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

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos Univ. of Texas at Austin, Cal State Fullerton, Fred Versluis & Marco Stoovelaar)

Roster & Coaching-staff Netherlands Softball Team announced for Super 6

NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - The roster of the Netherlands National Softball Team for the upcoming first edition Super 6 Baseball Softbal has been announced on Saturday (September 15). Three players will make their international debut in the Orange squad, which will be led by two experienced and successful American coaches.

The inaugural edition of the Super 6 Baseball Softball opens next Tuesday (September 18) in Hoofddorp (Netherlands).

Participating in the softball-tournament are the Netherlands, Italy, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Greece and Russia. The Netherlands Team has no exhibition game scheduled. The team played an intersquad game on Wednesday-afternoon.

Participating in the baseball-tournament are the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Italy. The Netherlands Team will play an exhibition game on Sunday against the Czechs at the Rob Hoffmann Vallei, the site of HCAW in Bussum.
A week ago, the roster of the Netherlands Team was announced.

Onaisha Franka (19 years old), Feline Poot (18) and Cindy van der Zanden (25) all will make their international debut in the National Team. All three already played for the Orange squad during the annual Holland Tour. Franka and Poot made their debut this year. Van der Zanden already has played for the team since 2016 in exhibition games. This year, both Franka and Poot participated in two European Championships with the Netherlands Under19 Team and the Netherlands Under22 Team.

...Onaisha Franka, Lisa Hop, Feline Poot & Cindy van der Zanden...
(© Photos: Fred Versluis (Onaisha), Marco Stoovelaar (Lisa, Feline, Cindy))
Pitcher Lisa Hop will make her tournament-debut in the National Team. She was a member of the preliminary roster for the World Championship last month in Japan. Hop traveled with the team to Japan and there, she played in several exhibition games, including making her international debut pitching against Canada and Great Britain. She was then cut from the final roster, but stayed with the squad during the entire Championship as a member of the supporting staff.

Catcher Karin Tuk, who is the all-time homerun-leader in the Golden League, returns to the squad. She was sidelined since March of this year with an ankle-injury. Because of that, she missed the World Championship last month in Italy.

The Super 6 gives the coaching-staff the opportunity to give some young and talented players the opportunity to gain experience at the international level. That's important looking ahead to next year, which has two important tournaments on the calender: the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the European Championship. Five players who participated in the World Championship will not be with the team during the Super 6, being pitcher Ginger de Weert, infielders Shareday Christina, Suka Van Gurp and Britt Vonk and outfielder Damishah Charles. Van Gurp and Charles have returned to the USA to start a new college-season.

For the Super 6, American coaches Connie Clark and Michelle Gromacki have been added to the coaching-staff. While playing themselves, the two were teammates in 1986-1987, playing for Cal State Fullerton, which then was led by famous coach Judi Garman. They will be joined by Saskia Kosterink and Bart Hanegraaff.

...Connie Clark...
(© Photo: Univ.Texas
For 23 seasons (1995-2018), Connie Clark led the softball-team of The University of Texas at Austin with whom she participated in the College World Series five times (1998, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2013). With the Longhorns, she also participated in 19 NCAA Tournaments and won four Big 12 Conference Championship-titles. Clark was the team's Head Coach since the softball-program at Texas began in 1996. In May of this year, she stepped down. She then stated: ,,This decision comes with a great deal of emotion because it was such a blessing to be able to build this program from day one and to manage it for 23 years. But I feel like it's a really good time to pass the baton. The program has a great foundation in place, and it's refreshing to be able to make this decision and go out on my own terms. I'm extremely proud of all we've accomplished, but just think the timing is right for a change''. In her career at Texas, Connie Clark's teams won 873 games. Clark's record was 873-401 and three times. She was named Big 12 Coach of the Year three times (2002, 2006, 2010).

Before coming to Texas, Clark was an Assistant Coach at Florida State University (1990-1995). A former pitcher, Connie Clark played for Cal State Fullerton, with whom she won the College World Series in 1986. In that season, she was 20-2 with 197 strikeouts. The next year, she was 33-5 for Fullerton with 261 strikeouts and was named National Softball Player of the Year. In 1987, she also pitched for Team USA. Through the years, Clark conducted clinics in Japan, New Zealand, China and Italy. She has been inducted into four Halls of Fame.

...Michelle Gromacki...
(© Photo: Cal.State
Michelle Gromacki was the Head Coach of California State University at Fullerton for 13 years (2000-2012) after having been Assistant Coach in the previous five years. In those years, she assisted welknown and legendary Hall of Fame Coach Judi Garman, who she succeeded. As Head Coach of the Titans, she led the team to the College World Series in 1995. At Cal State Fullerton, Gromacki led the Titans to five Big West Conference Championship-titles. Under her leadership, the team advanced to the postseason for nine times in a period of twelve years. Michelle Gromacki became one of the winningest coaches in the Big West. Her record with the Titans was 424-302 with one tie. In her rookie season as Head Coach in 2000, Gromacki led the Titans to a 45-15 overall record and was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year.

Since 2001, the former catcher has been involved in different positions with the USA Softball. She had been a member of the coaching-staff of the USA Blue Team (2001) as well as the USA Elite Team (2002-2004). This last team participated in several internationals events and served as the sparring partner of Team USA during the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games. With the Elite Team, she won the Canada Cup in 2003. In 2010, she became a member of the coaching-staff of the USA National Team with whom she then won the title at the World Championship in Venezuela. She played for Butte Junior College and Cal State Fullerton (1985-1987) and was a member of the American National Team in 1994 which then won the title at the World Championship in Canada. Gromacki also played twelve seasons as a catcher for Redding Rebels in the American Softball Association, winning the title three times. Like Connie Clark, Michelle Gromacki also conducted several clinics around the world through the years. Gromacki had been inducted into one Hall of Fame.

During the recent World Championship in Japan, the Netherlands started the event with some disappointing results, which led to a change of coaching. The Orange lost its opening game against Puerto Rico, 6-5 after having lead 4-0. The next day, a 5-0 lead against New Zealand was erased, but the Dutch Team went on to win 10-5. On the third of the event, the Netherlands was no-hit in an 11-0 shutout against the USA, then, later in the day, suffered an unexpected 5-4 loss against the Philippines after leading 4-2 after three innings. That loss led to the decision by KNBSB's Technical Director Tjerk Smeets to put Head Coach Juni Francisca on a non-active status. Out of loyalty, his Assistant Coach Marcel Schippers stepped down. Smeets handed over the responsiblities to Softball Topsport Program Manager Gonny Farley, while the coaching for the remaining games was handed over to Saskia Kosterink, who had been the Bench Coach. Bart Hanegraaff, the team's Strength & Conditioning Coach, as well as Hitting Coach, took over at first base, while Karen Marr remained Pitching Coach. On September 7, it was announced that Karen Marr had left the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association effective immediately.

The roster looks as follows:

Pitchers (5):
Ilona Andringa, Eva Voortman (both FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem), Lisa Hop, Marjolein Merkx (both Roef!) and Rebecca Soumeru (Sparks Haarlem).

Catchers (3):
Dinet Oosting (FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem), Karin Tuk (Terrasvogels) and Laura Wissink (Tex Town Tigers).

Infielders (4):
Virginie Anneveld (FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem), Maxime van Dalen, Onaisha Franka and Feline Poot (all Sparks Haarlem).

Outfielders (5):
Jessie van Aalst, Brenda Beers (both FysioExpert Olympia Haarlem), Wies Ligtvoet, Cindy van der Zanden (both Roef!) and Chantal Versluis (Sparks Haarlem).

Coaching Staff:
Connie Clark, Michelle Gromacki, Saskia Kosterink, Bart Hanegraaff.

(September 15)

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