Orange squad takes lead twice
On Day 2 of the World Championship in Haarlem, the Netherlands Softball Team today (Saturday, August 16) lost 5-4 in eleven innings vs. Chinese Taipei in a game that lasted three hours and 28 minutes.
Trailing 1-0, the Orange squad came alongside in the fifth inning.
After both teams scored a run in the eighth at bat, the Dutch took a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning, thanks to a triple by Virginie Anneveld and a single by Areke Spel.
But again, Taipei came alongside, then won the game in the eleventh inning.
The Dutch Team meets Italy on Sunday-afternoon, starting at 3 PM.
Before today's game, there was a unique moment in the Dutch softball-history.
For the first time in many years, there was a reunion of former National Team-players.
More than 60 of them attended today's meeting.
Included amongst them were almost all members of the 1974 Dutch Team that became the first to participate in a World Championship.
Back then, the Championship was held in Stratford (USA).
(photos of the reunion will be added later)
Two years ago, during the World Championship in Canada, the Dutch Team won 4-3 vs. Chinese Taipei during the Play-Offs.
Today, both teams again were up to each other with the game ending in an one-run score, this time in favor of the Asian squad.
The Dutch Team trailed, came alongside, led twice, but then was left empty-handed after eleven innings in a very suspenseful, Hitchcockian game.
A neutral spectator must have really enjoyed the game between the Dutch and the Taipei-team and it got everything in it.
In the top of the first inning, Britt Vonk doubled with two outs and stole third base while next batter Saskia Kosterink walked.
The inning then ended when the latter was ruled out at second base on a close play after a force play-grounder by Virginie Anneveld.
In the bottom of the third inning, Pei Chun Lin led off for Taipei with a triple.
But with one out, Lin was eliminated by catcher Nathalie Timmermans when she was off base on a ball in the ground.
The inning ended with a great defensive play by 1B Anne Blaauwgeers, who fielded the ball while the Dutch infield had put on a shift, then dove to first base to made the out.
Taipei then opened the score in the fourth inning.
Two errors led to Asian runners on first and third base.
A double-steal situation then led to the run.
Hereafter, the Dutch defense made some nice plays.
3B Virginie Anneveld made a great catch on a bunt, then short stop Britt Vonk and rightfielder Areke Spel made fine catchers on line drives.
The Orange squad came alongside immediately in the next at bat.
Nathalie Timmermans and Anne Blaauwgeers led off with a walk and that led to a pitching change.
Also, Eva Voortman was brought in as pinch-runner for Timmermans.
She advanced to third base when Chantal Versluis flied out, but that also led to a double play, as Blaauwgeers was eliminated trying to advance to the second on the throw to third.
Karin Tuk then entered the game as pinch-hitter and delivered an RBI-single, enabling Voortman to score the tying run.
Both teams left runners in scoring position in the next two innings and the game then went into extra innings.
In the first tie-break, both teams scored once.
The Dutch took a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth.
With tie-break runner Chantal Versluis on second base, Jessie van Aalst was inserted as pinch-hitter with a 2-2 count.
But she succeeded in moving Versluis to third base with a grounder and she then scored on a sacrifice fly by Britt Vonk.
In the bottom of the eighth, Taipei tied the score again.
With the tie-break runner on second base, two outs and two strikes on batter Hui Wen Huang, she doubled to make it a 2-2 score.
The Orange took another lead, this time 4-2, in the top of the ninth inning.
With tie-break runner Saskia Kosterink at second base, Virginie Anneveld (who was 3-for-5) drove the ball into rightfield for an RBI-triple to give the Dutch a 3-2 lead.
Moments later, she scored herself when Areke Spel singled through the middle.
After the latter got into scoring position, two pop-flies ended the at bat.
But the 4-2 lead unfortunately was not enough, as Taipei tied the score again in its ninth at bat.
A double by Hsueh Mei Lu produced the first run and a comeback-grounder to the pitcher by Pei Chun Lin resulting in a throw to home plate and a close play accounted for the second Asian run.
And so, it was a 4-4 score and the game continued.
In the 10th inning, both teams stranded a runner at third base.
In the 11th, the Dutch side was retired in order with the tie-break runner at second base.
In the bottom of the 11th, the decision fell.
Lindsey Meadows, who had taken over the pitching for Dagmar Bloeming (who had done a fine job) in the ninth inning, began with a strikeout.
Next, a pop-fly into the outfield followed to account for the second out.
To create a force play, an intentional walk was issued, but then Hsiang Yun Wang followed with a single down the leftfield-line to bring in tie-break runner Yi Ting Yang with the winning run.
Box Score Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei
(above photos made by Marco Stoovelaar)
(above photos made by Fred Versluis)