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Updated: October 14, 2019
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Copyright © 1997-2019
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2019 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Amsterdam Pirates)

Amsterdam Pirates wins on wild pitch and promotes to Golden League; DSS relegates

HAARLEM (Neth.) - Amsterdam Pirates won the deciding third game of the Golden League/Silver League Promotion/Relegation Play-Off against DSS on Sunday (October 13) on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, scoring the lone run in the game. With that, Pirates won the best-of-three, 2-1, to promote to the Golden League, while DSS relegated.

For Amsterdam Pirates, this concluded a successful season in which the club celebrated its 60th anniversary. Last month, the big league baseball-team of the club accomplished something that no other team had done in history. In the Holland Series, the team lost the first three games of the best-of-seven, then won the next four to dethrone Curaao Neptunus and capture its first Championship-title since 2011. Never before had a team turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 win. Today, the softball-team promoted back to the highest league.

The day began with a reveral of a decision. On Saturday-evening, it was initially decided that the halted second game from Saturday-afternoon, needed to be completed today. At the time the game was halted halfway the sixth inning, DSS led 4-1. DSS filed a protest against the decision. On Sunday-morning everyone was informed that the game indeed was declared valid, as the wrong regulations were used. The regulations that only apply for baseball. This situation was created as there were no responsible officials for game affairs at the site for Saturday's games to take a decision then when the game was halted in the sixth inning. Luckily, it was DSS that led in the second game. When Amsterdam Pirates would have led yesterday and the game would have been declared valid today, it would not have been able for the team to celebrate the promotion on the field after having won the game!

And so, Day 2 didn't began with the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2. While trailing 4-1, theoretically, Amsterdam Pirates could have rallied in the bottom of the sixth, take the lead, then keep DSS scoreless in the top of the seventh to win the game. With that, we probably would have been ready in some 15 minutes.

Instead, the Play-Off was now tied at 1-1 and the third and deciding game was needed and was played today. And, under much better weather conditions as the day before, it was an attractive and suspenseful game with some nice plays that was decided in the eighth inning. The lone run was then scored on a wild pitch.

...Players, coaches and staff-members celebrate the win and promotion...
(© Photo: Amsterdam Pirates)
Amsterdam Pirates last played in the highest league in 2007. Before that, the softball-team first played in the big league in 1989, but then relegated after its first season. After winning the title in the second highest league in 1990, Pirates then played for 15 seasons (1991-2005) in the big league. In that span, the team reached the Play-Offs four times. In 1996 and 1997, Pirates won the European Cup Winners Cup. In 1996, in Haarlem (Netherlands), the team swept Sparks in the best-of-three Final, winning 6-1 and 3-1. Catcher Judith van Erk was the tournament's Most Valuable Player and Laura van den Berg was Best Pitcher. A year later, in Oosterhout (Netherlands), Pirates swept Rimini (Italy) in the best-of-three Final, winning 1-0 and 3-0. This time, the team had the tournament's Best Hitter in Evelien Pietersz. As Cupholder, the team also qualified for participation in 1998. The event was then played in Almere (Netherlands) and Pirates won the Bronze behind Ronchi Dei Legionari Peanuts (Italy) and Terrasvogels.

Pirates relegated in 2005 after losing a best-of-five Relegation Series against Birds. In 2006, Pirates immediately returned after winning the title in the First Division. But a tough 2007 season followed. The team then was 4-31 and relegated again. Last year, Pirates reached the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off, but lost to DSS. This time, the roles are reversed.

For DSS, it marked the third consecutive year that the team had to play in the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off. In 2017, DSS won 4-2 in an one-game series against Twins Oosterhout to stay in the Golden League. Last year, DSS also faced Amsterdam Pirates in what then was a best-of-three. DSS then won the first game with a 7-3 score, but needed an extra inning to win a thriller 7-5 in eight innings the next day to prolong its stay in the highest league. In that game, DSS scored three runs in the top of the eighth, highlighted by a homerun by then-injured Morgan Sampson. This weekend, Sampson was unable to play due to another injury. Sampson, who is an effective batter, had been out of the line-up since September 18, after sustaining an injury on September 14.

The loss of DSS means that two teams from the highest league relegated, while two teams from the Silver League promoted. Last Tuesday-evening, Twins Oosterhout lost a tie-breaking game against DSS, resulting in relegation. Last weekend, Quick Amersfoort promoted to the Golden League.

With today's game, the Season Finals ended, as did the seasons in the Golden League and Silver League.

A big thank you has to be handed to Onze Gezellen, which this year hosted the Season Finals. Despite the inclement weather, the Haarlem-based club ran a smooth organization. And the club's groundscrew was outstanding. Without them, no game would have been played last weekend or this weekend. It is thanks to the hardworking groundscrew that we were able to witness some great games to close the 2019 season.

(October 13)

Game 2 - DSS vs. Amsterdam Pirates

On Sunday-morning, the second game was declared valid after all.

On Saturday-afternoon, the game was halted halfway the sixth inning due to the field-conditions after rain with DSS leading 4-1.

Complete Recap of Saturday's game

DSS - Amsterdam Pirates 4-1 (5½ inn.)
Amsterdam Pirates000001-132
(game halted halfway 6th inning due to field-conditions after rain)
pitcher Piratesinn.SOBBHRER
Mandy van der Maas, L (0-1)523343

pitcher DSSinn.SOBBHRER
Anna-B Bartels, W (1-1)631311

Box Score
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Bianca Dweelaard, 1B-Bob Gieskens.
Official Scorer-Marco Stoovelaar.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Karin Pieneman.
Public Address Announcer-Huub Nelissen.
Scoreboard Operators-Rob Walgien, Jan Kroft (Onze Gezellen).
Starting Time-4:17 PM.
Time Played-1:13 hrs.
Site-Van der Aart Sportpark, Haarlem (site Onze Gezellen).

Game Notes:
Season Finals 2019.
Game 2 Golden League/Silver League Promotion/Relegation Play-Off.
7-minute rain-delay before the start of the 3rd inning with DSS leading 4-0.
8-minute rain-delay in bottom 4th inning with DSS leading 4-0, 2 outs and no baserunners.
3-minute rain-delay before the start of the bottom 6th inning with DSS leading 4-1.
Game then suspended due to field-conditions before the start of the 6th inning with DSS leading 4-1.
Initially announced on Saturday-evening, October 12, that game had to be completed on Sunday, October 13, before the start of Game 3, if needed.
Game declared valid on Sunday-morning, October 13.
Play-Off tied, 1-1.
Weather conditions at game time: Cloudy, 10,8° C (51,4° F); wind direction west-northwest;
wind speed 24 kmh (14,9 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 89%.

Game 3 - Amsterdam Pirates vs. DSS

Both teams added some additional players for today's game, who were not available on Saturday. Dana Rodermans was back in the line-up for Pirates and contributed with two basehits. Jenny Kinburn returned to the infield for DSS and recorded one basehit. DSS also had added veteran player Marieke Jansen, who played in centerfield. The 41-year old Jansen played 14 seasons in the big league for Terrasvogels, before retiring after the 2007 season. Thereafter, she kept on playing on a lower level, the last few years at DSS. Last year, Jansen also was added to the roster of DSS during the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off against Pirates, along with pitcher Judith van Kampen. In today's game, Marieke Jansen, who didn't play for DSS in the regular season, showed she still has a strong arm.

American lefthander Rachel Henks pitched a strong game for Amsterdam Pirates. She gave up only two basehits in eight innings and allowed only one runner to get into scoring position in the regular seven at bats.

Anna-B Bartels went the distance for DSS and gave up four basehits. She allowed only two runners to get into scoring position in the regular seven innings, before throwing a game-deciding wild pitch in the eighth.

Both pitchers walked only two batters and so, the game can be labeled a pitching-duel, as both had a good outing.

The game was quick-paced, which also can be credited to Home Plate Umpire Andr Eijpe, who had a fine outing behind the plate and kept the game moving. As a result, the first seven innings were played in only one hour and four minutes!

With that, there was not much traffic on the bases in this game in which Pirates was the home-team again.

After being retired in order in the first inning by Rachel Henks, DSS was first to get into scoring position in the top of the second inning. With one out, Jenny Kinburn singled, as did Wendy van Wijk with two outs. But the two runners stranded, as a flyout ended the at bat. Henks would not give anymore basehits in the remainder of the game.

In the next five innings, Henks allowed only one batter to reach base. After having retired eight consecutive batters, she walked Wendy van Wijk with one out in the fifth. Hereafter, the lefthander again retired eight batters in a row before the start of the eighth inning. She was supported with some fine defensive plays, including four nice catches by leftfielder Ailleen Boland, one of them on a line drive.

Anna-B Bartels retired the first nine Pirates-batters she faced. In the bottom of the fourth, Jessie Rodermans led off with an infield-hit on a ball that jumped up a little in front of short stop Elise Ooms. Rodermans moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Ailleen Boland. Hereafter, Jeske Meewisse hit a hard line drive, but that was caught by 3B Sophie Bugter. Next batter Dana Rodermans then singled into centerfield. That moved her sister to third base and while centerfielder Marieke Jansen fielded the ball, she was waved home. A strong throw from Jansen to catcher Lorraine Kieft followed to eliminate Rodermans at the plate and end the inning. Afterwards, some said that Rodermans should have been kept at third base to keep the pressure on. Other coaches in attendance stated that they would have done the same and that sending Rodermans home was the right thing to do, especially in a game in which it is hard to score. The throw to the plate has to be perfect and errors can be made. Unfortunately for Pirates, but luckily for DSS, Jansen's throw was picture-perfect!

After being retired in order in the fifth inning, Pirates got its next runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Kelly Koeman walked, then her pinch-runner Julia Westhoek moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jessie Rodermans. But she stranded there, as a grounder ended the at bat.

With still no score, Pirates got another baserunner in the bottom of the seventh when Dana Rodermans singled with one out. But she was forced out, then a flyout ended the inning, meaning the game needed extra innings. It was the second time in this Play-Off that extra innings were needed, which underscored that both teams were very equal.

In the top of the eighth, Lorraine Kieft was the tie-break runner for DSS and she moved to third base via a sacrifice bunt by Wendy van Wijk> Hereafter, Elise Ooms walked. With runners on the corners, a bunt-attempt by Marieke Jansen ended in a pop-up that was caught by pitcher Rachel Henks. Moments later, Ooms stole second base, leaving first open. With runners on second and third base, Henks closed strong with a strikeout.

In the bottom of the eighth, Nashota Vieane was the pinch-running tie-break runner for Pirates. A bunt-attempt by Pia Stolk then failed, as she bunted the ball into foul territory where it was caught by catcher Lorraine Kieft. Hereafter, Resa ter Heegde hit the ball towards the leftside of the infield, where it was nicely fielded by short stop Elise Ooms. She might have had a chance to tag out Vieane, who was on her way to third base, but instead, she threw the ball to first base where Ter Heegde reached on an infield-hit. With runners now at the corners, a force play was set up by walking Kelly Koeman intentionally. That force play indeed came on a bunt by Jessie Rodermans, as Vieane was eliminated at the plate. With the bases still loaded and Ailleen Boland in the batter's box, Anna-B Bartels then threw the ball into the ground where it jumped up in front of the catcher, who lost track of it. The three runners got into motion and Ter Heegde went on to score the lone run in the game on this wild pitch.

With that, Amsterdam Pirates promoted to the Golden League, while DSS relegated.

And it also ended the 2019 season in the two highest leagues.

Amsterdam Pirates - DSS 1-0 (8 inn.)
Amsterdam Pirates00000001-140
(two outs when winning run was scored in the eighth inning)
pitcher DSSinn.SOBBHRER
Anna-B Bartels, L (1-2)7.2-241-

pitcher Piratesinn.SOBBHRER
Rachel Henks, W (2-0)8422--

Box Score
Final Standings
Team Rosters
Umpires: HP-Andr Eijpe, 1B-Bianca Dweelaard.
Official Scorer-Marco Stoovelaar.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Karin Pieneman.
Public Address Announcer-Huub Nelissen.
Scoreboard Operator-Jan Kroft (Onze Gezellen).
Starting Time-1:58 PM.
Time Played-1:16 hrs.
Site-Van der Aart Sportpark, Haarlem (site Onze Gezellen).

Game Notes:
Season Finals 2019.
Game 3 Golden League/Silver League Promotion/Relegation Play-Off.
Amsterdam Pirates wins Play-Off, 2-1, to promote to the Golden League.
DSS relegates to the Silver League.
Weather conditions at game time: Cloudy, 19,5° C (67,1° F); wind direction south;
wind speed 27 kmh (16,8 mph); wind force 3 Bft; humidity 89%.

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