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Updated: June 28, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Netherlands in Play-Offs European Championship

HAVLÍČKŮV BROD / KOSTELEC NAD ORLICÍ (Czech Rep.) - The Netherlands Men Softball Team won its first two games in Pool C on Thursday (June 28) to reach the all-deciding Play-Offs of the European Championship in the Czech Republic.

The Orange squad opened Day 4 of the event with an early game, starting at 9 AM on Thursday-morning against Great Britain. The Netherlands nipped the British, 2-1.

In the afternoon, the Netherlands recorded a convincing 11-1 win in four innings against Belgium. Earlier in the day, the Belgians lost 15-0 to Denmark. The Danish team will close the day in the evening against the Czech Republic, which won 10-0 against Israel today. Both Denmark and the Czech Republic are still unbeaten. With these results, the Czech Republic, Denmark and the Netherlands all secured a spot in the Play-Offs which will be played on Friday-evening.

At the moment of writing this article, Great Britain appears the be prime candidate to become the fourth team to advance to the Play-Offs. However, Israel and Belgium still had theoretical chances to end up in a 3-way tie with the British squad.

(June 28)

Netherlands vs. Great Britain
In an exciting and suspenseful early morning-game in Havlíčkův Brod, the Netherlands opened the Second Round with a 2-1 win against Great Britain.

The Orange squad took an 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Enrique Javier led off with a double and moved to third base on a double by Glennsig Polonius. With two outs, the bases got loaded when Anthony Beaumont walked. Moments later, Javier scored the first run when Ron Dix was hit by a pitch from Kyle Linton, who went the distance for the British. Three runners were left behind when Linton closed with his third strikeout in the inning. Linton struckout 13 hitters and gave up only four hits, but ended up as the losing pitcher.

Dutch starter Niek Nieuwenhuizen retired the side in the first three innings, but then gave up the tying run in the fourth. Nieuwenhuizen again got two quick outs, but then walked Richard Haldane. The inning appeared to be over when Kevin Stockford hit the ball into the outfield, but it was dropped for an error, resulting in runners on second and third base. To set up a force play, James Darby was walked intentionally, but hereafter, a wild pitch accounted for the tying run! Another intentional walk followed and this time, a force play ended the at bat, meaning three British runners were left behind.

In the top of the fifth, Great Britain failed to take the lead. With runners on first and second base and one out, Jeroen Mulder took over the Dutch pitching. He saw the two runners advance on a wild pitch, but then closed with two strikeouts.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Netherlands re-took the lead when Enrique Javier homered with one out.

Jeroen Mulder sealed the win by striking out three hitters in the top of the seventh inning!

Netherlands vs. Belgium
In the afternoon, also in Havlíčkův Brod, the Netherlands won 11-1 against Belgium.

The Orange squad briefly trailed 1-0, as Belgium opened the score in the top of the first inning when Kristof Van Aarsen homered with two outs.

The Netherlands stranded two runners in its first at bat, but then rallied for seven runs in the second inning on seven basehits. With one out, Idel Raap tripled and scored the tying run on a following single by Anthony Beaumont. With two outs, Beaumont scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jeff Delfina, who then scored himself on a triple by Emeren Lourens. After the latter had scored on a wild pitch, another triple was hit, this time by Eldrick Dijkhoff, which led to a pitching change. Three more runs were then added on an infield-hit by Enrique Javier and a 2-run single by Raap,which was his second basehit in this inning.

Four more runs were scored in the third inning to increase the lead to 11-1. These runs were scored on a wild pitch, a single by Enrique Javier, sacrifice fly by Lars Ham and single by Glennsig Polonius.

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