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Updated: April 15, 2018
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Copyright © 1997-2018
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Fred Versluis)

Narrow escape and big win for Sparks Haarlem against DSS

HAARLEM (Neth.) - Sparks Haarlem opened the new season in the Golden League with two victories against DSS on Saturday (April 14).

Playing at home, Sparks Haarlem had a narrow escape in the opener. The vice-champion trailed 5-3 halfway the sixth inning, meaning DSS was six outs away from an opening victory. But Sparks Haarlem came alongside and won in the seventh inning after having trailed three times.

In Game 2, Sparks Haarlem encountered no problems and recorded a big 9-0 shutout, mercy-rule win in 4½ inning.

In the past two weeks, the team of Sparks Haarlem had to deal with some injuries. That led to the decision to end the Finals of both the J.C.J. Mastenbroek Tournament in Enschede (two weeks ago) and the Jan de Wit Tournament in Haarlem (last week) prematurely. In both Finals, Sparks Haarlem trailed against FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem. In Enschede, the game ended after three innings and in Haarlem, the game was halted after two innings, because of the injuries and a shortage of players in the Sparks Haarlem-squad.

Some of the players who missed some games in the past few weeks, played again in both games today. However, Sparks Haarlem now had to do without rightfielder Chantal Versluis, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. Veteran righthanded pitcher Rebecca Soumeru is also still recovering from an injury.

DSS also has some players in its team who are recovering from injuries. Because of this, both teams had added some rookies to their rosters.

Two of them made their debut for DSS, being Canadian outfielder Jaimie Shaw and infielder Elise Ooms, who both play in the second team.

Three players made their debut for Sparks Haarlem. In the opener, it was Italian player Roberta Pasca, who plays in the second team of the club. In 2016,Pasca played for Legnano, with whom she finished in second place in the European Cup Winners Cup in Ostrava (Czech Republic). In that season, she was a teammate of American pitcher Monica Perry, who played for Sparks Haarlem last season, but will not be with the team this year.

In the second game, two more rookies played for Sparks Haarlem. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Caitlin Kramer got a pinch-hit appearance. She plays for The Herons, with whom Sparks Haarlem has a working agreement. The fifth inning was pitched by Janine Bliek, who plays in the second team.

(April 14)

Complete Schedule

Game 1

Before the start of the first game, there was a moment of silence in remembrance of Gé Hoff, who passed away on April 8 at age 81. Mr. Hoff had been very active in the Haarlem-region.

Sandra Nypels, the Chairman of Sparks Haarlem, was honored for het 25-year membership of the club's board and threw the ceremonial first pitch.

In the opener, DSS took the lead three times, but failed to hold into it. It was also a game in which both teams made four errors.

DSS opened the score quickly with one run in the top of the first inning. That was done off of starting pitcher Quincey Catsburg, who pitched for DSS in the past few seasons. She gave up a lead-off single to Jenny Kinburn, who in her turn had played for Sparks Haarlem the last two seasons. By leading off the game with a single, Kinburn became the first player to record a basehit in the new Golden League-season. The last time that a lead-off hitter opened the season with a basehit was on April 18, 2015, when Eva Voortman led off for Olympia Haarlem with a single off of Romy van der Wielen (Tex Town Tigers). Kinburn moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Annemiek de Rover and reached third base on a grounder by Sophie Bugter. She then scored the first run on a single by veteran Czech player Eva Rendlová, who made her debut in the Golden League and did it with a basehit in her first at bat.

In the second inning, Ginger de Weert took over the Sparks-pitching, as Quincey Catsburg had sustained a leg-injury in the first inning and was unable to continue. De Weert struckout the side, but gave up two runs in the fourth at bat.

Australian righthander Stephanie Trzcinski made her debut pitching for DSS. She went the distance, did fine, struckout ten hitters, but ended up empty-handed.

Trzcinski retired the side in the first inning (two strikeouts), then gave up the tying run in the second at bat. Maxime van Dalen led off with a double and scored when Feline Poot followed with a single. Poot advanced herself to second base on an outfield-error an reached third base on a passed ball with one out. Hereafter, Trzcinski struckout the next two hitters.

After stranding a runner on third base in the second inning, DSS re-took the lead in the third at bat by scoring two runs off of Ginger de Weert. Eva Rendlová, who turned 35 on Friday, led off with a single and stole second base, then moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Sampson. Moments later, Rendlová scored on a double by Stephanie Trzcinski. The latter scored the next run when a double error was made on a grounder by Lisette Untied, who played in her first big league-game since 2015. Back then, she played for Alcmaria Victrix. After Untied was caught stealing, Lorraine Kieft walked, but the inning ended with a strikeout.

Sparks Haarlem got one run back in the bottom of the fourth. Anne Blaauwgeers led off with a single, then advanced on a passed ball during a strikeout. A force play was created by walking (former DSS-player) Feline Poot intentionally. Blaauwgeers and Poot then executed a double-steal and when a throwing error followed, a run was scored. Poot stranded on second base.

In the top of the fifth inning, a surprise pitcher entered the circle for Sparks Haarlem, as leftfielder Maaike Blaauwgeers took over from Ginger de Weert. She was relieved, as she was pitching on a pitch-count, due to the recovery of an injury. DSS got on base, but left runners behind on first and second base.

For Blaauwgeers, this was her first pitching appearance since she threw two innings during the 2006 season when she also played for Sparks Haarlem.

...Kehli Washington scores the winning in the 7th inning...
...Looking on are DSS-pitcher Stephanie Trzcinski, HP Umpire...
...Bob Gieskens and Sparks Head Coach Peter van Dalen...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
Sparks Haarlem then tied the score for the second time in the bottom of the fifth. Tammie Lijbers led off with a walk and moved to third base on two consecutive wild pitches. With one out, she scored on a grounder by Kingsley Avery.

The sixth inning was productive for both teams.

First, DSS took the lead for the third time by again scoring two runs. Stephanie Trzcinski led off with a walk, moved on a sac-bunt by Lisette Untied, then reached third when Lorraine Kieft reached on an error. With two outs, the two runners scored when Jenny Kinburn followed with a double.

For the third time, Sparks Haarlem erased the deficit and came alongside in the bottom of the sixth. Anne Blaauwgeers led off with a single, stole second base and scored on a triple by Maxime van Dalen. Hereafter, Feline Poot walked. When Poot stole second base, a throwing error followed, enabling Van Dalen to score the tying run. Poot stranded on second base, as the next three hitters were retired.

DSS got its lead-off hitter on base in the top of the seventh when Sophie Bugter walked, but she stranded on first base. The game was then decided in the bottom of the seventh. Kehli Washington led off with a single and Kingsley Avery followed with a double. As an outfield-error was made, Washington was able to score the winning run.

,,This was very unfortunate. We played very well. This was a game that we could have won'', DSS Head Coach Norman Ames reacted afterwards.

Peter van Dalen, the Head Coach of Sparks Haarlem, of course was happy with the win. ,,We trailed three times, but what I liked today was that we kept on fighting to come back. And in the end, we were able to win''.

...Before the game, a moment of silence is observed in remembrance of Gé Hoff...

...Sparks Haarlem Chairman Sandra Nypels throws the ceremonial first pitch...
...At right, she is joined by catcher Anne Blaauwgeers...

...Left: Ginger de Weert pitched in relief for Sparks Haarlem; Running at 2B is Stephanie Trzcinski...
...Right: Lisette Untied is caught stealing in the 4th inning and tagged by short stop Feline Poot...
...Standing in the back are 2B Onaisha Franka, RF Kehli Washington and Umpire Martin Lemstra...

...Anne Blaauwgeers steals 3rd base in the 4th inning; 3B Jenny Kinburn receives the ball, but then loses control of it...

...Left: Maaike Blaauwgeers was the winning pitcher in her first pitching-appearance in 12 years...
...Right: Anne Blaauwgeers steals second base in the sixth inning...
(© All Photos: Fred Versluis)

Sparks Haarlem - DSS 6-5
Sparks Haarlem0101121-674
(no outs when winning run was scored in the seventh inning)
pitcher DSSinn.SOBBHRER
Stephanie Trzcinski, L (0-1)6 (*)103763
(*) - Trzcinski pitched to two batters in the seventh inning

pitchers Sparks Haarleminn.SOBBHRER
Quincey Catsburg1--211

Ginger de Weert342221

Maaike Blaauwgeers, W (1-0)31222-
Box Score
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Bob Gieskens, 1B-Martin Lemstra.
Official Scorer-Huub Nelissen.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Dieks Bannink.
Public Address Announcer-Wouter Hoos.
Scoreboard Operator-.
Starting Time-2:00 PM.
Time Played-1:54 hrs.
Site-Noordersportpark, Haarlem.

Game Notes:
Opening Day Regular Season Golden League 2018.
Before the game, there was a moment of silence in remembrance of Gé Hoff.
Sparks Haarlem Chairman Sandra Nypels was honored before the game for her 25-year membership of the club's board and threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Eva Rendlová, Stephanie Trzcinski, Jaimie Shaw, Elise Ooms (all DSS) and Roberta Pasca (Sparks Haarlem) make their debut in the Golden League.
Eva Rendlová hit a basehit in her first Golden League-at bat.
Weather conditions at game time: Partly cloudy, 13,3° C (55,9° F); wind direction west-southwest;
wind speed 11 kmh (6,8 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 64%.

Game 2

In the second game of the double-header, Sparks Haarlem collected ten basehits, while the defense of DSS contributed with five errors. That resulted in a lopsided game, which was won by the home team with a 9-0 mercy-rule score in 4½ inning.

DSS recorded only two basehits in this game and was unable to get into scoring position. The first of them was hit with two outs in the first inning by Sophie Bugter, one of the players in the DSS-squad who is recovering from an injury. After being retired in order in the second and third inning, DSS reached base again in the fourth. With two outs, Eva Rendlová singled, which was her fourth basehit of the day, as she hit three in her debut in the opening game.

Sparks Haarlem opened the score in the bottom of the first inning off of Anna-Bè Bartels when two errors were made. With one out, she walked Kimberly Jones. The two were teammates in 2015 when they played for Terrasvogels. With two outs, Jones moved on a passed ball. She then advanced and scored when two throwing errors followed an infield-hit by Maxime van Dalen, who herself stranded on third base.

...Feline Poot...
...2-run homerun...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
The home team added three unearned runs in the second at bat. Onaisha Franka led off with a single and Maaike Blaauwgeers followed with a bunt-single. An error on a sacrifice bunt by Tammie Lijbers then resulted in a run and runners on second and third base. With two outs, they respectively scored on a grounder by Kingsley Avery and a single by Kimberly Jones.

Sparks Haarlem took more distance by scoring three runs again in the third inning off of Stephanie Trzcinski, who took over the DSS-pitching. Maxime van Dalen led off the single and hereafter, Feline Poot hit a line drive homerun over the leftfield-fence. She led the exhibition season with three homeruns. Next hitter Onaisha Franka reached second base on an error, then scored on an one-out single by Tammie Lijbers to make it a 7-0 score.

While already having reached the mercy-rule 7-run difference, Sparks Haarlem added two more runs in the next at bat. Kimberly Jones led off with a single and scored on an one-out triple by Maxime van Dalen, who went on to score herself on a following double by Feline Poot.

Leading 9-0, Sparks Haarlem Head Coach Peter van Dalen inserted rookie Janine Bliek to pitch the fifth inning. She retired the side to end the game.

...Left: Ginger de Weert started for Sparks Haarlem; In the background 3B Kimberly Jones and DSS Head Coach Norman Ames...
...Right: Feline Poot is greeted after her homerun in the third inning...

...Left: Kimberly Jones scores in the 4th inning, as seen by pitcher Stephanie Trzcnski and catcher Lorraine Kieft...
...Right: Rookie Janine Bliek pitched the last inning for Sparks Haarlem and made her Golden League-debut...
(© All Photos: Fred Versluis)

Sparks Haarlem - DSS 9-0 (4½ inn.)
DSS00000 -025
Sparks Haarlem1332X -9100
pitchers DSSinn.SOBBHRER
Stephanie Trzcinski- (*)-----

Anna-Bè Bartels, L (0-1)2-144-

Stephanie Trzcinski22-654
(*) - Trzcinski was announced as starter, but was replaced by Bartels when bottom 1st began

pitchers Sparks Haarleminn.SOBBHRER
Ginger de Weert, W (1-0)43-2--

Janine Bliek1-----

Homerun: Feline Poot (1)(3rd,2-run,off Trzcinski).
Box Score
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Martin Lemstra, 1B-Bob Gieskens.
Official Scorer-Huub Nelissen.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Dieks Bannink.
Public Address Announcer-Wouter Hoos.
Scoreboard Operator-.
Starting Time-4:25 PM.
Time Played-1:01 hrs.
Site-Noordersportpark, Haarlem.

Game Notes:
Opening Day Regular Season Golden League 2018.
Caitlin Kramer and Janine Bliek (both Sparks Haarlem) made their debut in the Golden League.
Weather conditions at game time: Partly cloudy, 14,9° C (58,8° F); wind direction west;
wind speed 11 kmh (6,8 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 60%.

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Copyright © 1997-2018 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.