CLEARWATER, Florida (USA) -
The 4-game winning streak of the Dutch National Softball Team ended on Wednesday when the squad fell 5-4 to Virginia Tech University in the opener of another double-header in at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
The Dutch Team held a 4-3 lead when the bottom of the seventh inning started, but Virginia Tech then scored twice.
In the evening, the Dutch Team played against the Broncos, the team of Western Michigan University and won 2-1 behind strong pitching of Rebecca Soumeru and Dagmar Bloeming and a solide defense.
Trailing 1-0, the Dutch scored twice in the top of the seventh.
So far, the Dutch Team now has played eight games, winning five of them.
On Thursday, the Dutch Team will play one game.
The squad then faces Temple University, starting at 6:00 PM local time (midnight Dutch time).
On Friday, no games are scheduled, but the team returns to the field on Saturday for another double-header.
Before the team left for the field in the afternoon, it had the morning off.
And so everyone could fill in the morning hours like they wanted until departure at 1 PM for lunch.
Joanne Schuler, the wife of Peter Schuler (who does all the logistics during the stay in Florida for the Dutch Team), works as a volunteer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
This is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals, public education, animal-assisted therapy and research.
But the Clearwater Marine Aquarium also is the home of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin, who in December 2005 was rescued off the Florida Coast, but lost her tail after becoming entangled with a rope attached to a crab trap and was fitted with a prosthetic one.
The story of Winter inspired Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi to write a book and that led to the movie Dolphin Tale, which was released in the USA on September 21, 2011.
At the box office it was in third place behind the 3D-release of The Lion King and Moneyball.
The movie, which was shot mostly at Clearwater Marine Aquarium stars Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson and was directed by Charles Martin Smith.
A release date for Dutch cinemas has not yet been announced.
The storyline of the movie is that a lonely and friendless boy finds and untangles a hurt dolphin that is caught in a crab trap.
He becomes very attached to the dolphin when the tail must be taken off to save the dolphin's life.
The boy believes the dolphin would be able to swim normally if it was given a prosthetic tail.
In the opener today, the Dutch Team faced a strong and hardhitting opponent in the Hokies, the team of Virginia Tech University, or Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, as the official name is of this school, which is located in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The Hokies outhit the Dutch Team 14-6, but nevertheless entered the home of the seventh inning with a 4-3 deficit.
The Hokies then scored twice to win 5-4, ending the Dutch 4-game Dutch winning streak.
Before facing the Dutch Team, the Hokies were 13-7.
The opened the season with six wins at the Opening Weekend Tournament at Jacksonville (Florida) on February 10-14.
Hereafter, the team was 1-3 at the ACC/Big 12/SEC Challenge at Auburn (Alabama), then 2-3 at the C of C Cougar Classic at Mt. Pleasant (South Carolina).
Last weekend, March 2-4, Virginia Tech was 4-1 at the Citrus Classic at Kissimmee (Florida).
2008 was probably the best season in the team's history, as it went 49-19 and qualified for the College World Series in Oklahoma City (Oklahoma).
Also in that year, the Hokies were front-page news when it ended the 185-game winning streak of Team USA during the Pre-Olympic Exhibition Tour, before the national team headed off to the Olympic Games in Beijing (China), where it won the Silver Medal.
In the historic game, the Hokies won 1-0.
Since 1995, the Hokies are coached by Scot Thomas, who led the team to two titles.
The Orange squad opened the score right away in the first at bat.
With one out, Meike Witteveen and Britt Vonk singled, then Areke Spel walked to load the bases.
A grounder by Virginie Anneveld then ended in a force play, but also enabled Meike to score the opening run.
But two runners stranded as a strikeout ended the at bat.
Dutch starter MariŽlle Vleugels gave up singles to the first two Virginia-batters in the first inning, but then recovered fine by striking out two of the next three batters and thus the two runners both stranded.
The Dutch Team doubled its lead in the third inning off new pitcher Bailey Liddle.
With one out, Britt Vonk walked, advanced on a grounder by Areke Spel and a wild pitch, then scored on a single by Virginie Anneveld, who herself was then eliminated trying to advance to second base.
In the home of the third, the Hokies came alongside with two outs.
MariŽlle Vleugels then gave up two singles, which were followed by an RBI-double by Kristen Froehlich and an RBI-single by Kylie McGoldrick, but then a pop-fly ended this at bat.
In the fourth at bat, the Dutch got right back on base, but were unable to score, leaving the bases loaded.
With one out, Petra van Heijst reached on an error and advanced to third base when an outfield-error followed a single by Yonina Sint Jago.
Next, Petra was eliminated at the plate on a grounder to first base by Anne Blaauwgeers, but the bases got loaded when Fabienne van Uden walked.
Unfortunately, the three runners were left behind when a flyout ended the at bat.
Virginia Tech got its lead-off batter on base in the home of the fourth off new pitcher Lindsey Meadows.
After an error and passed ball, this batter, Betty Rose, was at third base with no outs, but she was left there, as a strikeout, groundout and flyout followed.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Dutch Team re-took the lead off new pitcher Lauren Darden.
Britt Vonk reached on an infield-hit to get on base for the third time and stole second base.
Areke Spel then walked.
Next, Virginie Anneveld again connected and again accounted for the runs batted in, as she doubled down the rightfield-line.
Britt and Areke scored, but then Virginie was thrown out at third base, trying to stretch her hit into a triple, but the Dutch Team led again, 4-2.
After the Dutch Team was retired in order in the top of the sixth inning, Virginia Tech again scored with two outs.
Bkaye Smith then reached on an infield-hit, stole second and advanced on a wild pitch.
She then scored when next batter Lauren Gaskill doubled.
But the latter stranded when a groundout followed.
In the top of the seventh inning, Virginia Tech made a switch which would not be allowed in an official game, but since this was an exhibition game, the move was allowed.
Kat Banks, who had entered the game in the fifth inning and batted ninth, became the new pitcher for the Hokies in this at bat.
Marra Hvozdovic, who was the original ninth batter, re-entered the game, but replaced the former pitcher, who was listed in the non-batting number 10th position of the batting order, so therefore herself also moved into the number 10 slot.
In the seventh, with one out, Britt Vonk reached base for the fourth time, this time advancing to second base on a throwing error.
She then moved to third base when Areke Spel flied out.
Virginie Anneveld, who also had reached base three times and had batted in all four Dutch runs, this time flied out, stranding Britt at third base.
The game then turned around in favor of Virginia Tech in the home of the seventh inning.
First, Kelsey Mericka (who homered twice in a game on February 24) led off with a homerun to tie the score.
With one out, Kylie McGoldrick (who re-entered as pinch-hitter) tripled and scored the winning run when next batter Logan Spaw singled to end the game.
Dinet Oosting was the catcher in this game; the batter is Nina Compton
Game vs. Western Michigan University Broncos
In the evening, the Dutch Team faced the Broncos, the strong team of Western Michigan University and registered a come-from-behind 2-1 victory after scoring twice in the top of the seventh inning.
The Dutch got strong pitching from Rebecca Soumeru and Dagmar Bloeming, who were supported with a solide defense.
The interesting game remained scoreless for five innings, but it was the Dutch squad that got the most scoring opportunities in that span, leaving nine runners behind, including seven in scoring position.
The first five innings were a pitching duel between the hurlers of both teams.
In the next inning, the Dutch also stranded two runners in scoring position.
Dinet Oosting led off with a single, stole second and advanced on a wild pitch, but then two outs followed.
Next, Merel Oosterveld walked and stole second, but the inning with a strikeout.
In the third, Britt Vonk (single) and Virginie Anneveld (walk) were left behind and in the fourth at bat, MarisŤla de Wind (walk) was left behind on third base.
In the fifth inning, Meike Witteveen led off with a walk and Britt Vonk followed with a single off the third Bronco-pitcher, but then a groundout and two strikeouts ended this scoring opportunity.
Western Michigan stranded two runners in scoring position in its first five innings.
Starting pitcher Rebecca Soumeru gave up three basehits (which also accounted for the lone baserunners) in the four innings she threw, but only of these runners got into scoring position.
Dagmar Bloeming took over in the fifth inning and walked a batter with two outs, who then advanced to third base on an error, but stranded there.
And so we get to the final two innings of this game, the innings in which the runs were scored.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Dutch Team left its tenth runner and eighth in scoring position.
With two outs, Merel Oosterveld tripled, but was left at third base.
Western Michigan then opened the score in the home half of the sixth.
With two outs, Courtney Rousseau singled, then scored when Mackenzie Shepeck doubled.
A comeback-grounder to Dagmar then ended the inning.
Now suddenly trailing 1-0, the Dutch Team showed character in the top of the seventh inning.
Despite leaving a bunch of runners and now facing a deficit, the Dutch offense struck when it was needed!
With one out, Britt Vonk hit her fourth basehit in the game (and sixth of the day).
Britt then was able to advance to second base when Saskia Kosterink flied out to leftfield.
With two outs, Virginie Anneveld, who accounted for all four RBI's in the first game, again struck, as her double enabled the speedy Britt to score the tying run.
It was a new ballgame again!
Next, Virginie moved on a passed ball, then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Karin Tuk, who had entered the game in the fifth, replacing Dinet Oosting as catcher.
A flyout ended the at bat, but now it was the Dutch Team that was leading!
In the home of the seventh inning, Dagmar Bloeming sealed the victory by retiring the side.
After a pop-out and groundout, Dagmar ended the game herself with a strikeout!
A great come-from-behind victory in a great game!
Before today's game, the Broncos had started the season with an 1-5 record at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe (Arizona).
Hereafter, the team was 3-2 the last few days at the USF Under Armour Invitational in Tampa (Florida).
The team from Kalamazoo (Michigan) is coached for the 12th season by Kathy Leitke.
Last season, the Broncos captured the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles for the first time ever.
Leitke was named MAC Coach of the Year for the second time.