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Updated: September 30, 2010
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Copyright © 1997-2010
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2010 by Marco Stoovelaar

Tex Town Tigers wins Holland Series-opener
HAARLEM (Neth.) - Reigning champion Tex Town Tigers opened the best-of-five 25th Holland Series on a chilly Thursday-evening with an 1-0 shutout-win vs. Sparks Haarlem. Last year, the team from Enschede also opened with an 1-0 win, then playing vs. Iber Lengua Terrasvogels and went on to win their second title in a row. By the way, 20 teams that won the opening game in the previous 24 Holland Series captured the Dutch championship.

It was the seventh time that the Holland Series started with an 1-0 shutout-win. In five of these games, Sparks Haarlem (or its predecessor HHC) was one of the teams. Of these five games, Sparks was the winning team only once. It was beaten 1-0 twice by Terrasvogels (1984, 2000), once by HCAW (1987) and once by Tex Town Tigers (2010).

...It was a cool, but clear evening in Haarlem...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
The lone 1-0 win by Sparks came in 2006 after the original opening game was rained out the evening before. The 1-0 loss in 1987 also wasn't officially the first game. The evening before, HHC and HCAW played a scoreless tie in a game that was stopped after 11 innings. Hereafter, HCAW won the next two games two win the best-of-3 and the title. Overall, this was the 28th Holland Series-shutout and the 13th that finished in 1-0.

For Tex Town Tigers, this was their seventh victory in eight Holland Series-games and fifth in a row since winning Game 4 in 2008 when it won its first Dutch title.

TTT-pitcher Lindsey Meadows dominated in the game, striking out 12 batters and giving up only four basehits. On the other hand, Sparks-pitcher Dagmar Bloeming also gave up only five basehits, but one of them led to the lone run in the game.

Tex Town Tigers got more on base, but stranded eight runners, including the bases loaded twice. Sparks left only three runners behind, but was the first team to reach base. After Tex Town Tigers was retired in the first inning on three grounders, Chantal Versluis singled with one out in the home of the first. However, moments later, she was called out by 1B Umpire Louis Rohan, as she had left first base too early.

...Winning pitcher Lindsey Meadows...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Both teams threatened to score in the second inning. For TTT, Karin Tuk led off with a single, then Lindsey Meadows walked and the bases got loaded when Nadine Marinus also singled. But then, Dagmar Bloeming did an outstanding job by striking out the next three batters! In the home of the second inning, it was Lindsey Meadows, who dictated the inning. Debby Connor led off with a double, but then a pop-fly followed and Meadows ended the inning with two strikeouts!

The third inning also had a similarity, as both lead-off hitters reached base on a basehit, but both were caught stealing. In the top of the at bat, Merel Oosterveld led off with a single, then was caught stealing, followed by two grounders. In the home of the at bat, Areke Spel led off with a single and moved on a sac-bunt by Kim Kafoé. But then Saskia Kosterink struckout in a double play, as Areke was caught stealing trying to advance to third base to end the inning.

In the third inning, it also started to get a little misty as sea fog entered the playing site in the outfield, but it didn't have any influence in the game. That surely was the case seven years ago when a Play-Off game between Sparks and DSC '74 had to be interrupted for 30 minutes due to the mist. Back then, in 2003, DSC went on to win the Play-Offs and then also captured the Dutch championship.

The fourth and fifth inning only saw Lindsey Meadows hit a single for Tex Town Tigers with one out in the fourth.

...Pinch-runner Myrthe Smid at third base in the 6th inning...
...Moments later, she scores the lone run...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
The sixth inning then produced what would be the lone run in the game. With two outs, Karin Tuk doubled for the lone hit in this inning. Next, Lindsey Meadows walked and then Myrthe Smid entered the game as pinch-runner for Karin Tuk. The two advanced on a wild pitch and then the bases got loaded when Nadine Marinus was hit by a pitch. Next, Dagmar Bloeming also hit Meike Witteveen with an inside pitch to bring in the run. There were some arguments between Sparks' Head Coach Juny Francisca and Home Plate Umpire Peter Vonk whether or not it was a hit by pitch, but the call wasn't changed and so TTT had taken an 1-0 lead. A foul-fly ended the at bat.

In the home of the sixth, after having struckout the first two batters, Lindsey Meadows walked Saskia Kosterink after having retired the previous 10 batters in a row. But then Meadows also struckout the next hitter to end the inning, registering her fifth consecutive strikeout.

In the top of the seventh, TTT left one runner after Marije ten Thij had walked with two outs. In the home half, Debby Connor doubled to deep rightfield with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Rebecca Soumeru. But she would strand at second base, as Lindsey Meadows added two strikeouts to raise her total to 12 and end the game.

...Sparks-rightfielder Areke Spel standing in the mist...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
By the way, last year, Tex Town Tigers also scored the lone run in the opening game in the sixth inning when Britt Vonk scored on a throwing error.

Game Two of the Holland Series will be played next Saturday at Enschede, to be followed by Game Three on Sunday in Haarlem. If needed, the fourth and fifth game will follow the next weekend.

Five players, who left Sparks Haarlem after completion of last season, all were back in the dug-out tonight and will be for the remainder of the Holland Series. Catcher Kim Kafoé, 2B Lynn Geertman, OF/IF Marloes Fellinger and OF Jolanda Kroesen all retired after the 2009 season, but all returned in the last few weeks in the Sparks-squad. Kafoé and Fellinger both played in tonight's game. Centerfielder Saskia Kosterink left Sparks after last season to play this year for Bollate in the Italian Softball League. During the European Cup-tournament last August in Haarlem (Netherlands), Saskia participated with Sparks in the event and today, she rejoined her team after having completed the season in Italy.

(September 30)

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