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USA Tour - Day 9 - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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Dutch Team follows tough loss with big win

Nederlandse tekst

CLEARWATER, Florida (USA) - On Tuesday, March 8, the Dutch National Softball Team continued its USA Tour with two games in Clearwater, Florida. In the first game of today, the team met Central Michigan University. After trailing 3-1, the Dutch came back and the score was tied 4-4 after seven innings. In the top of the eighth, the strong playing Dutch took a 6-4 lead, but a homerun in the bottom half tied the score again, then a walk and a single resulted in a 7-6 loss. The game was highlighted by a first inning triple play by the Dutch defense. In the evening, the Dutch Team faced St. John's University, collected 17 basehits, including two homeruns and won 12-5, ending a 4-game losing streak.

game vs. Central Michigan University
Coming into today's game, Central Michigan had played 12 games and had a 7-5 record. In the weekend of February 18-20, the Chippewas were 3-3 at the JU Invitational in Jacksonville (Florida). Their next games were played in the period March 4-6 during the USF Under Armour Invitational in Clearwater (Florida). There, the team was 3-2. On Monday, Central Michigan played a single game vs. the University of Maine and won.

Central Michigan University is led by wellknown and respected veteran coach Margo Jonker. This is the 32nd season with the team for Coach Jonker, who on April 22, 2010 won her 1000 career game to become only the eleventh Division I coach to accomplish this feat. In her coachingtenure at CMU, the Chippewas reached the NCAA Tournament thirteen times, captured eleven Mid-American Conference titles and reached the NCAA World Series once. Last season, the team was 27-19.

In 2008, the home site of the Chippewas was named Margo Jonker Stadium in honor of the coach, who in 2000 was an Assistant Coach of Team USA that captured the gold medal on the Olympic Games in Sydney (Australia). Margo Jonker, who is inducted into four Halls of Fame, also has a special link with the Netherlands. Not only is she a native of Holland (Michigan), she also has been a member of the coachingstaff of the Dutch National Softball Team. In August-September 2006, she served as the Pitching Coach and also was with the team when it participated in the World Championship in Beijing (China). In 2005, she served as a so-called Liaison Coach, being the contact for the Dutch coaches in the USA. In 2008, former Dutch National Team-catcher Ellen Venker played for Coach Jonker at Central Michigan.

The game was played in much better conditions than in Knoxville (Tennessee). There, Sunday's games were played in freezing conditions. Yesterday-evening, it was cool when a game was played in Clearwater, but today it was sunny, partly clouded, with a temperature of 79 degrees (26 Celsius), which felt like 84 (29). So, nice circumstances to be back on the field.

Chantal Versluis & Merel Oosterveld
2 basehits, 2 RBI's
In the first inning, the Dutch Team got its first baserunner when Chantal Versluis singled with one out and stole second base, but was left behind. In the bottom half of the at bat, the defensive highlight of the game was made. Dutch starter Eva Voortman walked lead-off hitter Brittini Merchant, then gave up a single to next hitter Lauren Bowman. But then Amanda Patrick lined out to 1B Nadine Marinus, which led to a triple play! After catching the ball, Nadine stepped on her base for the second out, then threw the ball to short stop Chantal Versluis to complete a triple play, which is very rare in softball.

In the second at bat, the Dutch Team opened the score. Virginie Anneveld led off with a single, then Lindsey Meadows (who was the designated player) was hit by a pitch. After the two advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nadine Marinus, Merel Oosterveld singled to bring in Virginie, but Lindsey was thrown out at the plate on a throw by the leftfielder when she also tried to score.

After Eva Voortman retired the side in the second inning, Ginger de Weert took over in the third and had a rough inning, as she gave up five consecutive basehits and also three runs. With two pinch-runners on base, a single by Ashley Gilson tied the score, but also led to an out, as Gilson was eliminated trying to advance to second base. Next, Central Michigan took a 2-0 lead on a double by Brittini Merchant, who moments later scored herself on a wild pitch.

The Chippewas added a run in the fourth inning on a double by Summer Knoop to make it 4-1.

Virginie Anneveld & Meike Witteveen
2 basehits
The Dutch came alongside in the fifth inning off new pitcher Sarah Patterson, who came on in relief of starter Morgan Yuncker. Anne Blaauwgeers, who played in her first game since arriving on Monday from Arizona, walked, as did Meike Witteveen. The two advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Fabienne van Uden and then scored on a single by Chantal Versluis, who next stole second base. With two outs, the bases got loaded when Virginie Anneveld was walked intentionally and Lindsey Meadows was hit by a pitch. The score was tied at 4-4 when Nadine Marinus walked, which led to a pitching change. Kara Dornbos took over and ended the at bat with a flyout, meaning three runners stranded.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Rebecca Soumeru became the third Dutch pitcher. After walking the lead-off hitter, Rebecca did fine, as she retired the next nine batters in a row. During the 2006 World Championship in Beijing (China), Rebecca also pitched for the Dutch squad when CMU's Margo Jonker was the Pitching Coach of the Dutch staff.

As both teams didn't add more runs, the game went into extra innings and the decision then fell in the eighth at bat. Initially, the Dutch Team scored twice. Tie-break runner Lindsey Meadows first scored on an one-out double by Merel Oosterveld and then Anne Blaauwgeers walked. With two outs, Merel scored on a single by Fabienne van Uden to make it 6-4.

Unfortunately, the lead didn't last long. With Brittini Merchant on second base as the tie-break runner and one out, Amanda Patrick homered to tie the score. Next, Molly Coldren walked and advanced on a 2-out single by Summer Knoop. She then scored the winning run when next batter Rachael Hensel also singled. The Dutch Team lost, but played a very good game.

The State of Michigan is known for its Dutch-sounding names (several Dutch families moved there through the years in the last century) in family names, but also names of cities. The CMU-team also had several, including Summer Knoop, Bryttany Van Vliet and Kara Dornbos. The team also included three players with almost the same first name, but all written differently: Brittini Merchant, Brittney Horan and Bryttany Van Vliet, while there were also two players with an almost same first name, but also written differently, being Rachael Hensel and her pinch-runner Raechel Zahrn.

Box Score game Netherlands vs. Central Michigan University

Hey, Sanne Oude Egberink is back as Physical Therapist and she clearly enjoys it!
(photo taken by Rich Hooff)

Rebecca Soumeru delivers a pitch
(photo taken by Rich Hooff)

Chantal Versluis reaches first base on a single in the first inning...

...then steals second base; Short stop Molly Coldren has no play

Lauren Bowman reaches first base in the first inning, as 2B Meike Witteveen
receives the ball just too late; moments later, the Dutch defense turns a triple play

Virginie Anneveld at second base in the second inning
Moments later, she scores to give the Dutch an 1-0 lead; 2B Brittney Horan looks on

1B Nadine Marinus receives the ball from short stop Chantal Versluis
to retire Molly Coldren in the second inning

Anne Blaauwgeers was the catcher in this game; Brittney Horan is the hitter

Meike Witteveen steals second base in the third inning
Short stop Molly Coldren receives the ball too late

Brittini Merchant steals third base in the third inning...

...then scores the fourth run on a wild pitch by pitcher Ginger de Weert

Chantal Versluis reaches third base in the fifth inning
She later scores the tying run

After the game, the team poses with palmtrees in the background

game vs. St. John's University
Before tonight's game, St. John's University was 7-12 after starting their season in the weekend of February 11-13 with a 2-3 record at the Seminole Kickoff Classic at Tallahassee (Florida). Next, the Red Storm was 2-3 at the Pirate Classic in Greenville (North Carolina) on February 18-20. A week later, on February 25-27, St. John's was 1-4 at the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic in Lubbock (Texas), followed by two wins and two losses as the FGCU Tournament in Fort Myers (Florida) on March 5-6.

The Red Storm are coached by Amy Kvilhaug, who is in her fifth season as Head Coach. After an 18-36 record in her first season, the Big East Conference-squad improved in the next two seasons, compiling records of 20-35 (2008) and 24-26 (2009), but then was 18-33 last season.

The Dutch Team threatened to score right away in the first at bat. With one out, Solange Starrenburg walked and succesfully stole second base. She then advanced to third base on an infield-hit to the deep leftside of the infield by Saskia Kosterink, who tried to advance on the play, but was eliminated at second base when 3B Julia Sanchez retrieved the ball in time and threw it to 2B Amber Curry. The inning then ended with a strikeout.

Nathalie Gosewehr (HR), Karin Tuk (HR)
& Chantal Versluis: three basehits each
The Orange-squad then struck in the second inning, scoring four runs with two outs on six hits. Karin Tuk led off with a single, then advanced on a single by Marisèla de Wind, her first as player of the Dutch National Team. After a foul-out, Chantal Versluis doubled to give the Dutch a 2-0 lead, as both runners scored, including Marisèla all the way from first base. Next, Nathalie Gosewehr homered to left-centerfield to double the Dutch lead, increasing it to 4-0. Solange Starrenburg, who tonight was the catcher, followed with a single and another stolen base, then moved to third base on the second basehit in two innings by Saskia Kosterink. The inning ended when Saskia was caught stealing, while Solange raced towards home and appeared to score before the third out was registered, but the run was not awarded, so it stayed 4-0.

Dutch starter Femke van Dusschoten retired the side in the first inning, then gave up a lead-off single the next at bat. That proofed to be no harm, as a strikeout and force play followed and the inning ended when the runner left first base too early.

The Dutch appeared to score again in the third inning. Pitcher Ashley Beza was brought in to take over for starter Kat Lawrence and started strong with two strikeouts, but then walked rookies Dinet Oosting, Marisèla de Wind and Noëmie Brandjes to load the bases. But the three runners were left behind, as the new pitcher ended the inning with her strikeout, eliminating Chantal Versluis.

St. John's came on the board for the first time in the third inning and again it was a walk that eventually led to a run. Jackie Reed led off for the Red Storm with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Britni Hawley, who stole second, but then Femke van Dusschoten struckout the next hitter. An infield-hit by Julia Sanchez followed that kept the runner at second base, but the two then advanced on a wild pitch. Scoring then appeared to be prevented when another strikeout followed, but then Fachon Jones and Chrissy Montez singled to bring in two runs. The last run was scored before Jones was eliminated at third base on a throw from rightfielder Areke Spel.

Solange Starrenburg
4 Stolen Bases
The Dutch Team immediately took more distance and answered with a 4-run rally in the fourth at bat to increase the lead to 8-2. Nathalie Gosewehr led off with a double and advanced on a passed ball, then scored when Solange Starrenburg followed with a comeback infield-hit to the pitcher. Solange then stole both second and third base and went on to score on a wild pitch with two outs. Karin Tuk then homered into rightfield (her second homerun of the trip) to make it 7-2. Next, Dinet Oosting and Marisèla de Wind both walked. Noëmie Brandjes then followed with her first National Team-basehit to bring in Dinet, while Marisèla was eliminated at third base on a throw from rightfield to end the inning, but the run had scored in time, so it became an 8-2 score.

A 7-run difference was obtained in the fifth at bat. Chantal Versluis led off with a single, then scored all the way from first base when an outfield-error followed a single by Nathalie Gosewehr, her third basehit in the game. The latter reached third base on a grounder by Solange Starrenburg, but was eliminated on a grounder by next hitter Saskia Kosterink, who later wounded up on third base herself after two wild pitches. After Areke Spel walked and advanced to second base on the second of these wild pitches, a flyout ended the inning, but the score was now 9-2.

St. John's prevented a 7-run difference mercy-rule loss by scoring twice in the home of the fifth inning. The first two batters reached on a walk and an error, then a single by Chelsea Durning and a grounder by Kelsey Moyer accounted for the two runs to make it 9-4.

Noëmie Brandjes, Dinet Oosting, Marisèla de Wind
Rookies with basehits
The Dutch Team reached double figures in the sixth inning, which started when the game already lasted two hours. Dinet Oosting (who earlier in the trip had recorded her first Orange-hit) led off with a double, meaning that all three rookies in tonight's game had hit a basehit. After advancing on a passed ball and with two outs, Dinet scored on a single by Chantal Versluis for whom it was her third hit in the game.

In the home of the sixth, Eva Voortman took over the pitching for the Dutch Team and gave up one run. A single, error and hits batter loaded the bases, then a sacrifice fly by Jackie Reed made it 10-5. But hereafter, Eva (another rookie) struckout the next hitter and the inning ended with a foul-fly, which was a great catch by rightfielder Areke Spel.

The Dutch added two more runs in this high-scoring game with two outs in the seventh inning off new pitcher Linzee Sumrall. Saskia Kosterink led off with a walk and stole second base, then advanced on an one-out single (her third hit in the game) by Karin Tuk, who was replaced by pinch-runner Anne Blaauwgeers, who immediately stole second base. The bases were then loaded when Dinet Oosting walked for the third time tonight. Next, Saskia was forced out at home on a grounder by Marisèla de Wind, but then Noëmie Brandjes followed with a 2-run single to make it 12-5.

But the game wasn't over yet. With one out in the home of the seventh, St. John's loaded the bases when three singles were hit, but then Devin Amar lined out to 3B Dinet Oosting, who completed a double play by eliminating the runner on third base. The final out came exactly at the 3-hour mark, making it one of the longest games in history for the Dutch Team.

Nathalie Gosewehr, Karin Tuk and Chantal Versluis all hit three basehits, while Dinet Oosting scored three runs. Noëmie Brandjes and Chantal Versluis had three RBI's each and Solange Starrenburg stole four bases.

The twelve runs by the Dutch Team were the most in one game since it scored 16 on May 17, 2009 vs. Gryphons during the Holland Tour of that year and the 17 basehits were the most since it registered 25 basehits vs. St. Mary's College on February 16, 2008 in Moraga (California) during the first American Tour of that year. In this last game, the Dutch Team scored 17 runs. Later during that trip, the team scored 26 runs and belted 23 basehits in a game vs. Chaminade University Honolulu at Waipahu (Hawaii).

Another fact of tonight's game: St. John's made 25 changes into their line-up during the game, including bringing back replaced player in other slots in the batting order.

Box Score game Netherlands vs. St. John's University

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Solange Starrenburg steals second base in the first inning
Short stop Chrissy Montez had no chance

Next, Solange reaches third base on a single by Saskia Kosterink
3B Julia Sanchez is too late with the tag

1B Saskia Kosterink receives the ball from 3B Dinet Oosting in the first inning to retire Fachon Jones

Nathalie Gosewehr (10) is welcomed at the plate after hitting a 2-run homerun in the 2nd inning

Rightfielder Areke Spel throws the ball to third base in the third inning to eliminate runner Fachon Jones

The team awaits Karin Tuk after she hit a solo-homerun in the 4th inning

The Dutch Team led 9-2 in the fifth inning

An eagle lands on the foul pole in leftfield

(thanks to Joanne Schuler for making today's photos)

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Last Update: March 8, 2011
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