Day 14: Dutch Team close Olympics with victory|
BEIJING (China) - The Dutch Olympic Softball Team closed its Olympic tournament on Monday-morning with a 4-2 victory against Chinese Taipei. Nevertheless, the Dutch squad finished in eighth and last place.
With the victory there was a happy ending for the softball-team, which lost its first six games with sometimes big and disappointing scores.
But today, there were all smiles, as the victory was well-deserved.
Not only because the team played a good game, but also because it was the conclusion of a years hard work.
Everyone involved in the team had a long and intensive year, which started in October last year, when the first practice session was held in Amsterdam.
Since then, the team practices almost daily, had two training camps in Zeist, traveled to the USA twice for a monthlong stay to practice and play, toured for three games on own soil and was almost two weeks in Japan, before traveling to Beijing for the Olympic Games.
A lot of things were put aside to prepare for the Olympics, while some players combined practicing and playing with a regular job or study.
Therefore, for the hard and intensive work everyone had put into the team and the organisation around it, all involved deserved this victory.
Initially, the Dutch Team trailed 1-0 after the first inning and was retired in order in its first at bat.
But in the second inning, the game turned around.
With one out, Jolanda Kroesen singled, then Sandra Gouverneur reached on an error and the bases got loaded when Britt Vonk walked.
Next, Noémi Boekel singled through the middle to bring in the tying run, followed by a sacrifice fly by Marjan Smit to make it 2-1 in Dutch favor.
By the way, Marjan again had some nice catches in leftfield.
In the third inning, on a new pitcher, the Dutch team added two runs when things went wrong in the Taiwanese defense.
Kim Kluijskens reached on a bunt-single, then beat the throw to second base on a bunt by Marloes Fellinger, who herself reached first base on a sac bunt-fielder's choice.
After the two advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Timmermans, Jolanda Kroesen lined out, but then Sandra Gouverneur followed with an infield-hit, which scored Kim. As the ball was thrown to first base and both runners of course were in motion on the 2-out hit, Marloes also was able to score, beating the tag by the catcher.
In the next three innings, the Dutch team got more baserunners, but stranded four.
After scoring their first run in the first inning off starter Rebecca Soumeru, Chinese Taipei got the bases loaded with two outs in the second inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, Judith van Kampen took over the pitching, got a grounder, but then loaded the bases with a walk, then ended the inning with a strikeout.
In the third inning, the Asian squad got two runners on base with one out, but this time 3B Noémi Boekel made a nice double play to end the inning.
In the next three innings, Judith allowed only three batters to reach base, struckout two batters and was supported with some fine defensive plays, including a great catch by leftfielder Marjan Smit in the fourth inning.
The tension in the game came back in the seventh inning.
The lead-off batter singled off the glove of 3B Noémi Boekel, then another single followed to put runners on first and third base.
Judith van Kampen was then relieved by Kristi de Vries.
The first batter she faced hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the second run, then another flyout followed, but two walks then loaded the bases.
Hereafter, Rebecca Soumeru was brought back in via the re-entry rule and got the only batter she faced to flyout to centerfielder Saskia Kosterink to end the game and earn a save.
In the evening, the Dutch Olympic Baseball Team played against Cuba and lost 14-3 in eight innings.
Trailing 1-0, the Dutch tied the score in the second inning when Bryan Engelhardt homered, then took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when Danny Rombley singled and scored on a double by Yurendell de Caster. Michael Duursma, who had reached on a fielder's choice, also tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate.
The Dutch team led 2-1 for four innings, played some strong defense and got a good outing from rookie-starter Juan Carlos Sulbaran, who had a shaky first inning, but then recovered.
However, in the fifth inning, Cuba took charge of the game. Sulbaran needed more pitches, a double play wasn't made, an error followed and Cuba rallied for five runs to take a 6-1 lead.
Sulbaran's relievers David Bergman, Dave Draijer and Pim Walsma also were unable to stop the Cuban offense and gave up 12 more hits and nine more runs.
In the seventh inning, Percy Isenia homered for the Dutch team, but at that moment, it trailed 10-2.
Also attending the baseball-game was Maarten Koper, who is the Physical Therapist of the succesfull Dutch Olympic Judo-squad, but has been the Physical Therapist for the Dutch Baseball Team for 21 years until 2002.
Also on Monday, there was another medal for the Dutch Olympic Team.
Marianne Vos won the gold medal in the Women's Points Race Cycling.
The Netherlands is now in 13th place with a total of 12 medals (3 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze).
Host China leads with 67 medals (39 gold, 14 silver, 14 bronze).
Box Score Game 7 vs. Chinese Taipei
Live Play-by-Play and Box Score Netherlands vs. Canada (baseball) on Tuesday
Head Coach Liz Kelly and Coach Linda Wells had their names written in Chinese
An Olympic painting
(photo taken by Liz Kelly)
The team poses prior to its last game of the tournament
(Missing in the picture are Physical Therapist Rob Oskam and Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar)
An overview of the Fengtai Softball Field in Beijing
Pitchers Rebecca Soumeru and Judith van Kampen
The Dutch Team has the bases loaded in the second inning
Jolanda Kroesen at 3rd, Sandra Gouverneur at 2nd and Britt Vonk at 1st base
Dutch softball-fans and family members cheer the players
Kim Kluijskens at 3rd base and Marloes Fellinger at 2nd base in the 3rd inning
Both later scored on a single by Sandra Gouverneur
The Dutch Team celebrates the victory
Olga Lablans decorates the 'Meet & Greet'-area in the softball-stadium
KNBSB-Boardmember André van Overbeek is being interviewed
by Theo Plasschaert of NOS Radio Olympia
Nathalie Timmermans afterwards with Noémi Boekel's sister Christianne
Pitcher Rebecca Soumeru, the starter and closer in today's game,
who saved the victory in the seventh inning
Ellen (left) and Leonie
Winning pitcher Judith van Kampen with Rox van der Hoeven and mother Hennie
Business Manager Caroline Theunissen, Physical Therapist Rob Oskam
and Team Doctor Henk van der Hoeven
Dutch badminton-announcer Alex Nelissen at the baseball-game vs. Cuba
Maarten Koper, the Physical Therapist of the succesfull judo-team, Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar
and KNBSB-Boardmember André van Overbeek at the baseball-game vs. Cuba
KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten throws out the ceremonial first pitch
KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten with IBAF-President Harvey Schiller
Dutch starting pitcher Juan Carlos Sulbaran
Celebrations during Bryan Engelhardt's homerun in the second inning
Members of the 39-man field crew prepare the field after the third inning
Roel Koolen (9) awaits Percy Isenia, who homered in the seventh inning
Cuban catcher Rolando Merińo and Puerto Rican HP umpire Willie Rodriguez look on
Members of the Dutch Softball and Judo Teams attended the baseball-game
Go back to the schedule of the Olympic Games