(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Netherlands Softball Team in Semi-Final Canada Cup after win vs. Chinese Taipei!
SURREY, British Columbia (Canada) -
The Netherlands Softball Team advanced to the Semi-Final of the Canada Cup International Softball Championship on Sunday-afternoon (June 26) after winning a thriller against Chinese Taipei with a 7-5 score.
The Orange Team advanced to this game in the Championship Round via a 9-0 shutout-victory against the Czech Republic on Saturday-evening.
Chinese Taipei moved to this game on Saturday-afternoon by winning 4-1 against host Canada, which therefore was eliminated.
With this win, the Netherlands qualified for the Semi-Final, which followed some 30 minutes after the game against Taipei.
In that game, the Orange Team will face the USA, which on Saturday in the first Semi-Final surprisingly again lost against Triple Crown Colorado, which therefore reached the Final.
Colorado won 3-2.
In the First Round, Colorado won with a 5-4 score.
The Netherlands Team opened the Canada Cup last Monday 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 the surprise win against the National Team of the USA.
On Friday, the first games were played in the Play-Off Round, which was a double-elimimation round.
The Pool-winners met the number two teams of the other Pool.
And so, the Netherlands played against Colorado, while the USA faced Canada.
The winners of these two games advanced to the Semi-Final on Saturday.
The teams in third place played against the number fourth placed team of the other Pool.
The losing teams of these match-ups were be eliminated.
As all eight teams were in contention for the Final, these games were the Quarter Finals.
The Netherlands lost 6-3 against Colorado and the USA outsored Canada 9-2.
With that, Colorado and the USA met in the Semi-Final on Saturday-afternoon.
For the Netherlands, the loss against Colorado meants that it had to go the long way to reach the Final.
The team had to win every game, as a loss meant elimination.
In order to reach the Final, the Orange Team had to win three games in a row, including two today, preceeding the Final.
On Saturday-evening, the Netherlands played its next game 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 and won 4-1.
As mentioned, the Orange Team recorded a 9-0 shutout-win and advanced to today's game against Chinese Taipei, while the Czechs were eliminated.
The Netherlands took an early lead in the top of the first inning against Chinese Taipei off of starting pitcher Hsia-Ai Ke.
Lead-off hitter Britt Vonk walked, then reached second base with one out when an error was made on a force play-grounder by Jessie van Aalst.
With two outs, Cindy van der Zanden connected well and her basehit brought in Vonk.
However, Chinese Taipei came alongside in the bottom of the first inning off of Orange-starter Lisa Hop.
With one out, the righthander gave up a single to Feng-Chen Lin, who then moved to third base on two wild pitches.
With two outs, she scored on a double by Chia-Yi Chen.
But Hop closed strongly with a strikeout.
The Orange Team then rallied for six runs in the top of the second inning off of three pitchers.
Eleven Dutch batters stepped up to the plate, who produced six basehits.
The team got the bases loaded quickly.
Laura Wissink and MariŽlle Vleugels opened with basehits, which led to a pitching change.
Tzu-Ching Weng took over, but she got the bases loaded when Damishah Charles also singled.
Moments later, Wissink scored the second Orange-run when Britt Vonk walked.
And then, the rally got underway.
Vleugels scored the next run on a sacrifice fly by Brenda Beers, then Jessie van Aalst delivered a 2-run single.
That increased the lead to 5-1 and led to another pitching change.
Chia-Chen Tsai became the third Taipei-pitcher in this at bat and also ran into problems.
She got the bases loaded when Maxime van Dalen walked and Cindy van der Zanden singled.
Van Aalst was then forced out at the plate on a grounder by Annemiek Jansen for the second out.
But the rally wasn't over yet, as Laura Wissink connected for a 2-run single, her second basehit in this inning!
With runners on first and second base, the long inning ended with a flyout, but the Netherlands led 7-1!
However, the game was far from over, as Chinese Taipei answered with a 4-run rally in the bottom of the third inning.
Chih-Ying Lin led off with a walk, then scored on a following double by Chia-Yi Chen.
With one out, Chen scored the next run on a single by Chia-Wen Shen, who was then forced out on second base on a grounder by pinch-hitter Hsuan Liu.
With two outs and Liu on first base, next batter Chia-Yun Chang drilled the ball into deep leftfield and was able to circle the bases, recording a 2-run inside-the-park-homerun.
With that, Taipei narrowed the deficti to only 7-5.
A pitching change followed and Eva Voortman took over from Lisa Hop.
The lefthander closed the inning, but the run-difference was now only two with five more innings to be played!
Five suspenseful at bats followed and both teams were unable to do some more scoring.
Eva Voortman had a strong outing and struckout the side in the bottom of the sixth.
The suspense rose even more in the bottom of the seventh inning when Taipei got two baserunners with one out.
After having reached base, two pinch-runners were inserted, meaning there was speed on the bases!
But an infield-fly then accounted for the second out and Voortman closed the game by striking out pinch-hitter Chia-Hui Ko!
And so, the Netherlands recorded a fantastic 7-5 victory to advance to the Semi-Final!
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), Annemiek Jansen (LF), Laura Wissink (C), MariŽlle Vleugels (DP), Damishah Charles (3B), Lisa Hop (SP) and Eva Voortman (RP).