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Updated: October 15, 2018
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Copyright © 1997-2018
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Jan Kruijdenberg)

Nieuwegein Diamonds wins Holland Series-opener

AMERSFOORT (Neth.) - Nieuwegein Diamonds opened the best-of-three Holland Series in men softball on Saturday (October 13) with a 9-7 victory against reigning champion Quick Amersfoort.

For Quick Amersfoort, it was the fourth year in a row that it reached the Championship Final. In the previous three years, the team faced Hoofddorp Pioniers. In 2016, the team from Amersfoort captured the Championship-title for the first time. However, that was annulled, as it was decided that Quick Amersfoort, Hoofddorp Pioniers and Spikes had used ineligible players during the preceeding Play-Offs. Last year, Quick Amersfoort again was the best team and then was crowned as champion. Quick earlier played in the Holland Series in 1995 and 1996.

Nieuwegein Diamonds played in its first Holland Series in 2014, which was the first time that the club played in the postseason of the highest Dutch league in men softball. Back then, Nieuwegein also faced Hoofddorp Pioniers and was swept in the best-of-three.

In 2015, Pioniers also swept Quick Amersfoort. A year later, Quick defeated Pioniers in the Final, then swept the Hoofddorp-team last season.

Last year and this season, there were no Play-Offs. Last year, the two best teams of the Championship Pool reached the Holland Series, this season, the two best teams of the regular season qualified.

(October 13)

Final Standings Regular Season
1Nieuwegein Diamonds 16132127-.84411665
2Quick Amersfoort 16133026½.81314281
3De Zuidvogels 16124024.75010133
4Tex Town Tigers16961194.59410283
5Hoofddorp Pioniers 1688016.500154138
6Alcmaria Victrix 1659212.3756588
7Spikes 165101118.34496124
8Adegeest/Catch 163121710.21967122
9Thamen 161152212½.06379188
This year, Nieuwegein Diamonds finished in first place of the First Division with a 13-2 record and one tie. The team was closely followed in the ranking by Quick Amersfoort, which closed with a 13-3 record. Hoofddorp Pioniers ended up in fifth place this season with an 8-8 record.

Nieuwegein Diamonds and Quick Amersfoort first met this season on Thursday, May 3. Nieuwegein nipped Quick 6-5. On Friday, August 17, the two teams faced each other for the second time in Amersfoort. This time, Quick won 6-2.

De Zuidvogels ended up just short and finished in third place. The team from Huizen split its series against the two league-leaders. De Zuidvogels won 4-1 against Quick Amersfoort after having lost the first match-up, 2-1. Against Nieuwegein Diamonds, De Zuidvogels won the first game with a 4-3 score, then lost the next meeting, 5-3.

Nieuwegein Diamonds secured first place in the regular season as late as Friday, October 5 by winning 4-2 against Adegeest/Catch. With that win, the team became unreachable for Quick Amersfoort, which ended up in second place. De Zuidvogels was eliminated for one of the top two positions on Friday, September 28. On that evening, the team won its game, but as both Nieuwegein and Quick also won, it was eliminated for first place. However, De Zuidvogels still had a chance to finish in second place. In case of a tie with Quick Amersfoort, the head-to-results were 1-1, but the Team Quality Balance would be in favor of De Zuidvogels. Quick secured itself of the second spot in the Final on October 9 when it won 9-3 at Alcmaria Victrix. Remarkable enough, De Zuidvogels had the best defense in the league, giving up only 33 runs, which by far was the fewest total. Second best was Nieuwegein Diamonds with 65 runs given up.

Hoofddorp Pioniers, which played in the Championship Final the past four years, this season finished in fifth place, despite scoring the most runs (154). On the other hand, Pioniers also gave up 138 runs, the second higest total behind Thamen, which gave up 188. Thamen won only one of its sixteen games this season and finished in ninth and last place. Since the introduction of a national league in 1989, Thamen has been one of the most successful teams in men softball. The team from Uithoorn captured the Championship-title in 2000 and 2002.

After the 2009 season, the Dutch big league lost its so-called topsport-status. The league continued, but from 2013 on, the First Division became the highest league and games in the regular season were only played on weekdays in the evening (mostly Friday), instead of afternoons in the weekend. However, through the years, many players who played in the former Hoofdklasse continued playing and still play today in the highest division.

With that, both Nieuwegein Diamonds and Quick Amersfoort have many familiar names on their rosters for this season.

By finishing in second place, Quick Amersfoort hosted the first game of this years Final.

Before the start of the game, all players, coaches and umpires were introduced by Quick's always active Media Officer Mirjam Boode and the Dutch National Anthem was played.

After a scoreless first inning, opponent Nieuwegein Diamonds opened the score in the second at bat. Sander Wuis then led off with a walk, moved on a passed ball and scored on an one-out double by Robbert Gerwig. With two outs, Ferdy van der Craats walked, but Nieuwegein left two runners behind on second and third base.

Quick-starter Emeron Lourens retired the side in the third inning, but ran into problems in the fourth. In that at bat, Nieuwegein rallied for six runs (two earned) on only three basehits. Lourens walked lead-off hitter Sander Wuis, then made a throwing error trying to force him out at second base on a comeback-grounder from René Richardson. The bases got loaded when Robbert Gerwig also walked. Hereafter, a run was scored when a strikeout on Joost de Bruin ended in a passed ball. More runs were added on following singles by Ferdy van der Craats (one run) and Gabriel Goderski (two). The bases were re-loaded when Kamiel Zuidam walked. That was followed by a pitching change, as Frits van Dijkhuizen took over. Van Dijkhuizen is one of the veteran players in the highest Dutch league. In 1995 and 1996, he also participated with Quick Amersfoort in the Holland Series. Van Dijkhuizen retired three of the next four batters. With two outs, he gave up a 2-run single to Sander Wuis that lifted the lead to 7-0.

...Winning pitcher René Richardson struckout 5 batters...
(© Photo: Jan Kruijdenberg)
Quick got one run back in the bottom of the fourth. The team stranded two runners in the first inning, then was retired in order in the second at bat by starting pitcher Roman Matuska. In the third, Shermayn Balentien led off for Quick with a walk and moved to third base on an one-out double by Anthony Hosé. That also marked the end for Matuska, as the Czech righthander sustained a leg-injury and had to leave the game. In 2008, Matuska was the Best Pitcher of the Dutch big league. The same year, he played in the Holland Series with Centrals. Two of his teammates then were Joost de Bruin and Sander Wuis. The three are now teammates at Diamonds. René Richardson took over from Matuska and retired the next two batters.

As mentioned, Quick scored its first run in the fourth inning. With one out, Siegmond Francisca doubled and he scored with two outs when a grouder by Ron Dix ended in a throwing error.

Nieuwegein got the run back immediately in the fifth inning. Robbert Gerwig led off with his second double in the game. He moved on grounder, then scored on an error on a grounder by Ferdy van der Craats. Hereafter, a hit by Gabriel Goderski was missed in the outfield, resulting in runners on second and third base. To set up a force play, next batter Kamiel Zuidam was walked intentionally. The force play indeed came, as Effran Nielsen grounded into an inning-ending double play.

But Nieuwegein now led 8-1 and so, it appeared that the reigning champion was to be handed a big and probable mercy-rule loss in the opening-game.

However, that score changed quickly, as Quick also staged a 6-run rally in a productive bottom of the sixth inning. All runs were unearned. With one out, Ron Dix was hit by a pitch and advanced to third base on a passed ball, while Frits van Dijkhuizen struckout, but reached on a passed ball. Davy van Venrooy followed with an RBI-double and a grounder by Anthony Hosé enabled Van Dijkhuizen to score. With two outs, Emeron Lourens homered to make it an 8-5 score and the inning wasn't over yet. Jerome Wouters singled and Revin Brooks reached on an error. The first went on to score on a passed ball, then Siegmond Francisca walked. In his second at bat in the inning, Alberto Ostos then delivered a runscoring single. At the start of the season, Ostos also was on the big league-roster of the baseball-team of Quick Amersfoort, but he played in only one game. With runners at the corners, the inning ended with a strikeout, but Quick had narrowed the deficit to only 8-7.

In the top of the seventh inning, Emeron Lourens returned in the circle as pitcher for Quick. However, he again encountered problems, as he walked four batters and hit one. That led to only one run, but it was an important insurance run for Nieuwegein. Joost de Bruin led off with a walk, but later was eliminated at the plate trying to score from second base on a passed ball. With Ferdy van der Craats (hit batter), Gabriel Goderski (walk) and Kamiel Zuidam (walk) on the bases, the run was scored when Effran Nielsen also walked. Hereafter, Goderski also was eliminated at the plate trying to score on another passed ball. A grounder then ended the at bat, but the score now was 9-7 in favor of Nieuwegein.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, René Richardson retired the side to seal the opening victory.

Game 1: Quick Amersfoort - Nieuwegein Diamonds 7-9
Nieuwegein Diamonds0106101-962
Quick Amersfoort0001060-783
Nieuwegein DiamondsABRHRBIAVG.Quick AmersfoortABRHRBIAVG.
Gabriel Goderski, 2b4112.250Manuel Bouwman, lf2---.000
Kamiel Zuidam, cf2---.000- Davy van Venrooy, rf3111.333
Roman Matuska, p1---.000Anthony Hosé, cf4-11.250
- Effran Nielsen, opo2--1.000Emeron Lourens, p-3b-p3112.333
Mirko Andrlik, dp-1b5---.000Jerome Wouters, ss312-.667
Sander Wuis, rf22221.000Revin Brooks, 1b411-.250
René Richardson, 1b-p41--.000Siegmond Francisca, 2b-lf-2b311-.333
Robbert Gerwig, lf3221.667Dyron Juaquin, c2---.000
Joost de Bruin, c31--.000- Alberto Ostos, 2b-3b2-11.500
Ferdy van der Craats, ss2212.500Ron Dix, 3b-lf-c31--.000
John de Man, 3b Shermayn Balentien, rf-lf (*)1---.000
- Frits van Dijkhuizen, p21--.000
(*) - re-entry

2B-Gerwig 2, Wuis. BB-Matuska, Wuis 2,
Van der Craats, Gerwig, Zuidam 2, De Bruin,
Goderski, Nielsen. IBB-Zuidam. HP-Van der Craats
(by Lourens). SO-Goderski, Zuidam 2, Andrlik 3,
Richardson, De Bruin. SB-Goderski. GIDP-Nielsen.
E-Van der Craats 2 (SS).
PB-De Bruin 5.

2B-Hosé, Francisca, Van Venrooy. HR-Lourens.
BB-Hosé, Balentien, Lourens, Wouters, Francisca.
HP-Dix (by Richardson). SO-Bouwman, Lourens 2,
Juaquin 2, Dix 2, Van Dijkhuizen 2. SB-Lourens.
E-Lourens (P), Wouters (SS), Van Venrooy (RF).
PB-Juaquin 3, Dix 4. WP-Lourens.

pitchers Nieuwegein Diamondsinn.SOBBHRER
Roman Matuska2.1422--

René Richardson, W (1-0)4.25367-

pitchers Quick Amersfoortinn.SOBBHRER
Emeron Lourens, L (0-1)3 (*)76373

Frits van Dijkhuizen311311

Emeron Lourens1-4-11
(*) - Lourens pitched to seven batters in the 4th inning

Homerun (1):
Quick (1): Emeron Lourens (1) (6th,2-run,off Richardson).
Umpires: HP-Patrick Reus, 1B-Britt Nielandt, 3B-Robin Stoevelaar.
Scorer-Sarina Engels (Quick Amersfoort).
Public Address Announcer-None.
Starting Time-2:00 PM.
Time Played-3:10 hrs.
Site-XLLease Park Dorrestein, Amersfoort.

Game Notes:
Game 1, best-of-three Holland Series, Nieuwegein Diamonds leads 1-0.
29th Holland Series.
First Holland Series between Nieuwegein Diamonds and Quick Amersfoort.
Sixth Holland Series-participation for Quick Amersfoort, second for Nieuwegein Diamonds.
Weather conditions at game time: Sunny, 25° C (77° F); wind direction south;
wind speed 16 kmh (9,9 mph); wind force 4 Bft; humidity 57%.

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Copyright © 1997-2018 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.