Dutch Team continues practices and is visted by special guest
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - The Dutch National Softball Team continued its series of indoor practices and on Friday, December 4, got a surprise visit from a wellknown and honored guest. In the meantime, the team has entered its second month of activities as part of the preparations for the international season of 2010, which includes participation in the World Championship. But as of the beginning of December, a date and site were still unknown for the event.
On the fifteenth combined practice session of the winter season, the team got a break in the action today, as their was a surprise visit in the Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam.
About 45 minutes into the training, Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas) and two of his so-called 'Zwarte Pieten' ('black pete's') suddenly entered the sports hall, interrupting all activities.
His Holyness and his two assistants (one of them even wanted to participate in the practice) immediately starting talking with the players and gave away sweets.
Sinterklaas was then accompanied to his chair by Areke Spel and the team ensembled to hear what the famous friend of the children (but also of the grown-ups) had to tell.
As might be expected from Sinterklaas, he had all kind of notes in his Big Red Book and he started by congratulating the team with the capturing of the European title, which was accomplished this Summer in his home country Spain.
Sinterklaas also mentioned the good results in Canada and the USA.
Next, Sinterklaas first of all wished Petra van Heijst all the best, as she was unable to be with the team today due to illness (and of course, all players and staffmembers of the Dutch Team also wish Petra a quick recovery), as well as Coach Nancy Evans, who is recovering from her hamstring-surgery.
After asking Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont whether all players were in shape, Sinterklaas went on to mention all team-members.
Sinterklaas wished Ginger de Weert good luck for her stay in the USA (she will leave next month) and Saskia Kosterink lots of success next year in Italy.
But Sinterklaas also stated that Head Coach Craig Montvidas might have created confusion by having a twin in his team, Anne and Maaike Blaauwgeers.
Of course, some got a special treatment, like Coach Tracy Bunge.
Sinterklaas mentioned the good work she has done since being with the team in early November and she was given a font of chocolate by Zwarte Piet.
Later, Judith Diepeveen got a new stone, as the original was broken (the stone is given to someone according to special team-rules), and Karin Tuk got a new cap for her collection, as she always wears caps.
As Sinterklaas and his active and attentive Pieten had a a busy schedule on this day (two days before his birthday), they had to leave a half hour later.
The team sang the goodbye-song for Sinterklaas, who wish the team lots of success for next year.
The visit was really enjoyed by everyone and the players and staff of the Dutch National Softball Team thank Sinterklaas and two of his Zwarte Pieten for their visit to Amsterdam.
After the visit by Sinterklaas, it was back to business, as the practice session continued and the fourth intersquad indoor game of the winter season was played.
The gray team won today, with Saskia Kosterink contributing with two homeruns.
The players and staff thank umpires Carolien Stadhouders and Bianca Dweelaard for their participation in today's game.
Sinterklaas and his two Zwarte Pieten on their way to the sports hall
Sinterklaas enters the hall for a surprise visit
Zwarte Piet gives sweets to Nadine Marinus, Fabienne van Uden and Ginger de Weert
Areke Spel accompanies Sinterklaas to his chair
As Sinterklaas is of very high age, he has to be assisted when he sits down
The team listens to what Sinterklaas has to say
Meike Witteveen has to tell Sinterklaas about the success of the team this year
Sinterklaas reads in his Big Red Book what kind of information his 'Piets'
have collected of the Dutch Team
Several photos were taken of the surprise visit by Sinterklaas
Coach Tracy Bunge tells about her stay with the team...
...then gets a font of chocolate from Zwarte Piet
The team enjoys the visit of Sinterklaas...
...then get sweets from Zwarte Piet
Judith Diepeveen gets a new stone
And Karin Tuk a new cap
Of course, the team poses with Sinterklaas and the two Zwarte Pieten
Sinterklaas and his assistants leave for another appointment
Back to business
Head Coach Craig Montvidas goes over the starting line-up for the game with some players
Today's umpires Bianca Dweelaard and Carolien Stadhouders
Karin Tuk at bat with Anne Blaauwgeers behind the plate
Kim Donkers is the runner on first base; Carolien Stadhouders is the umpire
A break in the action and time for a refreshment for Virginie Anneveld,
Nadine Marinus, Judith Diepeveen and Chantal Versluis
Head Coach Craig Montvidas made a lot of notes during the game
Fabienne van Uden runs at third base, while Anne Vlietstra takes her position
Virginie Anneveld and Dagmar Bloeming show concentrated faces
Chantal Versluis at bat with Karin Tuk doing the catching
Carolien Stadhouders is the umpire
Pitcher Rebecca Soumeru is ready to make another delivery
At left is short stop Britt Vonk
Coach Tracy Bunge follows the action from centerfield
Ginger de Weert in her wind-up, pitching to Virginie Anneveld
Karin Tuk is the catcher, Carolien Stadhouders makes the calls
Leftfielder Solange Starrenburg takes her position for the next pitch
Head Coach Craig Montvidas has a meeting with the team
Meike Witteveen at bat with Karin Tuk behind the plate; in the back,
Anne Blaauwgeers is on deck and Bianca Dweelaard has become the home plate umpire
Saskia Kosterink (right) celebrates her second homerun of the game
The gray team looks on from the stands
After another day of practice, there is a moment for a teamphoto