Softball Recaps
October 10, 2006
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2006 by Marco Stoovelaar

Tuesday, October 10
Sparks needs tie-break for new lead

Sparks needs tie-break for new lead
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SANTPOORT (Neth.) - Sparks Haarlem leads the best-of-five Holland Series vs. A4 Terrasvogels again, but needed two extra innings to accomplish that. On Tuesday-evening Friday's rained out game was made up and Sparks won 5-2 in nine innings, after Terrasvogels failed to decide the game in the home seventh. With the win, Sparks leads 2-1 and needs one win to remain Dutch champion. Game Four is scheduled for next Saturday in Haarlem. If needed, Game Five will be played on Sunday in Santpoort.

Tuesday-evening was the most productive game of the three played so far in the 22nd edition of the Holland Series, as 30 batters stepped up to the plate with runners in scoring position. Six of them came through with a basehit for a combined .200 batting average with runners in scoring position. Sparks did the better job, hitting .222 (4-for-18), while Terrasvogels batted .167 (2-for-12). In the Series, hitting with runners in scoring position seems to be a problem for both teams. In the first two games, Sparks hit .143 (2-for-14), while Terrasvogels was 0-for-11. In the three games played so far, Sparks hits .188 (6-for-32), while Terrasvogels bats only .087 (2-for-23). Overall, the two teams are hitting .145 (8-for-55).
On Tuesday-evening, Terrasvogels batted 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the game and 0-for-20 in the Series, before Linda Hoenderdos and Nicole Wessels singled in the ninth inning. The latter produced a run, but at that time, Terrasvogels was trailing 5-1. In the second inning, they had the bases loaded with no outs, in the seventh at bat, the bases were loaded with two outs and in the eighth, the bases were loaded with one out. All three times, they didn't score.
Sparks was 1-for-14 with runners in scoring postion tonight and 1-for-23 since the third inning in Game One, before three basehits were produced in the ninth by Rebecca Soumeru, Lynn Geertman and Jolanda Kroesen, which decided the game.

Sparks got a runner on third base in the second inning. Lead-off hitter Noémi Boekel led off with a walk, then moved on sac-bunts by Marloes Fellinger and Mariska Greve, but then Kinge Bouma grounded out.

In the home second, Terrasvogels could have broken open the game, as they got the bases loaded with no outs. Dana Horeman led off with a double in right-centerfield, then Annemiek van Riessen walked. Next, Nathalie Gosewehr grounded back to pitcher Crissy Autry, who tried to force Horeman, but she beat the throw and everyone was safe. But then Linda Hoenderdos flied out and Dana Horeman was then picked off third base after Nicole Wessels missed a bunt, then popped out to short to end the inning.

After Terrasvogels failed to score in the second, Sparks struck in the third. Terrasvogels-pitcher Judith van Kampen hit lead-off batter Chantal Versluis with a pitch and that was costly. After Versluis stole second base, Van Kampen struckout Sabrina Soumeru and Kim Kluijskens to groundout, but then Lynn Geertman drilled a triple into the rightfield-corner to give Sparks a 1-0 lead.

This time, Terrasvogels reacted successfully and came alongside. First, Marieke Jansen lined out, then Sandra Gouverneur grounded out, but then Petra van Heijst singled and scored all the way from first base on a double into deep left-centerfield by Nina van Huissteden, who advanced to third base on an additional throwing error. A grounder ended the at bat.

The 1-1 score remained on the scoreboard for the next four innings, resulting in extra innings. But both teams failed to take the lead before that. In the fourth inning, Noémi Boekel led off for Sparks with a walk, then Marloes Fellinger singled. After the two runners advanced on a sac-bunt by Mariska Greve, Boekel was caught stealing in a rundown after Kinge Bouma missed a bunt and ended the inning with a pop-fly.

In the fifth inning Sparks again got a runner on third base. With one out, Sabrina Soumeru walked. In a surprise move, next batter Kim Kluijskens was walked intentionally (with an 2-0 count), but then Lynn Geertman grounded into a force play. Soumeru advanced to third on the play, but stranded there when Jolanda Kroesen grounded out.

The team from Haarlem had another runner on third in the sixth at bat. With one out, Marloes Fellinger singled, then pinch-runner Maaike Blaauwgeers advanced on a wild pitch and grounder by Mariska Greve. But then Judith van Kampen recovered and struckout Kinge Bouma.

Terrasvogels didn't got a runner on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. From the third inning, Sparks-pitcher Crissy Autry retired ten batters in a row, before Terrasvogels got a chance to decide the game in the home seventh. First, Autry hit lead-off hitter Annemiek van Riessen, who was lifted for pinch-runner Femke Haage. On the very first pitch thereafter, Nathalie Gosewehr bunted the ball back to Autry, who was able to force out Haage at second base. Gosewehr moved to second on a single by Linda Hoenderdos, but then pinch-hitter Olga Kleinlooh struckout. Terrasvogels got the bases loaded when pinch-hitter Yvette Krooder walked, bringing veteran player Sandra Gouverneur to the plate. However, the experienced player was called out on strikes to end the inning and the scoring opportunity.

In the eighth inning, Jolanda Kroesen walked with Lynn Geertman being the tie-break runner for Sparks. Geertman was then forced out at third base on a comeback-grounder by Noémi Boekel, followed by a strikeout and a grounder to end the at bat.

In the home eighth, Terrasvogels got another chance to end the game in its favor. First, tie-break runner Sandra Gouverneur moved to third on a sac-bunt by Petra van Heijst. Sparks Head coach Johan Kluijskens then called for an intentional walk for each of the next two batters, Nina van Huissteden and Dana Horeman. The set-up for a force play worked, as Annemiek van Riessen grounded into a 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.

In the ninth inning, Sparks Haarlem answered with a 2-out, 4-run rally, which had an unexpected start. First, Tie-break runner Mariska Greve moved on a sac-bunt by Kinge Bouma, then Chantal Versluis struckout. With two outs and a runner on third base, pitcher Judith van Kampen then faced pinch-hitter Rebecca Soumeru, who made her first appearance in the series. Soumeru, a pitcher, played this season in Italy for Macerata, where she registered two basehits. After returning home after the season, she pitched once in relief in the Play-Offs vs. Twins. Last season, while playing for Sparks, she was 0-for-12, but in the 2004 season, Rebecca had 13 basehits. And now, on this important moment, she lined a sharp liner down the third base-line with the ball touching third base, just out reach for third baseman Dana Horeman, enabling Greve to score and give Sparks a 2-1 lead. Next batter Kim Kluijskens then walked and Lynn Geertman singled through the middle to load the bases. This brought up powerhitter Jolanda Kroesen, who did her job and hit a double into deep centerfield to clear the bases and give Sparks a 5-1 lead. A strikeout for Noémi Boekel ended the at bat, but Sparks had taken a decisive lead.

In the home ninth, Nathalie Gosewehr struckout with Annemiek van Riessen being the tie-break runner on second base, who then advanced to third base on a single by Linda Hoenderdos and scored on a single by Nicole Wessels. But that was all for Terrasvogels, as an infield-fly and a grounder ended the game.

Next Saturday, Game Four will be played in Haarlem. When Sparks wins, they are the champions again. When Terrasvogels wins, their will be a decisive Game Five on Sunday in Santpoort. May the force be with you!
(October 10)

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Last Update: October 10, 2006
Copyright © 1997-2006 Marco Stoovelaar.