Day 4: Strong Dutch team shutout by Japan|
HIGASHIMATSUSHIMA CITY / SENDAI (Japan) - In a much better game than yesterday, the Dutch Olympic Softball Team on Saturday-evening played a good game vs. Japan, but lost 4-0 to the host country. The weather also improved and today it was a nice, warm temperature and a good day to play softball.
In the morning, Dutch Coach Rob Walgien and Press Officer Marco Stoovelaar went to Higashimatsushima City to view the game between Canada and Tohoku Fukushi University.
At the beautiful Takakinomori Sports Complex, there were four fields located which can be used for both softball and youth baseball, while there also was a baseball-field.
Canada collected 13 basehits and won 7-1 against the University-team.
After the game, Rob and Marco were dropped off at Sendai Municipal Baseball Stadium, where tonight's game between the Dutch and Japan was scheduled.
Shortly after the two arrived, camera-teams started to come to the stadium, while the row of waiting softball fans grew.
The Japanese Softball Team already was in the stadium and were given a mascotte by a team-sponsor for the upcoming Olympic Games.
At least six camera-teams and a lot of photographers covered this event and followed the players during their preparations for the game.
Before the game started and after players were introduced, the Executive Director of the Japan Softball Federation addressed the close to 4000 spectators, who filled the seats in the stadium.
Also, a representative of the Japanese Olympic Committee spoke to the crowd, as Tokyo is one of the four candidates to organize teh Olympic Games in 2016. The others are Chicago (USA), Madrid (Spain) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
He also spoke about the return of softball on the Olympic calender, as did Dutch Head Coach Liz Kelly afterwards during the press conference.
Close to game-time, Mayor Katsuhiko Umehara of Sendai City, fully dressed forthe occation in a baseball-uniform, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
In the first four innings, the two teams held each other scoreless and an interesting match-up developed.
The Japanese team had only two basehits in the first four inning of Dutch starter Rebecca Soumeru, who threw some solid innings, while the Dutch hit two off Japan-starter Hiroko Sakai.
Rebecca gave up a lead-off single in the first inning to Ayumi Karino, who then advanced on a sac-bunt, but stranded at second base.
In the second inning, Masumi Mishina also led off with a single, also advanced on a sac-bunt and also stranded at second base.
In the first five Dutch innings, only one player reached base, but did it twice.
Britt Vonk, who was added to the squad in May and made the final cut for the Olympic Games, today played in her first official international game and had an infield-hit in her first at bat. But it took the Official Scorer one inning to decide that her grounder towards first base was being rewarded as a basehit. As two strikeouts followed, Britt was left at first base.
After Britt's single, Japan-starter Hiroko Sakai retired nine batters in a row, before facing Britt again. This time, she led off the fourth inning with a single into leftfield, but unfortunately her turn towards second base was too big and she was elimininated in a run-down.
In the sixth inning, Marjan Smit hit a line drive single with one out in the sixth inning off new pitcher Naho Emoto, but also was left behind.
While the Dutch had only three basehits, the batters hit the ball hard, but found the Japanese defense in its way. Also, defensively, the Dutch also played a good game.
By the way, not only Britt made her official international debut. Nathalie Timmermans did the same, by entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
On the other hand, centerfielder Saskia Kosterink played in her 50th official international game.
Japan opened the score with two runs in the fifth inning.
Megu Hirone led off with a single, moved on a sac-bunt and an infield-hit by Motoko Fiujimoto, which was stopped greatly by a diving short stop Britt Vonk and doing so, prevented a run.
That run came somewhat later on a sac-fly by Ayumi Karino.
A following double by Rei Nishiyama then enabled Fiujimoto to score all the way from first base and make it 2-0.
Hereafter, Judith van Kampen, who threw a complete game the night before, took over the pitching and ended the inning with a fly-out.
In the sixth inning, Japan added two runs.
With one out, Masumi Mishina walked and scored when a double by Rie Sato was followed by an outfield-error.
A double by next batter Megu Hirone made it 4-0.
After a groundout, another single followed by Motoko Fiujimoto, but she was caught stealing moments later.
Box Score Game vs. Japan
Traditionally built houses on our way to Higashimatsushima City
At the Takakinomori Park, this sign designates the four baseball/softball-fields on the complex
Coach Rob Walgien adjusts his DVD-camera for the game
between Canada and Tohoku Fuhushi University
An overview of the softball stadium on the beautiful Takakinomori Park
Reporters and camera-teams line up to cover the Japanese team
More camera's show up when Japan starts batting practice
Head Coach Liz Kelly announces the starting line-up
Head Coach Liz Kelly follows the action when the Dutch take the field
Tonight's Umpire Crew:
Keitoku Chiba (2B), Mitsutake Ariyama (1B), Nobuhiro Endo (HP) and Haruhi Goto (3B)
Coach Linda Wells goes over the details in a team briefing
Dutch Business Manager Caroline Theunissen has a small break in her activities
The Executive Director of the Japanese Softball Federation welcomes everyone
The players listen to the speeches
An executive of the Japan Olympic Organising Committee address the crowd,
hopes that the Games of 2016 will be awarded to capital Tokyo and tells why softball had to return.
Some 4000 specators showed up for tonight's game between Japan and Netherlands.
The Dutch players are introduced, here Marloes Fellinger is greeted
...And more press lines up for the next occation...
Katsuhiko Umehara, the Mayor of Sendai City throws out the ceremonial first pitch
Thousands of softball-fans filled the stands of the Sendai Baseball Stadium
Starting Pitcher Rebecca Soumeru
Britt Vonk went 2-for-3 in her international debut
Mary-Ann Hatt coaching at first base
A view of the filled stadium from behind home plate
The Dutch names again were displayed on the scoreboard
This time only the family names
Dutch Head Coach Liz Kelly speaks with the media during a press conference afterwards
Press Officer/Webmaster Marco Stoovelaar poses with Saori Nakano of the Japan Softball Association (left)
and Harumi ('Hami') Ueda, who works at the KNBSB Head Office
and traveled with the team to Japan to serve as an interpreter
Go back to the schedule of the Japan Tour