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USA Tour - Day 7 - Sunday, March 6, 2011

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Dutch Team empty-handed in two games

Nederlandse tekst

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (USA) - The Dutch National Softball had a long, tough and especially very cold day at the field on Sunday, including rain, snow, freezing temperatures and two games in which a lead turned into a loss. The day started with all three scheduled games for today being postponed for an hour, as it not only rained in Knoxville, but even snowed! But around noon, the rain stopped and while it remained cloudy and the sun came out, the temperature didn't improve. It was around 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius), but it felt much cooler due to northern winds. One hour and 12 minutes later than scheduled, the Dutch Team started its first game vs. Georgia Southern University. The team took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but in the end, the Dutch Team lost 5-2. In the evening, the Dutch Team led 5-3 when it entered the home of the seventh vs. the University of Tennessee, which then rallied for three runs to win 6-5, leaving the Dutch empty-handed for the second time today.

On Monday-morning, the team will get a wake-up call at 8:30 AM, followed by breakfast and the ride to the airport for the flight back to Florida. The weather conditions should be good on Monday, so no delays are expected for the afternoon flight. But it will be another busy day, as the team will travel from Orlando back to the hotel in Clearwater for a very brief stay, as it will go almost directly to the field to play against Ball State University in the evening.

game vs. Georgia Southern
Before facing the Dutch Team, Georgia Southern was 7-11. The Eagles were 2-2 at their own Spring Hill Suites 2011 Eagle Classic at Statesboro (Georgia) in the opening weekend of February 12-13. Next, the team was 1-1 vs. Georgia State in Atlanta, then was 1-4 at Tallahassee (Florida) during the Garnet and Gold Tournament a week later. At the War Eagle Classic in Auburn (Alabama), Georgia Southern was 3-2, but then started the Tennessee Classic with two losses vs. the University of Louisiana-Monroe and host University of Tennessee. Georgia Southern is lead by Maggie Johnson, who is in only her third year as Head Coach with the team, but led the Eagles to 50 wins in her first 97 games. In her first season, Johnson reached the final of the Southern Conference Tournament.

The Dutch Team faced Megen Smith, who made her fifth start in eleven appearances for the Eagles. After Dutch rookie starter Eva Voortman started impressively with two strikeouts and retired the side in the first inning, her teammates took a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the at bat. The Dutch got the bases loaded quickly. Meike Witteveen led off with a bunt-single, then was safe of a force play-grounder by Fabienne van Uden. With one out, the bases got loaded when Nathalie Timmermans was hit by a pitch, but then Meike was force out at home on a grounder by Karin Tuk. Next to bat came Solange Starrenburg, who left the game yesterday as she was stepped on her fingers after having stolen third base. Solange needed stitches, but returned into the line-up less than a day later. And in her first at bat, Solange hit the ball into rightfield for a 2-out, 2-run single to put the Dutch ahead. A flyout ended the inning, but the Dutch were on top.

In the top of the second inning, Georgia Southern came alongside, scoring twice with two outs. Hanna Ennis then walked, followed by back-to-back doubles by Mackenzie Williams and Kelly Burnett. The double by the latter enabled both runners to score and make it 2-2. Before today's game, Burnett had only one RBI in her previous 18 games played.

In the third inning, Ginger de Weert took over as pitcher and retired the side, then came out of a 2-runners-on-base-situation with one out in the next inning. In the fifth, Ginger gave up two unearned runs. With one out, an infield-hit was followed by an error and a walk to load the bases. After a foul-fly, another error proved costly, as two runners scored to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead. In the sixth inning, new pitcher Femke van Dusschoten gave up the fifth (unearned) run. An error on a lead-off grounder was followed by two one-out singles that made it 5-2.

In the meantime, the Dutch Team was silenced from the second through sixth inning. In the second inning, Nadine Marinus led off with a single, but later was caught stealing. From the second through fourth inning, seven batters were retired in order, then Chantal Versluis led off with a walk in the fifth, but also was caught stealing. Later, Fabienne van Uden singled with two outs and stole second base, but was left behind.

Trailing 5-2, the Dutch got a scoring opportunity in the home of the seventh inning. Virginie Anneveld led off with a single, then the bases got loaded with two outs. Meike Witteveen singled (her second in the game) and next hitter Fabienne van Uden then also singled (also her second) in a 9-pitch at bat after fouling off six pitches. Next, Saskia Kosterink drove the ball into deep leftfield, where Alexa Lewis made a great over-the-shoulder catch to end the game. When the catch was not made, Saskia's hit probably would have end up in a baseclearing double (or more) to tie the score, but now the score remained 5-2 and the game ended.

Box Score game Netherlands vs. Georgia Southern University

The team starts warming up, while it is snowing lightly

The tarp is put on the field to protect it against the rain and snow

A view in the spacy home dug-out at third base

Isabella, the daughter of a cousin of Head Coach Craig Montvidas, was a special guest today
As she plays softball herself and is a catcher, here she tries on the cathing equipment of Dinet Oosting

Of course, the team poses with Isabella, who enjoyed her stay in the Dutch dug-out

Isabella also participated in the player's introductions

Here, lead-off hitter Meike Witteveen is introduced

During the introductions, the photo of the player appeared on the big scoreboard

Next, the National Anthems were played

Isabella with a softball signed by the Dutch players

It was freezing cold today, as is shown by Coach Nathalie Franssen and Business Manager Rich Hooff

Ready to start the game: the infielders meet in the circle with starting pitcher Eva Voortman

Catcher Nathalie Timmermans has a chat with Home Plate Umpire Ed Clark,
while GSU lead-off hitter Marie Fogle prepares to step into the batter's box

Pitching Coach Karen Marr and Head Coach Craig Montvidas keep an eye on the action

Catcher Nathalie Timmermans checks the signs from the dug-out

Because of the cold, everyone is standing in the dug-out

Meike Witteveen and Fabienne van Uden advanced to third and second base respectively,
after Nathalie Timmermans was hit by a pitch

Head Coach Craig Montvidas coaching at third with Karin Tuk hitting

Meike Witteveen back in the dug-out after being forced out at home in the first inning

Fabienne van Uden and Nathalie Timmermans are being greeted after scoring
in the first inning on the 2-out, 2-run single by Solange Starrenburg

The scoreboard shows the 2-0 lead for the Dutch Team in the second inning
Umpire Phil Freels shows that it is very cold today
Coaching at third base is Georgia Southern Head Coach Maggie Johnson

In the meantime, technicians hope to re-start the heater, which quit working after 10 minutes
While the temperatures are around 37 degrees (3 Celsius), the mechanic with bare arms!

Umpire Jeanette Caldwell puts on extra protection on her face for the cold

Head Coach Craig Montvidas also signals that it's cold

Starting pitcher Eva Voortman delivers a pitch

Kelly Burnett hitting for Georgia, before hitting a 2-run double that tied the score in the 2nd inning

A meeting in the circle after Georgia Southern has tied the score

Does it shows that it was cold today?

Coach Nathalie Franssen rubs the fingers of Nadine Marinus

Preparing to go at bat
Saskia Kosterink, Fabienne van Uden and Nathalie Timmermans

Fabienne van Uden, who was one of two Dutch players with two hits in this game
The other being Meike Witteveen

After the game, the players went into the luxuous clubhouse of Tennessee, but had to take off their shoes

Between games, the team enjoyed a lunch

During the lunch-period, the medical room was 'tested'

Hey, another new Physical Therapist!
This time Marisèla de Wind is treating Sanne Oude Egberink

game vs. Tennessee
After winning vs. the Dutch Team, Georgia Southern was beaten 10-2 by host Tennessee, which then was the next opponent of the Dutch Team in a game which eventually started two hours later than scheduled. When the game started, the temperature was 38 degrees Fahrenheit (less than 3 degrees Celsius). The Tennessee-players started the game by wearing their sweatshirts. Despite the freezing cold, the Dutch Team today played both games in shorts (!), simply because the squad has no long trousers. While the temperature dropped more during the game, it wasn't until the sixth inning when the outfielders for the first time donned an extra jacket. And despite the weather conditions, the Dutch Team played another great game, taking a 5-3 lead into the seventh inning.

Before the game, Tennessee, which is ranked seventh nationwide, had a 19-2 record. The Lady Volunteers started their season on February 12-13 winning four games at the Stetson Lead-Off Classic in DeLand (Florida), including shutouts of 11-0, 8-0 and 14-0. After winning a game at home two days later, Tennessee was 3-2 in the next weekend during the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic at Las Vegas (Nevada). A single game win at Las Vegas followed two days later and Tennessee was then 5-0 at the Cathedral City Classic in California. Last week, a win at home followed vs. Evansville and next the team started its own Tennessee Classic by winning four games in a row.

Tennessee (which by the way also has orange as its main color) is led by co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, who are in their tenth season with the team. For Ralph Weekly, this is his 24th season as a collegiate coach and the win vs. Georgia Southern was the 985th in his long career. Later this year, Weekly will be inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame during its convention in Las Vegas. As member of the coachingstaff and National Team Director, Weekly was involved in several events with Team USA, including winning the Olympic Games in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney).

Both starting pitchers retired the first six batters they faced, but then both teams struck in the third at bat. In the top of the third, Tennessee-starter Ivy Renfroe (who was 5-1 coming into this game) gave up lead-off singles to Virginie Anneveld and Merel Oosterveld, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Chantal Versluis. Next, Nathalie Gosewehr followed with an RBI-single. With two outs, a single by Saskia Kosterink led to two more runs and a 3-0 lead.

In the home of the third, Tennessee tied the score off Dutch starter Rebecca Soumeru. With one out, she gave up a double to Whitney Hammond, then a 2-out single to Raven Chavanne. Next hitter Kelly Grieve drove the ball into deep rightfield for a 3-run homerun and a 3-3 tie. Before this game, Grieve was hitting .433 with 29 basehits, 17 RBI's and two homeruns.

In the fourth inning, Nathalie Timmermans flied out to deep centerfield, but in the fifth, the Dutch re-took the lead. Merel Oosterveld led off with her second single, then Chantal Versluis reached on a bunt-single. After advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Gosewehr, the second out followed, but then the bases were loaded when Saskia Kosterink was loaded intentionally to set up a force play. Contrary to international rules where an intentional pass can be issued by announcing that to the umpire by the coach or catcher by sticking up four fingers, collegiate rules state that the four intentional balls has to be thrown. With the bases loaded, Areke Spel walked to bring in the go-ahead run. In the 41 1/3 inning she pitched before this game, Ivy Renfroe had walked only 12 batters. But with the bases still loaded, Renfroe ended with her seventh strikeout in the game.

In the sixth inning, the Dutch added what appeared to be an insurance run. With one out, Virginie Anneveld hit her second single in the game, then advanced when an error was made on a grounder by Merel Oosterveld. With two outs, Virginie scored on the second single by Nathalie Gosewehr, who played in her first game of the trip, as she was recovering from a hamstring-injury. But hereafter, another strikeout left two more runners.

In the fourth inning, with two outs, Lindsey Meadows took over the pitching for the Dutch squad and only encountered problems in the sixth inning, as Tennessee then loaded the bases. But Lindsey, who started the inning with a strikeout, added another strikeout with runners on first and second when she struckout Jessica Signer, who moments earlier hit a foul-homerun. Next, Lindsey finished the at bat with another strikeout with the bases loaded.

When the sixth inning started, the temperature dropped to 33 degrees Fahrenheit (which is just above 0 degrees Celsius!).

After the Dutch Team left another runner in the top of the seventh, things turned Tennessee's way in the home of the seventh at bat. Lindsey walked the first two batters she faced and then gave up an RBI-double to Kelly Grieve and an RBI-single to Kat Dotson that tied the score. Dotson is Tennessee's leading hitter with a .517 average (31 basehits), who also leads the team with 34 RBI's and 12 extra-basehits, including six homeruns. With runners on first and third base, a grounder followed, then next hitter Laura Gibson was walked intentionally to set up a force play. Next hitter Jessica Spigner followed with a comeback single to Lindsey, who had no time to get the ball under control, resulting in the winning run.

After completion of the game, the team was invited to have dinner with the Tennessee-squad at the complex. Everyone enjoyed a Mexican Food-dinner and Tennessee-Coach Ralph Weekly held a speech complimenting the Dutch squad and especially pitcher Rebecca Soumeru. At the same time, the Dutch Team was invited to come back to Knoxville next year and received equipment to take home. Everyone of the Dutch Team thanks the University of Tennessee for their hospitality this weekend and looks forward to returning to Knoxville in the future.

Box Score game Netherlands vs. University of Tennessee

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Time to start the second game; Despite the freezing cold,
Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink and Coach Nathalie Franssen kept smiling...

...as did the players

Nathalie Gosewehr played in her first game of the trip and went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI's and a run scored

Starting pitcher Rebecca Soumeru

Luckily, the heater in the first base dug-out was working fine,
so the players were able to heat up the bats and themselves

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Last Update: March 7, 2011
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