Strong start Dutch Team in Florida with win vs. Michigan
CLEARWATER, Florida (USA) -
Tonight, the Dutch National Softball Team played its first of at least 14 games during its 2-week stay in the United States.
At Field 9 of the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater (Florida), the Dutch squad met the Wolverines, the team of the University of Michigan.
The Dutch Team, for whom it was its first outdoor game of the season, had a strong outing, winning 6-1 vs. the Wolverines, therefore ending the 17-game winning streak of the team which is ranked eighth in the national standings.
After breakfast in the hotel, the day started with some relaxing moments, as the players and staffmembers were off for four hours, which they spent in the International Mall in Clearwater.
It all started in Sports Authority, which of course was a paradise for everyone.
Then it was off to Wall Mart.
After doing a lot of shopping, a planned third shopping stop was cancelled due to heavy traffic.
Instead, the team spent 20 minutes at Clearwater Beach, where Peter Schuler has his home.
And that was a welcome interruption, sitting at the beach with a temperature of some 75 degrees.
Next, the team had lunch at Capogna's Dugout Italian Restaurant and Sports Bar, a popular eatery in Clearwater which is the base for a lot of sports fans.
The eatery is owned by the family of Nick Capogna, the former starting center of the Bulls, the football-team of the University of South Florida.
Hereafter, the team returned to the hotel in the afternoon.
At 4 PM, the team traveled to the field where they arrived 30 minutes later to start the pre-game activities for the game vs. Michigan.
There was good news today, as towards the end of Wednesday-morning, the bag with the team's bats finally arrived in the hotel in Clearwater.
The bag was missing since the team changed planes in Atlanta during the delay, which was caused by weather conditions.
And so the players were able to use their own bats in the evening in their first game of this trip.
Before tonight's game, the University of Michigan softball-team, which is led by Head Coach Carol Hutchins, was 17-0.
Michigan opened its season on February 11 with a 19-4 victory vs. Southern Illinois at the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational in Houston (Texas).
The team went unbeaten and was 5-0 in the event.
Next, Michigan won all five games (including three shutouts) during the FAU Kickoff Classic at Boca Raton (Florida).
Between February 25 and 27, Michigan won five games at the UCF Invitational in Orlando (Florida).
Yesterday, the Wolverines defeated Valparaiso 2-1, then won 10-1 vs. Central Florida in a double-header in Orlando.
It was a great day to play softball, as it was sunny and 72 degrees.
In its first game, which started on schedule at 6 PM, the Dutch team opened the score right away in the first at bat.
Meike Witteveen led off with a single to leftfield, then advanced to second base when an error followed there.
With one out, Meike moved to third base on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Hilary Payne.
Next, she scored the first Dutch run when Saskia Kosterink grounded out.
Hilary Payne made only her third appearance and second start of the season.
Last Sunday, she threw a complete game 9-0 shutout win vs. the University of Maine.
The Wolverines answered with a run in its first at bat.
Lead-off hitter Bree Evans reached on an infield-hit, advanced on a wild pitch by Dutch starter Lindsey Meadows, then scored on an one-out double by Amanda Chidester.
The Dutch team re-took the lead in the second inning.
Karin Tuk led off with a single and was replaced at first base by pinch-runner Marisèla de Wind, who therefore made her debut in the Dutch National Team.
The bases got loaded when next hitters Solange Starrenburg and Virginie Anneveld also singled.
An infield-fly and groundout followed, but then Marisèla scored the go-ahead run when Meike Witteveen reached on an error.
But as a pop-fly followed, three runners were left behind.
Virginie Anneveld, Solange Starrenburg,
Meike Witteveen: two basehits
After the Dutch team was retired in order in the third inning, it broke open the game with a 3-run rally in the fourth at bat.
Solange Starrenburg led off with a double and Virginie Anneveld followed with a single, which marked the end of starting lefthanded pitcher Hilary Payne, who was replaced by Stephanie Speierman.
Nadine Marinus, the first batter to face the new pitcher, grounded out, but that enabled Solange to score.
After Chantal Versluis also grounded out, Meike Witteveen reached on an infield-hit that brought Virginie to third base.
Next, both runners succesfully executed a double steal, meaning Virginie scored the fourth Dutch run.
Moments later, Meike scored on a single by Merel Oosterveld to increase the lead to 5-1.
Dutch starter Lindsey Meadows gave up an one-out infield-hit to Caitlin Blanchard in the second inning, but then struckout the next two batters.
In the third, Bree Evans, the lead-off hitter of the Wolverines, reached on an infield-hit and stole second base, but stranded, as the next three batters were retired, including two with a strikeout.
In the fourth inning, Femke van Dusschoten took over the pitching and retired the side, striking out two batters.
Lindsey Meadows, Femke van Dusschoten,
Rebecca Soumeru; nine strikeouts
Leading 5-1, the Dutch team added another run in the fifth inning.
Areke Spel led off with a single, then advanced to third base when Solange Starrenburg reached on a fielding error with one out.
In another double steal-attempt, Solange succesfully moved to second base, but Areke was caught stealing at home.
Next, Solange scored when an error was made on a grounder by Virginie Anneveld to make it 6-1.
In the home of the fifth, Femke van Dusschoten gave up an one-out infield-hit to Lyndsay Doyle, but then the inning ended when 3B Virginie Anneveld made a double play after catching a fly ball.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Dutch got an opportunity to increase its lead even further, as it got the bases loaded with only one out.
Chantal Versluis led off with a walk and stole second base.
She then was eliminated in a rundown following a grounder by Meike Witteveen, who herself was able to move into second base on the play.
Next hitter Merel Oosterveld was then hit by a pitch and Saskia Kosterink walked to load the bases, but then Michigan-hurler Stephanie Speierman struckout the next two batters to get out of the jam.
In the Michigan-sixth, Rebecca Soumeru became the third Dutch pitcher.
She gave up a lead-off single to Nicole Sappingfield (who extended her hitting streak to 13 games), but then the next three hitters flied out.
In the seventh inning, Nadine Marinus was hit by a pitch with two outs, then stole second and advanced on a wild pitch, but stranded there.
In the final Michigan at bat, Rebecca retired the side, including two strikeouts, to secure the first victory of the trip.
And so, the Dutch Team handed the Wolverines its first loss of the season after it had won its first 17 games in a row!
The Dutch squad played a very strong game and immediately got a lot of admiring fans.
Three Dutch players had a multi-hit game, as Meike Witteveen, Solange Starrenburg and Virginie Anneveld all had two basehits.
Meike and Solange both scored twice, while Meike reached base four times.
The Dutch Team outhit Michigan 9-6, while three pitchers struckout nine batters and issued no walks and the defense committed no errors.
The two Michigan-pitcher struckout four Dutch batters and walked two.
For Michigan, this was its first exhibition game since it was beaten 5-1 by Team USA in 2008.
Box Score game Netherlands vs. University of Michigan
Complete Schedule USA Tour
Around noon, the team went for a brief moment to Clearwater Beach
At the beach, everyone enjoyed the break in the action, the sun and of course the water
Of course, photos were taken
And the first team photo of the USA Tour was taken
Coach Nathalie Franssen and Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink also enjoyed the visit to the beach
An overview of Field 9 of the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex
And a view from behind the backstop
Starting pitcher Lindsey Meadows delivers a pitch
3B Virginie Anneveld and short stop Chantal Versluis get into motion
2b Ashley Lane hitting for the Wolverines with Karin Tuk behind the plate
Femke van Dusschoten took over the pitching in the 4th inning
Standing in leftfield is Solange Starrenburg, who had two hits and scored twice
Virginie Anneveld was one of three Dutch players with two basehits
Chantal Versluis connects; Standing at right is Head Coach Craig Montvidas
Merel Oosterveld reacts to a pitch
Plate appearances for Saskia Kosterink, Areke Spel and Solange Starrenburg
And also for Meike Witteveen, Virginie Anneveld and Chantal Versluis
A meeting with Head Coach Craig Montvidas
End of the game; the first win is in the books!
(thanks to Joanne Schuler for making today's game photos)
(other photos were taken by Nathalie Franssen and Sanne Oude Egberink)