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Updated: May 1, 2024
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Copyright © 1997-2024
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

International Softball
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2024 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Netherlands Softball Team closes Friendship Series vs. Czechia with two wins

ČERNÝ MOST/PRAGUE (Czechia) - The Netherlands Softball Team concluded the Friendship Series against Czechia in Czech capital Prague on Wednesday (May 1) with a double-header. The Orange-squad won both games.

In the first game, the Netherlands won 4-2 and scored all runs on a wild pitch. In the second game, two extra innings were needed, but the Netherlands won with an 8-7 score. The winning run was scored on a walk-off passed ball in the ninth inning, as the Netherlands was the home-team in both games.

Today's double-header was played at Copacabana Field, the site of Spectrum Praha in Černý Most, a subdivision in the north-east of Prague, located in the administrative district Prague 14.

In the opener on Monday, the Netherlands won with a 6-2 score at Svoboda Park, the home of SK. Joudrs Praha.

On Tuesday, the Orange Team recorded a comfortable 9-2 win in a game that ended after five innings due to the run-ahead rule at the site of SaBaT Praha.

For the Netherlands Team, this Friendship Series is part of its preparations for two big, important events later in the year.

In July, the team is one of eight teams to participate in the WBSC Women's Softball World Cup Finals (World Championship) in Italy.

In September, the Netherlands will defend the title in the Women's Softball European Championship. That tournament, which also includes Czechia, will be organized in the Netherlands at the sites of UVV (Vleuten), Nieuwegein Diamonds (Nieuwegein) and Centrals (De Bilt).

(May 1)

Game 1

In the first game, there were only six runs and five basehits and not that many baserunners. Nevertheless, it was a slowpaced game, which lasted almost 2½ hours. It was a weird game, as the Netherlands Team recorded only one basehit, but was able to score four runs. Three of these runs were already scored before the lone basehit was recorded in the fifth inning. The Orange-squad, which was the home-team in this game, scored all four runs on a wild pitch!

On a sunny, but windy afternoon, the Orange-squad was held hitless by experienced Veronika Pecková, who went the distance for Czechia. Although the righthander gave up no basehits in 5 2/3 inning, she struggled with her control. In the first five innings, she walked four Orange-batters and hit one. She also gave up three runs, which were all scored on a wild pitch. Overall, Pecková uncorked ten wild pitches in this game.

Orange-starter Marjolein Merkx threw four scoreless innings. In these four at bats, she got two Czech runners in scoring position. The first time was in the first inning when she walked Alice Škardová, who then stole second base. Ema Vodičková followed with a line drive, but that was caught by short stop Britt Vonk. Merkx closed with a strikeout.

With one out in the third inning, Aneta Molentová recorded the first Czech basehit, but she was caught stealing moments later.

With one out in the fourth, Marjolein Merkx gave up a double to Ema Vodičková. She moved to third base on a passed ball, but was left behind there.

In the top of the fifth inning, Lisa Hop took over the Dutch pitching. At that moment, the Netherlands already had scored three runs without recording a basehit.

In the bottom of the first inning, Britt Vonk led off with a walk and was moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Brenda Beers, who played in her 100th international game for the Netherlands Team. Vonk advanced to third base when Maxime van Dalen flied out, but then was left behind.

After being retired in order in the second inning, the Netherlands opened the score in the third. Lead-off hitter Lorraine Kieft was hit by a pitch from Veronika Pecková and then moved to second base on the first wild pitch from the righthander. Pecková followed with a strikeout, but another wild pitch enabled Kieft to move to third base. She then scored when a walk to Britt Vonk ended with a wild pitch. With two outs, Vonk moved to second base on Pecková's fourth wild pitch, but then was left behind.

The Orange Team added two hitless runs in the fourth inning when Pecková again encountered some problems with her control. With one out, she walked Cindy van der Zanden and Dinet Oosting. They advanced on a wild pitch. When another wild pitch followed, Van der Zanden scored and Oosting moved to third base. Hereafter, Pecková struckout her fifth batter, but then uncorked another wild pitch, which enabled Oosting to score. Pecková closed with her sixth strikeout, but also faced a 3-0 deficit, despite throwing a No-Hitter up to this moment.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Czechs got two runs back, needing only one basehit, off of new pitcher Lisa Hop. With one out, the righthander walked Eliška Thompsonová, who advanced on a wild pitch. Hereafter, Katerina Vacková also walked. After the two runners had advanced on a passed ball, Hop issued her third consecutive walk to Aneta Molentová. With the bases now loaded, Karolína Dvořáková was inserted as pinch-runner at third base for Thompsonová. She scored when next batter Magdaléna Kavanová was hit by a pitch. And so, four runs were now scored in this game without a basehit! But hereafter, Alice Škardová delivered a runscoring single. Vacková scored, but Molentová was eliminated at the plate on a throw by centerfielder Cindy van der Zanden. A force play-grounder ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Netherlands added an insurance run and also broke up Pecková's No-Hitter. After the first two batters were retired, Brenda Beers hit the ball into centerfield for a single, which would be the lone Orange-basehit. And it is fittingly that it was Beers who accounted for it in her milestone-game. At first base, Beers (who was the catcher) was replaced by temporary runner Britt Vonk. She went on to score on three wild pitches, which lifted Pecková's total to ten.

In the top of the sixth, Lisa Hop struckout three batters. With two outs, she gave up a double to Eliška Slaninová, but closed with another strikeout.

Czechia came close to its third run in the seventh. With one out, Aneta Molentová walked. She moved to third base with two outs when a grounder by Alice Škardová ended in an error. But the latter was then forced out, which also ended the game.

Playing for the Netherlands in this game were:
Britt Vonk (SS, 0-for-1, 2 walks, strikeout), Brenda Beers (C, 1-for-2, run, sacrifice bunt, strikeout), Maxime van Dalen (1B, 0-for-2, walk), Damishah Charles (PR, 0-for-0), Laura Wissink (RF, 0-for-3), Cindy van der Zanden (CF, 0-for-2, run, walk), Dinet Oosting (3B, 0-for-2, run, walk, strikeout), Lizzie Clarijs (2B, 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts), Jessie van Aalst (PH, 0-for-0, walk), Lorraine Kieft (DP, 0-for-1, run, hit by pitch, strikeout), Suka Van Gurp (PH/OPO, 0-for-1), Annemiek Jansen (LF, 0-for-2, strikeout) and pitchers Marjolein Merkx and Lisa Hop.

Netherlands - Czechia 4-2
pitcher Czechiainn.SOBBHRER
Veronika Pecková, L (0-1)676144

pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Marjolein Merkx, W (2-0)4212--

Lisa Hop, SV (1)344222

Umpires: HP-Vojtěch Machovský, 1B-Jan Hora, 3B-Svatopluk Smysl.
Official Scorer-Štěpánka Kostinová.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Petr Matouš.
Starting Time-2:00 PM.
Time Played-2:26 hrs.
Site-Copacabana Field, Černý Most, Praha 14, Prague (Czechia) (site Spectrum Praha).

Game Notes:
Third game Friendship Series 2024.
Brenda Beers plays in her 100th international game for the Netherlands Team.
45th international game for the Netherlands against Czechia.
36th win in history for the Netherlands against Czechia.
Weather conditions at game time:
Sunny, 23° C (73,4° F); wind direction southeast; wind speed 31 kmh (19,3 mph); wind force 4 Bft; humidity 39%.

Game 2

In the second game, which lasted almost almost three hours, the Netherlands faced a deficit for the first in this Friendship Series. In fact, the team faced a deficit three times. Halfway the second inning, Czechia led 1-0, but the Netherlands immediately came alongside. Halfway the third inning, Czechia led 4-1. Again, the Netherlands came back, turned the game around and led 6-4 after four innings. However, Czechia was tougher than in the previous three games. came alongside to force extra innings and took a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth. Again, the Orange-squad (which was the home-team) answered successfully and scored the tying run in the bottom of the eighth, then scored the winning run with no outs in the ninth on a basesloaded passed ball.

In this game, there not only were 15 runs, there also were 23 basehits. Also, both teams inserted four pitchers. Fun-fact, the first name of all four Czech pitchers began with an 'A', being Adéla, Amálie and twice Anna.

After a scoreless first inning, Czechia opened the score in the top of the second inning off of starter Lindsey Meadows. With two outs, Jana Furková singled, stole second base and scored on a following single by Karolina Dvořáková.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Netherlands immediately came alongside off of Czech starter Adéla Linková. She gave up a lead-off double to Cindy van der Zanden, who advanced to third base on a grounder by Jessie van Aalst. Next, Van der Zanden scored the tying run on a squeeze-fielder's-choice-sacrifice-bunt back to the pitcher by Lizzie Clarijs, who herself ended up on second base. But she stranded there.

Czechia answered with a rally of three runs in top of the third inning. When Alice Škardová led off with a double, a pitching-change followed. Orange-rookie Dani van Deursen took over from veteran Lindsey Meadows and began with a strikeout. But hereafter, Van Deursen walked Ema Vodičková and gave up a 2-run triple to Michaela Pecková that put Czechia ahead for the second time. Pecková then also scored on a sacrifice bunt by Magdaléna Kavanová, which increased the lead to 4-1.

The Netherlands again reacted immediately, but needed an extra inning to turn the game around. In the bottom of the third, Damishah Charles led off with a single and scored when Brenda Beers followed with a triple. That led to the first Czech pitching-change. Amálie Chaloupková took over, but she walked Suka Van Gurp, then gave up a sacrifice fly to Maxime van Dalen, which narrowed the deficit to 4-3.

After Czechia had stranded two runners in the top of the fourth, the Netherlands scored three runs in its fourth at bat. Lizzie Clarijs led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a following single by Nicky Uytendaal. With one out, Damishah Charles delivered a double and when that was followed by an outfield-error, Uytendaal scored. Charles ended up on third base, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Brenda Beers, which put the Netherlands ahead 6-4.

With one out and a runner on first base in the top of the fifth, Netherlands Head Coach Ferenc Jongejan made four defensive changes. He brought in rightfielder Jessie van Aalst to pitch and also changed his outfield. Centerfielder Cindy van der Zanden moved to rightfield, leftfielder Brenda Beers moved to centerfield and Annemiek Jansen entered as the new leftfielder. Van Aalst gave up a single, but a strikeout and flyout in foul territory then ended this Czech at bat.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Netherlands also was prevented from scoring a run off of new pitcher Anna Štenglová. Maxime van Dalen led off with a double, but when she tried to stretch it into a triple, she was eliminated at third base.

Moments later, in the top of the sixth, it was Czechia that came back, scored two unearned runs and made it a 6-6 score. After lead-off hitter Karolina Dvořáková was hit by a pitch, an error on a force play-grounder by Eliška Slaninová gave Czechia two runners. A strikeout and groundout followed, meaning there could have been three outs at this moment. With two outs, Ema Vodičková connected for a 2-run double that tied the score.

The Netherlands got a chance to re-take the lead immediately in the bottom of the sixth, but left three runners behind. Lead-off hitter Nicky Uytendaal drove the ball into deep right/centerfield, but centerfielder Alice Škardová made a nice diving catch. With one out, Charlotte Drijvers reached on an infield-hit, Damishah Charles singled and Brenda Beers walked and that loaded the bases. But Anna Štenglová then struckout Suka Van Gurp and a pop-fly by Maxime van Dalen ended this big scoring opportunity.

As the seventh inning remained scoreless, the game went into extra innings. Both teams scored in the eighth.

For Czechia, tie-break runner Jana Furková scored on a bunt-single by Alice Škardová with one out. A double play ended the at bat.

For the Netherlands, the tie-break runner also scored off of Anna Zoulová, who had entered in the previous inning. Laura Wissink was inserted as pinch-runner on second base and she moved to third base via a successful sacrifice bunt by Charlotte Drijvers. Moments later, Wissink scored on a wild pitch. Zoulová then struckout Damishah Charles (who was 3-for-4), but then gave up a single to Brenda Beers (who was 3-for-3), who stole second base. She stranded there, as the inning ended when Suka Van Gurp flied out.

In the top of the ninth, Lizzie Clarijs became the fourth Orange-pitcher. She retired the side.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Netherlands got the bases loaded. With Suka Van Gurp on second base as tie-break runner, Maxime van Dalen was walked intentionally. Hereafter, the bases got loaded when an error was made on a sacrifice bunt by Cindy van der Zanden. That brought Jessie van Aalst in the batter's box. With a 1-2 count, the next pitch by Anna Zoulová ended in a passed ball. And that enabled Van Gurp to score the winning run.

That ended a long day at the field, as the two games combined lasted almost 5½ hours.

Playing for the Netherlands in this game were:
Brenda Beers (LF/CF, 3-for-3, triple, run, 2 RBI's, walk, sacrifice fly, stolen base), Suka Van Gurp (2B, 0-for-4, run, walk, 2 strikeouts), Maxime van Dalen (DP/1B, 1-for-3, double, RBI, intentional walk, sacrifice fly), Cindy van der Zanden (CF/RF/SS, 2-for-4, double, run, sacrifice bunt), Jessie van Aalst (RF/P/RF, 1-for-4), Lizzie Clarijs (SS/P, 1-for-3, double, run, RBI, 2 sacrifice bunts), Nicky Uytendaal (1B, 1-for-4, run, RBI), Laura Wissink (PR/OPO, 0-for-0, run), Charlotte Drijvers (C, 1-for-3, strikeout, sacrifice bunt), Damishah Charles (3B, 3-for-4, double, 2 runs, strikeout), Annemiek Jansen (LF(flex), 0-for-0) and pitchers Lindsey Meadows and Dani van Deursen.

Netherlands - Czechia 8-7 (9 inn.)
(no outs when winning run was scored in bottom ninth inning)
pitchers Czechiainn.SOBBHRER
Adéla Linková2 (*)1-433

Amálie Chaloupková211332

Anna Štenglová2114--

Anna Zoulová, L (0-2)2 (**)11221

(*) - Linková pitched to two batters in the third inning
(**) - Zoulová pitched to two batters in the ninth inning

pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Lindsey Meadows2 (*)-1322

Dani van Deursen2.122222

Jessie van Aalst, BS (1)3.24-53-

Lizzie Clarijs, W (1-0)1-----

(*) - Meadows pitched to one batter in the third inning

Umpires: HP-Pavel Mensík, 1B-Miroslav Dolejš, 3B-Vojtěch Machovský.
Official Scorer-Petr Matouš.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Petra Kubinová.
Starting Time-5:16 PM.
Time Played-2:57 hrs.
Site-Copacabana Field, Černý Most, Praha 14, Prague (Czechia) (site Spectrum Praha).

Game Notes:
Fourth and last game Friendship Series 2024.
46th international game for the Netherlands against Czechia.
37th win in history for the Netherlands against Czechia.
Weather conditions at game time:
Cloudy, 22° C (71,6° F); wind direction southeast; wind speed 34 kmh (21,1 mph); wind force 5 Bft; humidity 41%.

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