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Updated: June 15, 2022
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2022 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Fred Versluis)

Netherlands Softball Team off to Canada with 20 players

SCHIPHOL / HAARLEMMERMEER (Neth.) - The players, coaches and supporting staff of the Netherlands Softball Team ensembled on Schiphol International Airport today (Wednesday, June 15) to start their journey to Canada. There, the National Team will participate in the Women's International Pool of the 26th edition of the Canada Cup Women's International Softball Championship.

From Schiphol, the team first flies to Toronto. There, in three neighboring cities, the Orange-squad will play four exhibition games against the National Team of Canada on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (double-header). The team then travels from Toronto to the west-coast of Canada, where it will play its first game of the Canada Cup on Monday in Surrey.

The Canada Cup is an annual tournament that was first organized in 1993 by the Canadian Amateur Sport Society. Following the announcement that softball was to be part of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA), the tournament was created and became one of the biggest and leading internationals events in the world. Through the years, many club-teams from Canada, the USA and Japan have participated, but later, more and more National Teams also joined the field of participants. As the tournament became bigger, it was divided into several divisions, Women's International, Futures Select (Under-19), Futures Gold (Under-19), Showcase Select (16-Under) and Showcase Gold (16-Under). In March, the organizers of the event gave the green light and announced that the tournament will be played again this year after the previous two editions were cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the National Teams of Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the Czech Republic, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Korea and USA will participate in the Canada Cup.

In the upcoming tournament, the Netherlands will play in the Black Pool in the preliminary round, together with Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, the Aussie Spirit Development Team (Australia) and Calahoo Erins (Canada). The remaining five National Teams will begin in the Red Pool and will be joined by T.C. Colorado (USA).

...Head Coach Ferenc Jongejan...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
On Monday, June 20, the Netherlands plays its first game against Mexico. The next day, the Orange-squad will play a double-header and meets the Philippines and the Aussie Spirit Development Team. On the third day of the tournament, the Netherlands plays against Canada following the Parade of Athletes in which all participating teams will be introduced. The team then closes the preliminary round on Thursday against Calahoo Erins. The following day, the Play-Off Round begins, which ends with the all-deciding Final on Sunday, June 26.

Netherlands Team Head Coach Ferenc Jongejan compiled a roster of twenty players for the trip to Canada. That roster was officially announced on Tuesday (June 14), only one day before departure. Three players on the roster will make their international debut, catchers Charlotte Drijvers and Lorraine Kieft and infielder Sterre den Duijn. Drijvers already played in some exhibition games since 2018 and has been the bullpen-catcher during three international tournaments. Den Duijn played in an exhibition game in 2019 and Kieft made her debut earlier this year in an exhibition game. But the Canada Cup is the first international tournament for which they are on the official team-roster.

Also on the roster are three players who have been injured this season. Maxime van Dalen and Suka Van Gurp (both Sparks Haarlem) started the season on the injured list. Van Dalen played in her first game on May 7, Van Gurp made her comeback on June 4. Eva Voortman (Neptunus) recently missed some games due to an injury, but also played on June 4.

So far this year, the Netherlands Team played two exhibition games against men softball-teams. On May 18, the team won 14-12 against Vlaardingen Holy and on June 1, the team lost 8-7 against Red Lions. A scheduled game against DVH on June 8 rained out.

The roster looks as follows:

Lisa Hop (Olympia Haarlem), Marjolein Merkx (Roef!), Lindsey Meadows (Tex Town Tigers), Rebecca Soumeru (Sparks Haarlem) and Eva Voortman (Neptunus).
Charlotte Drijvers (Roef!), Lorraine Kieft (Sparks Haarlem), Dinet Oosting and Laura Wissink (both Tex Town Tigers).
Damishah Charles (Amsterdam Pirates), Lizzie Clarijs, Britt Vonk (both Tex Town Tigers), Maxime van Dalen, Suka Van Gurp (both Sparks Haarlem), Sterre den Duijn (Roef!) and MariŽlle Vleugels (Olympia Haarlem).
Jessie van Aalst, Brenda Beers, Cindy van der Zanden (all Olympia Haarlem) and Annemiek Jansen (Tex Town Tigers).

Coaching Staff:
Ferenc Jongejan (Head Coach), Saskia Kosterink (Bench Coach), Robert Boersma (1B Coach) and Tjerk Smeets (Hitting Coach).
Supporting Staff:
Bas Besselink (Physical Therapist), Sanne Bolhuis (Team Manager) and Gonny Farley (Performance-expert).

(June 15)

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