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Updated: October 1, 2011
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Copyright © 1997-2011
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2011 by Marco Stoovelaar

Sparks Haarlem takes 2-0 lead in Holland Series!
HAARLEM (Neth.) - Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem faced deficits several times in both games of the opening double-header of the Holland Series vs. Iber Lengua Terrasvogels, but managed to come back twice to win and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five final.

The games easily could have gone the other way, as Terrasvogels held the lead several times in both games. In the opener, Terrasvogels led 2-0 and 4-2, but then lost 8-5. In Game 2, they led 1-0, 2-1, then 6-4 in the eighth inning, but was left empty-handed, as Sparks Haarlem came back to win 7-6.

...The games were attended by some 350 spectators...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Sparks Haarlem dominated this season and lost only two games, both to Terrasvogels. In the Holland Series-openers, Terrasvogels threatened again to hand the league-leader and reigning champion a loss, but in the end, the team failed to hold the lead.

In both games, injury-plagued Terrasvogels outhit Sparks Haarlem, 9-8 in the opener, 11-8 in the second game.

For the Series, Sparks Haarlem added veteran Marloes Fellinger to its roster. During the Play-Offs, the former National Team-player also was part of the team, filling in at third base for injured Virginie Anneveld and delivered some important basehits. Also added was National Team-outfielder Saskia Kosterink. This season, she played for Bollate in the Italian Softball League. Last weekend, her team was eliminated in the Italian Play-Offs, making her available to play for her former team Sparks Haarlem.

Again, both games, which were played under a clear blue sky and temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius, took awhile to complete. The opener lasted two hours and 34 minutes, the second game took one minute more, making it another long day. But the almost 350 spectators saw a lot of action, including a record of 26 runs in the first two games of a Holland Series. The previous record was 25, set in 1998.

Only one time in history, a team that trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five final was able to come back, win the next three games and capture the title. That happened in 2004 and the same teams of this year were involved in that Series. Terrasvogels then won the first two games, but Sparks Haarlem then won the next three. If a comeback like that will happen again this year, can be seen coming weekend. On Saturday, October 8, the next two games will be played at Santpoort. If needed, Game 5 then will follow the next day at Haarlem.

...A view from the outfield...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)

...Debby Connor homered... the 1st inning...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Game One
In the opener, Terrasvogels immediately was off to a good start scoring twice in the first inning off starting pitcher Dagmar Bloeming.

...Safe or Out? Chantal Versluis reaches...
...3rd base in the first inning...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Meike Witteveen led off the with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Marisèla de Wind and a grounder by Solange Starrenburg, then scored on a double (which appeared to be catchable) to leftfield by Kate Gentile. The latter then moved to third when Anouk van den Heuvel singled, then scored on a wild pitch.

In the home of the first inning, Sparks Haarlem came alongside, scoring two runs with two outs. Chantal Versluis led off with a double. Hereafter, Saskia Kosterink grounded out. Versluis took off for third base, where short stop Mariëlle Vleugels got the ball back from first base and put on the tag, resulting in a close play. Versluis was ruled safe and after Areke Spel struckout, powerhitter Debby Connor connected well on a delivery by starting pitcher Kate Vanderham and drilled the ball over the centerfield fence for a 2-run homerun to tie the score at 2-2.

Terrasvogels recovered quickly and re-took the lead in the second at bat. Kate Vanderham and Eva de Bruin led off with singles to put runner on first and third base. Next, Meike Witteveen fouled off a pitch to leftfield, but the ball was caught, making it a sacrifice fly, as Vanderham scored. A bunt-single by Marisèla de Wind then moved De Bruin to third, who went on to score on a single by Solange Starrenburg. Hereafter, Rebecca Soumeru took over the pitching for Dagmar Bloeming. She struckout Kate Gentile, then caught a hard line drive by Anouk van den Heuvel, which surely would have led to a run, but now ended the inning.

...Solange Starrenburg singles in the 2nd inning...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Terrasvogels threatened again in the third inning when Dana Horeman (with one out) and Eva de Bruin (with two outs) singled, but both were left behind. In the home of the third, Sparks Haarlem turned the game around in its favor, thanks to controlproblems at the Terrasvogels-pitching. First, lead-off hitter Chantal Versluis reached second base on an error, then Saskia Kosterink was hit by a pitch. Terrasvogels then appeared to come out of the inning unharmed, as an infield-fly and strikeout followed, but then a walk for Marloes Fellinger loaded the bases. Hereafter, Julie Owen was hit by a pitch, resulting in a run. Virginie Anneveld then followed with a walk that tied the score. Ginger de Weert then took over the pitching for Kate Vanderham, but walked Michelle van Driel to give Sparks Haarlem the lead. A single by Celine van Roon then made it 6-4, before a force out ended the inning.

Sparks Haarlem added two more runs in the fourth inning to increase the lead to 8-4. Saskia Kosterink led off with a bunt-single, Areke Spel reached on an error (sac-bunt) and Debby Connor walked to load the bases. A hit by Marloes Fellinger into centerfielder then led to a force out at second base, but also to a run. A bunt-single by Julie Owen then produced another run, before the inning ended with a strikeout and flyout.

In the sixth inning, Terrasvogels was able to get one run back. With two outs, Solange Starrenburg reached on an error and Kate Gentile walked. A single by Anouk van den Heuvel then made it 8-5, but that was it.

...Left: Virginie Anneveld was back at third base...
...Right: Marloes Fellinger connects in the 4th inning...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

...Meike Witteveen is waiting for a pitch, as are catcher Celine van Roon,...
...HP Umpire Rob Veldkamp and short stop Chantal Versluis...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Game Two
In the second game of the double-header, Terrasvogels again took the lead, this time three times, but again ended up empty-handed.

In the first inning, with two outs, Solange Starrenburg singled, stole second and advanced on a throwing error, then scored when Kate Gentile reached on another error. A third error followed, but then a grounder ended the at bat. In the home of the first, Sparks Haarlem came alongside. Chantal Versluis led off with a walk and stole second base. Areke Spel then singled and Versluis was waved home. A throw from centerfielder Solange Starrenburg followed to catcher Kate Gentile, appearing in time to eliminate Versluis, but she was awarded home plate on an obstruction, tying the score.

As in the first game, Terrasvogels re-took the lead in the next at bat. With one out, Floor Roest walked and scored when Eva de Bruin followed with a double.

Sparks Haarlem got runners on second and third base in their second inning, but then tied the score again in the third. Areke Spel led off with a triple and scored on an one-out single by Marloes Fellinger. Later in the at bat, the home team again left runners on second and third base.

In the fifth inning, Sparks Haarlem scored twice off Mariëlle Vleugels. Areke Spel led off with a single and stole second base, then moved to third base when Debby Connor also singled. After the latter was replaced by pinch-runner Michelle van Driel, two outs followed, but then Shannah van der Kaaij doubled to bring in both runners and make it 4-2.

Terrasvogels got a run back in the sixth. Kate Gentile led off with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Lisa Waasdorp, who then advanced on a sac-bunt by Anouk van den Heuvel and a single by Kate Vanderham. Rebecca Duindam was then brought in as pinch-runner for Vanderham, but was forced out on second base on a grounder by Dana Horeman, but that enabled Waasdorp to score and narrow the deficit to 4-3.

...Areke Spel slides into third base in the 5th inning...
...beating the tag by Dana Horeman...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In the seventh inning, Terrasvogels tied the score, but failed to re-take the lead, leaving three behind. Eva de Bruin led off with a single and advanced on an one-out single by Marisèla de Wind. This led to a pitching change, as Dagmar Bloeming took over for Kirsten Scheele. After the two runners advanced on a passed ball, Solange Starrenburg singled to bring in De Bruin, but De Wind was stopped at third base. Kate Gentile was then walked intentionally to set up a force play. That worked, as De Wind was forced out at home on a grounder by Anouk van den Heuvel, then a flyout ended the inning, stranding three runners.

As Sparks Haarlem was held scoreless in the home of the seventh, the game went into extra innings. Terrasvogels scored twice in the top of the eighth to take a renewed lead. Tie-break runner Kate Vanderham reached third base safely, beating the throw on a sac-bunt by Dana Horeman, who herself reached first base. Floor Roest then also put down a sacrifice bunt, but Vanderham was unable to score, while Horeman advanced to second base. But then, a sacrifice fly by Eva de Bruin led to a run and a passed ball enabled Horeman to score to make it 6-4.

While sliding in head-first to score the run, Dana Horeman injured her left knee and had to be replaced when the home of the eighth started. And then suddenly, the Terrasvogels-defense fell apart, as three errors led to three unearned runs and a loss. With tie-break runner Ardine Schemmekes (who pinch-ran for Marloes Fellinger) on second base, Julie Owen was hit by a pitch from Kate Vanderham, who had taken over the pitching in the sixth inning. Next, an error was made on sacrifice bunt by Shannah van der Kaaij, which loaded the bases. Virginie Anneveld (who is recovering from a leg-injury, but played the first game at third base) then entered the game as pinch-hitter. Her sac-bunt also was misplayed, leading to two runs, another tied score and runners on second and third base. Hereafter, a throwing error on a grounder by Beau van Gelder produced the third run in the at bat and gave Sparks Haarlem a 7-6 win and 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Holland Series.

(October 1)

Standings & Schedules

...Left: Men in Blue, former and current umpires - Rob Wurtz (observer), Albert Tolen (umpire),...
...Bert Loggen (umpire commissioner), Anne de Bruijne (observer) and Hans Hornstra (umpire)...
...Right: Veteran umpires Peter Vonk and Carolien Stadhouders look on during a pitching change in Game 2...
(© Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

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