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Updated: December 2, 2014
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2014 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)

UVV adds Rudy Dirksen to coaching staff
VLEUTEN (Neth.) - UVV has added Rudy Dirksen to the coaching staff of its women sofball-team for next season, the club announced today (December 2). Dirksen becomes the Assistent Coach of Hubert Bomba, who has led the team the past two seasons.

...Rudy Dirksen...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Rudy Dirksen is an experienced coach. He will now be reunited with Hubert Bomba, as the two coached the big league baseball-team of Mr. Cocker HCAW in 2012. In September 2011, Dirksen was named as new Head Coach of the Bussum-squad for the 2012 season. In that year, he was assisted by Bomba. In the regular season, HCAW finished in sixth place with an 8-34 record. In the following Play-Downs, the team did better and ended with a 6-3 record in a tie for first place with UVV. As HCAW had won two of its three games against UVV, it finished in first place to secure its spot in the big league. However, in September, following the completion of the season, HCAW separated with both Dirksen and Bomba.

Bomba was then named Head Coach of the big league softball-team of UVV. Last year, in his first season in Vleuten, UVV ended in seventh place, meaning it had to play the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off. In that best-of-five, UVV swept Amsterdam Pirates 3-0 to remain in the big league.

This year, UVV had a fine season, which ended disappointed due to a rare twist in the format of the competition. As has been the case for years, the top-4 would qualify for the Play-Offs. UVV ended in fourth place and with that qualified for the first time to participate in the Play-Offs. However, only the final top-3 would secure a spot in next years Golden League, which then will be the highest division in the new Dutch National Softball League. The Golden League will be compiled of only six teams with the possible addition of the Netherlands Junior Team (Holland Talent Team) as a seventh team. That meant that the team that would end up losing the first round of the Play-Offs between the number 1 and 4 of the regular season, had to secure a spot in the big league via a Qualification Round. And so, after being eliminated in the Play-Offs, UVV continued playing in this round. In the initial set-up, the Holland Talent Team would be the sixth team in the Golden League, joined by the top-3 of this season and two teams from the Qualifying Round. However, during a club-meeting, this was rejected. And so, three teams of the Qualifying Round would secure a spot in the Golden League. The Talent Team would then become an additional team, as it has been in the big league for five years now. In the Qualifying Round, DSS and Alcmaria Victrix ended in first and second place respectively to secure their spot in the big league. UVV ended in a tie for third place with Tex Town Tigers, which had ended in second place in the second highest league ('Overgangsklasse'). Twins, the winner of the 'Overgangsklasse', was fifth. Gryphons, which had ended in eighth place in the big league, finished last in this pool, meaning the team relegated and will play in the Silver League, the new second best league.

As UVV finished in a tie for third place, it had to play an one-game Play-Off against Tex Town Tigers. UVV lost the game 8-5. And that meant, while UVV had reached the Play-Offs, it now relegated and will play in the Silver League in 2015. This set-up could have become even more rare. Not only could it result in a team that had reached the Play-Offs to relegate (which happened now), even a team that had qualified for an European Cup Tournament could have relegated in this set-up! How then? Well, the winner of the Summer League had the right to play a best-of-three against the losing team of the Holland Series. The winner of that play-off would then qualify for the European Cup.

...Rudy Dirksen coaching HCAW in 2012...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
To make it even more strange, look at this scenario. Team A wins the Summer League, then qualifies for the Play-Offs in the regular season. In the Play-Offs, the team is eliminated in the First Round. Next, it doesn't finish in the top-3 of the Golden League Qualifying Round, meaning it relegates. But thereafter, that same team (as winner of the Summer League) wins the best-of-three against the Holland Series-loser to qualify for the European Cup. In this case, a team that both qualifies for the Play-Offs and European Cup could have relegated with the Golden League Qualifying Round. Can you still follow it?

This all could have happen, but it didn't. Hotel Ambassador Haarlem Terrasvogels won the Summer League and went on to reach the Holland Series to secure European play, meaning the additional best-of-three was not necessary. But it still remains weird that a team that qualifies for the Play-Offs has to take a step back and will play in the second highest league a year later.

OK, back to Rudy Dirksen. When he came to the Netherlands from Aruba, he played baseball for Amsterdam-based OVVO. In 1988, Dirksen started playing softball for Hilversum, which in those years was one of the best Dutch men softball-teams, including players like Lloyd Todman, Jesper Panduro, Henk van Zijtveld and Arie van Zijtveld. When a Dutch big league was created, Dirksen went on to win the Dutch championship with Hilversum. In 1990, Hilversum was the first Dutch club to win an European Cup in men softball. A bronze and silver medal followed in the next years.

Dirksen then started to coach a youth baseball-team at Hilversum. He created a team of 12 boys, whom he trained for two years and led to the Dutch championship in the cadets-category. UVV also is no strange place for Dirksen. With Tony Rombley, Dirksen coached youth teams for UVV/EBS. This was a combined team linked to the European Baseball School, which was led by Rombley. Playing that team were several future Dutch big leaguers, including Sedley Karel, Timo van Ancum and Jasper Keijzer.

In 2010, with Edwin van Scharenburg, he was one of the coaches of the baseball-team of UVV, which then won the title in the 'Overgangsklasse' to qualify for the best-of-five Promotion/Relegation Play-Off against Almere Magpies. UVV was swept in three games, but shortly thereafter Almere withdraw from the big league due to financial reasons. UVV was approached to that the spot, which it did.

In 2011, Dirksen moved to HCAW, as he was asked to become the Head Coach of the Rookie Team of the club. In September of that year, he was named Head Coach of the big league-squad, which he led in 2012. After the separation in September 2012, Dirksen was not active in the last two years, but now returns to the field again in 2015.

(December 2)

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