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Venezuela International Series

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Venezuela International Series - Day 2 - Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Dutch Team opens International Series with shutout-win

Nederlandse tekst

PUERTO ORDAZ (Venezuela) - The Dutch National Softball Team opened the 1st Venezuela International Softball Series on Tuesday-evening with a 2-0 shutout-victory against host Venezuela. Before the team went to the stadium it was time to relax. After Monday's long day of travel, which lasted more than 24 hours, the team started Tuesday with a joined breakfast, but then was off to rest in the morning.

The team then had lunch together, which was followed by a team-meeting and then left the hotel around 3 PM to go to the stadium for the game against Venezuela. Of course, the team bus was escorted again by a police motorcade. But before we go to the game recap, first some history and other facts.

Where is the team at the moment?
The Dutch Softball Team is in Puerto Ordaz or Ciudad Guayana, as it is officially called.

Ciudad Guayana was formed in 1961 and is composed of the old town of San Félix in the east and the newly created town of Puerto Ordaz in the west. Also united were Matanzas, Caruachi, Castillito and El Callao. Puerto Ordaz is located at the confluence of the Caroní and Orinoco rivers and is the site of the Llovizna Falls, which are situated near the hotel where the team stays. Llovizna (pronounced yoviz-nah, is Spanish for mist, drizzle, spray). Three bridges across the Rio Caroní connect San Félix and Puerto Ordaz.

With one million inhabitants, Ciudad Guayana is the sixth largest city of Venezuela. It is the base for large iron, steelworks and aluminum industries. Because Puerto Ordaz is a planned city, many of the residential neighborhoods have architecture and landscaping resembling the USA of the 1950s.

Ciudad Guayana is located 500 kilometres southeast of Caracas and is the biggest city of Bolívar State. This state is bordered in the south to Brazil and the Venezuelan territory of the Amazonas, in the east by Guyana and in the west by Colombia. Bolívar State is the largest and one of richest states of Venezuela. In the far south there are high plateaus, including the region of La Gran Sabana, which is the site of the worldfamous Angel Falls. In between is a huge jungle, which is largely uninhabited and unexplored, pierced by valleys and many small rivers.

The area where Puerto Ordaz is located was first claimed for Spain by explorer Diego de Ordaz in 1532. The original settlement of Santo Tomé de Guayana was founded in 1576 on the Chirica tableland, where later Republicans in the War of Independence defeated Spanish royalists at the Battle of San Félix in 1817.

In 1518, Captain Diego de Ordaz (1480-1532) joined famous captain Hernán Cortés, who conquered New Spain (which was formed by most of current Central America and well as the south of North America) and fought the Maya's. Diego de Ordaz was the first European to ascend the (active) volcano Popocatepetl in Central-Mexico. After returning from Spain back to New Spain, he sailed along the coast of South America in March 1531 and discovered the Orinoco River.

The Game vs. Venezuela

It was the eighth time that the national softball teams of the Netherlands and Venezuela met each other in an international game and the fifth time since 2008. During the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing (China), Venezuela shutout the Dutch Team, 8-0, at the Fengtai Softball Field. Venezuelan pitcher Mariangee Bogado then gave up only one basehit, being hit by Marloes Fellinger.

Last year, the Dutch and Venezuelan teams met three times during the Canada Cup in Surrey (Canada). In the preliminary round, the Dutch Team won the first game, 3-1, with Rebecca Soumeru throwing a 4-hitter and Virginie Anneveld going 2-for-3 with two RBI's. The win was only the second in history against Venezuela. Two days later, the Dutch defeated Venezuela again, this time 4-2. Winning pitcher then was Dagmar Bloeming, who had a good outing. Virginie Anneveld again collected two basehits, as did Meike Witteveen and Karin Tuk. In the Play-Offs and their third match-up during the Canada Cup, Venezuela won 7-0 to eliminate the Dutch squad. The two Nathalie's, Nathalie Gosewehr and Nathalie Timmermans accounted for the two Dutch hits in this game.

Today's game was played in front of some 5000 enthousiastic spectators, who created a festive atmosphere with drums and samba. There was a lot of noise in the stands, which became a little less towards the end, as the home team was losing, but on the other hand, the spectactors cheered the Dutch Team enthousiastically. By the way, today's temperature was 32 degrees Celsius!

The game initially was to start at 5 PM local time (11:30 PM Dutch time), but started 45 minutes later. First, there was an opening ceremony in the stadium, which included the throwing of the ceremonial first pitches by Victoria Mata, the Venezuelan Minister of Sports, and Jose Ramón López, the Mayor of the Municipality of Caroní. Also attending the game were several dignitaries from the (local) Guayanese government. Just before the game was about to start, it became clear that the pitching rubber wasn't in the proper position. Some 12 workers then digged up the pitching plate and put it in the right position, but that lasted some 20 minutes. But then, the game started.

The Venezuelan Team registered only three basehits off the Dutch pitching. Kirsten Scheele started the game for the Dutch and gave up only one basehit in four innings, while striking out three batters. In the fifth inning, Lindsey Meadows took over. Lindsey, who started the game as the designated player, made her National Team-debut. In the remaining three innings, Lindsey gave up two hits, but struckout seven batters. The Dutch Team collected five basehits off Johana Gomez, who went the distance for Venezuela and by the way also was the losing pitcher in the first game between the two countries last year in Canada.

Both Dutch runs were scored by a pinch-runner.

The Dutch Team opened the score in the third inning. Nathalie Timmermans then walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Merel Oosterveld. When next batter Chantal Versluis struckout, Merel stole second base, then advanced to third base when Nathalie Gosewehr followed with a single. Next, Meike Witteveen reached on an infield-hit, enabling Merel to score the first run.

The Dutch Team doubled its lead in the fifth at bat. Virginie Anneveld then reached on an error and was replaced by pinch-runner Fabienne van Uden, who made her international debut. Fabienne advanced on a wild pitch, then reached third base when Nathalie Timmermans singled. Next, the bases were loaded when Chantal Versluis was hit by a pitch. Hereafter, Nathalie Gosewehr followed with a grounder on which Fabienne ran towards home. The ball was thrown to the catcher, but Fabienne managed to avoid the tag and the umpire rule her safe, making it a 2-0 lead. In the same action, the runner at third base was eliminated.

Venezuela was unable to score, as the Dutch played some fine defensive, making only one error, but putting together some nice defensive plays.

Today's line-up was as follows:
Pitcher-Kirsten Scheele (4 inn.), Lindsey Meadows (3 inn.; started as DP); Catcher-Nathalie Timmermans, Merel Oosterveld (pinch-runner); 1st Base-Britt Vonk; 2nd Base-Meike Witteveen; 3rd Base-Virginie Anneveld, Fabienne van Uden (pinch-runner); Short Stop-Chantal Versluis; Left Field-Nathalie Gosewehr; Center Field-Saskia Kosterink; Right Field-Areke Spel (6 inn.), Solange Starrenburg (1 inn.).

After completion of the game between the Netherlands and Venezuela, the home team played vs. Cuba and then won 2-0 themselves. Venezuela scored the first run in the first inning when Yuruby Alicarte scored on a double by Denise Fuenmayor. The second run was added in the fourth inning when Miriam Jimenez scored on a wild pitch by Anisley Lopez, who went the distance for Cuba and gave up only three hits. Mariangee Bogado threw a complete game for Venezuela, struckout ten batters and gave up only one basehit.

Box Score Netherlands vs. Venezuela

A view from the hotel with Llovizna Falls in the background
(photo taken by Solange Starrenburg)

Before going to the field, Merel, Solange, Nathalie,
Nadine, Anne and Meike pose with their police escorts

Moments later, Britt, Fabienne, Areke, Chantal
and Virginie join their teammates for a photo

The police officers clear the traffic for the bus en route to the stadium

The bus arrives at the Campo Ferrominera

Local press follows the team

Accompanied by a protocol officer, the team walks to the dug-out

A look at the stadium
(photo taken by Solange Starrenburg)

Team Manager Paul Boonstra with the stadium in the background

Coach Tracy Bunge has found her place in the dug-out

Head Coach Craig Montvidas talks with a Venezuelan liaison officer

The preparation for the game starts

Lindsey Meadows during preparation
Hey, Lindsey, isn't that some medieval torture tool you're holding there?

Business Manager Rich Hooff overlooks the field underneath a nice rainbow

Merel Oosterveld and Fabienne van Uden, who are enjoying their first big tournament with the National Team

The game preparation continues

In the meantime, the number of spectators starts to grow

The Opening Ceremony of the International Series

The Dutch Team during introductions

Then, it's time for the throwing of the ceremonial first pitch

Victoria Mata, the Minister of Sports, and Caroní Mayor Jose Ramón López
throw the two ceremonial first pitches

The team is ready to take the field

But there is also time for another photo with local organisors

Discussion with the umpires regarding the position of the pitching plate

It's getting crowdier in the stands

The grouds crew works to replace the pitching plate

In the meantime, the team waits in the dug-out
Inside and outside the dug-out are protocol members, as well as security guards

It's a festive atmosphere in the stands

Nathalie Gosewehr connects

Meike Witteveen running at first base

Saskia Kosterink let's a ball go by

Starting pitcher Kirsten Scheele during her wind-up

1B Britt Vonk and 2B Meike Witteveen check the action

Nathalie Timmermans takes a swing

The evening is setting in above the stadium

The staff celebrates the victory

The team thanks the enthousiastic spectators

For suggestions, questions or requests mail to Media Officer/Webmaster Marco Stoovelaar: stoov@dutchsoftballteam.com

Last Update: June 15, 2010
Copyright Photos © 2008-2010 Paul Boonstra.
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