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Updated: April 29, 2024
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

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

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Netherlands Softball Team homers to win in Friendship Series-opener

BOHNICE/PRAGUE (Czechia) - The Netherlands Softball Team opened the 4-game Friendship Series against Czechia on Monday-evening (April 29) with a 6-2 victory. Three homeruns account for four of the runs in the game that was played at Svoboda Park, the home of SK Joudrs Praha in Bohnice, which is a neighborhood in the administrative district Praha 8, located in the north of Prague.

On Tuesday, the Netherlands and Czechia will meet at the site of SaBaT Praha in Trója, a neigborhoord in the municipal district Trója-Praha, located in the administrative district Praha 7, also in the north of Prague. This game begins at 5 PM.

On Wednesday, May 1, the two teams will play a double-header at the site of Spectrum Praha in Černý Most, a subdivision in the north-east of Prague, located in the administrative district Praha 14. The first game begins at 2:00 PM, the second at 5 PM.

Last year, the two teams played a series of four games at three locations in the Netherlands. The Orange-squad won all four games, which were played in Hoofddorp, Rotterdam and Soest.

For the Netherlands, this 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).

(April 29)

The Orange-squad struck early, scoring twice in the first inning on two towering homeruns. Lead-off hitter Britt Vonk drilled the second pitch she saw from starter Adéla Linková over the centerfield-fence. Linková recovered and struckout Brenda Beers and Suka Van Gurp. But hereafter, Maxime van Dalen made good contact on the first pitch she saw and also hit a homerun into deep centerfield.

Lisa Hop started for the Netherlands and got two quick outs. The righthander then gave up a single to Ema Vodičková, but she was forced out.

In the second inning, Annemiek Jansen walked for the Netherlands and advanced on a wild pitch, but stranded on second base.

The Czech team was retired in order in the bottom of the second inning, which ended with a nice defensive play by second baseman Suka Van Gurp.

The Netherlands left another runner behind in scoring position in the top of the third inning. With one out, Suka Van Gurp doubled, but a line out and groundout followed.

The Czech team cut the deficit in half in its third at bat off of Lisa Hop. Michaela Pecková led off with a single, moved on a passed ball and a wild pitch, then scored on an one-out grounder by Magdalená Kavanová.

In the top of the fourth, Laura Wissink led off with a single. Hereafter, Cindy van der Zanden flied out into deep centerfield. In her first at bat in the second inning, Van der Zanden had driven the ball into deep leftfield and ended up just short of a homerun, as the ball was caught before the fence. With one out, Wissink was forced out at second base on a great defensive play by short stop Ema Vodičková, who made a diving stop on a hard grounder by Lizzie Clarijs, who was left behind on first base.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Dani van Deursen took over the Orange-pitching to make her debut in the Netherlands Team. The righthander began her international career with a strikeout, but also saw the Czechs come close to the tying run. With one out, Van Deursen gave up a double down the leftfield-line to Eliška Stejskalová, who moved to third base on a wild pitch with two outs. Van Deursen then closed with another strikeout.

The Orange Team took some more distance in the top of the fifth, again via the long ball. With one out, Brenda Beers hit the ball into centerfield for what appeared to be a single. But when centerfielder Alice Škardová didn't throw the ball back immediately, Beers speeded up and stretched her hit into a double. Moments later, she scored when Suka Van Gurp hit the ball over the rightfield-fence for the third Orange-homerun of the evening.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Aneta Molentová singled for the Czechs. But hereafter, Dani van Deursen closed with her fourth strikeout in two innings. By the way, Van Deursen was known as Dani Bonnet when she played in three big league-seasons for Terrasvogels (2016-2018). Last year, she first played for Onze Gezellen, for whom she also plays this season.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Netherlands added two runs off of reliever Amálie Chaloupková, when the Czech defense committed two errors. Chaloupková had entered the game with one out in the previous inning. This time, Cindy van der Zanden had more luck. After having hit the ball into the outfield deep twice, she now led off with a single. Van der Zanden moved into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt by Lizzie Clarijs, then scored when a hit by Annemiek Jansen was dropped in centerfield. With two outs, Jansen scored when a throwing error was made on a grounder by Brenda Beers.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Czechs added its second run. After Alice Škardová had led off with a single, Marjolein Merkx took over the pitching from Dani van Deursen. She saw Škardová advance on a wild pitch, but struckout her first batter. However, Škardová went on to score when Eliška Stejskalová followed with a double. A strikeout and flyout ended the at bat.

In the top of the seventh inning, a high fly by lead-off hitter Jessie van Aalst was missed in the outfield. With that, the Netherlands had reached base in each at bat. With one out, Cindy van der Zanden reached on an infield-hit. Both were left behind.

In the bottom of the seventh, Marjolein Merkx struckout the side to close the game.

Playing for the Netherlands in this game were:
Britt Vonk (3B/OPO, 1-for-2, run, RBI, homerun), Nicky Uytendaal (PH/OPO, 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts), Brenda Beers (DP/CF, 1-for-4, run, strikeout), Suka Van Gurp (2B, 2-for-3, run, 2 RBI's, double, homerun, walk, strikeout), Maxime van Dalen (1B, 2-for-4, run, RBI, homerun), Jessie van Aalst (RF, 0-for-3, walk, strikeout), Laura Wissink (C, 1-for-4, strikeout), Cindy van der Zanden (CF/SS, 2-for-4, run), Lizzie Clarijs (SS/3B, 0-for-3, sacrifice bunt, strikeout), Annemiek Jansen (LF, 0-for-3, run, walk, strikeout, stolen base) and pitchers Lisa Hop, Dani van Deursen and Marjolein Merkx.

Czechia - Netherlands 2-6
pitchers Netherlandsinn.SOBBHRER
Lisa Hop32-21-

Dani van Deursen2 (*)4-311

Marjolein Merkx, W (1-0)25-1--

(*) - Van Deursen pitched to one batter in the 6th inning

pitchers Czechiainn.SOBBHRER
Adéla Linková, L (0-1)4.142744

Amálie Chaloupková2.24122-

Homeruns: Netherlands: Britt Vonk (1)(1st,solo,0 outs,off Linková), Maxime van Dalen (1)(1st,solo,2 outs,off Linková), Suka Van Gurp (1)(5th,2-run,1 out,off Linková).
Umpires: HP-Jan Svatoš, 1B-Pavel Menšík, 3B-Jan Hora.
Official Scorer-Adéla Chaloupková.
Play-by-Play Scorer-Lenka Richterová.
Starting Time-7:30 PM.
Time Played-2:25 hrs.
Site-Svoboda Park, Bohnice, Praha 8, Prague (Czechia) (site SK. Joudrs Praha).

Game Notes:
First game Friendship Series 2024.
Dani van Deursen makes her debut in the Netherlands National Team.
43rd international game for the Netherlands against Czechia.
34th win in history for the Netherlands against Czechia.
Weather conditions at game time:
Sunny, 23° C (73,4° F); wind direction northeast; wind speed 10 kmh (6,2 mph); wind force 2 Bft; humidity 45%.

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