Areke Spel Most Valuable Player & Best Hitter of 2011 season
HAARLEM (Netherlands) -
During the annual KNBSB Stars Awards Gala, held on Friday, November 11, the best players in this years softball and baseball seasons were decorated.
Current National Team-player Areke Spel was named Most Valuable Player of the 2011 Dutch softball-season, while former National Team-player Kirsten Scheele won the Best Pitcher Award.
These were two of the nine softball-awards that were handed out.
The Dutch National Team, which captured the European title unbeaten this Summer in Italy, also was honoured, as were the best youth players.
This years Gala was preceeded by the public honouring of the Dutch National Baseball Team in the afternoon.
On October 15, the Dutch Baseball Team captured the world baseball title in Panama, becoming the first European team to become world champion since Great Britain won the title in 1938.
In the afternoon, the baseball-squad made a boatride over the Spaarne-river, being witnessed by hundreds of fans.
Hereafter, the team went to the Teylers Museum and there, all players and Head Coach Brian Farley received a Royal Decoration.
The successful baseball-squad was then honoured at the Grote Markt, the historic city-center of Haarlem.
In the Philharmonie Theater, nearby the Grote Markt, the KNBSB Stars Awards Gala was then held in the evening.
When the Gala started and after the opening remarks by KNBSB-President Bob Bergkamp, the winners of the youth awards were announced first.
Marjolein Merkx, who this year played in her last season for the Dutch Junior Red Team, won the Riet Vermaat Trophy for the Best Junior Pitcher of the Year.
Playing with the Junior Red Team in this years Dutch Major League, Marjolein was the winning pitcher in three of the six games won by the team and struckout 29 batters in 42 1/3 inning.
With her clubteam Gryphons, Marjolein won the title in the second highest league and promoted to the big league.
As Marjolein currently is in the USA where she studies and plays at Florida State College at Jacksonville, her award was picked up by her mother Hannie.
Next, the Bep van Beijmerwerdt Trophy for the Most Promising Junior Player was awarded to Dinet Oosting.
Since October 2010, Dinet has been a member of the Dutch National Softball Team, but didn't make the final cut yet for big tournaments.
With her clubteam Olympia Haarlem, Dinet is the second-best hitter with a .298 average.
The youth awards, as well as the next one, were handed out by KNBSB Boardmember Caroline Theunissen, filling in for Head Coach Craig Montvidas, who was sick.
The first part of the awards-evening ended with the presentation of the Egbert van der Sluis Memorial Trophy to Nathalie Timmermans for the Best International Under 23.
During this years European Championship, Nathalie is the first catcher in the Dutch Team and contributes with a homerun.
As player of Oklahoma City University, Nathalie leads her team with a .402 batting average and 64 runs batted in.
Nathalie, who is a member of the Dutch Team since November 2007, scores 48 runs and hits 17 homeruns for Oklahoma City, which led to her being elected into four All Star Teams.
Comedian Peter Heerschop then performed a funny act describing baseball and softball-players.
Next, the Dutch National Softball Team was honoured for winning the European Championship this Summer.
14 of the 17 players on the Championship-roster were present tonight and were accompanied on stage by Pitching Coach Karen Marr, Team Manager Paul Boonstra and Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar.
Head Coach Craig Montvidas was unable to be in Haarlem tonight due to sickness, while five other staff-members couldn't be at the Gala due to other commitments.
All players and staffmembers were given a blue hoody with the text 'European Softball Champion 2011', with the first ones being handed out symbolically by KNBSB Boardmember Caroline Theunissen to team-captains Saskia Kosterink and Rebecca Soumeru.
In the second session of the evening, awards were handed out in three statistical categories.
First, Chantal Versluis, who plays for the Dutch Team since 2006, was called on stage, as she stole the most bases (26).
It was the second year in a row that Chantal won this award and the third time in her career, as she also stole the most bases in 2008.
...Areke Spel was named MVP of 2011...
...Here, she just received the Best Hitter Award...
...from Marlies van der Putten...
Former National Team-player Debby Connor then received the award for hitting the most homeruns in this season (4).
It marked the sixth time in nine seasons that Debby led the league in homeruns and the third time in the last four years.
Areke Spel, who plays for the National Team since 2005 (except 2008), then got her award for being the best hitter of the season with her .463 batting average.
Former National Team-pitcher and current Dutch Junior Red Team Pitching Coach Maaike Zijlstra handed out the awards for Most Stole Bases and Most Homeruns, while former National Team-player Marlies van der Putten (who participated in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) presented the award for the Best Hitter.
Hereafter, the awards presentation was interrupted for the second time for an act by comedian Peter Heerschop, who this time made funny comments on several baseball and softball photos.
In the third session, the major awards were handed out.
First, former National Team-player Kirsten Scheele was named Best Pitcher of the season.
In the regular season, Kirsten went 11-0 for Dutch champion Oolders Omaco Sparks Haarlem and strikes out 98 batters in 62 1/3 inning.
In August, Kirsten also was named Best Pitcher of the European Cup-tournament.
It was the first time that Kirsten won the Best Pitcher Award, after she was nominated for the first time in 2006.
Also nominated were American pitchers Jenna DeLong (Tex Town Tigers) and Amanda Lindsey (Olympia Haarlem).
The award was handed out by former National Team-pitcher Els Koks, who herself won the award six times, including a period of five times in six years (1979-1984).
Next, Debby Connor picked up her second award of the season, as she was named Most Valuable Player of the Holland Series, an award which already was announced after completion of the last game of the championship series.
This became an unique moment, as her brother Wesley was named the Baseball Holland Series MVP.
The Award-presentation ended with the naming of the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 season.
That award went to Areke Spel, who led the league in batting average (.463) and basehits (38), while being second-best in runs batted in (28).
She also shared first place with Solange Starrenburg with 62 total bases.
Areke scored 34 runs and stole nine bases.
It marked the first time that Areke won awards for her accomplisments in the regular season.
Also nominated were Marisèla de Wind (Iber Lengua Terrasvogels) and Elena Leon (Olympia Haarlem).
The award was handed out by former National Team-pitcher Fredy van Offeren, who was the league's MVP in 1978, 1984 and 1989, besides being named Best Pitcher five times.
Hereafter, award-winning mezzo-soprano Tania Kross performed and then the evening ended with the honouring of the Dutch Baseball Team for winning the world title.
All players and staffmembers were given a championship ring and were named Honorary Member of the Dutch Assocation.
An afterparty in the lounge of the theater ended the Gala.
The trophies won in 2011 by Dutch National Softball and Baseball Teams, including the
European Championship by the Dutch Softball Team and World Cup by the Dutch Baseball Team
and the European Championship-tropies by the Dutch Softball Cadets and Dutch Baseball Juniors
The Haarlem 'flower girls', who presented everyone on stage with an orange flower
Dinet Oosting won the Bep van Beijmerwerdt Trophy
In the back, KNBSB Boardmember Caroline Theunissen and host Andy Houtkamp
Almost all seats were taken in the Philharmonie Theater in Haarlem
Team captain Saskia Kosterink picked up the Egbert van der Sluis Memorial Trophy for Nathalie Timmermans,
which was handed out by KNBSB Boardmember Caroline Theunissen
Comedian Peter Heerschop performed a funny act in the first interruption of the award-ceremony
The Dutch Softball Team is honoured on stage for winning the European Championship
(photo: Henk Seppen)
Left to right: Team Manager Paul Boonstra, Media Officer Marco Stoovelaar, Anne Blaauwgeers,
Meike Witteveen and Dagmar Bloeming
Left to right: Anne Blaauwgeers, Meike Witteveen, Dagmar Bloeming, Areke Spel,
Nathalie Gosewehr, Rebecca Soumeru, Ginger de Weert and Saskia Kosterink
Left to right: Nathalie Gosewehr, Rebecca Soumeru, Ginger de Weert, Saskia Kosterink,
Solange Starrenburg, Virginie Anneveld, Merel Oosterveld and Lindsey Meadows
Left to right: Solange Starrenburg, Virginie Anneveld, Merel Oosterveld, Lindsey Meadows,
Chantal Versluis, Karin Tuk and Pitching Coach Karen Marr
Team-captains Rebecca Soumeru and Saskia Kosterink show the present the team got
Chantal Versluis gets the award for Most Stole Bases from Maaike Zijlstra
Maaike Zijlstra congratulates Debby Connor for winning the Homerun Queen Award
Marlies van der Putten hands out the Best Hitter Award to Areke Spel
Best Hitter Areke Spel with Marlies van der Putten
At right, host Andy Houtkamp thinks what he has to do next
Peter Heerschop gives funny comments to several photos, including this one of Rebecca Soumeru...
...and this one of the National Team's staff after winning the European title
Kirsten Scheele was named Best Pitcher of the 2011 season
Kirsten Scheele gets the Best Pitcher Award from former pitcher Els Koks
Debby Connor receives the Holland Series MVP Award from Fredy van Offeren
Areke Spel is announced as the 2011 Most Valuable Player
On stage are former baseball-international Charles Urbanus, host Andy Houtkamp and Fredy van Offeren
Former National Team-pitcher Fredy van Offeren and Areke Spel admire the MVP Award
Baseball MVP Vince Rooi congratulates Softball MVP Areke Spel
(photo: Henk Seppen)
Edison Award-winning Mezzo-soprano Tania Kross also performed during the Gala
The Dutch Baseball Team is honoured for winning the world title
Host Andy Houtkamp talks with Baseball Head Coach Brian Farley
On his chest, he wears the Royal Decoration he received earlier in the day
(special thanks to Fred Versluis and Henk Seppen for their photos)