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Updated: April 17, 2019
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Copyright © 1997-2019
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2019 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Fred Versluis & Marco Stoovelaar)

Sparks Haarlem wins big against returning Hoofddorp Pioniers

HAARLEM (Neth.) - Sparks Haarlem opened the 2019 season in the Golden League with two convincing victories against Hoofddorp Pioniers on a very cold Saturday-afternoon (April 13). Sparks Haarlem won 7-0 and 10-2 and finished both games via the mercy-rule run-difference, In the second game, Sparks Haarlem broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning and then scored eight runs.

It was a very cold day today. The average temperature was 6,5 degrees C (43,7 F), but the windchill was only 3,4 C (38,1 F).

For Hoofddorp Pioniers, today marked the return to the highest division after a 25-year absence. In 1993, the softball-team of this Hoofddorp-based club played in its only big league-season. The team then only won four of the 33 games played and relegated. In following years, Pioniers played in the First Division (then the second highest league), but relegated again in 2003. The team returned after five years, but relegated once more three years later. In 2015, Pioniers promoted to the new Silver League in which it played since 2016.

Last year, Pioniers finished in second place behind Twins Oosterhout. As the Golden League expanded from six to eight teams this year, both teams automatically promoted.

With today's games, Hoofddorp Pioniers wrote some history. On April 4, the main baseball-team of the club opened its season in the Dutch big league. The next day, the men softball-team played its first game in the highest league. Today, these teams were joined by the women softball-team. With that, Hoofddorp Pioniers is the lone club that has a team in all three big leagues.

(April 13)

Schedule, Standings & Scores

Game 1

At 2 PM, Quilen Dirksz stepped into the batter's box to become the first player of Hoofddorp Pioniers to hit in a big league-game in 25 years. She popped the ball up into foul territory, where it was caught by catcher Anne Blaauwgeers. Sparks Haarlem-starter Kirsten Scheele retired the side. The veteran righthander played in her last full season in 2016. In the past two seasons, she filled in due to injuries in the pitching-staff. But this year, she is back on the roster fulltime again for Sparks Haarlem.

Sparks Haarlem opened the score with one run in its first at bat off of starter Iris Strookman. She walked lead-off hitter Anne Blaauwgeers, who then stole second and third base. Next batter Kimberly Jones also walked. When she stole second base, a throwing error followed, enabling Blaauwgeers to score the first run.

In the second inning, the lead was doubled. With one out, Taisa Kirindongo was hit by a pitch in her first big league-at bat. With one out, she stole second base, then scored when next batter Caitlin Kramer reached on an error.

Sparks Haarlem scored two more runs in the third inning. Kimberly Jones led off with a walk and McKayla Taylor (who also made her debut) followed with a double. Hereafter, Maxime van Dalen reached on an error, which enabled both runners to score and make it a 4-0 score. A week ago, Van Dalen opened the season in the Italian Softball League, playing for Bollate, but today, she played for her Dutch team.

...Quilen Dirksz hit the first basehit for Pioniers...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Hoofddorp Pioniers reached base for the first time in the top of the fourth inning. In the first three innings, the team was retired in order by Kirsten Scheele, who struckout the last five batters she faced. In the fourth, Ginger de Weert took over the pitching. She gave up a lead-off double to Quilen Dirksz, who with this accounted for the big league-basehit for Pioniers in 25 years. She moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Nina Oomes, but then stranded on third base.

Sparks Haarlem scored another run off of new pitcher Serena Kersten in the bottom of the fourth. Kendra van Vliet led off with a single, stole second base with one out, moved on a wild pitch, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kimberly Jones.

In the top of the fifth, Pioniers recorded its second base hit in the game. With one out, Mayara Brown singled, stole second base, but was left there.

Sparks Haarlem reached the 7-run mercy-rule difference moments later. With one out, Feline Poot walked and Taisa Kirindongo singled. The two moved on a foul-out, then the bases got loaded when Caitlin Kramer walked. Anne Blaauwgeers followed with a walk-off, 2-run single that ended the game.

Sparks Haarlem - Hoofddorp Pioniers 7-0 (5 inn.)
Hoofddorp Pioniers00000 -023
Sparks Haarlem11212 -740
(two outs when 7-run difference was reached in the fifth inning)
pitchers Pioniersinn.SOBBHRER
Iris Strookman, L (0-1)3-4142

Serena Kersten1.214333

pitchers Sparksinn.SOBBHRER
Kirsten Scheele, W (1-0)36----

Ginger de Weert2112--
Box Score
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Martin Lemstra, 1B-Wout van der Horst.
Official Scorer-Leo van den Brun.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Dennis Duin.
Public Address Announcer-Josefien van Dusschoten.
Scoreboard Operator-Brian de Groot.
Starting Time-2:00 PM.
Time Played-1:20 hrs.
Site-Noordersportpark, Haarlem.

Game Notes:
Opening Day Golden League 2019.
Quilen Dirksz, Mayara Brown, Dionne Cooper, Amy-Lynn Felix, Susannah Groen, Shari van Heyningen, Manon Marie, Femke Nuijten, Iris Strookman, Serena Kersten (all Hoofddorp Pioniers), Taisa Kirindongo and McKayla Taylor (both Sparks Haarlem) make their debut in the Golden League.
Glennsig Polonius (Hoofddorp Pioniers) makes his debut as Head Coach in the Golden League.
Griffifth Cathalina and Raily Margaritha (Roef!) make their debut as Coach in the Golden League.
Weather conditions at game time: Partly cloudy, 6,7° C (44,1° F); wind direction northeast;
wind speed 27 kmh (16,8 mph); wind force 4 Bft; humidity 53%.

Game 2

Sparks Haarlem also opened the score in the first inning of the second game. With one out, Kimberly Jones singled and McKayla Taylor doubled off of starter Sheila van der Tang, who is one of four Pioniers-players with some big league-experience. Hereafter, a wild pitch followed by a throwing error enabled both runners to score.

But Pioniers then had some productive at bats off of starter Quincy Catsburg. In the second inning, French player Manon Marie led off with a triple, then was unable to advance on an infield-hit by Mayara Brown. While the latter was caught stealing, Marie scored for Pioniers.

After Sparks was retired in order in the second inning, Pioniers came alongside in the third inning. With one out, Quilen Dirksz walked and with two outs, Kelsey Huijzers reached on an error. The two moved on a wild pitch, then Dirksz scored the tying run on a single by Shari van Heyningen. With runners on first and third base, a foul-out ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the third, the Pioniers-defense turned an inning-ending double play and so, the fourth inning began with a 2-2 tie.

...Maxime van Dalen...
...3-for-3, homerun, 3 runs, 3 RBI's...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
Rebecca Soumeru took over the pitching for Sparks Haarlem in the top of the fourth. The veteran righthander retired all six batters she faced in the remainder of the game.

Sparks re-took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Maxime van Dalen and Dominique Sprengers led off with singles and Feline Poot followed with a 2-run double. Pioniers then turned another double play.

Sparks Haarlem took more distance by scoring three runs in the fifth at bat. After Anne Blaauwgeers led off with a walk, Iris Strookman became the new pitcher for Pioniers. With one out, she gave up runscoring singles to McKayla Taylor and Maxime van Dalen. With two outs, Feline Poot singled and Taisa Kirindongo followed with an RBI-double. A walk for Kendra van Vliet loaded the bases, but the home-team left the three runners behind.Serena Kersten. This time, Anne Blaauwgeersz led off with a single and scored on a double by Kimberly Jones. With one out, Maxime van Dalen hit a walk-off, 2-run homerun to end the game. Van Dalen was 3-for-3, scored three runs and batted in three.

Sparks Haarlem - Hoofddorp Pioniers 10-2 (6 inn.)
Hoofddorp Pioniers011000 -242
Sparks Haarlem200233 -10132
(one out when 7-run difference was reached in the sixth inning)
pitchers Pioniersinn.SOBBHRER
Sheila van der Tang, L (0-1)4 (*)13655

Iris Strookman121422

Serena Kersten0.1-----
(*) - Van der Tang pitched to one batter in the fifth inning

pitchers Sparksinn.SOBBHRER
Quincy Catsburg321421

Rebecca Soumeru, W (1-0)34----

Homerun: Sparks: Maxime van Dalen (1)(6th,2-run,2 outs,off Kersten).
Box Score
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Wout van der Horst, 1B-Martin Lemstra.
Official Scorer-Leo van den Brun.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Dennis Duin.
Public Address Announcer-Josefien van Dusschoten.
Scoreboard Operator-Brian de Groot.
Starting Time-3:52 PM.
Time Played-1:29 hrs.
Site-Nol Houtkamp Sportpark, Haarlem.

Game Notes:
Opening Day Golden League 2019.
Weather conditions at game time: Cloudy, 6,2° C (43,2° F); wind direction north-northeast;
wind speed 21 kmh (13 mph); wind force 4 Bft; humidity 46%.

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