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Updated: June 29, 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 Backdoor-game European Championship

HAVLÍČKŮV BROD / KOSTELEC NAD ORLICÍ (Czech Rep.) - The Netherlands Men Softball Team closed Pool C of the European Championship on Friday (June 29) with an 11-6 victory against host Czech Republic. With that, the Orange squad handed the reigning European champion its first loss of the event. Earlier in the day, Great Britain was successful against Denmark, which two years ago won the Silver Medal. The British team surprised with a 5-2 victory.

On Thursday-evening, Great Britain became the fourth team to qualify for the Play-Offs after winning 7-2 against Israel. The Czechs shutout Denmark 7-0 to hand the Danish their first loss.

With today's results, the Netherlands ended up in a tie for first place with the Czech Republic to qualify for the first Semi-Final. Great Britain and Denmark shared third place and with that had to face each other in the second Semi-Final. Both Semi-Finals were played on Friday-evening.

In the second Semi-Final, Denmark won 7-2 against Great Britain to advance to the Backdoor-game. This meant that Great Britain was elimiated and finishes in fourth place.

In the first Semi-Final, the Czechs outscored the Orange Team with an 8-1 score to become the first finalist. The Netherlands will meet Denmark in the Backdoor-game on Saturday-afternoon. The winner of that game becomes the second finalist, the loser wins the Bronze Medal.

(June 29)

Netherlands vs. Czech Republic
In the afternoon, the Netherlands struck in the sixth and seventh inning to record an 11-6 win against the Czechs in what was the 50th overall game between the two countries.

The Czechs scored early and led 4-1 after three innings off of starting pitcher Emeron Lourens, who was replaced by Niek Nieuwenhuizen in the third at bat.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Netherlands narrowed the deficit to 4-3. Enio Kwas led off with an infield-hit, then scored when Emeron Lourens followed with a homerun.

The Orange squad came alongside in the fifth. Jeff Delfina led off with a walk, moved on a wild pitch and a grounder, then scored when Eldrick Dijkhoff reached on an error.

The Netherlands then scored seven runs in the final two at bats to turn the game its way.

In the top of the sixth, the team scored three runs. Emeron Lourens led off with a walk and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Anthony Beaumont. With one out, pinch-hitter Lars Ham delivered a runscoring double and his pinch-runner Quincy Jones later scored on a grounder by Jeff Delfina.

The Netherlands increased the lead to 11-4 by scoring four more runs on only one basehit in the seventh at bat. With one out and a runner on first base, a pitching change followed. Enio Kwas then connected for a runscoring double and later scored on an error. Two wild pitches enabled two more runners to score.

The Czechs managed to score two runs in its seventh at bat on a homerun by David Mertl, but were left empty-handed.

Netherlands vs. Czech Republic (Semi-Final)
In the evening in Havlíčkův Brod, the roles were reversved. This time, the Czechs played a better game, rallied for five runs in the fourth inning and ended the game via the mercy-rule in five innings.

Trailing 1-0, the Netherlands came alongside in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Glennsig Polonius doubled and scored on a following single by Eldrick Dijkhoff.

The Czech Republic re-took the lead in the top of the third inning. The team might have scored more runs, but a runner was ruled out for passing a preceeding runner.

The Czechs then rallied for five runs in the fourth inning to decide the game. Only one basehit was recorded in this at bat, which was a 2-run homerun by Vlaclav Svoboda. There also were three walks, two hit batters, two passed ball, two wild pitches and an error.

The Czechs reached a 7-run difference in the fifth inning.

The Orange squad got a scoring opportunity in the third inning, but then left runners behind on first and second base.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Netherlands got the bases loaded. Idel Raap led off with a single, then pinch-hitter Matthew Scholten singled with one out. With two outs, the bases got loaded when Eldrick Dijkhoff reached on an infield-hit. But three runners were left behind when the inning (and the game) ended with a strikeout.

With that, the Czech Republic reached the all-deciding Final, while the Netherlands has to play in the Backdoor-game on Saturday.

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