DUTCH TEAM QUALIFIES FOR PLAY-OFFS!
CARACAS (Venezuela) - The Dutch National Softball Team on Tuesday clinched a spot in the Play-Offs of the World Championship!
While the team had started its game against Canada, the decision fell some 10 minutes driving away from the site they played, as Chinese Taipei won a nail-biter against Cuba, 1-0, scoring the lone run in the seventh inning!
Because of this result, Taipei and the Netherlands qualified for the final-8!
Of course, this also underscores the great performance the Dutch Team had done itself with the 3-0 shutout win vs. Cuba two days before!
The Dutch Team finished in fourth place in Pool A and now will meet the third placed team from Pool B on Wednesday-evening.
The four qualified teams in Pool B were set during this day, as two teams still had to qualify, as a tie of three teams also was possible in this pool.
However, this tie only was theoretically, as it would have been a major upset when Botswana should have won vs. Australia and the Czechs would have defeated the USA.
But hey, everything is possible!
The teams were set when the Aussies beat Botswana, but then the ranking wasn't decided until the final game between the already-qualified Venezuela and China, which was played at the same time as the Dutch vs. Canada match-up.
This score was important, as another 3-way tie would have been possible between Venezuela, Australia and China.
The Venezuela vs. China game was also a thriller to the end.
With the score tied at 2-2 and a tie-break approaching, Venezuela got two runners on base in the home of the seventh, then a homerun gave the home team a 5-2 victory!
This means that the Dutch Team will face Australia on Wednesday in the play-offs.
It marks the fourth time that a Dutch National Softball Team qualifies for the play-offs during World Championship, but the first time in 16 years, as the last time was 1994.
Four years ago, at Beijing (China), the Dutch finished in a tie for fifth place in its pool with Greece and didn't qualify.
In 2002, when the event was held in Saskatoon (Canada), the Dutch also didn't reach the final-8 after finishing sixth in its pool.
In 1998, at Shizuoka (Japan), the Dutch also finished in fifth place to miss the play-offs.
In 1994, at St. John's (Canada), the Dutch had a good outing. Back then, there were four pools, with the first and second team to qualify.
The Dutch finished in second place behind New Zealand to reach the next round, which was the last time until now that the team had reached the play-offs.
The Dutch Team also qualified for the play-offs in 1978 (San Salvador, El Salvador) and 1982 (Taipei, Taiwan).
Back in 1982, New Zealand won the world title and was the last country to capture the title, before the USA won it six times in a row.
Between 1978 and 1990, New Zealand finished in the top-3 four times, but this year, it didn't even made the play-offs, as it did in the years following 1990.
Unknown of the situation of the game between Chinese Taipei and Cuba at Estadio Independencia, the Dutch started their game against Canada at Estadio La Rinconada.
The Dutch were facing a big deficit already after two innings, as Canada scored twice in the first inning, then added four more runs in the second at bat.
Trailing 6-0, the Dutch Team learned of the Taipei-victory vs. Cuba, meaning they were qualified for the play-offs.
The game then even went in favor of the Dutch, as they didn't gave up additional runs, while they scored a run of their own as Solange Starrenburg homered in the top of the fifth inning.
It was to be the lone Dutch run, but hey, Canada was held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
In other words, the Dutch Team left the field as winners!
In the first inning, Melanie Matthews singled for Canada to lead off, then advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Jennifer Yee.
The latter was eliminated trying to advance on a strong throw by leftfielder Solange Starrenburg.
Hereafter, Sheena Lawrick homered to make it 2-0 off starter Rebecca Soumeru.
The homerun barely left the field and was just out of reach of rightfielder Areke Spel.
In the second inning, Canada added four unearned runs with two outs.
With a runner on first base and two outs, a single followed to put runners on first and third base.
A throwing error and fielding error followed.
Next, a fly to short left field led to a collission between Solange Starrenburg and Chantal Versluis with the latter having to leave the field, but luckily there is nothing seriously wrong.
Another basehit followed, which gave Canada its fourth run in the inning and a 6-0 lead.
After completion of the second inning, Head Coach Craig Montvidas informed the players of the result of the Taipei-Cuba game, which of course resulted in a Dutch celebration!
Things started to turn the Dutch way then, as pitchers Dagmar Bloeming (who relieved Rebecca during the second inning) and Kirsten Scheele didn't gave up any additional basehits in the last four innings!
In the fifth, 1B Nadine Marinus contributed by making two fine catches on two line drives.
Britt Vonk reached on a bunt-single in the first inning, but stranded.
After nothing happened in the second and third, Britt again reached base in the fourth, this time after being hit by a pitch.
She stole second base, but again would be left behind.
In the fifth inning, Solange Starrenburg led off with a homerun to account for the lone Dutch run off Ashley Lanz, who went the distance for Canada.
Areke Spel added a double in the seventh inning, and Solange added a long flyout, but that would be it.
Now that the Dutch Team has accomplished its goal of reaching the play-offs, they also secured the funding of the Dutch Olympic Committee by reaching the top-8.
Through this website, the players and staff of the Dutch National Softball Team wants to thank everyone enormously for sending mails to wish them luck and to support them during this event.
All mails were read and it gave everyone an extra boost to do their best.
It was great to be supported by the home front!
A special thanks to the players and staff of the Dutch Junior Red Team, who send a personalized mail, signed by all players and coaches, on the very first day of the championship to wish the team good luck.
Thank you all, this was all much appreciated!
The line-up vs. Canada was as follows:
Pitcher-Rebecca Soumeru (1 2/3 inn.), Dagmar Bloeming (1 1/3 inn.), Kirsten Scheele (3 inn.);
Catcher-Nathalie Timmermans (4 inn.), Anne Blaauwgeers (2 inn.);
1st Base-Britt Vonk (2 inn.), Nadine Marinus (4 inn.);
2nd Base-Meike Witteveen;
3nd Base-Virginie Anneveld;
Short Stop-Chantal Versluis (2 inn.), Britt Vonk (4 inn.);
Left Field-Solange Starrenburg;
Center Field-Saskia Kosterink (4 inn.), Fabienne van Uden (2 inn.);
Right Field-Areke Spel;
Designated Player-Nathalie Gosewehr.
Box Score Netherlands vs. Canada
Today's photos show a lot of different faces
Faces of concentration, of emotions, of happiness, of tension
Time to start the game vs. Canada
At the same time, the score between Cuba and Taipei is 0-0
Rebecca Soumeru started for the Dutch Team
Concentration for the defense and the runner
Time to go over the details
3B Virginie Anneveld takes her position when Dagmar Bloeming delivers
While Sofi walks on the scorebord, the Dutch are trailing 5-0
At that moment, Taipei scored the winning run vs. Cuba
Pitcher Dagmar Bloeming returns to the dug-out
Team Manager Paul Boonstra knows that Taipei has beaten Cuba
Note his upward thumbs; at right is Team Liaison Francesca
Head Coach Craig Montvidas informs the players that qualification is a fact
Lindsey Meadows and Rebecca Soumeru embrace each other
Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink checks on Chantal Versluis after her collission
Out of precaution, Chantal leaves the field
Nadine Marinus in the batter's box
Recca Soumeru and Nathalie Timmermans
Back to the action and back to concentration
Here, Saskia Kosterink
Virginie Anneveld and Fabienne van Uden
Players cheer their teammates
Nathalie Gosewehr awaits the pitch
To make the celebration complete, the team enjoys the homerun of Solange Starrenburg
Solange Starrenburg (right) on her way to the dug-out
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Also on Tuesday:
South Africa vs. Japan, 0-10
Japan remained unbeaten in the preliminary round and took charge of this game early, as it scored five runs in the first at bat, then added five more (three in the third inning) in the next three at bats to finish the game after four innings due to the mercy-rule.
The Asians got 11 basehits, including three by Eri Yamada and homeruns by Satoko Mabuchi and Maki Tanigawa.
South Africa registered only three basehits in their last game of the event.
Botswana vs. Australia, 0-10
Botswana ended its World Championship with a 10-0 loss vs. Australia, which rallied for five runs in the second at bat.
The Aussies then added a run in the third and scored four more in the fourth to end the game prematurely and qualify for the play-offs.
It also meant that China was qualified, however, the final ranking depended on the result of the last game between China and Venezuela, which would also decide the opponent for the Dutch team on Wednesday.
Australia collected nine basehits, including a homerun by Brenda De Blaes, who had two RBI's and also scored twice.
Botswana got two basehits, including a double by Masego Kwape.
USA vs. Czech Republic, 9-0
Reigning champion USA also remained unbeaten in pool-play, as it closed the preliminary round with a 9-0 win vs. the Czech Republic.
Like Japan and Australia, the USA scored enough early on to reach a mercy-rule run-difference.
After scoring six runs in the first at bat, the USA scored a run in the third, the two more in the next inning.
Team USA had nine basehits, including a homeruns by Andrea Duran and Jennie Finch.
Hot-hitting Alissa Haber went 'only' 1-for-3, but contributed with three RBI's.
Winning pitcher Eileen Canney gave up only two basehits and struckout seven.
Great Britain vs. Argentina, 2-1
Great Britain closed its tournament with a 2-1 victory in nine innings vs. Argentina to finish in sixth place in Pool A.
After seven scoreless innings, there were also no runs scored in the eighth.
Then, in the ninth, Argentina (which had only two hits) took an 1-0 lead, but the British (which also had only four hits) then scored two runs of their own to win the game, thanks to hits by Caley Roberts and Kristi Yoshizawa.
Dominican Republic vs. New Zealand, 0-3
New Zealand ended the preliminary round with a shutout-win and scored all the runs they needed in the first inning, highlighted by a 2-run double by Char Pouaka.
Cuba vs. Chinese Taipei, 0-1
In a nailbiter, which would decide the faith of not only Cuba and Taipei, but also the Netherlands, the all-deciding run was scored in the top of the seventh by Taipei, meaning the Asians and the Dutch advanced to the play-offs and Cuba was eliminated.
Winning pitcher Hui-Lin Chung threw a complete game and gave up only four basehits.
Taipei registered nine basehits, including the decisive single by Pei-Chun Lin that scored Meng-Ting Lai.
Venezuela vs. China, 5-2
With the score tied at 2-2, Venezuela decided the game with a 3-run, walk-off homerun by Yaicey Jojo in the home of the seventh.