, now opens at home vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW, while Pirates has no game scheduled. Sparta/Feyenoord hosts ADO and DOOR Neptunus, which initially would have started with a day off, now opens at MediaMonks RCH-Pinguïns, which promoted from the First Division.
On Sunday, as mentioned, Pirates opens at home vs. Neptunus, while RCH-Pinguïns is the team with the day off. Pioniers travels to HCAW (which played two road games in the initial schedule), ADO meets Sparta/Feyenoord and Kinheim plays at home vs. Almere '90 (which initially played two home games).
Because of the changes, some adjustments also had to be made in the First Division. Besides that, the teams in Pool B of this league will play an additional eight games within its own pool.
(February 23)

Complete day-by-day schedule

Exhibition Season opens coming weekend
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - Weather permitting, the Exhibition Baseball Season will open coming weekend. The first exhibition game is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, with two more to be played the next day. The regular season opens on Saturday, April 14.

On Saturday, March 3, DOOR Neptunus will play at home vs. Sparta/Feyenoord, while on Sunday, March 4, these two teams will play at the site of the latter. Amsterdam Pirates opens its exhibition season on Sunday against its First Division-team Amsterdam Pirates 2.

Last year, 22 of the first 26 scheduled exhibition games were canceled due to weather conditions. The complete schedules of the first two weekends (March 4-5, 11-12) were scrubbed, with the first games being played on March 18 and 19. In this weekend, four games were played, while seven were canceled.
In 2005, the first five exhibition games (March 5-6) also were canceled. In both 2005 and 2005, it started to snow on the first days of March, resulting in the cancelations.

Almost 70 exhibition games, involving big league-teams, are scheduled. In the exhibition period, ADO and Sparta/Feyenoord also have a training weekend scheduled on their complex. Dutch champion Corendon Kinheim will have a weeklong training period in Antalya (Turkey) at the end of March, which has been made possible thanks to its main sponsor Corendon, which is a Turkish company and specialized in holidays to Turkey, where a Baseball Federation was founded in 2001.
The exhibition season will be traditionally closed with four tournaments. In the weekend of March 31-April 1, De Hazenkamp, which last season promoted from Third to Second Division, will organize its annual Jan van de Vegte Memorial Tournament on its site in Nijmegen with participation of big leaguers Mr. Cocker HCAW and MediaMonks RCH-Pinguïns and First Divisionist Sparks Haarlem.
The week hereafter, three tournaments are scheduled in the Easter Weekend. Starting on Saturday, April 7 Bussum-based Mr. Cocker HCAW organizes its annual 3-day In Memoriam Charles Urbanus Sr. Tournament. Instead of four teams, the tournament will have three participating teams, being last years Holland Series-opponents Corendon Kinheim and Konica Minolta Pioniers and host HCAW. At Rotterdam, Sparta/Feyenoord will organize its annual 3-day Hudson John Tournament with participation of ADO, Amsterdam Pirates, DOOR Neptunus and host Sparta/Feyenoord.
At Enschede, First Divisionist Tex Town Tigers will organize the 25th edition of its annual J.C.J. Mastenbroek Tournament, which will open on Friday, April 6. From the big league, Almere '90 and MediaMonks RCH-Pinguïns will participate and will join First Division-clubs Alcmaria Victrix and host Tex Town Tigers. The fifth participating team is Belgian champion Royal Greys.

As done in previous years, the Line Scores of all exhibition games will be published again on this site. When possible, the Box Scores of these games will also be available, which will be a new service.
(February 25)

Cancelation and Exhibition Updates
ROTTERDAM (Neth.) - The first cancelation of the 2007 Exhibition Season is a fact. On Monday, it was announced that the opening game between DOOR Neptunus and Sparta/Feyenoord, scheduled for next Saturday, will not be played. The Head Coaches of both teams decided that it wasn't a good idea of playing a game without having practiced outdoor before. As a practice session is now planned for Saturday, the second game between the two teams, scheduled for Sunday, probably will be played. But instead of playing the game at the site of Sparta/Feyenoord, it probably will be played in the Neptunus Familystadium, as the field of Sparta/Feyenoord is being renovated.

BUSSUM (Neth.) - Mr. Cocker HCAW announced some changes in its exhibition schedule, as well as the schedule for the In Memoriam Charles Urbanus Sr. Tournament, which will be held April 7-9. In the tournament, participants Corendon Kinheim, Konica Minolta Pioniers and host Mr. Cocker HCAW will meet each other twice.
(February 26)

Dutch Softball Women
Sparks announces main sponsor for European Cup-tournament
HAARLEM (Neth.) - The organization of the European Cup Softball Tournament, to be held in August, announces that it has attracted a main sponsor for the event. After some subsponsors already were added for the tournament, an agreement was reached with beer supplier Maes for not only financial support, but also 'dressing' the playing site. The name of the event now will be Maes-pils European Cup 1 softball. The tournament will be played from Monday, August 20 through Saturday, August 25 on the Noordersportpark, the home field of Dutch champion Sparks Haarlem. The second playing field for the event will be that of A4 Terrasvogels in nearby Santpoort.

The field of participants is now also known. As reported earlier, ten teams will come to Haarlem, being Fabi Macerata (Italy), Fiorini Forlì (Italy), Dornbirn Sharx (Austria), SK Joudrs Praha (Czech Republic), Viladecans (Spain), Mannheim Tornados (Germany), Cavigal Nice (France), Brasschaat Braves (Belgium), Carrousel Bosco Sport (Russia) and host Sparks Haarlem (Netherlands).
Sparks also has opened a website for the tournament:
(February 8)

Logos released for European & World Championships
AMSTERDAM / ENSCHEDE (Neth.) - The Organizing Committees of the European Softball Championships in Amsterdam and World Junior Softball Championships in Enschede recently released the official logos for the two tournaments.

...Official Logo...
...European Championships...

...Official Logo...
...World Junior Championships...
From May 28 through June 2, the 15th Women's Fastpitch European Championships will be held in the Dutch capital Amsterdam on the site of Amsterdam Pirates at Sportpark Ookmeer. This will be the third European Championships to be held in the Netherlands. The first time was in 1981 at Haarlem, the second time in 1992 at Bussum.
At the moment, there are some rumors that the event might start two days earlier on Saturday, May 26 instead of Monday, May 28, but this is not confirmed yet.
The organization in Amsterdam did confirm that an official website for the event is under construction and will be on-line soon.

From June 20 through 30, the 8th ISF World Junior Championships will take place on the complex of Computer SOS Tex Town Tigers at Sportpark De Kroedkotten in the city of Enschede, which is located in the eastern part of the Netherlands. This will be the first time that the Junior Championships will be held in Europe.
The organization announced that the preliminary version of the official website for the tournament already is on-line and can be found at The final version will be available soon.
(February 25)

International Baseball
Reitsma, two others nominated for IBAF Presidency
LAUSANNE (Switzerland) - Former Dutch Association President Theo Reitsma is one of three candidates nominated for the Presidency of the International BAseball Federation (IBAF). The others are former USA Olympic Committee Executive Director Harvey W. Schiller and Cuban IOC Member Reynaldo González López. On Friday, February 2, the three were officially nominated by the IBAF, as the deadline to apply for candidacy had passed. On March 3, during the IBAF Congress in Beijing (China), one of them will be elected to succeed Aldo Notari, who passed away on July 25. The Italian had been the IBAF President since 1993.
One of the prime goals for the new IBAF President will be the reinstatement of baseball on the Olympic Games. The earliest that can happen will be in 2009 when the sports will be determined for the 2016 Olympics. Baseball and softball were dropped as Olympic sport for the 2012 Olympics in London (Great Britain), meaning next years Olympics in Beijing will be the last (at this moment) where baseball and softball are on the Games schedule. All three candidates have a long career in sports, including baseball.

...Theo Reitsma, Robert Eenhoorn (Dutch national team Manager) and Jan de Vos (Rotterdam Topsport) present the candidacy to the IBAF during the 2001 World Championships in Taiwan...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Theo Reitsma has been a sports journalist since 1959. After working ten years for daily newspapers, he became a sports commentator for the NOS, Dutch national television. Until 2002, Reitsma was the senior commentator at national and international sports events, including all Olympic Games since 1972 (Munich) until 2000 (Sydney). On these Games, he was the commentator for track and field, but also the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Besides the Olympics, Reitsma also covered the World Championships Soccer from 1974 through 2002, being the commentator for all Finals since 1978. Reitsma has been a visitor to all Olympic baseball tournaments since 1984 (Los Angeles). Since 2002, Reitsma works as a freelance journalist. He remains active as a commentator, covering different sports (track and field, baseball, boxing, soccer) for the NOS, as well as baseball for pay-channel Sport-1. In 2003, Reitsma was honored with the Honorary Nipkow Price for his work, a prestigious journalistic recognition in the Netherlands, which has been handed out only seven times in 50 years. Through his work, Reitsma gained enormous knowledge and experience in sports worldwide, including marketing aspects and handling organisations. Because of his long sports career, Reitsma has good contacts with top officials from the Netherlands and abroad. Reitsma also is involved in a group of the Dutch Olympic Movement, which is discussing sports at the highest level. Reitsma had a long experience of being Chairman on the club level and was elected President of the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) in March 1999 and led the Dutch Federation until 2004. In that period, The European Championships and Olympic Qualifier were organized in the Netherlands. In 2001, during the Baseball World Cup in Chinese Taipei, Reitsma headed a successful bid to organize the World Cup 2005 in the Netherlands, which the IBAF awarded.

...Harvey W. Schiller (left) and...
...Reynaldo González López...
(Photos: IBAF)
Dr. Harvey Wallace Schiller served in the Executive Committee of the NCAA, before becoming the Executive Director and Secretary General of the United States Olympic Committee in 1990. In 1994, he was awarded the prestigious Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee and became the President of Sports for Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, where he was responsible for the television broadcasts of the Atlanta Braves. In 2000, he became the Chairman and CEO of YankeeNets, which owns the New York Yankees (Major League Baseball), New Jersey Nets (National Basketball Association) and New Jersey Devils (National Hockey League). Most recently, he was the Chairman of the Management Committee of New York's Olympic bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, but these were awarded to London.

Reynaldo González López was Vice-President of the National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation of Cuba, before becoming the 1st Vice President of this body in 1981. After serving in that position until 1997, he became the National Director of Culture and Sport of the Ministry of Superior Education. Besides that, González was the President of the Cuban Baseball Federation from 1985-1998 and the Secretary General of the Cuban Olympic Committee from 1982-2000. Between 1993-2001, he was a member of the Executive Council of the IBAF as 2nd and 1st Vice President. In 1995, he became a member of the International Olympic Committee, representing Cuba.
(February 2)

Dominicans, Puerto Rico dominate Caribbean Series
CAROLINA (Puerto Rico) - The Caribbean Series went underway on Friday with an 18-inning marathon and after two days of competition, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are unbeaten to set the tone.
This years Caribbean Series, to decide the Caribbean championship, takes place in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the home town of legendary Roberto Clemente Walker. The famous outfielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates died on December 31, 1972 when his plane went down for the Puerto Rican coast. Clemente was on his way to Nicaragua with supplies and goods as the country was hit by a devastating earthquake shortly before. In remembrance of Clemente, who registered his 3000th career Major League-hit on the last day of the 1972 season, the stadium in Carolina was renamed Estadio Roberto Clemente Walker. In 1973, Clemente was elected into the Hall of Fame in a special election.

The champions of the Professional Winter Leagues in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela represent their country in the Caribbean World Series. The CWS annually is an exciting tournament with lots of good baseball and a lot of current Major Leaguers, who play in these countries in the wintertime. The Dominican Republic is represented by Aguilas Cibaenas, which defeated Tigres de Licey 5-2 in the best-of-nine Dominican final. Tigres de Aragua won the best-of-five final vs. Navegantes del Magallanes, 3-2 to become the Venezuelan champion. In the deciding game, the Tigres came back from an 8-run deficit. Naranjeros de Hermosilla is the Mexican champion, as it swept Venados de Mazatlan, 4-0. Host country Puerto Rico is represented by Gigantes de Carolina, which won the finals 5-2 vs. Lobos de Arecibo.

...Randall Simon (left) and Andruw Jones...
(Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
The opening game on Friday-afternoon between the Dominican Republic and Venezuela last 18 innings, which took six hours and 13 minutes to complete. Both are CWS records. Venezuela took the lead three times, but the Dominicans came back everytime in the home half of the at bat. In the top of the fourth inning, José Castillo doubled and scored on a single by Ronny Cedeno to give Venezuela an 1-0 lead. In the home fourth, the Dominicans came alongside when Miguel Tejada homered. Venezuela re-took the lead in the sixth when Oscar Salazar singled and scored on a double by José Castillo. Again, the Dominicans tied the score right away, as Tony Batista homered in the home of the sixth. In then took until the 18th inning before the game was decided. First, Venezuela again took the lead when Luis Maza and Ronny Cedeno hit back-to-back doubles. Once more, it wasn't enough, as the Dominicans not only tied the score again, but went on to win the game. In the home 18th, Alberto Castillo reached second base on an error and advanced to third on another error. He then scored the tying run on a single by Bernie Castro. The bases then got loaded, after which Castro scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by veteran Tony Batista.
Playing for Venezuela is 'our' Randall Simon, who is the team's Designated Hitter. Simon, who is from Curaçao and plays in the Philadelphia Phillies-organization, went 1-for-6 and walked twice in the maraton. Last year, Simon made his debut in the national team of the Netherlands, playing all three games during the World Baseball Classic in Puerto Rico. Simon played in the Major League (537 games) for the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1997, he made his Major League-debut with the Braves, playing together with Andruw Jones.

After the game, the Opening Ceremonies were held, followed by the second game, which started at 10:50 PM and ended at 2:05 AM! During the Opening Ceremonies, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Vera Clemente, the wife of Roberto Clemente. After the ceremonies, Puerto Rico went on to win 11-1 on 16 hits vs. Mexico in front of thousands of exciting fans. Armando Rios had four hits, including a triple, had two RBI's and scored twice for the home team, while Victor Rodriguez hit a 2-run homerun in the seventh inning. Winning pitcher Carlos Alvarado gave up only two hits and struckout five in the six innings he threw.

On Saturday-afternoon, the Dominicans shutout Mexico, 9-0. Despite their long opening game and a short resting period, the Dominicans played another good game and collected 14 basehits. Again Tony Batista was their hero. This time, he hit two homeruns, including a disputed inside-the-park-homerun in the fifth inning. The Mexican leftfielder signaled that the ball was stuck under the padding, but in the meantime Batista scored and the run counted. In the third inning, Batista and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back homeruns. Anderson Hernandez and Luis Polonia each had three hits. Starting pitcher José Acevedo gave up only five hits in eight innings.

In the evening, Puerto Rico won 6-3 vs. Venezuela. With the score tied at 2-2, Puerto Rico scored three runs in the seventh inning. Ruben Gotay led off with a double, then Luis Matos was safe on a sac-bunt. Alex Cora followed with an RBI-single, which was followed by a throwing error, resulting in another run. A single by Juan Gonzalez lifted the lead to 5-2. In the home of the seventh, Venezuela added a run, but left the bases loaded. Randall Simon went 1-for-2 with two walks for the Venezuelan squad.
(February 4)

Dominicans wins Caribbean Series
CAROLINA (Puerto Rico) - The Dominican Republic is the new Caribbean champion. The Dominicans captured the title without playing, as Puerto Rico surprisingly lost 3-1 to disappointing title defender Venezuela on Tuesday-evening. When the host country would have won, the last game of the event between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on Wednesday-evening would have been decisive. And it turned out that Puerto Rico would win that game 1-0. For the Dominican Republic, this is their record 16th Caribbean title. Next year, the Dominicans will organize the Caribbean World Series, which then will have its 50th celebration. During this years event, it was suggested to expand the Series to maybe six countries and Colombia and Nicaragua were suggested as candidates.

Let's recap the last days of the tournament since the last article.
On Sunday, Venezuela defeated Mexico, 13-3 after the game started 30 minutes late due to a rain-delay. Venezuela had 17 basehits, including four by Oscar Salazar, who had a triple and a homerun and five RBI's. José Castillo also had four hits, Steve Torrealba had three.
In the evening, the Dominican Republic handed host Puerto Rico a big 12-0 shutout-loss. The Dominicans set the tone right away in the first inning, when they scored four runs on five hits off starter Jonathan Albaladejo, who gave up two more runs in the second inning before being relieved.

On Monday, the Dominicans beat Venezuela, 7-1, meaning the reigning champion was eliminated for the title. Dominican-starter Julio Tavarez threw four perfect innings, before walking lead-off hitter Randall Simon in the fifth inning. He later would score to narrow the deficit to 2-1. In the sixth, Venezuela had the tying run on third base with two outs, but then Randall Simon lined out to first baseman José Fernandez. In the seventh, the Dominicans added two runs on an RBI-double by José Fernandez and and RBI-single by Alex Fernandez.
In the evening, Puerto Rico won 4-2 vs. Mexico. The winning runs were scored in the tenth inning when Armando Rios< hit a 2-out, 2-run single.

On Tuesday, the Dominican Republic defeated Mexico, 5-2. In the third inning, the Dominicans broke an 1-1 tie when José Fernandez homered, but Mexico tied the score again in the sixth on a single by Luis A. Garcia. In the bottom of the seventh, the Dominicans re-took the lead when Nelson Cruz walked with the bases loaded, then added a run on a sac-fly by José Fernandez.
In the evening, Venezuela surprised with a 3-1 win vs. Puerto Rico, meaning the unbeaten Dominican Republic was the new Caribbean champion. Trailing 2-0, Puerto Rico scored its lone run in the seventh eighth inning when an error was made with the bases loaded, but Venezuela got the run back in the ninth on a homerun by Oscar Salazar, who earlier singled in the second run in the seventh at bat.

On Wednesday, Mexico got its first victory, beating Venezuela, 4-3. Venezuela took the lead in the seventh and eighth inning, but both times Mexico came alongside. Then, in the home ninth, Mexico won on a single by José Sandoval.
In the evening, Puerto Rico shutout Dominican Republic, 1-0. The lone run was scored in the home ninth. With one out, Armando Rios walked, then Juan Gonzalez singled. Starting pitcher José Lima was then relieved by Arnie Muñoz, who gave up a game-winning single to Javier Valentin. Tony Batista of the Dominican Republic was named Series MVP.

Also on Wednesday, Juan Francisco Puello Herrera, Commissioner of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation announced that Randall Simon was suspended from playing in Winter League for three seasons, effective immediately, for a break of contract violation. Simon was accused of signing, then breaking a contract with the Cibao Eagles (Dominican Republic), then signed a contract for next winter-season with La Guaira Tiburones in Venezuela. The 31-year old Simon said he never had signed a contract with Cibao. According to the league-rules, no appeals are allowed.
(February 8)

International Softball Women
Taiwan leads in Olympic Qualifier
TAINAN CITY (Taiwan) - The Chinese Taipei softball team is unbeaten after three days of competition in the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament, playing in front of a home crowd in Tainan City. Taiwan is followed by New Zealand, which also has won all of their games, except the two played against the host country. South Korea, North Korea, the Philippines and Singapore complete the ranking. After a double round robin, the top two teams will meet in a best-of-three final to decide who will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (China).

Chinese Taipei opened the round-robin on Thursday with a 10-3 victory vs. New Zealand, then defeated Singapore, 12-2. On Friday, a 7-0 shutout followed vs. South Korea, then North Korea suffered a 5-2 loss. On Saturday, Taipei beat the Philippines 'only' 5-1, before a 8-0 shutout-win followed in the second contest against New Zealand.

New Zealand had their hands full with North Korea, winning only 3-2 on Thursday, after the opening loss vs. Taiwan. Against the North Koreans, New Zealand trailed 2-0 after three innings, before scoring a run in the fourth. The two winning runs were then scored in the sixth on a 2-run single by Kim Dermott. On Friday, the Kiwis shutout Singapore, 11-0, then won big vs. the Philippines, 17-4. On Saturday, South Korea was defeated, 9-4, before an 8-0 shutout-loss followed vs. Taiwan.
Before arriving in Taiwan, New Zealand had prepared in Melbourne (Australia), where they played five games in three days. The New Zealand 'White Sox' played all games against the local VIS Titans and won twice. A sixth game was broken off due to severe sun strike, which blinded the pitchers.
(February 3)

Taiwan clinch Olympic spot
TAINAN CITY (Taiwan) - Chinese Taipei became the sixth participant for next years Olympic Games in Beijing (China) on Tuesday by winning the best-of-three final vs. New Zealand. Besides host China, four teams qualified during the World Championships last year: Australia, Canada, Japan and USA. In June, the winner of the African/European Olympic Qualifier in Trieste (Italy) will qualify. The eighth and last participating country will come from the Qualifier for the American continent in Caracas (Venezuela) in August.

Taiwan remained unbeaten in the Asian Olympic Qualifier, going 10-0. In the final, the Asian squad swept New Zealand, winning 8-0 and 9-7.
In the first game, which lasted six innings according to international rules, Taiwan already led 5-0 after two innings. In the second game, Taiwan scored six runs in the first inning, then led 9-0 in the fifth. Next, New Zealand started to come back, but it was to late. In the home of the fifth, the Kiwis scored three runs. Then, in the seventh, pitcher Sheree Cartwright hit a grand slam homerun to make it a 9-7 score, but that was all for New Zealand.
Taiwan underscored in this tournament that its quality has grown rapidly. The team has been practicing together and participating in a lot or tournaments for almost a year, preparing for this important event.
(February 8)

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Last Update: March 23, 2007
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