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Updated: September 30, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Terrasvogels, Sparks Haarlem split Holland Series-openers
HAARLEM (Neth.) - Hotel Ambassador Haarlem Terasvogels opened the best-of-five Holland Series against Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem on Saturday (September 28) with a 6-5 come-from-behind victory. In Game 2, Sparks Haarlem answered with an 11-0 shutout-win to even the Series. The Holland Series continues next Saturday with a double-header in Santpoort, starting at 2 PM. If needed, a fifth game will be played on Sunday at the Noordersportpark.

It was only fittingly that the opening double-header ended in a split. The two teams have a rich history in the Dutch big league and are facing each other for the eleventh time in a Holland Series. Each has won five of them to underscore that they are really equals of each other.

In the past three seasons, Sparks Haarlem dominated in the regular season, but Terrasvogels was the lone team to hand them several losses.

On August 31, in its last meetings of the regular season, Terrasvogels led twice, but then Sparks Haarlem won. In the opening round of the Play-Offs, two weeks ago, Sparks Haarlem won the first game only 1-0, then also won the next game with a big score, 10-0.

Today, Terrasvogels held on to the lead in the first game and won 6-5. ,,This was a real good game'', Sparks Haarlem Head Coach Juni Francisca said afterwards. ,,I like these games, with a lot of suspense for both teams and the spectators more than the second game we played today''.

Game One
In the opener, Sparks Haarlem initially took a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Chantal Versluis led off with a single. The stolen base-leader of the regular season then stole second base, but was unable to move on an one-out infield-hit by Leigh Godfrey. Next, Versluis and Godfrey staged a double-steal. Versluis was tagged out before sliding into third base (which was also confirmed by Sparks Haarlem), but because of his angle, the 3B umpire could not see the tag. Hereafter, pitcher Monica Perry struckout powerhitter Karin Tuk, who led the regular season in homeruns and runs batted in. This could have been the third out, but instead, there were two with runners on second and third base. Moments later, Versluis scored on a passed ball. Virginie Anneveld then walked and stole second base, enabling Godfrey to score the second run. A single by Debby Connor then brought in Anneveld and gave Sparks Haarlem a 3-0 lead, before Perry ended with another strikeout.

Terrasvogels recovered strongly a got two runs back in a very productive second at bat. Robyn Draper led off with a single, then advanced when a sac-bunt by Kate Gentile ended in a fielding error. Yonina Sint Jago followed with a single through the middle to bring in Draper, while Gentile advanced to third base. Next, Anouk van den Heuvel placed a great squeeze-bunt on a high delivery to bring in Gentile and narrow the deficit to 3-2, still with no outs. But then the inning ended when a strikeout, force out and flyout followed.

In the third inning, Terrasvogels made it a new ballgame when Robyn Draper homered with two outs. The game has turned the way of Terrasvogels and that was underscored in the next two at bats.

In the fourth, Yonina Sint Jago led off with a single, moved on a grounder, then scored on a single by Lisa Waasdorp to give Terrasvogels a 4-3 lead. Next, Marije Schoenmaker was hit by a pitch, which led to a first for Sparks Haarlem this season, as a pitching change followed. Dagmar Bloeming was brought in to relief starter Kirsten Scheele. It was the first time that Head Coach Juni Francisca made a pitching change this season. In the regular season, he made no pitching changes, as pitchers Kirsten Scheele and Rebecca Soumeru both went the distance in all their starts, respectively 23 and 21. Both added a complete game in the first round of the Play-Offs. The last time, Francisca made a pitching change was on October 7 last year during the fourth game of the Holland Series against Alcmaria Victrix. In that game, Scheele relieved Bloeming. Sparks Haarlem lost the game 4-3, resulting in the championship-title for Alcmaria Victrix.

Dagmar Bloeming made her first appearance of the season for Sparks Haarlem, as she pitched for Caserta in the Italian Softball League this year. The first delivery she made was a wild pitch, enabling the two runners to move into scoring position. But then, a failed bunt-attempt ended in a run-down, followed by a grounder that ended the inning.

In the fifth inning, Terrasvogels enlarged its lead to 6-3. Petra van Heijst led off with a walk, then a throwing error followed on a sacrifice bunt by Solange Starrenburg, which put the runners on second and third base. The bases were loaded when Robyn Draper was walked intentionally to set up a force play. But then, Van Heijst scored on a passed ball and Starrenburg scored another run on a sacrifice fly with one out by Yonina Sint Jago.

Terrasvogels then left a runner on third base in the sixth and seventh inning, followed by a suspenseful bottom of the seventh at bat. Monica Perry got two quick outs, but then Nathalie Gosewehr tripled and scored on a following single by Leigh Godfrey. Two errors were then made on a grounder by Karin Tuk, then Virginie Anneveld singled to bring in Godfrey and make it 6-5. But with runners on first and second base, Perry struckout Celine van Roon (her 10th strikeout) to end the game and seal the win.

...Umpires Arjan de Wever, Peter Vonk & Patrick Reus...

...Terrasvogels-pitcher Monica Perry...

...Anouk van den Heuvel puts down a squeeze-bunt in the 2nd inning...

...Robyn Draper is greeted after her 3rd inning homerun...

...Dagmar Bloeming makes her first appearance for Sparks Haarlem...

...Solange Starrenburg scores the 6th run for Terrasvogels...
(© Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

Game Two
The second game was a complete different story and had no suspense at all. A solo-homerun by Chantal Versluis and a 2-run, walk-off homerun by Karin Tuk highlighted the one-sided game.

Initially, Terrasvogels started well with singles by Marisèla de Wind and Petra van Heijst off of Rebecca Soumeru, but then three outs followed. In the home of the first, Sparks Haarlem left the bases loaded off of Ginger de Weert. Chantal Versluis led off with a single and stole second base, then Nathalie Gosewehr walked. A force out then followed on a grounder by Leigh Godfrey and the bases got loaded when Virginie Anneveld walked with two outs. The runners stranded when centerfielder Marisèla de Wind caught Debby Connor's drive.

Terrasvogels left two more runners in the second inning. Anouk van den Heuvel walked with one out and Lisa Waasdorp followed with a single, but then two outs followed.

Sparks Haarlem then decided the game when four unearned runs were scored in the home of the second inning when the Terrasvogels-defense committed two errors. Shannah van der Kaaij led off with a double. After she had advanced on a passed ball, she scored on a single by Michelle van Driel. A sac-bunt by Beau van Gelder moved the runner to second base. Next, an error was made on a grounder by Chantal Versluis (who stole second), followed by a strikeout, which could have ended the inning without giving up a run. But instead, there were two outs and runners on second and third base and both scored when another error followed on a grounder by Leigh Godfrey. Hereafter, the bases were loaded when Karin Tuk and Virginie Anneveld walked. An attempt to make a force out on a grounder by Debby Connor then resulted in no out, but a run instead to make it 4-0.

Sparks Haarlem added two runs in the third inning. With two outs, Chantal Versluis homered to centerfield. Nathalie Gosewehr then walked and scored when Leigh Godfrey tripled. This brought in Malou van Dusschoten, who walked the next two batters, but Sparks Haarlem left the bases loaded.

The two runs in the third were the only earned runs Sparks Haarlem scored, as five unearned runs were added in the fourth at bat. Lead-off hitter Shannah van der Kaaij reached on an error, then was forced out on a grounder by Michelle van Driel, which would have been the second out. A following flyout would have accounted for the third out, but now the inning continued and Sparks Haarlem added three hits and staged a 5-run rally. First, Chantal Versluis walked, then Nathalie Gosewehr added an RBI-single, followed by a 2-run double by Leigh Godfrey. Next, Karin Tuk hit a 2-run, walk-off homerun to lift the lead to 11-0 and end the game through the mercy-rule.

...Winning pitcher Rebecca Soumeru...

...Behind rightfield, there was a bright sun...

...Chantal Versluis homers in the 3rd inning...

...Yonina Sint Jago (front) leaves the field, while...
...Karin Tuk is welcomed after her walk-off homerun...
(© Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

(September 28)

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