MOERGESTEL (Netherlands) -
The Dutch National Softball Team today had an enjoying day in the southern province Noord-Brabant.
The team was the guest of Roef!, the inventive club from Moergestel, which today organized a Softball Happening on its field for the benefit of the Dutch Junior Softball Team.
On July 1-7, the Dutch Junior Softball Team ('Jong Oranje Rood'), which is the reigning European champion, participates in the World Junior Championship in Brampton (Canada).
Unfortunately, the Netherlands Olympic Committee cannot support the financial means, as is the case with the Royal Dutch Baseball & Softball Association (KNBSB).
To answer this situation, since a few months, the players of the Junior Team and their parents are organizing several actions to bring together 21.000 Euros to participate in the global event and to minimize individual costs.
Roef! supports these actions and organized a Softball Happening on its site.
This included a practice session of the Junior Team, a pitching clinic by National Team Pitching Coach Karen Marr, a game of the Dutch National Team and a meet-and-greet with the players.
The Dutch Team played the game against the Brabant Bandits, a team compiled from players of southern clubs Roef!, Gryphons, Twins and Nuenen.
Where are we today?
Today, the National Team was in Moergestel and Diessen.
Moergestel was a separate municipality until 1997, when it became part of Oisterwijk.
In the Middle ages, Moergestel belonged to the Quarter of Oisterwijk and had its seat in Castle Nieuwenhof (photo).
Names of the Lords of Moergestel, who governed the village, are known since the 14th century.
In 1840, the castle became a monastery.
Moergestel already was an independent parish dating back to 1110.
For centuries, Moergestel has always been known to be a village of shoemakers.
Like Moergestel, Diessen has been a separatie municipality before becoming part of Hilvarenbeek in 1997.
The oldest mentioning of the village dates from 712, but there are archeological foundings dating back to 700 BC.
In old writings, Diessen is mentioned as the area of a battle between Romans and Saxons in the year 370.
In following centuries, the Abbey of Tongerlo had a lot of influence in the area.
A period under French leadership began in 1795, but in 1810, Diessen became an independent municipality.
The players and staffmembers of the National Team already had an active day behind them when they arrived at the site in Moergestel for the game.
The team got together at 11:30 AM in the clubhouse of Roef! to begin a teambuilding-day.
At the clubhouse, everyone was welcomed by Bart van Knegsel of Roef!, one of the organizers of the Softball Happening, as well as the special day for the Dutch Team.
Players and staffmembers were treated with a nice (and warm) apple turnover to start the day.
From the clubhouse, the team had a ride by tilt-cart to 'De Nieuwe Erf' in nearby Diessen.
At this holiday farm, groups (and individuals) can combine activity and recreation.
At the beautiful village square, created in one of the stables, the team enjoyed lunch.
In March next year, 'De Nieuwe Erf' will be the new location for the BUBS-weekend, the annual 3-day get-together with meetings, instructional classes and workouts for umpires and official scorers (softball and baseball).
From 'De Nieuwe Erf', it was back into the tilt-cart for the next stop, another farm, where several games can be played.
Initially, a laser-gun game was scheduled for the team.
However, due to the rainy weather in the morning, the conditions of the playing site were muddy, so the laser-gun game was cancelled.
Instead, a bongo-session was held.
Host Wilbert told the group that he had discovered the instruments while being in the West-African country of Guinea.
And so, the rhythm of the players and coaches got tested and that resulted in some fine musical melodies.
Next on the list was a toilet bowl-race.
In two groups of three per race, eveyone got an engined toilet bowl to race around a track.
After several rounds, Nathalie Gosewehr, Saskia Kosterink and Lindsey Meadows qualified for the final.
Whether or not things went according to the rules, Nathalie was the winner in the end.
And hereafter, in the tilt-cart, it was back to the site of Roef! where the team enjoyed a nice pasta meal.
Pitching Coach Karen Marr and pitchers Rebecca Soumeru, Lindsey Meadows and Ginger de Weert then held a pitching clinic for youth players.
Also, the coaches of the Dutch Junior Softball Team announced their final roster for the World Junior Championship, which was followed by a practice session of this team.
The team has arrived in Moergestel...
...and is welcomed by Bart van Knegsel of Roef!
From the site of Roef!, the team travels by tilt-cart
And then, it was time to start preparations for the game against the Brabant Bandits.
The team was compiled from players from southern clubs Roef!, Gryphons, Twins and Nuenen and included Ilse van Kerkoerle, Gini Ketelaars, Eva van Knegsel, Wies Ligtvoet (all Roef!), Imane Allou Issa, Femke Duffhues, Lieke Duffhues, Michelle Edgtton, Noor Godefroy, Rachel van Veen (all Twins), Shannon Galea, Marjolein Merkx, Sophie Mollee (all Gryphons) and Noortje Tak (Nuenen).
The team was led by Jeroen van de Wiel (Head Coach of Roef!) and Daisy de Peinder (Head Coach of Twins).
Hannie Mulders (Gryphons) was the team-scorekeeper.
Before the start of the game, Head Coaches Craig Montvidas and Jeroen van de Wiel were interviewed by local tv-station Moergestel TV.
The interview and highlights of the game were shown on Thursday-Saturday, June 6-8.
The recap of Moergestel TV can be seen below.
After the players were introduced, Sander Klaasen, the chairman of Roef!, welcomed everyone.
Hans Janssen, Mayor of the Municipality of Oisterwijk (where Moergestel is part of), then announced that the Municipality also contributes in the fundraising, making a financial donating for the three local players from Moergestel and Roef!, who were selected for the Dutch Juniors, being Gini Ketelaars, Eva van Knegsel and Wies Ligtvoet.
Mr. Janssen then threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was handed a Dutch Team jersey and cap by Merel Oosterveld.
The Dutch Team took a 3-0 lead in the first inning off of Australian starting pitcher Michelle Edgtton.
Merel Oosterveld led off with a single and stole second base, then score on an one-out double by Britt Vonk.
With two outs, Britt scored the next run on a single by Karin Tuk.
After the latter had stolen second base, Yonina Sint Jago walked, then Karin scored when an error was made on a hit by Marisèla de Wind.
The Dutch Team was then retired in order in the second inning, but added two runs in the third inning off of Marjolein Merkx, who also recently returned from Florida, where she had completed her second college-season.
Britt Vonk led off with a single and stole second base, then scored when an error was made on a grounder by Jessie van Aalst.
The latter moved to second base on an additional error, then advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a sac-fly by Yonina Sint Jago.
Two more runs followed in the fourth inning.
Nikki Harte led off with her first basehit as player of the National Team and she advanced to third base when an error was made on a sac-bunt by Merel Oosterveld.
A throwing error on a 2-out grounder by Jessie van Aalst enabled both runners to score and lift the score to 7-0.
In the fifth inning, Nathalie Gosewehr and Marisèla de Wind began with singles and moved on a double-steal.
A strikeout then followed.
Shannon Galea was then brought in as new pitcher and she also retired the next two batters, meaning Nathalie and Marisèla were left behind.
In the sixth inning, Jessie van Aalst singled with two outs and Sophie Bugter walked.
Hereafter, Femke Duffhues became the fourth pitcher for the Bandits and ended the inning with a strikeout, so two more runners were left behind.
Femke van Dusschoten started for the Dutch Team and retired the first six batters she faced, including three strikeouts.
She then gave up a lead-off single to Ilse van Kerkoerle in the third inning, who moved on a grounder by Rachel van Veen and a passed ball, but stranded at third base.
Eva Voortman took over the pitching in the fourth inning.
The lefthander walked Imane Allou Issa with one out and gave up a 2-out single to Eva van Knegsel, but held the Bandits scoreless.
She retired the side in the fifth at bat.
Rookie Leonella Elizabeth pitched the sixth and final inning for the Dutch squad.
She began with a strikeout, which ended in an error, enabling Ilse van Kerkoerle to reach first base.
The bases then got loaded when Rachel van Veen walked and Noor Godefroy was hit by a pitch.
A force out at home followed on a grounder by Gini Ketelaars, but then the Bandits scored a run on a force play-grounder by Femke Duffhues.
A following grounder then ended the game, which lasted almost two hours.
After completion of the game, the players of the Dutch Junior Softball Team were introduced, entering the field through a lane formed by the players of the Dutch National Team.
Junior Head Coach Diana Remmers then thanked the organizers of Roef! and everyone involved in making today a successful and special day.
The players and staff of the Dutch National Softball Team thank Roef! and especially Bart van Knegsel for the organization and hospitality of today's activities in Moergestel and Diessen.
Another thank you goes to umpires Patrick Reus and Sara Dielen, as well as Rieke Dirks, who was the Public Address Announcer.
Sander Klaasen, the chairman of Roef!, addresses the spectators
On his left side is Oisterwijk's Mayor Hans Janssen
Youth players of Roef! perform a dance
Then all players join in
And the other way
Oisterwijk Mayor Hans Janssen announces that the Municipality will support the three players
of Roef!, who are selected for the Dutch Junior Team to participate in the World Championship
Two of them are standing on the right: Wies Ligtvoet and Eva van Knegsel