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World Championship - Day 5 - Thursday, June 24, 2010

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Dutch wins thriller vs. Great Britain!

Nederlandse tekst

CARACAS (Venezuela) - The Dutch National Softball Team on Thursday-night got a narrow escape in its opening game of the World Championship, but battled, showed character and came from behind to defeat Great Britain 5-4 in a Hitchcockian thriller after having been one pitch away from a defeat! On Friday, the Dutch Team will meet Japan.

The game initially was scheduled to be played in Estadio La Rinconada, but as the construction of that site wasn't completed yet, the game was moved to Estadio Las Mayas, where the Dutch earlier in the week held a practice session and in reality is a practice field for this event. On the opening day, the game between Japan and Argentina also was played here and then the 260 feet outfield-fence was brought in to 225. However, for today's five games played here that didn't happen, meaning the teams had to play with a long outfield!

The Dutch Team took an 1-0 lead in the first inning when speedy lead-off hitter Nathalie Gosewehr drilled the second delivery of pitcher Stacie Townsend into the outfield for an inside-the-park-homerun. Next, Meike Witteveen reached on a bunt-single, but then Britt Vonk grounded into a double play. Saskia Kosterink followed with a walk, but a strikeout then ended the at bat.

In the first British at bat, Kristi Yoshizawa led off with a single off starting pitcher Dagmar Bloeming, who then went on to retire eight batters in a row (including four strikeouts), before walking a batter with two outs in the third inning. To start that at bat, rightfielder Areke Spel made a great catch for the first out.

From the second inning on, Stacie Townsend held the Dutch team hitless and scoreless through the fourth inning, allowing only one player to reach base, which was Meike Witteveen, who walked with two outs (and stole second base) in the third inning.

Dagmar Bloeming struckout five batters and gave up only one basehit in the first three innings, but ran into problems in the fourth British at bat. First, Stacie Townsend led off with a single, then next batter Karlene Headley-Cooper popped up to foul territory, but that ball was missed. On the very next pitch, she hit a triple that tied the score. Next batter Leah English then walked. With runners on first and third base, Morgan Parkerson bunted towards first base where Britt Vonk opted to throw to home plate, but Karlene Headley-Cooper beat the throw to give the British a 2-1 lead! During her slide into catcher Nathalie Timmermans, Karlene Headley-Cooper injured her knee and might be lost for the remainder of the event. An infield-fly followed, then the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third base. Hereafter, Caley Roberts lined the ball down the first base-line for a 2-run double to make it 4-1 in British favor!

In the top of the fifth inning, Nathalie Timmermans reached second base on a throwing error with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Merel Oosterveld. With two outs, Nathalie Gosewehr appeared to hit a basehit, but Merel was ruled out for interference, ending the inning.

Despite the 4-1 deficit at the end of the fifth inning, the Dutch Team never gave up and showed character!

The comeback started in the sixth at bat. Lead-off hitter Meike Witteveen's grounder to third base ended in a throwing error, which was followed by a single off the bat of Britt Vonk. Meike and Britt then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Saskia Kosterink. Next, the Dutch got a run back when Lindsey Meadows hit a sacrifice fly and came within one run when Areke Spel followed with a single.

With Great Britain still leading 4-3, it all came to the seventh and final at bat! First, Nathalie Timmermans grounded out, but then Chantal Versluis singled, as did next batter Nathalie Gosewehr. Next, Meike Witteveen struckout. What then followed was a crucial and daring play in this at bat (and the game), as Chantal and Nathalie succeeded in a double steal to put runners on second and third base! An out would have ended the game, resulting in a 4-3 loss. To make the game even more tense was the at bat of next batter Britt Vonk. The first pitch was a ball, the next two a strike. Two more balls followed to give Britt a full count, meaning the game was on the line and one pitch made the difference. The Dutch Team was one pitch away from an opening loss or could turn the game around, but as mentioned before, never gave in. Britt kept her calm and drilled the next pitch of Stacie Townsend away for a 2-run double to put the Dutch ahead 5-4! While rounding first base, Britt was thinking that the game was over and jumped around between first and second base, celebrating the two runs. She was shouted towards second base, which she just reached safely. The inning then ended when Saskia Kosterink grounded out, but the Dutch had taken the lead.

The game wasn't over yet, as the British still had their seventh at bat. Lindsey Meadows, who had taken over the pitching in the fifth inning, started with two quick outs, but then gave up a basehit to Kristi Yoshizawa. With powerhitter Stacie Townsend on deck and a speedy runner on base, but also at bat, Lindsey also kept her calm and ended the game in fashion with a strikeout! The celebration could begin!!! The first win was in the books!!!

Famous (British) suspense movie director Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of this script!

The line-up vs. Great Britain was as follows:
Pitcher-Dagmar Bloeming (4 innings), Lindsey Meadows (3 innings); Catcher-Nathalie Timmermans, Merel Oosterveld (pinch-runner); 1st Base-Britt Vonk; 2nd Base-Meike Witteveen; 3rd Base-Virginie Anneveld; Short Stop-Chantal Versluis; Left Field-Nathalie Gosewehr; Center Field-Saskia Kosterink; Right Field-Areke Spel; Designated Player-Lindsey Meadows.

Box Score Netherlands vs. Great Britain

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Great Britain prepared for the World Championship with a weeklong training camp in Florida (USA). 14 of the 17 players on the British roster also competed in last years European Championship in Spain. Half of the players live in England, the other half comes from the USA, Canada and Australia, meaning the team had to get re-aquianted again during its stay in Florida. There, 16 spots for the final roster were filled with the final one coming from four junior players, who were with the team in training camp.

In Florida, the team of Head Coach Hayley Scott planned to play six games, but the first two had to be canceled due to a thunderstorm. The next day, the British split a double-header vs. the Lake County Tigers at Mount Dora (near Orlando). It won the opener 6-4 with Stacie Townsend and Caley Roberts hitting homeruns. In the second game, the British were leading 5-2 (Karlene Headley-Cooper hit a 2-run homerun), but the Tigers rallied for five runs in the fifth inning and went on to win 7-6. Hereafter, the British Team also split their next double-header (against two travel ball teams), which was played at the site of the headquarters of the International Softball Federation in Plant City. The first game, against Team Florida, was lost 7-0, then the Tampa Mustangs were beaten 8-7, thanks to three runs in the home of the seventh with Morgan Parkerson hitting a 2-out single to enable Leah English score the winning run. Earlier in the game, the British had taken a 4-2 lead thanks to a grand slam homerun by Stacie Townsend. After arriving in Caracas, the British had a game scheduled vs. Venezuela, but that rained out. It then played two games on Tuesday. After leading 1-0 after five innings, they lost 4-1 to New Zealand, then defeated Botswana, 18-0, to complete the preparations.

The orange security guards are clearly recognizable!

Dutch Ambassador Hans van Vloten Dissevelt and his staff also attended the game

The game was played at Estadio Las Mayas, which is a practice site for the Championship

Merel Oosterveld, Fabienne van Uden and Areke Spel
cheer their teammates during infield-practice before the game

The team is ready for the announcement of the starting line-up

A meeting in the circle
Left to right: 3B Virginie Anneveld, pitcher Dagmar Bloeming (8),
short stop Chantal Versluis, 2B Meike Witteveen and 1B Britt Vonk (12)

Starting pitcher Dagmar Bloeming

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Also on Thursday:

South Africa vs. Great Britain, 0-3
Great Britain opened the score with one run in the first inning, but then were held runless by pitcher Almarje Kannemeyer, who went the distance and gave up eleven basehits. Great Britain finally took more distance by scoring two runs in the seventh at bat. Stacie Townsend threw a complete game for the British squad, struckout eight batters and gave up only four hits. With the bat, Stacie Townsend was 3-for-4, including a double, scored once and also had an RBI. Morgan Parkerson, who plays in the Dutch First Division for Gryhons, went 2-for-4 with a double. Karlene Headley-Cooper, who plays in the Dutch big league for Olympia Haarlem, was 0-for-4. Leah English, who last season played for Dutch big leaguer Centrals, also was 0-for-4.

China vs. Botswana, 12-0
Chinese pitchers Lan Wang (3 innings) and Wei Liu (1 innings) combined on a Perfect Game vs. Botswana. They faced 12 batters, nine of which were struckout. Chinese registered nine basehits, including triples by Chunsia Li and Huan Lin. China scored five runs in the second inning, then added seven more in the next at bat.

Chinese Taipei vs. Japan, 0-5
Japan scored one run in the first inning and another one in the fourth, then took more distance when it added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. The team had nine basehits, including two by Yukiyo Mine, who doubled and had three RBI's. Taipei hit only two basehits off Mika Someya, who threw six innings. Sayuri Yamane threw the seventh and struckout two.

China vs. USA, 0-1
Reigning world champion USA was outhit 3-2 by China, but left the field as the winning team. The winning and lone run of the game was scored in the seventh inning.

China got two runners on base in the first inning with one out, but then pitcher Cat Osterman struckout the next two batters. China again threatened in the fourth inning when it got two runners on with no outs. Osterman then struckout a batter, but the runners advanced on a double steal. Next, the lead runner was eliminated in a rundown.

The USA was silenced from the second inning, but a runner in the fifth. After a pitching change, the USA got the bases loaded with two outs, but then Caitlin Lowe flied out, leaving three runners behind. When the seventh inning started, Andrea Duran was the lone American player to have hit a basehit (leading off the second inning), while China had collected three. In the top of the seventh Andrea Hansen reached on an error and stole second base. She then moved to third base on a groundout and scored on an one-out single by Natasha Watley. Cat Osterman went the distance for the USA and struckout eleven batters.

South Africa vs. Argentina, 3-4
In what might be considered as a suprise, Argentina defeated South Africa in what was the second game for both teams. Both teams scored twice in the first inning, then also both scored once in the third at bat. Argentina then scored the winning run in the seventh inning. South Africa outhit Argentina 7-4, but was empty-handed. Bianca Novelei was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI's for South Africa, while Eloise Warren also had two hits for this team. Maria Olheiser went 2-for-4, scored twice and had an RBI off Nicolene Jones, who went the distance for South Africa. Dutch umpire Carolien Stadhouders was the umpire at second base in this game.

New Zealand vs. Botswana, 8-1
New Zealand collected eight basehits in this game, including two by Naoupu Lote, who was 2-for-2. Botswana registered only four hits, including three by Marea Modutlwa, who doubled and had the lone run batted in for her team.

Czech Republic vs. Dominican Republic, 8-4
The Czech Republic opened the World Championship with an 8-4 win vs. the Dominican Republic, which gave up only one run to Venezuela the night before. The Czechs took an 1-0 lead in the first inning, but then the Dominicans answered with four runs in the second at bat. The Czech managed to come back and tie the score by scoring three runs in the third inning, then a 5-4 lead in the fourth and added three more runs in the sixth inning to register their first victory. The Czech squad registered 12 basehits, including two by Katerina Dvoraková, Dina Pfeiferová, Lucie Petrasková, Eva Rendlová (who doubled twice) and Sabina Borecká. The Dominicans collected eight basehits in this game. Dutch umpire Peter Vonk, who was behind the plate in yesterday's opening game between Japan and Argentina, was the first base umpire in this match-up.

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Last Update: June 24, 2010
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