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Updated: August 21, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

European Premiere Cup: Roef! wins Bronze Medal in extra inning

BUTTRIO / CASTIONS DI STRADA (Italy) - Dutch reigning champion Roef! has won the Bronze Medal in the 43rd edition of the European Premiere Cup-tournament, which was organized in Italy. The team from Moergestel won 2-1 in eight innings against Rivas (Spain) to finish in third place after a suspenseful game. For Roef!, this was its first participation in an European Cup-tournament.

In the all-deciding Final, Poderi dal Nespoli Forlì struck with a 5-run rally in the seventh inning to win 5-2 against defending Premiere Cup-champion MKF Bollate. Two years ago, Forlì won the European Cup Winners Cup. It was the fourth time that Forlì won the Premiere Cup, but the first time since 2007 when the event also had another name (it was then just called European Cup). This season, the team is led for the first time by former Netherlands Softball Team-Head Coach Juni Francisca. In the past, Francisca also was a successful coach with Sparks Haarlem. He also led the Orange Team to fourth place in the 2016 World Championship and the title in the 2017 European Championship.

Roef! opened the event on Monday with a 7-0 shutout-win against RusStar (Russia). On Monday-evening, the game against Bollate was halted with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning due to heavy lightning. There was no score at that moment. The game was completed on Friday.

On Tuesday, Roef! recorded a big 11-2 victory in 4½ inning against Les Comanches from France.

On Wednesday, the team from Moergestel suffered two tough losses. Roef! had the lead both times, but then lost in extra innings. First, Roef! led 3-1 in the sixth inning against Forlì (Italy), but lost 6-5 in eight innings. In the evening, Roef! led 6-1 halfway the second inning against SK Joudrs Praha (Czech Republic), but lost 10-9 in nine innings.

On Thursday, Roef! recorded two shutouts, first winning 10-0 against Apollo Bratislava (Slovakia) in the afternoon, then adding a 2-0 win in the evening against Barracudas Zürich (Switzerland).

On Friday, Roef! had another successful day. The team first won 6-1 against Rivas, then completed its halted game against Bollate and won 3-2 in ten innings.

In the Final, Dutch Umpire Gerrit-Jan van der Hoeven was at third base. Belgian Umpire Britt Nielandt, who also officiates in the Dutch big league, was at first base. Completing the crew was Michal Židek from the Czech Republic, who was behind the plate. Dutchman Wout Isbouts was the Technical Commissioner in the Final.

(August 21)

Final Standings:
1. Forlì (Italy), 2. Bollate (Italy), 3. Roef! (Netherlands), 4. Rivas (Spain), 5. Apollo Bratislava (Slovakia), 6. Joudrs Praha (Czech Rep.),
7. Barracudas Zürich (Switzerland), 8. RusStar (Russia), 9. Les Comanches (France).

Roef! vs. Rivas

The Bronze Medal-game had a peculiar line score. Rivas collected six basehits. Roef! produced only one basehit, which it recorded in the first inning. Since the first inning, 20 consecutive batters of Roef! were retired in order. Although Rivas-pitcher Yilian Tornés allowed no batter to reach base from the first inning on, she was left empty-handed. The deciding run was scored via the tie-break rule, which gave Tornés an automatic runner in the eighth inning.

Yilian Tornés is one of six Cuban players who play in the Italian Softball League this season. During this tournament, the lefthander is a pick-up player in the team of Rivas, as she plays for Rheavandors Caronno in the Italian competition. She went the distance for the Spanish team, struckout ten batters, but was the losing pitcher.

Although Tornés dominated, she almost already ended up as losing pitcher in the regular seven innings. She gave up a run in the first inning, but Rivas then came alongside in the fourth to make it a suspenseful game.

After Rivas was retired in order in the top of the first inning by starter Sydney Watkins, Roef! opened the score in its first at bat. With her second pitch, Yilian Tornés hit lead-off batter Wies Ligtvoet with a pitch. She was moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Kim Donkers. Hereafter, Tornés also hit next batter Elizabeth Snow with a pitch, then got the bases loaded when Nadine Marinus singled. This was to be the lone basehit for Roef! in the entire game. The second out was recorded when a pop-fly by next batter Isa los was caught in foul territory. With two outs and a 2-2 count on next batter Sterre den Duijn, Ligtvoet scored on a wild pitch. Den Duijn struckout, but Roef! led 1-0.

In the top of the second inning, Rivas got its first runner in scoring position. Guest-player Kimberly Jones led off with a bunt-single. Jones, who plays in the Dutch Major League for Sparks Haarlem, then moved to second base via a sacrifice bunt by Sarah Edwards, but was left behind.

From the second inning on, all batters of Roef! were retired in order by Yilian Tornés and so, the team got no scoring opportunities.

Rivas got its next baserunner in the top of the third with two outs when Yaicey Sojo was hit by a pitch, but the Venezuelan player stranded on first base.

In the top of the fourth, Shomayra Franka took over the Roef!-pitching. She was greeted with singles by Venezuelan player Anyibell Ramírez and Dutch player Kimberly Jones. After next batter Sarah Edwards flied out, another pitching change followed. Jessica Tolmie took over and got a foul-fly. Hereafter, Carmen Caicoya delivered a runscoring single. Ramírez scored, but the Spanish team left the other two runners behind.

With one out in the top of the fifth, Yaicey Sojo was hit by a pitch and moved on a wild pitch. With two outs, Marjolein Merkx became the fourth pitcher for Roef! and closed with a strikeout.

Rivas got another baserunner in the sixth, but she was forced out. The team got into scoring position again in the seventh. With one out, Marjolein Merkx gave up a single and walked a batter, but a strikeout and groundout followed.

In the top of the eighth, Anyibell Ramírez was the tie-break runner for Rivas, but she was left behind on second base. Merkx struckout Kimberly Jones, then a flyout and groundout ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the eighth, Sterre den Duijn was at second base as tie-break runner for Roef! and she advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Hereafter, Sophie Verdaasdonk flied out and became the 20th consecutive batter of Roef! that was retired in order since the first inning. However, Den Duijn scored on the flyout, which therefore became a walk-off sacrifice fly. And with that, Roef! won 2-1 and captured the Bronze Medal.

Roef! - Rivas 2-1 (8 inn.)
(one out when winning run was scored in the 8th inning)
pitcher Rivasinn.SOBBHRER
Yilian Tornés, L (3-3)7.110-121

pitchers Roef!inn.SOBBHRER
Sydney Watkins33-1--

Shomayra Franka0.1--211

Jessica Tolmie1.1--1--

Marjolein Merkx, W (2-1)3.1512--

Box Score
Umpires: HP-Galip Sönmez (Germany), 1B-Franck Lautier (France),
3B-Loretta Lamieri (Italy).
Official Scorers-Stefano Burlini (Italy), Francesca Valenti (Italy).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Matteo Curci (Italy).
Technical Commissioner-Zsuzsa Balog (Hungary).
Starting Time-12:00 PM.
Time Played-2:09 hrs.
Site-Campo di Baseball/Softball, Buttrio (Italy) (complex White Sox Buttrio).

Game Notes:
Bronze Medal-game, European Premiere Cup 2021.
Weather conditions at game time:
Sunny, 29° C (84,2° F); wind direction southwest; wind speed 6 kmh (3,7 mph); wind force 1 Bft; humidity 33%.

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