Dutch open with loss
SURREY, British Columbia (Canada) - The Dutch National Softball Team on Saturday opened the Canada Cup Tournament with a 7-0 loss against reigning world champion and Olympic silver medalist USA.
The game was played in the main stadium of Softball City, the site of the annual event in Canada.
For the Dutch Team, this is the seventh time that it participates in the international tournament.
The Dutch earlier was in Canada in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2006.
Seven players on the Dutch roster participated earlier in the Canada Cup: Nathalie Gosewehr (2005, 2006), Petra van Heijst (2006), Saskia Kosterink (2005, 2006), Kirsten Scheele (2005), Rebecca Soumeru (2001, 2005, 2006), Areke Spel (2005, 2006) and Chantal Versluis (2006).
The competition format in this years Canada Cup has been changed, as all five participating national teams (Netherlands, USA, Canada, Venezuela, Australia) will meet each other twice in the International Division.
After completion of this round robin, all five teams will advance to the next round and will be joined by the three best teams from the North American Division to form the International Championship Round.
Team USA, today's opponent, claimed the world title in 2007 and won the Silver Medal last year on the Olympic Games in Beijing after losing surprisingly to Japan.
This years American team is comprised of eight players from last years squad and ten newcomers.
The eight veterans all participated in the Olympic Games, including Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Natasha Watley, Monica Abbott, Caitlin Lowe, Vicky Galindo, Andrea Duran and Lauren Lappin.
Six players are on the national team for the first time.
Team USA is led by Head Coach Jay Miller, who is in his first year with the national team, after having led the National Junior Team.
In today's game, played on July 4 (American's Independence Day), starting pitcher Cat Osterman dominated, as she has done the last years in almost all international games she pitched.
Osterman was the pitcher in the 2007 World Championship-final, as well as the Olympic final.
On the Dutch side there was of course some nervousness, as this was the first big event for most of the players on the Dutch roster.
And then it's something very special to start your international career facing one of the best pitchers in the world.
Osterman struckout eleven Dutch batters, but also gave up a single to Nathalie Gosewehr, who was the lone Dutch baserunner and therefore spoiled a Perfect Game.
After having retired the first eight batters she had faced (including six straight strikeouts), Cat Osterman gave up the single to Nathalie with two outs in the third inning, but then struckout the next four batters.
In the fifth inning, Stacey Nelson took over the pitching and retired the side, but all three batters she faced connected and that was a positive sign.
Areke Spel led off with a grounder to third, Virginie Anneveld popped out and Petra van Heijst also grounded to third.
Lead-off hitter Meike Witteveen played in her first international game in her career, as she was unable to play in the two games the Dutch played against Great Britain on June 19 and 21.
Team USA opened the score in the first inning off starter Rebecca Soumeru, who went the distance for the Dutch.
With one out, Ashley Charters singled, stole second, advanced on a throwing error and scored on an infield-hit by speedy Natasha Watley, who went 2-for-2, reached base three times, scored twice and had three RBI's.
In the second inning, Rebecca retired the side, including striking out Jennie Finch, who played at first base in this game, but there also was a great diving catch by leftfielder Nathalie Gosewehr in this at bat.
The Americans added three runs in the third at bat.
Alissa Haber walked and stole second, then advanced on a grounder.
Next, Ashley Charters was hit by a pitch and both baserunners scored on a double by Natasha Watley, who is undoubtedly one of the best softball-players in the world.
Moments later, Watley scored herself on a 2-out single by Jennie Finch.
By scoring three more runs in the fourth, the Americans reached the 7-run difference.
Jenae Leles led off with a homerun, then Alissa Haber walked, stole second and advanced again on a grounder, but she then was thrown out at the plate on a throw by 1B Britt Vonk to catcher Nathalie Timmermans on a grounder by Ashley Charters.
After Natasha Watley walked, Andrea Duran followed with a single that enabled both runners to score and make it 7-0.
Defensively, the Dutch Team played a good game and wasn't overpowered by the strong American squad.
By the way, it was very hot again today!
On Sunday, the Dutch Team will play another single game and then meets host Canada.
Box Score Game Netherlands vs. USA
Schedule Canada Cup
Head Coach Craig Montvidas during pre-game activities
3B Virginie Anneveld during pre-game grounders
Kirsten Scheele, Meike Witteveen and Nadine Marinus
await their teammates after pre-game activities
...as are the other Dutch players
Short stop Chantal Versluis completes pre-game grounders
Pre-game activities has ended
The Dutch players are introduced...
...and are ready for the national anthem
The teams listen to the playing of the national anthems
Lead-off hitter Meike Witteveen
Britt Vonk follows Meike in the batter's box
Saskia Kosterink swings
Natasha Watley looks at a pitch
Nathalie Timmermans follows through
American starter Cat Osterman
Virginie Anneveld in the batter's box
Jennie Finch playing at first base
Craig Montvidas coaching at third base
Dutch pitcher Rebecca Soumeru
Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont looks on from the dug-out
Saskia Kosterink runs towards first base
Nathalie Gosewehr hits the lone Dutch basehit
Another swing by Saskia Kosterink
A view from the dug-out
Nathalie Timmermans hitting
Cat Osterman struckout eleven batters and gave up only one hit
Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont, Dagmar Bloeming, Kirsten Scheele
and a Canadian bast-girl follow the action
End of the game