NIEUWEGEIN (Netherlands) - The Dutch National Softball Team is ready to play ball for real.
After several weeks of outdoor practices and three weeks of intersquad games the focus now will switch to actual games, as the Holland Tour 2009 will get underway next Sunday in Capelle a/d IJssel.
There, the squad of Head Coach Craig Montvidas will play a double-header against Dutch big league-team Euro Stars, which mark the first two games of a schedule, which currently exists of 31 games.
Today, Wednesday, April 29, the national squad played its last intersquad games.
It was a little bit cloudier than the previous two Wednesdays, but nevertheless, today was another day of concentrated pitching, fielding and hitting.
A day with several different situations on the bases, a homerun, yes, even a disputed umpiring call, which by the way was reversed correctly.
But there was also time for some relaxing moments.
Wednesday also marked the last active day with the team for Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink, who will be on maternity leave the coming weeks, as she is expecting her first child.
After completion of today's game/practice session, pitcher Rebecca Soumeru handed Sanne a gift on behalf of the players and staff of the national squad.
Of course, Sanne will continue following the team closely the coming weeks and will attend some of the games when possible.
From now on, Anouk Fermont, who shares the Physical Therapist-position with Sanne, will be in charge of the team for medical affairs.
Today's umpires were Wout van der Horst and Henk Geenen. The latter also led the first intersquad games on April 15.
Again, the players and staff of the national team appreciated their involvement in these games very much, as with their contributions they helped prepare the team for the upcoming games and following international events.
The team is looking forward meeting Wout and Henk again in one of the coming games.
During the Holland Tour, the Dutch National Team will face five teams from the Dutch Major League (Euro Stars, Centrals, Gryphons, Twins and Robur '58), plays six games against the Dutch National Junior Team, meets the national team of Great Britain once and plays 13 games against the Foreign All Star Team, compiled from foreign players in the Dutch competitions.
The Holland Tour will be the preparation for the national squad for three international events, scheduled to be played in July: Canada Cup in Surrey (Canada), World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City (USA) and European Championships in Valencia (Spain).
Holland Tour Schedule
Pitchers Kirsten Scheele and Ginger de Weert
Pitchers Daisy Verstappen and Dagmar Bloeming
Infielders Chantal Versluis and Britt Vonk
Infielders Petra van Heijst and Judith Diepeveen
Infielders Nadine Marinus and Meike Witteveen
Outfielders Nathalie Gosewehr, Merel Oosterveld, Solange Starrenburg and Saskia Kosterink
Outfielder Areke Spel at left and Coach Nancy Evans making notes
Assistant Coach Nancy Evans is going over the details with Virginie Anneveld,
Chantal Versluis and Meike Witteveen
Toady's umpires Wout van der Horst and Henk Geenen
Britt Vonk hitting with Dagmar Bloeming pitching
Karin Tuk does the catching and Wout van der Horst judges the pitch
Nadine Marinus let a pitch goes by; Karin Yuk catches
Nathalie Gosewehr awaits the pitch;
Karin Tuk is the catcher, Wout van der Horst the umpire
Meike Witteveen is ready to make contact;
Again with Karin Tuk doing the catching and Wout van der Horst making the calls
Britt Vonk is tagged out in a rundown by Judith Diepeveen
Saskia Kosterink is tagged out at third base by Judith Diepeveen
Karin Tuk is thrown out at first base, where Nadine Marinus
is ready to catch the throw from short stop Petra van Heijst
Solange Starrenburg rounds thirds base after hitting a homerun
Britt Vonk checks if Solange is touching the base
A view from the outfield with Ginger de Weert pitching to Saskia Kosterink
Looking into the action is short stop Chantal Versluis
Kirsten Scheele at second base and Dagmar Bloeming in rightfield
Fair or foul?
Umpires Wout van der Horst and Henk Geenen reverse a call and have a laugh afterwards
Assistant Coach Nancy Evans meets with the team during a break
Business Manager Rich Hooff and Team Manager Paul Boonstra have a talk about ongoing affairs
Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink puts everything in treating Anne Blaauwgeers
Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink continues her treatment of Anne Blaauwgeers
Petra van Heijst looks ons
Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont makes notes
Assistant Coach Nancy Evans went into the circle herself for a moment
Dagmar Bloeming and Solange Starrenburg have a relaxing moment
And so have Areke Spel and Saskia Kosterink
Merel Oosterveld and Chantal Versluis have a break in the dug-out
Nathalie Gosewehr checks her bat
Virginie Anneveld looks on from the dug-out
High fives at the end of the intersquad games
Another meeting ended the final day of intersquad games
Rebecca Soumeru hands a present to Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink
on behalf of the players and staff
Sanne Oude Egberink looks into her gift