Dutch Team wins another thriler; then qualifies for final!
VALENCIA (Spain) - The Dutch National Softball Team closed the second round of the European Championships on Friday-afternoon with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory vs. the Czech Republic in another extra inning thriller.
After trailing 5-0 (!), the Dutch scored once in the sixth, then came alongside by scoring four runs in the seventh at bat.
The winning run was then scored in the eighth by tie-break runner Meike Witteveen on a throwing error.
Solange Starrenburg contributed with four basehits.
Before the start of this game, Italy was dethroned as European champion by losing 2-1 to Russia and was therefore also eliminated for the finals, meaning Italy also didn't qualify for next years World Championships.
Because of the Dutch win against the Czechs, Great Britain did secure itself of participation in the World Championships of next year in Oklahoma City.
In the evening, the Dutch Team qualified for the final game of the European Championships by shutting out Great Britain 2-0 in the semi-final.
The British team now will meet the Czech Republic in the second semi-final on Saturday-morning with the winner qualifying for the final and the loser taking the bronze medal.
The Dutch Team scored both runs in the fourth inning. Areke Spel scored on a grounder by Chantal Versluis, while Petra van Heijst crossed home plate on a bunt-single by Nathalie Gosewehr.
By reaching the final, the Dutch Team also complied with the criteria of the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF) to keep its so-called A-status for the funding of next year.
Friday started with another major upset, as Russia defeated Italy 2-1 in the morning-game, meaning the latter was left empty-handed: dethroned as European champion and no qualification for next years World Championships.
By winning, Russia remained in the race for the final, as it had to play against the third placed team of the second round later in the day.
This was to be the Czech Republic, which won the game and therefore also qualified for the World Championships.
With the win, the Czechs will meet the British on Saturday-morning in the second semi-final.
Due to the length of the Russia vs. Italy game, the match-up between the Dutch and the Czech started 40 minutes later than scheduled.
But once started, it had a very interesting line score.
In the end, the Dutch Team showed character by coming back from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 in eight innings.
The Dutch offense registered three basehits in its first three at bats off Czech starter Eliska Cerná-Pojerová, reached base five times, but stranded four runners.
In its first three at bats, the Czechs had six basehits and took a 3-0 lead.
In the first inning, Dutch starter Kirsten Scheele gave up a triple to Lucie Petrásková, but then ended the inning with a strikeout.
In the next at bat, Kirsten gave up a single, but that runner didn't go beyond first base.
Then, in the third, the Czech team suddenly struck hard.
Sabina Borecká and Katerina Dvoráková led off with two bunt-singles, followed by two fly-outs.
But then Eva Rendlová drove the ball into deep rightfield for a 3-run homerun and a 3-0 Czech lead.
In the fifth inning, now off Femke van Dusschoten (who took over this inning), the Czechs added two runs, increasing the lead to 5-0.
After Meike Witteveen had made a great catch on a fly by lead-off hitter Dina Pfeiferová, Femke walked the next batter and then gave up a single.
The two advanced on a grounder, then both scored when Lenka Jaklová followed with a single.
The 5-0 lead seems to be more than comfortable for the Czech squad, especially since the Dutch offense was unable to get around in the first five innings.
While close to a run several times and getting enough runners, eight runners were left behind.
In the fourth, there were runners on second and third base with one out, who then stranded.
In the fifth, four batters reached base, but two of them were eliminated at another base on infield-grounders.
That it was only a matter of time that the Dutch Team was about to produce, became clear in the sixth when it scored the first run.
Solange Starrenburg (who hit four consecutive singles) led off with a single and then moved on an infield-hit by Nadine Marinus and an one-out single by Meike Witteveen.
With the bases loaded, the Czechs brought in new pitcher Jana Vacíková, who then gave up an RBI-grounder to Nathalie Gosewehr, but ended the at bat with a fly-out.
In the seventh inning, with the Czechs still leading 5-1, the Dutch Team took charge of the game.
Because of the agressive running by the Dutch and the pressure they put on, the Czech defense fell apart, committed three errors and failed to hold onto the lead.
Lead-off hitter Britt Vonk reached on a fielding error, then next batter Karin Tuk was hit by a pitch.
Virginie Anneveld followed with a double that scored Britt and put runners on second and third base.
Next, Solange Starrenburg, who had a great game today, again came through with a basehit (her fourth in a row), which brought in Karin and as an outfield-error followed, Virginie also could score, narrowing the deficit to only 5-4.
Hereafter, Nadine Marinus placed a sacrifice bunt, which brought Solange to second base, but as the fielding went slowly, Solange also went for third base, forcing the Czech defense to make a throw.
The throw indeed followed, but went passed third base, enabling Solange to score the tying run!
In the home of the seventh inning, 3B Virginie Anneveld made another great defensive play, catching a fly ball and then doubling up a runner from first base.
A foul-popfly ended the at bat, meaning the Dutch Team had to play another extra-ining game for the third time in a row.
In the eighth inning, the Dutch Team scored immediately.
Tie-break runner Meike Witteveen scored the go-ahead run when a throwing error was made on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Gosewehr.
Hereafter, the Dutch got the bases loaded.
First, Nathalie advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Petra van Heijst and then Britt Vonk was walked intentionally.
After a strikeout, the bases got loaded when Virginie Anneveld walked.
This brought to bat Solange Starrenburg.
Could she produce a fifth consecutive basehit?
Well, she almost did it, hitting a foul grand slam homerun, but she then flied out to end the inning.
In the home of the eighth, the Czech tie-break runner advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt, then a batter was hit by a pitch.
But with runners on second and third base and one out, Femke van Dusschoten struckout the next batter.
With an 0-2 count on the batter, Kirsten Scheele was brought back in, resulting in a discussion whether or not this was an illegal change.
In the end, the change was legal, and Kirsten needed only one pitch to strikeout the batter and end the game.
Because of the 2-strike count on the batter, the strikeout was credited to Femke.
Less than four hours later, the Team was back on the field to start preparations for the semi-final vs. Great Britain.
The starting line-up wasn't completed until five minutes before game time, as Saskia Kosterink underwent some tests, as she had injured her ankle the day before and therefore didn't play this morning vs. the Czechs.
Saskia was cleared to play and so the starting line-up was handed in when the umpire-coach meeting took place.
Today's game against the British went much smoother than the one played yesterday.
Again, the Dutch faced strong throwing Stacie Townsend, but there was more contact on her pitches.
The British team left a runner on second and third base in the second inning off Dutch pitcher Rebecca Soumeru, who threw another great game, striking out eight batters and giving up only three hits.
In the first inning, Nathalie Gosewehr led off with a walk, but later was eliminated in a rundown between third and home.
In the third inning, the Dutch got the bases loaded.
Chantal Versluis led off with a bunt-single and moved on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Gosewehr.
Next, Meike Witteveen singled.
After a stolen base-situation brought the runners to second and third, Saskia Kosterink was walked intentionally with two outs, but then a grounder ended the inning.
In the fourth inning, the British changed pitchers.
Sarah Jones took over from Stacie Townsend and gave up a lead-off single to Areke Spel, who advanced on an outfield-error and a sacrifice bunt by Virginie Anneveld.
Stacie Townsend was quickly brought back as pitcher, but was greeted with an infield-hit by Petra van Heijst.
Areke was unable to score on this hit, but then beat the throw to home on a grounder hit towards third base by Chantal Versluis, making it 1-0.
On this play, Petra advanced to third base and then scored the next run on a bunt-single (squeeze) by Nathalie Gosewehr.
Later in the at bat, Chantal was thrown out at the plate on a grounder by Meike Witteveen, but the Dutch had taken a 2-0 lead.
And that lead was enough, as the strong pitching of Rebecca Soumeru and the fine errorless defense did the rest.
After giving up a double with two outs in the second inning, Rebecca retired 12 batters in a row, before giving up a 2-out single in the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, Kristi Yoshizawa doubled with two outs, but Rebecca then ended the game with her eighth strikeout.
In the last five innings, only two British players reached base.
With the win, the Dutch Team qualified for the final!
Box Score Game Netherlands vs. Czech Republic
Box Score Game Netherlands vs. Great Britain
Schedule European Championships
|Pool C (championship round)||Pool D (relegation round)|
|Italy vs. Russia||1-2||Slovakia vs. Austria||1-2|
|Czech Republic vs. Netherlands||5-6 (8)|
|Great Britain vs. Germany||11-0 (4 1/2)|
|Semi-Final 3 vs. 4||Semi-Final 1 vs. 2|
|Czech Republic vs. Russia|
(Russia finishes in 4th place)
|3-2||Netherlands vs. Great Britain|
(Netherlands qualify for Final)
Dutch umpire Carolien Stadhouders was behind the plate in the game between
Italy and Russia, which resulted in a major upset, as Italy was dethroned and eliminated
Russia celebrates the 2-1 victory vs. Italy
A disappointed Italy after being dethroned and eliminated
The Dutch supporters are ready for another exciting game
The Umpire-crew for the Netherlands vs. Czech Republic game:
1B Martin Moravcík (Slovakia), HP Galip Sonmez (Germany) and 3B Nicalas Crulli (France)
The coaches meet with the umpires
The players of both teams exchange gifts
The Dutch infield has a talk before the start of the first inning
Dutch pitchers Kirsten Scheele and Femke van Dusschoten
Czech pitchers Eliska Cerná-Pojerová and Jana Vacíková
Head Coach Craig Montvidas makes his notes during the game
Kirsten Scheele throws to Dina Pfeiferová in the first inning
The Czechs got a runner on third base in the first inning
3B Virginie Anneveld is ready for action
With Solange Starrenburg on first base in the 2nd inning, Nadine Marinus follows with a single
On Nadine's single, Solange Starrenburg (who had four hits) advanced
to third base and concentrates in following one of the deliveries to a Dutch batter.
While Solange was at third, Nadine Marinus (single) was at second base in the 2nd inning
Anne Blaauwgeers batting in the second inning
Nathalie Gosewehr at first base after hitting a single in the 3rd inning
Moments later, Nathalie is forced out at second base on a hit to short rightfield by Petra van Heijst
Two pitches later, Petra steals second base
Petra van Heijst after stealing second base in the third inning
Starter Kirsten Scheele is ready for another delivery
Eva Rendlová is congratulated after hitting a 3-run homerun in the third inning
Virginie Anneveld gets a hand from Coach Nancy Evans
after leading off with a single in the fourth inning
Sabina Borecká beats a throw for a 2-out infield-hit in the fourth inning, but...
...Rightfielder Solange Starrenburg ends the fourth inning with a catch
Nathalie Gosewehr reaches second base safely in the 5th inning, leading off with a double
Nathalie then advances to third base when Petra van Heijst follows with an infield-hit...
...but is eliminated at the plate on a grounder to the pitcher by Karin Tuk
The parents of Femke van Dusschoten, Frans and Anita and her sister Malou
are concentrated onlookers when Femke takes over the pitching in the fifth inning
In the sixth inning, Solange Starrenburg slides into second base after an infield-hit
by Nadine Marinus and later scores the first Dutch run
Virginie Anneveld gets some treatment after sliding into second base with
her RBI-double in the seventh inning
While Britt Vonk scores on Virginie's double, Karin Tuk advances to third base
Karin then scores the third Dutch run and the second in the seventh inning
Moments later, Virginie Anneveld scores the next run, making it 5-4
Both Karin and Virginie score on the fourth hit in the game by Solange Starrenburg
After hitting her fourth single, Solange Starrenburg has a talk
with Coach Nancy Evans after reaching first base
Shortly thereafter, a smiling Solange scores the tying run on a throwing error
Happy faces after the score has been tied in the seventh inning
Saskia Kosterink, who didn't play because of her ankle-injury, cheers her teammates
Areke Spel hitting in the seventh inning, but flies out
Meike Witteveen just ends up short beating a throw from short,
ending the seventh inning
Business Manager Rich Hooff's daughter and son watch the game
In the 8th inning, tie-break runner Meike Witteveen is on her way to
third base and continues to score the go-ahead run on a throwing error
While Meike scores, Nathalie Gosewehr reaches first base
safely on a throwing error on her sacrifice bunt
A team-talk before the start of the home of the eighth inning
Lucie Petrásková, the Czech tie-break runner advances to third base in the 8th
With Czech runners on 2nd and 3rd base and two outs in the 8th inning,
there is a discussion whether a Dutch pitching change is illegal or not;
in the end, the move was legal and one pitch later...
...the game ends, the Dutch win and qualify for the final
Players congratulate each other with the come-from-behind victory
Head Coach Craig Montvidas leaves the field with a smile on his face
The Dutch players thank their supporters...
...who also sit behind centerfield and also include British fans
Lucične, the wife of Head Coach Craig Montvidas and their sons Taylor and Quinn applaud the win,
as do the fathers of winning pitchers Kirsten Scheele and Femke van Dusschoten, Rinie and Frans
Solange Starrenburg and Karin Tuk sign a softball...
...and then pose with two fans
Later in the day, the Team walks back to the field
The Team en route to the semi-final vs. Great Britain
Head Coach Craig Montvidas meets with the team prior to the game-preparations
Several Dutch shirts are being dried on one of the fences
Saskia Kosterink is tested before the game by Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont
The team prepares for the semi-final vs. Great Britain
While the Dutch Team prepares itself, the Czechs celebrate their win vs. Russia,
meaning qualification for next years World Championships in Oklahoma City (USA)
The Umpire-crew for the semi-final between the Dutch and British:
3B Fabian Capitoni (Italy), HP Franck Lautier (France) and 1B José Xavier Lopez (Spain)
The two teams line-up before the start of the semi-final
Rebecca Soumeru delivers to Karlene Headley-Cooper in the first inning
Nathalie Timmermans is the catcher; French Umpire Franck Lautier is behind the plate
Stacie Townsend again started for Great Britain in the semi-final
Catchers Anne Blaauwgeers and Karin Tuk
and Pitcher Dagmar Bloeming look on from the Dutch bull-pen
Head Coach Craig Montvidas coaching at third base
Meike Witteveen turns to bunt in the first inning
Nathalie Gosewehr is eliminated in a rundown in the first inning
Rebecca Soumeru, who struckout eight batters and threw a 3-hitter
A lot of spectators followed the semi-final between the Dutch and British
Catcher Nathalie Timmermans has a talk with Coach Nancy Evans
Areke Spel is greeted after scoring the first run in the fourth inning
on a grounder by Chantal Versluis
Next, with runners on first and third base and one out, Nathalie Gosewehr
puts down a bunt-single, bringing home Petra van Heijst for a 2-0 lead
Chantal Versluis moves to third base on the bunt, but is later eliminated at home
Winning pitcher Rebecca Soumeru is congratulated by Coach Nancy Evans and teammates
The Team celebrates reaching the final of the European Championships
The staff also celebrates the victory
Left to right Team Manager Paul Boonstra, Media Officer/Scorer Marco Stoovelaar,
Head Coach Craig Montvidas, Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont,
Coach Nancy Evans and Business Manager Rich Hooff
A celebrating Assistant Coach Tiffany McDonald joins the staff
after completing her work behind the scouting camera in centerfield
Winning pitcher Rebecca Soumeru hugs Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont
Big smiles for Nathalie Gosewehr and Petra van Heijst...
...and Chantal Versluis...
...Coach Nancy Evans...
...and catcher Nathalie Timmermans
(thanks to Fred Versluis and Ed Kosterink for submitting several photos)