Day 18: More decisions and Medals|
BEIJING (China) - On Friday, the semi-finals were played in the Olympic Baseball Tournament, but the highlight of the day was the Dutch Olympic Women Hockey Team capturing the Gold Medal by winning the final against China, 2-0. The game was attended by a lot of representatives of the Dutch Softball and Baseball Teams.
By the way, your webmaster got word from Amsterdam that preparations are underway in the Olympic Stadium for the welcome home party next Monday-afternoon.
In the morning, Korea won the first semi-final of the baseball tournament, beating Japan 6-2 to become the first team to clinch a spot in the final game on Saturday-evening.
Trailing 2-1, Korea came back with a run in the fourth inning, then tied the score in the seventh on a single by Jin-Young Lee.
Korea then decided the game with a 4-run eighth inning, which was highlighted by a 2-run homerun by Seung-Yuop Lee, which broke the 2-2 tie.
An error and a single then lifted the lead to 6-2.
In the evening, Cuba became the second finalist, beating the USA, 10-2.
In this game, Cuba took a 2-0 lead in the third on a 2-run triple by Hector Olivera.
The USA got one run back in the fourth, but Cuba reacted with a run of its own when Alfredo Despaigne homered.
A single by Jason Donald brought the USA back to within one run, but Cuba reacted immediately again as Frederich Cepeda homered in the sixth at bat.
Cuba then brought the lead out of reach with a 6-run rally in the eighth inning, highlighted by 3-run homeruns by Alexei Bell and Ariel Pestano to make it 10-2.
Dutch umpire Edwin van den Berk was in rightfield during this semi-final and he also got an assigned for the all-deciding final between Cuba and Korea.
In this game, Edwin will be the reserve umpire.
The USA and Japan will play for bronze in the morning.
Also in the evening, the Dutch Women Hockey Team won 2-0 vs. China on goals by Naomi van As and Maartje Goderie.
The Dutch Olympic Team now has won 14 medals, including 7 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze.
On Friday, it was also a successful day for Belgium, which won its first medal of the Games, as the women's 4 x 100 Relay-team won silver.
For the Dutch Olympic Softball Team is was a day of packing, as all equipment and uniforms were packed and be readied for shipping back to the Netherlands.
Everything was picked up during the day.
Also, some of the players made a trip to the Great Wall, others just relaxed or went into town.
Physical Therapist Rob Oskam today was assigned to general duty for the Dutch Olympic Team and in the evening, most players attended the hockey-game.
KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten and his wife Rienette and KNBSB-Boardmember André van Overbeek today traveled back home and arrived in Amsterdam in the evening.
In the morning, the International Softball Federation (ISF) held a press conference in the Main Press Center (MPC) in Beijing and announced the 2009 Youth World Cup for girls 16-and-under fastpitch.
The press release of teh announcement is as follows:
Olympic success to provide springboard for
2009 Youth World Cup Softball Competition
ISF President hails news event as breakthrough in Softball campaign for Olympic reinstatement
Beijing, China; 22nd August 2008: The International Softball Federation has today launched the 2009 Youth World Cup to futher promote and advance the development of softball around the world following the dramatic climax of the hugely successful Olympic competition here.
Just as this year's Olympic Games, where Japan stunned favorites the USA, 3-1, in the grand final, the tournament is likely to take a single round robin format, culminating in a page playoff.
The Youth World Cup will be a girls' 16-and-under fastpitch competition and will be held in the second week of August next year, with a number of major European capital cities currently being considered.
ISF President Don Porter admitted that there is tremendous interest in staging the event but refused to be drawn on identifying candidate cities at this stage.
He said, ''This is another fantastic development for our sport and underlines its growing popularity. Softball is incredibly popular amongst young people and we're currently in the process of drawing up a shortlist of cities.
''We are increasing the number of softball federations all the time but we're not going to be resting on our laurels and hopefully this event will help us further widen the sport's appeal.''
Porter, who has been promoting the BackSoftball campaign to get the sport reinstated in October 2009 onto the Olympic programme for 2016, has been able to show International Olympic Committee President Dr. Jacques Rogge and Executive Board members first-hand how successful the Olympic softball competition has been, citing:
Sellout crowds exceeding 180,000 in total
A high ratio of close games decided by three runs or less with rule changes dramatically increasing the total runs scored
Worldwide media coverage of the Olympic softball competition in more than 100 countries
Increased competitiveness with debutant Venezuela defeating Netherlands and Canada
Age ranges from Netherlands' Britt Vonk, age 17, to Venezuela's Zuleima Cirimele, age 41
The ISF has been proactive in their youth efforts, having staged a Jr. Women's World Championship (19-and-under) every four years since 1981 (as well as a similar Jr. Men's event). They also have a successful Softball in the Schools program that has been implemented by a good number of their 131 member national federations.
The aim is for softball to return as a sport on the 2016 Games programme after missing out by the narrowest of margins (only one vote) for the London 2012 programme at the 2005 Session of the International Olympic Committee.
The Wukesong Baseball Stadium today was the site of the two semi-finals
Starting pitchers Toshiya Sugiuchi (Japan) and Kwang-Hyun Kim (Korea)
A Japanese fan shows his enthusiasm
Korean fans cheer their team after Seung-Yuop Lee's homerun in the eighth inning
Korea wins the game and clinch a spot in the final
A Korean fan shows his support for his team
Security guards are lined up for their new shift of work in the stadium
The Olympic logo at Tian'anmen Square
More buildings in the Chinese capital
The SciTech Hotel (lower left) is the home of the crew of De Telegraaf-newspaper
during the Olympic Games in Beijing
By the way, did you know that www.telesport.nl is the most visited website
during the Olympics with some 1,4 million visitors daily!
The Umpire Assignment for the semi-final between Cuba and the USA
Dutch Umpire Edwin van den Berk is in rightfield
The umpire-crew enters the field. At right is Edwin van den Berk
At Edwin's right is Dutchman Jan Esselman, who was tonight's Technical Commissioner
Edwin van den Berk runs to his postion in rightfield
Dutch baseball- and softball-fans Gerda and Arie Grootendorst, Willem Broertjes and
Frank Mooijman of course also were on hand again today
Starting pitchers Norge Luis Vera (Cuba) and Stephen Strasburg (USA)
The fanatic Cuban fans, who were seated behind third base
The Friendlies (the Olympic mascots) entertain the crowd
The Cuban fans, who were located in 'our' seating area, frequently stood up to cheer,
but then remained standing
Luckily, 'Guillermo de Holanda' was on hand to yell as frequently 'Sit down', which they did
Cuba wins and is the second finalist
''Bye, bye, see you tomorrow''
The volunteers wave goodbye to the spectators at the end of the day
Go back to the schedule of the Olympic Games