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Updated: October 27, 2010
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

Euro Stars to remain in big league!
CAPELLE a/d IJSSEL (Neth.) - The softball-team of Euro Stars will remain part of the big league after all and will field a team in the highest division next season, the club confirmed on Wednesday-evening.

After completion of the season, the team was confronted with a lot of players leaving to play for other clubs, while a few players retired. In total, at least eight players have left, with several of them being confirmed. That resulted in only a handfull of players remaining and therefore it was initially thought (and rumored; and probably even expected) that Euro Stars would withdraw, as it could not compile a representative squad for next years big league.

That was indeed the case and therefore last week rumors that Euro Stars already had withdrawn became stronger. The management at Euro Stars was indeed thinking with the thought of withdrawing and playing in a lower division, so the club requested the Federation last week for a position of the team in the 'Overgangsklasse', one division below the big league. However, the KNBSB-board rejected this request earlier this week, as teams that withdraw from a league have to play two divisions lower, according to league-rules.

When Euro Stars was informed of this decision, the board of the club came together on Wednesday-evening to discuss the new situation. The board then decided to remain playing in the big league next season and see how far they can get. In case of a relegation, it will play in the 'Overgangsklasse' after all the year after.

The four or five remaining players of Euro Stars will now get company from young, but talented players of their second team, which played in the First Division (two divisions below the big league) this season. Euro Stars hoped to give them more experience next season in case the KNBSB would have approved the request to play in the 'Overgangsklasse'. But now, these players will be added to the roster of the team that will play in the big league next season. Some of these players are members of the Dutch National Youth Teams. Euro Stars, which re-opened its completely renovated home field during this season (playing several home games on other sites), also hopes to add some foreign players from European countries, as well as an American pitcher.

...The succesfull team of 2003...
...Standing at left is Mary-Ann Hatt,...
...who coached the team five seasons...
(© Photo: Euro Stars)
Now that Euro Stars decided to stay in the big league with a very young and inexperienced team, the search for a new coach will continue. Talks already had started, but were put on hold when a withdrawal appeared to become imminent.

After having finished in third place in two consecutive seasons (2001, 2002) in the First Division, Euro Stars captured the title in 2003 to promote to the big league. Led by Head Coach Mary-Ann Hatt, Euro Stars closed the 2003 season with a 32-3 record. May-Ann Hatt also would lead the team in its first four seasons on the highest level. In the first year in the big league (2004), the team ended in fifth place with an 11-18-1 record. In the next three seasons, the team finished in sixth place each year.

In 2008, Willy van der Lee took over the coaching a week before the start of the season, as Glyniss Kenepa initially was to be the Head Coach, but he had resigned a week earlier. Shortly thereafter, Kenepa then became the Assistant Coach at Twins. Under guidance of Van der Lee, Euro Stars moved back to fifth place, but ended up 14 points short of reaching the Play-Offs.

Leo Buiteman was the new Head Coach for the 2009 season and he led the team to its best result on the highest level. Euro Stars finished with a 16-19 record to finish in fourth place and qualify for the Play-Offs. In the semi-final for the championship, the team was swept in three games by Tex Town Tigers, which went on to win the Dutch title.

...The team one week before the start of the 2010 season...
...Standing at left is Ton van Koeverden...
...Standing in the back is Leo Buiteman...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
This season started with almost the same problem as two years ago, as a new coach took over shortly before the season. Leo Buiteman withdraw because of personal reasons less than one week before the start of the season and his assistant Ton van Koeverden took over the coaching. The team finished with a 12-19-1 record in sixth place, meaning they had to play in the 'ranking round' for the bottom-four to decide the relegation and the Play-Down. Euro Stars won one of their six games in this pool, but finished ahead of Olympia Haarlem and DSS to secure their spot in next years big league. Twelve days after completion of the season, it was announced that Ton van Koeverden had become the new Head Coach of Twins.

DSS, which finished in last place, relegated automatically, while Olympia Haarlem had to play a best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs vs. Gryphons. This team finished in second place in the First Division behind champion Alcmaria Victrix, which promoted automatically. Olympia won the Series 3-1 to remain in the big league. For next season, the relegation rules have changed as only the team that finishes in last place will automatically relegate, while the number 7 team has no longer play a Play-Off to secure their big league-spot.

(October 27)

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