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Updated: June 27, 2022
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Copyright © 1997-2022
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
International Softball
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2022 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Fred Versluis)

Netherlands Softball Team advances to next game Canada Cup and eliminates Czechs

SURREY, British Columbia (Canada) - The Netherlands Softball Team recorded a convincing 9-0 shutout-victory against the Czech Republic in the first elimination-game in the Championship Round of the Canada Cup International Softball Championship on Saturday-evening (June 25). With the loss, the Czech Team was eliminated and ended in a tie for fifth place with host Canada, which earlier on Saturday lost 4-1 against Chinese Taipei and therefore also was eliminated. This means that the Orange Team advances to the next elimination-game and then will meet the team from Taipei.

Last 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.

In the first game of the Championship Round (or Play-Off Round) on Friday, the Netherlands played against Triple Crown Colorado from the USA. In this Quarter Final, the Netherlands was left empty-handed and lost 6-3. Colorado advanced to the Semi-Final, while the Netherland had to play against the Czechs.

On Friday, the first games were played in the Championship 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. Earlier today, the USA outscored Canada 9-2 to qualify for the Semi-Final in which it will meet Colorado.

For the Netherlands, the loss against Colorado meant that it 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.

The Czechs finished in third place in the Red Pool, then faced Mexico in its Quarter Final and won won 4-1.

The Czech Team didn't began the game with Veronika Pecková, who will be the pitching ace for the team during the upcoming European Championship in Spain next month. Instead, lefthander Lauren Shaw started for the Czechs. Shaw is one of four foreign pick-up players that were added to the Czech roster for the Canada Cup-tournament. In the recent college-season, Shaw was one of the pitchers in the softball-team of UCLA and was 6-2 with 46 strikeouts for the Bruins. In the previous three seasons, Shaw pitched for the softball-team of the University of Iowa. The Czechs also added American righthanded pitcher Sarah Lehman, who played for DePaul University, where she had a 15-6 record and 131 strikeouts. The other two pick-ups are two local Canadian players, infielder Hailey Geary and catcher Chelsea Hotner. Besides these four players, Katie Humhej is a Canadian/Czech righthanded pitcher.

The Netherlands left a runner behind in scoring position in the top of the first inning off of Lauren Shaw. With one out, Brenda Beers singled and stole second base, but stranded there.

But in the top of the second inning, the Orange Team scored three runs. Cindy van der Zanden led off with a single, then an error was made on a force play-grounder by Annemiek Jansen. After a double-steal, the bases got loaded when Charlotte Drijvers was hit by a pitch. With one out, Van der Zanden scored the first run when Lauren Shaw walked Eva Voortman, then Jansen scored on a sacrifice fly by Britt Vonk. The latter then replaced Drijvers at second base as temporary runner and scored the third run on a single by Brenda Beers.

The Netherlands continued its scoring in the top of the third inning off of Sarah Lehman, the other American pitcher in the Czech roster. But the Orange-offense also made good contact off of this college-pitcher. The righthander was greeted with a lead-off single by Maxime van Dalen, who advanced on a passed ball, then scored on an one-out double into deep leftfield by Annemiek Jansen, who barely missed a homerun. With two outs, Suka Van Gurp drove the ball into deep right/centerfield and this time, the ball ended over the fence for a 2-run homerun. That lifted the lead to 6-0. Next batter Eva Voortman walked and stole second base, but was left behind.

...Suka Van Gurp...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
The Orange Team added another run in the top of the fourth. Brenda Beers led off with a single, advanced on a grounder by Jessie van Aalst, then scored on a single by Maxime van Dalen.

The Netherlands increased the lead to 9-0 by scoring two more runs in the top of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Lorraine Kieft reached on an error and with one out, Eva Voortman walked. Both scored when next batter Britt Vonk hit the ball into left/centerfield for a 2-run, stand-up triple.

Eva Voortman, who batted ninth in the batting order of Head Coach Ferenc Jongejan, also was the starting pitcher for the Netherlands. The lefthander retired the side in the first inning (two strikeouts), then gave up an one-out single to Barbora Saviola, who would remain the lone Czech runner. She stranded on first base, as a flyout followed, then Voortman closed with her fourth strikeout. In the bottom of the third inning, Voortman again retired the side. She first struckout the first two batters (that raised her total to six), then Annemiek Jansen caught a line drive into deep leftfield by Eliška Stejskalová.

With a 7-0 lead, Rebecca Soumeru took over the Orange-pitching in the bottom of the fourth inning from Voortman, who remained in the batting order and became the Offensive Player Only (OPO). Soumeru also retired the side in the fourth, then did the same in the fifth to end the game via the mercy-rule.

Playing for the Netherlands in this game were Britt Vonk (SS), Brenda Beers (CF), Jessie van Aalst (RF), Damishah Charles (RF), Maxime van Dalen (1B), Cindy van der Zanden (DP), Dinet Oosting (PH/3B), Charlotte Drijvers (C), Lorraine Kieft (PH/C), Suka Van Gurp (2B), Lizzie Clarijs (2B), Eva Voortman (SP/OPO), Sterre den Duijn (3B) and Rebecca Soumeru (RP).

(June 25)

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