Dutch Team opens with two tough losses; Game Schedule adjusted due to weather
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (USA) -
The Dutch National Softball Team opened it's USA Tour with two tough losses on Thursday, March 1.
The day after arriving in Tennessee, the Orange squad lost 6-5 vs. the Buccaneers, the team of East Tennessee State University, which was followed by an 8-7 loss vs. the Lady Vols, the team of host University of Tennessee.
In both games, the Dutch Team held a 5-1 lead and in both games, the game was lost in the last at bat.
The Dutch Team, who played their first outdoor games of the season today, continues the trip with one game on Friday.
The team then meets Murray State University, starting at 3 PM local time (9 PM Dutch time).
Despite the two losses, Dutch Head Coach Craig Montvidas had a good feeling about what he had seen.
,,Yes, it were tough losses, but unfortunately these things happen in softball'', Montvidas reacted.
,,Don't forget, this was the first time we were playing outside, the first time that the players were standing on gravel.
But I can't remember losing two games on one day with two outs in the last inning.''
Late on Wednesday-evening, the University of Tennessee announced that potential weather issues have forced a change in the schedule for the Tennessee Softball Classic to be held at Lee Softball Stadium in Knoxville, starting on Thursday.
This meant that the game-schedule for the Dutch National Softball Team also has changed.
According to local TV-station WBIR, there was a late-winter tornado outbreak that hit seven states on Wednesday.
Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee all felt the impact of the thunderstorms that spawned at least 20 tornadoes.
The WBIR-weather forecasters predict a warm day for Thursday (70 degrees Fahrenheit, 21 Celsius), but expect 60 percent rain for Friday and Saturday with warm and mild temperatures.
The current weather conditions brings back memories, as last year, when the Dutch Team also played some games in Knoxville, the schedule also had to be adjusted due to weather conditions.
Because of rain, the Saturday-schedule was then changed, while temperatures dropped to 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius).
Also, the Sunday-schedule had delays a year ago, because it even snowed in several areas.
One of the Sunday-games was then played in almost freezing temperatures of 37 Fahrenheit (3 Celsius) with players and staff wearing warm gloves and thick jackets.
For Thursday, the weather was expected to be fine (and it was) and the two games to be played by the Dutch Team remained on schedule and started at the announced starting time.
But for the coming three days, the schedule slightly changed and the Dutch will play one game less than orgininally scheduled.
On Thursday, the Dutch squad first met East Tennessee State University as scheduled and will meet the University of Tennessee in the evening.
The first game started at 3:30 PM local (9:30 PM Dutch time), the second begins at 6:00 PM local (midnight Dutch).
On Friday, the Dutch Team was to play against the University of Louisville, but that was moved to Sunday.
Instead, the Dutch Team now will meet Murray State University on Friday, starting at 3:00 PM (9:00 PM Dutch).
On Saturday, the Dutch Team originally had two games scheduled, but will play only once instead.
The evening-game against Middle Tennessee State University is moved up to an afternoon-start on 12:30 PM (6:30 PM Dutch), while the original afternoon-game vs. Murray State has been moved to Friday.
On Sunday, the Dutch Team closes the event in Knoxville vs. the University of Louisville, starting at 12:30 PM (6:30 PM Dutch).
Initially, the Dutch Team was to meet the University of Memphis on Sunday, but that game was dropped from the Dutch schedule.
The Dutch Team will fly to Florida on Monday for the remainder of their trip in the USA.
Complete Schedule USA Tour
(photo: University of Tennessee)
Game vs. East Tennessee State University
In the first game on Thursday, the Dutch Team faced the Buccaneers, the softball-team of East Tennessee State University.
Before facing the Dutch squad, the Bucs were 3-10 after opening their season on February 11.
ESTU first participated in the Georgia State First Pitch Classic in Panthersville (Georgia) on February 11-12 and lost all of its four games played there.
Next, the team was 1-3 in the Quality Inn Classic at Troy (Alabama) on February 17 and 19.
Last week, the Buccaneers won two of the five games played at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga (Tennessee).
The softball-team of ESTU is led by Brad Irwin, who is in his second season as Head Coach of the team.
Last season, the Buccaneers were 15-33 overall and 3-17 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The game this afternoon was played under good conditions with a clear sky and temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).
The Dutch National Softball Team opened it's USA Tour with a 6-5 loss vs. the Buccaneers.
Leading 2-1 in the fourth inning, the Dutch Team broke open the game after that by adding four runs.
The Dutch then entered the home of the seventh inning leading 5-1, but unfortunately failed to hold onto the lead, as the Buccaneers rallied for five runs to win 6-5.
After being retired in order in the first inning, the Dutch Team faced an 1-0 deficit when ESTU's lead-off hitter Annie Martin homered off starter Rebecca Soumeru.
Hereafter, the veteran righthander settled down and silenced the ETSU-offense, allowing only three more basehits in the next four innings.
In the meantime, she was supported with five runs, leading to the Dutch Team entering the bottom of the seventh inning with a 5-1 lead.
The Orange got its first scoring opportunity in the second inning.
With two outs, Lindsey Meadows was hit by a pitch, then Yonina Sint Jago followed with a double.
But a pop-fly by Dinet Oosting then ended the at bat.
In the third inning, the Dutch offense was retired in order by new pitcher Katie Wolff, but then struck in the fourth at bat.
Saskia Kosterink led off with a walk and advanced on a wild pitch.
With one out, Karin Tuk reached on an error, which enabled Saskia to score the tying run.
Karin was then replaced by pinch-runner Merel Oosterveld, who then moved on a single by Lindsey Meadows and scored when Yonina Sint Jago doubled again.
A strikeout and flyout then ended the inning, leaving runners on second and third base.
In the fourth inning, the Dutch Team appeared to break open the game with a 3-run rally and thus increasing the lead to 5-1.
First, new pitcher Whitney Leon hit Petra van Heijst with a pitch, then gave up a bunt-single to Fabienne van Uden, that brought Petra to third base.
Saskia Kosterink then followed with a double that plated both runners and made it 4-1.
Next, Areke Spel reached second base on a throwing error, which brought Saskia to third base.
Karin Tuk then lined out to short stop Amy Campbell, who also was able to eliminate Saskia at third base in a double play.
Lindsey Meadows followed with a single that enabled Areke to score the third run in the at bat and lift the lead to 5-1, before a flyout ended the inning.
With an apparent solid 5-1 lead, the Dutch Team entered the bottom of the seventh inning, but then suddenly the game turned around quickly.
Ginger de Weert, who had taken over the pitching for Rebecca Soumeru in the sixth inning, started with an out, but then gave up four consecutive basehits.
With their singles, Marlina Delisa, Jackie Baird and Sade Johnson loaded the bases, then Annie Martin delivered an RBI-single that made it 5-2.
Pinch-hitter Tara Hartnett then walked, bringing in another run.
Next, Casey Horner grounded out, but that led to the next run, making it a 5-4 score.
Katie Wolff was then walked intentionally to set up a force play, but hereafter Alex Everett (with .381 the leading hitter of the team) then singled up the middle to bring in two runners and gave the Bucs the win.
Box Score Netherlands vs. East Tennessee State University Buccaneers
The beautiful stadium in Knoxville
The stadium is named after Sherri Parker Lee for her support of Tennessee Athletics
Head Coach Craig Montvidas meets with ETSU Head Coach Brad Irwin
and umpires Ed Clark, Mike Macedonia and Jeff Blanken
The Dutch Team is introduced, here Meike Witteveen is announced
Some players of ETSU check the field before the playing of the national anthems
The Dutch Team lines up for the national anthem
Petra van Heijst leads off in her first official game back since 2009
Fabienne van Uden follows in the batter's box
Saskia Kosterink appears to turn for a bunt
Dutch starter Rebecca Soumeru
3B Dinet Oosting and SS Yonina Sint Jago
1B Saskia Kosterink and 2B Petra van Heijst
Lindsey Meadows, who had two hits, leaves first base
Centerfielder Areke Spel
Karin Tuk did the catching in the opener
While 2B Petra van Heijst takes her position, one of the many trains passes by the field
Marisèla de Wind hitting for the Dutch squad
Marlina Delisa is the catcher; Ed Clark is the umpire
Rebecca Soumeru: ''One Out!''
Saskia Kosterink advances to second base in the 4th inning...
...then scores the tying run when an error is made on a grounder by Karin Tuk
Pinch-runner Merel Oosterveld moves to 2nd base on a single by Lindsey Meadows
in the fourth inningl; standing at right is 2B Mikayla Treadway
Lindsey Meadows gets a high-five from Coach Maaike Zijlstra
Yonina Sint Jago follows with a double to give the Dutch a 2-1 lead
Rebecca Soumeru before delivering another pitch
The Dutch Team leads 5-1 after five innings
Ginger de Weert took over the pitching in the sixth inning
Game vs. University of Tennessee
In the evening game on Thursday, the Dutch Team met the Lady Vols, the team of the University of Tennessee, the host of the event in Knoxville.
The Dutch Team rallied for four runs in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead.
After narrowing the deficit to 5-3, the home team hit two homeruns in the sixth inning to first tie the score, then take a 7-5 lead.
But in the top of the seventh inning, Areke Spel hit a 2-out, 2-run homerun to tie the score at 7-7.
However, in the home of the seventh, Tennessee got the bases loaded with two outs, then a single ended the game.
And so, the Dutch Team put on the pressure on the Tennessee-team (ranked eighth in the country) again, just as it did a year ago.
Last year, on March 6, the Dutch Team met the Lady Vols for the first time.
The Dutch squad then led 5-3 when the bottom of the seventh inning started, but the home team then rallied for three runs to win the game 6-5.
By holding the lead in the majority of the game, the Dutch Team almost ended a winning streak of Tennessee, which had won eleven home openers in a row.
But Tennessee avoided a loss and the ending of the streak in the seventh inning.
Tennessee, which has four All-Americans in the team, is led by co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, who led the Lady Vols to a 49-12 record last season, including 20-8 in the Southeastern Conference.
The team won the SEC Tournament, but then was eliminated en route to the Super Regional.
From last year's team, Lauren Gibson (who also is a member of the current squad) and Kelly Grieve were members of Team USA, that beat Japan 6-4 in the final of the VI World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.
Later this year, the Dutch Team will participate in the seventh edition of this prestigious event.
Ralph Weekly has started his 25th year as softball-coach and is in his eleventh year as Head Coach of the Lady Vols, sharing the position with his wife Karen.
In his previous 24 years, Weekly won 1015 games and he was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame last December during the NFCA Convention in Las Vegas (Nevada), which was also attended by Dutch Head Coach Craig Montvidas.
Karen Weekly is a softball-coach for 15 years and has won 737 games in her career.
Before facing the Dutch Team tonight, the University of Tennessee played 13 games and won ten of them.
The Lady Vols opened their season winning five of six games played at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe (Arizona).
A week later, the team was 1-1 at the Time Warner Invitational in Austin (Texas), where two games were postponed.
Last week, Tennessee was 4-1 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater (Florida).
Their first two home games vs. Georgia Southern University rained out last Wednesday, making the game against the Dutch the home opener of this season.
The Dutch Team opened the score in the first inning.
With two outs, Saskia Kosterink singled and stole second, then scored when Areke Spel also singled.
While Saskia ran towards home plate, Areke tried to advance on the throw, but got into a rundown for the third out.
Tennessee came alongside immediately in its first at bat off Dutch starter Dagmar Bloeming.
The righthander issued a walk to lead-off hitter Raven Chavanne, who then moved on a sacrifice bunt by next batter.
After advancing on a wild pitch, she scored the tying run when an error was made on a grounder by Lauren Gibson.
The Dutch Team then rallied for four earned runs (three of them with two outs) in the second inning off Cheyanne Tarango, who made her first start of the season.
The freshman made her first and only appearance on February 10, throwing in relief.
On that date, she took over in the third inning against the University of California Berkeley, which went on to win 13-5.
Tarango threw only 2/3 inning (before being relieved herself), walked three and gave up a homerun, but didn't face Dutch National Team player Britt Vonk, who was the lead-off hitter for Berkeley in that game and went 0-for-4, but scored a run.
In the second, nine Dutch batters stepped up to the plate, collecting four basehits.
Virginie Anneveld led off with a double into left-centerfield, then advanced on a sac-bunt by Karin Tuk.
Virginie then gave the Dutch a renewed lead by scoring when Merel Oosterveld followed with a single.
Hereafter, Merel was forced out on a grounder by Yonina Sint Jago.
Next, Anne Blaauwgeers walked and then, with runners on first and second base, Nathalie Gosewehr drilled the ball down the rightfield-line for a 2-run triple that lifted the lead to 4-1.
Moments later, Nathalie scored herself when Meike Witteveen added a line drive double through the middle.
Saskia Kosterink then walked to become the seventh Dutch runner, which led to a pitching change.
Ivy Renfroe took over with runners on first and second base and got out of the inning, thanks to a force play-grounder.
Renfroe would throw four scoreless innings, before giving up a score-tying homerun in the seventh, which was only the third hit she gave up.
Tennessee got one run back in the home of the second when Hannah Akamine led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by next batter Shelby Burchell.
Both teams were then retired in order in the third inning, but the Dutch got back on base again in the fourth.
Yonina Sint Jago led off with a single and moved on a sac-bunt by Anne Blaauwgeers.
She then advanced to third when Nathalie Gosewehr struckout on a ball in the ground with the throw going to first base.
Meike Witteveen was then hit by a pitch, but the two runners were left behind.
In the home of the fourth, Tennessee narrowed the deficit to 5-3.
Lead-off hitter Melissa Davin reached on a throwing error and reached second base on a sac-bunt.
She then was able to score from second base on a wild pitch with two outs, but Tennessee then also stranded two runners.
In the top of the fifth, Dutch lead-off hitter Areke Spel was called out by the umpires for interference after bunting towards first baseman Melissa Brown.
Next, Virginie Anneveld walked, but then the inning ended when Karin Tuk grounded into a double play.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tennessee was close to at least one run, but didn't score.
With one out and a runner on first base, a single by Madison Shipman accounted for runners on first and third base.
After the latter stole second base, the second out was registered on an infield-fly.
Hereafter, Lindsey Meadows was brought in to take over the pitching for Dagmar Bloeming.
With runners on second and third base, the inning ended when Melissa Brown lined out to short stop Yonina Sint Jago.
But while the Dutch Team left the field, Ralph and Karen Weekly, the co-Head Coaches of Tennessee, both were angrily arguing with the umpires, stating that Lindsey had thrown an 'illegal pitch'.
But the umpires didn't change their mind and so the Lady Vols stranded two runners.
In the home of the sixth, Tennessee did score and staged a 2-out, 4-run rally to take over the lead.
First, Tory Lewis hit a homerun, then Raven Chavanne singled and scored the tying run from first base when Kat Dotson doubled.
Tennessee then took a 7-5 lead when Team USA-player Lauren Gibson also homered.
Before today's game, Gibson led the team with 17 runs batted in and six homeruns.
But trailing 7-5 in the top of the seventh inning, the Dutch Team didn't cave in and came back strongly.
After Nathalie Gosewehr lined out to first, Meike Witteveen singled.
Next, Saskia Kosterink struckout, but then Areke Spel hit a towering homerun to rightfield to tie the score!
Unfortunately, the Dutch Team again was left empty-handed moments later.
Melissa Brown led off with a single and Shelby Burchell singled with one out.
After a strikeout, Raven Chavanne (the team's leading hitter with a .632 average) was walked intentionally to set up a force play, but then Kat Dotson followed with a walk-off, game-winning single.
With the win, Tennessee avoided its 11-game winning streak of home openers from being ended.
Box Score Netherlands vs. University of Tennessee Lady Vols
Play-by-Play vs. the University of Tennessee
Archived video-stream vs. the University of Tennessee
The team is ready for Game 2
Saskia Kosterink singled and scored in the first at bat
Hannah Akamine is the catcher; Mike Macedonia the umpire
Saskia Kosterink steals second base in the first inning
Short stop Madison Shipman has no play, as seen by umpire Ed Clark
Areke Spel gets in a rundown in the first inning after singling home Saskia
Anne Blaauwgers was the catcher from the third inning on
Dagmar Bloeming started and gave up four hits in 4 2/3 inning
Areke Spel hit a score-tying, 2-run homerun in the 7th inning