(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Fred Versluis)
Netherlands Softball Team opens Play-Off Round Canada Cup with loss
SURREY, British Columbia (Canada) -
The Netherlands Softball Team played its first game in the Play-Off Round of the Canada Cup International Softball Championship on Friday-evening (June 24) and met the team of Triple Crown Colorado from the USA.
In this Quarter Final, the Netherlands was left empty-handed and lost 6-3.
On Monday, the Orange Team opened the Canada Cup with a convincing 7-2 victory against Mexico.
On Tuesday-afternoon, the team first won 4-1 against the Philippines.
In the evening, the Orange Team won again, this time with an 8-1 score against the Aussie Spirit Development Team from Australia.
On Wednesday-evening, the Orange Team was outscored by host Canada and lost 11-3 in a 5-inning game that ended with a walk-off grand slam!
On Thursday, the Netherlands closed the First Round with a convincing 6-0 shutout-victory against Calahoo Erins, a club-team from Canada.
With four wins in five games, the Netherlands finished in second place in the Black Pool, behind Canada, which remained unbeaten.
In the Red Pool, TC Colorado finished in first place after recording a surprise win against the National Team of the USA earlier in the tournament.
On Friday, the first games were played in the Play-Off Round, which is a double-elimimation round.
The Pool-winners were to meet the number two teams of the other Pool.
And so, the Netherlands met Colorado, while the USA faced Canada.
The winners would advance to the Semi-Final on Saturday.
The teams in third place would meet the number fourth placed team of the other Pool.
The losing teams of these match-ups would be eliminated.
As all eight teams were in contention for the Final, these games were the Quarter Finals.
On Friday-afternoon, the USA outscored Canada 9-2 to qualify for the Semi-Final.
In that game, the USA will face Colorado, which qualified because of the win against the Netherlands.
For the Netherlands, today's loss means that it now has to go the long way to reach the Final.
The team has to win every game from now on, as a loss means elimination.
In order to reach the Final, the Orange Team has to win three games in a row, including two on Sunday, preceeding the Final.
Of course, this will be a tough road.
The Netherlands now will play its next game on Saturday-evening against the Czech Republic.
The Czechs finished in third place in the Red Pool and faced Mexico in the Quarter Final.
At the same time that the Netherlands played against Colorado, the Czechs played against Mexico.
The Czech Team won 4-1, meaning Mexico was eliminated and finished in a tie for seventh and eight place in the overall standings.
Mexico shares that spot with the Philippines, which lost its Quarter Final against Chinese Taipei with a 5-0 score.
On Saturday, the second day of the Play-Off Round begins with the game between Canada and Chinese Taipei.
That will be followed by the Semi-Final between the USA and Colorado and the game of the Netherlands against the Czechs.
The winner of the Netherlands vs. Czechs advances to the next game on Sunday-morning and then will meet the winner of the Canada vs. Chinese Taipei game.
The winner of this early Sunday-morning game then moves to the second Semi-Final, the losing team finishes in fourth place.
In the game against Triple Crown Colorado, the Netherlands boldly took a 2-0 lead by scoring a run in the second and third at bat.
However, the American opponent came alongside in the fourth, then rallied for four runs in the fifth to turn the game around.
The American softball-team is part of Triple Crown Sports, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Triple Crown Sports is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is an event-company that organizes competitions/tournaments in several sports for different age-groups (youth, high school, college).
Games are played in nationwide leagues and teams also participate in international events, including the Canada Cup or in Mexico.
Besides fastpitch softball, Triple Crown Sports also organizes events for baseball, golf, lacrosse, snowmobile and volleyball.
In the first inning, both teams remained scoreless.
Colorado-starter Ashley Rogers retired three Orange-batters in a row (two strikeouts).
Lisa Hop started for the Netherlands and had a good outing.
With one out, she gave up a single to Aubrey Leach, who hit the ball just out of reach for 2B Cindy van der Zanden.
After Leach had stolen second base, next batter Hannah Gammill walked.
But the two runners stranded, as a flyout and groundout ended the at bat.
The Netherlands then opened the score in the top of the second inning.
Lead-off hitter Maxime van Dalen made good contact on the second delivery by Ashley Rogers and drilled the ball deep over the centerfield-fence for a homerun!
This was Van Dalen's second homerun in the tournament, as she also homered in the first game against Mexico.
Next batters Cindy van der Zanden and Laura Wissink also hit the ball well, but their line drives were caught.
A pop-fly ended the at bat.
In the bottom of the second inning, Colorado was retired in order by Lisa Hop.
With two outs, Olivia Bruno drove the ball into deep leftfield, but there Annemiek Jansen made a nice catch to end the inning.
The Orange Team doubled its lead in the top of the third inning.
Annemiek Jansen led off with an infield-hit, then moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Damishah Charles.
Moments later, the speedy Jansen advanced to third base on a grounder by Britt Vonk, then scored on a passed ball to put the Netherlands ahead, 2-0.
Colorado also got its lead-off hitter on base in the bottom of the third inning when Jessi Case walked.
With one out, Aubrey Leach hit a high pop-fly.
3B Damishah Charles called for the catch, but then lost the ball in the lights.
She dropped the ball, but recovered quickly and forced out Case on second base.
Shortly thereafter, Leach came into scoring position via a wild pitch, but Lisa Hop recovered and closed with a strikeout.
The Orange Team got its third baserunner in the game in the top of the fourth.
With one out, Maxime van Dalen walked.
The first two Dutch runners had both scored, but Van Dalen stranded on first base.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Colorado came alongside.
The at bat began with a painful moment, as catcher Laura Wissink was hit hard on her knee by a foul ball from lead-off hitter Mia Davidson.
Luckily, she was able to stay in the game and on the next pitch, Lisa Hop struckout Davidson.
But hereafter, Colorado struck.
Addison Barnard hit the ball through the middle for a double.
She then moved to third base on an infield-hit by Kaley Mudge to 3B Damishah Charles, who was unable to make a play at either first or third base, due to a tricky jump of the ball.
After Mudge had stolen second base, Lisa Hop struckout the next batter with runners on second and third.
But now with two outs, Colorado got the bases loaded when Hop hit Olivia Bruno with a pitch.
Hereafter, pinch-hitter Aliyah Binford hit the ball through the leftside.
Lead runner Barnard of course scored and leftfielder Annemiek Jansen threw the ball to the plate while Mudge also was on her way to the plate.
However, 3B Damishah Charles cut off the throw and Mudge also scored, while Bruno slid in safely at third base and Binford moved to second base on the throw.
With that, Colorado had tied the score.
With runners on second and third base, Lisa Hop closed with another strikeout, her third in this at bat and fifth in the game.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Annemiek Jansen reached base again.
She batted the ball into short right/centerfield where it dropped between the centerfielder, rightfielder and second baseman for a single.
The Netherlands got another baserunner when a sacrifice bunt by Damishah Charles ended in a fielding error.
Now with two runners on base, Courtney Coppersmith was inserted as new pitcher for Colorado.
She got a flyout and a pop-fly that ended the at bat.
With a 2-2 score in the bottom of the fifth inning, Eva Voortman took over the Orange-pitching.
The lefthander was greeted with a lead-off single by Aubrey Leach, but followed with a strikeout.
After Leach had stolen second base, she scored when Mia Davidson hit the ball deep over the centerfield-fence for a 2-run homerun.
Voortman again recovered and struckout the next batter.
But with two outs, Colorado added two more runs.
First, Kaley Mudge reached on an error, then Jayda Kearney (who played with the rare uniform number of 00) also hit a 2-run homerun.
Voortman then closed the at bat with her third strikeout, but the American opponent had taken a 6-2 lead.
...Maxime van Dalen...|
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
In the top of the sixth, the Orange Team got on base in its fifth consecutive inning since the second at bat.
With two outs, Colorado made a pitching-change and Aliyah Binford, who had entered the game in the fourth as pinch-hitter and then became the OPO (offensive player only), took over.
But Binford got two baserunners.
She first walked Cindy van der Zanden, then struckout Eva Voortman, but she reached on a passed ball.
Voortman had become the new Orange-pitcher in the bottom of the fifth and also had entered the batting order, taking over the spot of catcher Laura Wissink, as designated player Dinet Oosting had become the new catcher.
But with runners on first and second base, the inning ended with a grounder.
In the bottom of the sixth, MariŽlle Vleugels took over the Orange-pitching.
With one out, the righthander gave up a single to Sydney McKinney, but she was caught stealing.
Next batter Aubrey Leach also singled and stole second base, but was left behind.
With a 6-2 lead, Colorado inserted its fourth pitcher in the top of the seventh and the Netherlands Team got four baserunners off of Lindsay Lopez.
Annemiek Jansen led off with a double, meaning she was 3-for-3.
She moved to third base on a grounder by Damishah Charles, but was unable to score on a bunt-single by Britt Vonk.
Jansen then did score on a following single by Brenda Beers.
After Vonk and Beers had executed a double-steal, Jessie van Aalst struckout.
With first base open, Maxime van Dalen was walked intentionally to set up a force play.
The three runners were left behind, as the at bat and the game ended with a grounder by Cindy van der Zanden.
With that, the Netherlands lost 6-3 and Colorado advanced to the Semi-Final against the USA.
The Orange Team will meet the Czech Republic in its next game on Saturday.
That game will begin at 8:30 PM local time, which is 5:30 AM Sunday-morning Dutch time.
Playing for the Netherlands in this game were Britt Vonk (SS), Brenda Beers (CF), Jessie van Aalst (RF), Maxime van Dalen (1B), Cindy van der Zanden (2B), Laura Wissink (C), Eva Voortman (RP/OPO), Dinet Oosting (DP/C), Annemiek Jansen (LF), Damishah Charles (3B), Lisa Hop (SP) and MariŽlle Vleugels (RP).