Dutch Women Softball Team


European Championships

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European Championships - Day 9 - Saturday, August 1

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Dutch Team wins European title; back on top after 19 years!

VALENCIA (Spain) - The Dutch National Softball Team captured the European title on Saturday-evening in Valencia by winning 4-0 vs. Great Britain in the all-deciding final. It was the first time the title went to the Netherlands, since it last won in 1990. Since then, Italy won the European title eight times in a row. Three runs were scored in the fourth inning by Saskia Kosterink, Nathalie Timmermans and Virginie Anneveld, while Britt Vonk added the fourth run in the sixth at bat. Dagmar Bloeming went the distance and gave up only two basehits. Chantal Versluis was named Team MVP, while Rebecca Soumeru was named Best Pitcher of the tournament.

The Dutch Team led the event in several categories, including Batting Average (.327), Slugging Average (.438), On Base Percentage (.410), Runs Scored (55), Basehits (74), Runs Batted In (42), Doubles (10), Total Bases (99), Walks (30), Stolen Bases (16), Lowest Earned Run Average (0.82), Lowest Opposing Batting Average (.154), Victories (9), Fewest Hits Allowed (31), Fewest Runs Allowed (7), Fielding Average (.984) and Fewest Errors (4).

Individually, the Dutch players also led in several categories, including Britt Vonk (Runs Scored, 10; Triples 4), Virginie Anneveld (Doubles, 3), Meike Witteveen (Stolen Bases, 3), Rebecca Soumeru (Lowest Opposing Batting Average, .149; Fewest Hits Allowed, 10; Fewest Runs Allowed, 0) and Nathalie Timmermans (Caught Stealing as Catcher, 6).

The final day of the 16th European Championships started with the second semi-final between Great Britain and the Czech Republic. The British Team, again with Stacie Townsend pitching, won the game and therefore qualified for the final in the evening against the Dutch. With the loss, the Czechs won the bronze medal.

After three scoreless innings, the Dutch Team took command of the game by scoring three runs in the fourth at bat. From the beginning, the Dutch Team had a good look at the pitches of Stacie Townsend, who again was the pitcher for the British. In the first inning, lead-off hitter Nathalie Gosewehr flied out in leftfield, then a drive by Meike Witteveen was nicely caught by rightfielder Kirsten Whitt. In the second, Saskia Kosterink and Areke Spel both singled, but were left behind. Again, it was a matter of time before the scoring started.

And that happened in the fourth at bat. With one out, Saskia Kosterink again singled and advanced on an outfield-error, then scored the first run when Nathalie Timmermans also singled. Nathalie then stole second base and scored on an one-out double by Virginie Anneveld. Moments later, there was more agressive baserunning, as Virginie stole third base and scored when the throw from the catcher went into leftfield.

In the sixth inning, Britt Vonk led offf with a towering triple and scored the fourth Dutch run on a sacrfice fly by Saskia Kosterink.

Defensively, the Dutch Team played another fine game to support pitcher Dagmar Bloeming. Despite an inflamed left toe, Dagmar went the distance, struckout three batters and gave up only two basehits. After retiring the first six batters in a row, Dagmar gave up a lead-off single to Karlene Headley-Cooper in the third inning, but she was caught stealing. In the fourth inning, a British batter walked with two outs. The second British hit was registered in the fifth inning, again by Karlene Headley-Cooper, who reached on an infield-hit with two outs, but this time she stranded on first base.

In the seventh inning, Stacie Townsend led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Laura Thompson, who was then caught stealing. Hereafter, Morgan Parkerson popped out in foul territory to catcher Nathalie Timmermans. Next, Kristi Yoshizawa hit the ball to rightfielder Areke Spel for the apparent third out of the game. And while some celebrations already started, Areke dropped the ball, enabling the batter to reach second base. But then, the celebrations really could begin when Dagmar saw next batter Kirsten Whitt fly out to short stop Chantal Versluis. For the first time in 19 years, the European title was back in Dutch hands!

Players and staff-members hugged and congratulated each other on the field and in or near the dug-out. The coaches were showered with water and then it was time for another 'ceremony', as Media Officer/Scorer Marco Stoovelaar was summoned to the field by the team to take place on a chair near home plate to fullfill a promise made between him and the players: his moustache had to be gone! While Marco was being showered frequently by Nathalie Gosewehr and Saskia Kosterink, Areke Spel gently cut away his moustache. Oh, by the way, the reactions afterwards were positive and Marco was advised not the re-grow his moustache and of course, he listens to the players. So, something else has to be thought off to shave off for the next goal in the future.

Then it was time for the Award Ceremony. ESF-President André van Overbeek stated the quality of the playing level, especially during the last days of the event. He also thanked the organization for their work (the players and staff of the Dutch Team does the same) and then officially closed the European Championships. By the way, the entrance of everyone involved for the Closing Ceremony went as it should be, first the players, then the umpires and scorers and then the ESF-officials.

Awards were then handed out to the Most Valuable Players of all 10 participating countries, including Chantal Versluis for the Dutch Team. Next, Rebecca Soumeru was named Best Pitcher of the event. Rebecca was 3-0, threw 20 innings, struckout 16 batters, walked only three and gave up no (!) runs. Lucie Petrásková (Czech Republic) was the Best Hitter (hitting .548) and Stacie Townsend (Great Britain) was named the tournament's overall Most Valuable Player.

Hereafter, the players and staff-members of the Dutch Team were treated on pizza's (which were specially ordered and delivered to the field and paid for by the Dutch Federation), but some also enjoyed their first beer in a month (!), as no member of the Dutch Team drank alcohol while being on tour. A party for all teams and everyone involved in the tournament then closed the event.

Through this, the players and staff-members of the Dutch National Softball Team thank everyone, who made the trips to Canada, the USA and Spain possible, including the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB), of course our sponsors, but also everyone at the practice facility in Nieuwegein. But also all opponents during the Holland Tour and all umpires and official scorers during this 30-game tour. Your participation in this Tour made a great contribution in the preparations for the Dutch Team for the Canada Cup, the World Cup of Softball and the European Championships. Another big thank you is in place to all family-members and friends, who supported the players and staff-members since January, when the first practices started. Your support, but also you being in attendance in Valencia has been of great value! Another thank you goes to the organisors in Surrey, Oklahoma City and Valencia for their hospitality during the Canada Cup, World Cup of Softball and European Championships. It has been a wonderful Summer of Softball with a fantastic ending!

Box Score Final Game Netherlands vs. Great Britain
Schedule European Championships

Today's scores
Pool D (relegation round)
Spain vs. France7-2
Great Britain vs. Czech Republic
(Great Britain qualify for Final)
(Czech Rep. finishes in 3rd place)
6-1Netherlands vs. Great Britain
(Netherlands European Champion)
(Great Britain finishes in 2nd place)

Last Dutch Team to win European Gold
Coincidentally, Lucične Geels, the wife of Head Coach Craig Montvidas, was a member of the last Dutch Softball Team that captured the European title in 1990 when the event was held in Genoa (Italy).

Besides Lucične (who was an infielder), the other players on that team were pitchers Anita Bank, Mereille Hammink and Jacqueline van der Vlugt, catchers Petra Beek, Jolanda Droog and Woudi van der Molen, infielders Madelon Beek, Francis Handgraaf, Annemiek van Kappel, Marlies van der Putten and Carolien Smit and outfielders Isca Everts, Agnes van den Heuvel, Irene Nijssen, Audrey Springer and Diane Verhoef.

Back then, the team was managed by American Diane Schumacher, who was assisted by coaches Ans Kroon and Ton Hendriks. Nicole Lemmink was the physical therapist.

In Genoa, the Dutch Team won five of the six games played. In the preliminary round, the Dutch beat West Germany (14-0) and Denmark (8-0), but surprisingly lost to Belgium (1-0). It then defeated Italy (1-0) in the crossfinal, before facing Belgium in the best-of-three final, defeating them 10-0 and 4-0 to claim the title.

A great day for a final!

The Umpire-crew for the Final between the Dutch and British:
1B Fabian Capitoni (Italy), HP Martin Moravcík (Slovakia) and 3B Nicalas Crulli (France)

The Head Coaches meet with the umpires before the final

The teams line up before the start of the game

The Dutch Team takes the field!

Dagmar Bloeming went the distance despite an inflamed toe

Stacie Townsend threw a complete game for Great Britain

Dagmar Bloeming throwing in the first inning to British
lead-off hitter Leah English, who plays in the Dutch League for Centrals

Saskia Kosterink leads off the second inning with a single...

Nathalie Timmermans follows with a sacrifice bunt...

...which brings Saskia to second base, who then advances to third base when...

...next batter Areke Spel hits a single, but both Saskia and Areke would be left behind

A team-meeting between innings

Britt Vonk leads off the fourth inning, but grounds out

Saskia Kosterink follows with a single and is waved home on
a single into leftfield by next batter Nathalie Timmermans

Saskia Kosterink dives in head first to score the first run on Nathalie's single

In the dug-out, Saskia is cleaned by Kirsten Scheele after scoring

Moments later, Nathalie Timmermans steals second base

Noice-makers Chantal Versluis and Anne Blaauwgeers

Next, Nathalie Timmermans scores the second run on a 2-out
double by Virginie Anneveld

The moment of Nathalie's scoring seen from the outfield, with Virginie Anneveld
rounding second base after her RBI-double

Nathalie Timmermans is greeted in the dug-out after lifting the lead to 2-0

Virginie Anneveld celebrates her double at second base

Virginie then steals third base and scores the third run when a throwing error follows
British catcher Leah English gets the ball back in time, but is unable to tag out Virginie

Virginie is welcomed by her teammates after increasing the Dutch lead to 3-0

Covered with dirt, Virginie Anneveld enters the dug-out after scoring the third run

Saskia Kosterink and Areke Spel continue as noise-makers

Britt Vonk leads off the sixth inning with a triple

Saskia Kosterink follows with a sacrifice fly...

...bringing Britt home with another head first sliding at home to make it 4-0
The game was full of action on the basepaths by the Dutch runners

Saskia and Britt are welcomed after their runproducing act

Anne Blaauwgeers and Solange Starrenburg cheer their teammates in the 7th inning

Head Coach Craig Montvidas remains calm (on the outside) in the last inning

There is more tension on some faces amongst the spectators in the outfield

The Dutch Team is three outs away from the European title!

The tension is buiding when, leading 4-0 and 2 outs in the top of the seventh inning,
rightfielder Areke Spel looses the ball after initially catching it

But then, short stop Chantal Versluis makes the last putout
Let the celebrations begin! Bring on the champagne!

The Team celebrates the capture of the first title in 19 years!

Celebration time for the players and the staff
Following are more celebration photos, some out of focus, but that makes the moment more special

After the first celebrations, the British team congratulates the new European champion

But then, after thanking the Dutch supporters, the Team continues the celebrations

KNBSB-President Ruud van Zetten joins the celebrating Dutch Team

Head Coach Craig Montvidas gets showered...

...and so are Coaches Nancy Evans and Tiffany McDonald...

...and Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont

Then, it's the moment of truth for Media Officer/Scorer Marco Stoovelaar,
as he is summoned onto the field by the players to have his moustache removed

While Marco sits near home plate, Saskia Kosterink initially starts with scissors...

...but then Areke Spel takes over...

...while Saskia lends a helping hand (and cup)...

While the team looks on, Marco's moustache disappears

The trophies of the 16th European Championships

continue here for page 2 of the photo gallery of the final day

(thanks to Fred Versluis and Ed Kosterink for submitting several photos)

For suggestions, questions or requests mail to Media Officer/Webmaster Marco Stoovelaar: stoov@dutchsoftballteam.com

Last Update: August 7, 2009
Copyright Photos © 2008-2009 Marco Stoovelaar / Paul Boonstra / Fred Versluis / Ed Kosterink.
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