Dutch Team opens Championship with big win
REDIPUGLIA / STARANZANO / RONCHI DEI LEGIONARI (Italy) -
The Dutch National Softball Team opened the 17th European Championship on Sunday, July 31 with a big 24-0 shutout-win vs. Ukraine in the first-ever game between the two countries in history.
The Dutch Team recorded 25 baseshits, including four by Virginie Anneveld and Solange Starrenburg, who set a record with three triples, including two in one inning.
Solange also homered, as did Chantal Versluis and Areke Spel.
Before today's game, the team had the morning off.
In that span, Team Manager Paul Boonstra and Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar visited the immense and impressive Military Memorial in Redipuglia, which is located closeby the hotel.
The Memorial, located on Mont Sei Busi, is the biggest Military Cemetary in the country and is the final restplace of 100.187 victims of World War I, including Italians, Austrians and Hungarians.
39.857 of them are indentified, the rest (60,330) were not.
Near the Cemetary are former vehicles and tanks exhibited, which were used in 'The Great War' (1914-1918).
In the afternoon, the Dutch Team opend the Championship against Ukraine, which became the 46th nation against whom the Dutch National Team has played.
As the Dutch Team was the visiting team today, it went to bat first.
Lead-off hitter Chantal Versluis immediately set the tone, as, after only three minutes of play and on a full count, she hit a homerun over the fence in left-centerfield.
The homerun triggered a huge rally, which lasted 28 minutes.
In the at bat, 19 batters came to bat, who produced 15 basehits and scored 15 runs.
All nine starting players hit at least one basehit in the inning, with six of them hitting two.
In her second at bat in the inning, Chantal hit a triple.
Saskia Kosterink (first at bat) and Virginie Anneveld (second at bat) also tripled in this inning.
Virginie's one came with the bases loaded.
Solange Starrenburg connected for two triples in this inning, then added a third one in the second inning and homered in the third inning.
By the way, Saskia Kosterink has good memories of this field, as she hit a 2-out, grand slam homerun against Greece here during the Olympic Qualifier in 2007.
In the second inning, four runs were added, including two on Solange's third triple.
In the third at bat, five more runs were scored.
Areke Spel led off with an inside-the-park-homerun, Virginie Anneveld (who had six RBI's) added a 2-run single and Solange accounted for the last run with her homerun.
All 13 position players used in this game hit at least one basehit, while 12 of them scored at least once and eleven of them having at least one run batted in.
Ginger de Weert threw for the Dutch Team in this game, which lasted only three innings because of the run-difference.
Ginger struckout four batters and gave up only one basehit, which was a 2-out single in the first inning.
After the game, the team had dinner at the field, then traveled to the main field in Ronchi dei Legionari for the Opening Ceremony.
There, all 20 participating countries assembled and took part in the ceremony.
All teams were introduced, as was tournament mascot Opo.
After the nicely sung National Anthem of Italy, there were some speeches, including one by Massimo Fochi, the Vice-President of the Italian Federation.
André van Overbeek, the President of the European Softball Federation, also held a speech, welcomed everyone and declared the Championship open.
In the evening, host Italy won only 1-0 vs. Great Britain.
Earlier in the afternoon, there was another surprise score, as France (which is coached by Dutchman André Prins) won 1-0 vs. Germany in a key-game for both squads.
Spain won 13-12 vs. Belgium in 10 innings.
On Tuesday, the Dutch Team will meet the last two teams.
In the morning, it faces Belgium, in the afternoon Spain.
Both games are played in Ronchi dei Legionari.
Live play-by-plays will be available for both games.
Go here for the Play-by-Play of the Dutch games.
Go here for a complete look at the other games and their play-by-plays to be played on Monday.
World War I-vehicles are on display near the Military Memorial in Redipiuglia
The 22 terraces of the Military Memorial
A look at the baseball- and softball-complex in Redipuglia
The view of the area from the top of the Military Memorial
The bodies of the almost 40.000 known soldiers are buried in the 22 terraces
The tomb of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy-Aosta, 2nd Duke of Aosta in front of the terraces
During World War I, he commanded the Italian Third Army, which was nicknamed the 'Undeated Army'
Prince Emanuele died in 1931 died in 1931 and, according to his will, was buried here in Redipuglia
together with his thousands of soldiers of the Third Army
The tombs of five generals follow that of the Duke of Aosta to 'lead' the Third Army
Merel Oosterveld and Lindsey Meadows with former teammates
Anna-Karin Solen Westling and Minna Kulokorpi, who played for Sweden during this Championship
Coaches Karen Marr, Tracy Bunge and Craig Montvidas
discuss the prepartions for the first game
Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont is ready for her second European Championship
Time to start the warming-up
And that was done on a nearby soccer-field
Dagmar Bloeming and Britt Vonk look at the preparations on the field
Here, pitchers Dagmar Bloeming and Rebecca Soumeru fill in the pitching charts
The umpires for today's game
1B Zdenek Zidek (Croatia), HP Jan Hora (Czech Republic) and 3B Tomasz Plutarski (Poland)
The coaches and umpires meet before the game
Ready to listen to the National Anthems
Yuliya Mironova, the pitcher for Ukraine who gave up 25 basehits
Standing in the front is 1B Oksana Chornomaz
Chantal Versluis is the lead-off hitter for the Netherlands...
...and starts the game with a homerun
Moments later, Meike Witteveen singles and steals second base
Short stop Marina Chornomaz gets the ball too late
Meike scores the second run when Saskia Kosterink follows with a triple
Here, Saskia, 3B Galyna Noskova and umpire Tomasz Plutarski look at the action
Solange Starrenburg hits an RBI-triple in the first inning
Fred Versluis (who made several photos for this site and is the father of Chantal)
has found a spot on the scoreboard
More Dutch photographers: Herman Timmermans (father of Nathalie) and Ed Kosterink (father of Saskia)
Virginie Anneveld moments before hitting a 3-run triple in the first inning
A necessary talk between pitcher, catcher and coach
Nathalie Timmermans running at first base
Ginger de Weert threw in her first EC-game with the Dutch team
Ginger gave up only one basehit in this 3-inning game
Nathalie Gosewehr delivered a pinch-hit RBI-single in the 2nd inning
Head Coach Craig Montvidas congratulates Solange Starrenburg
after hitting a homerun in the third inning
Solange is welcomed by her teammates
Anne Blaauwgeers took over at first base in the third inning
Standing in the back is Meike Witteveen, who moved to short in the 2nd inning
End of the game, the first win is in the books
Karin Tuk, Nathalie Gosewehr, Fabienne van Uden, Merel Oosterveld,
Dagmar Bloeming, Chantal Versluis, Nathalie Timmermans and Areke Spel
shortly before entering the field for the Opening Ceremony
The teams are lined up for the Opening Ceremony
Merel Oosterveld, Nathalie Gosewehr and Areke Spel with the Dutch flag
The names of the participating countries enter the field for the introductions
Virginie Anneveld, Britt Vonk and Lindsey Meadows take the center spot of this photo
An overview of the Ceremony
Tournament-mascot Opo enters the field
Opo welcomes the Dutch Team during the introduction...
...which is then joined by the name-bearer
ESF-President André van Overbeek (center) with other officials of the ESF
Some of the umpires, at right Dutch umpire Rob Veldkamp
The Italian National Anthem is sung
The making of a photo
Solange Starrenburg shows thumbs up for Britt Vonk
ESF-President André van Overbeek opens the European Championship
The Dutch Team leaves the field
The big 20-man umpire crew for this European Championship
Standing at left are Umpire Commissioners Gilbert Tobback (Belgium, light shirt)
and Geri Lindberg (Sweden, dark shirt)
Standing at right are Chief Technical Commissioners Bob Kessler (Israel, light shirt)
and Cornelie Chwojka (Austria, dark shirt)
After the Opening Ceremony, Italy beat Great Britain, 1-0