Orange Team again ends in tie for fifth place
The Netherlands Softball Team was eliminated for the final-four on Day 9 of the ISF Women's World Championship in Haarlem.
Today (Saturday, August 23), there was more rain, resulting in delaying the games to a later time.
When the program started around 2:30 PM, it stayed dry for the rest of the day (luckily) and the entire schedule of the top-8 countries could be played.
Tonight, the Orange squad played a strong game against China, one of the powerhouses in worldwide softball, winning a 10-inning, 3-hour thriller with a 7-5 score.
The Dutch took an early 2-0 lead, but China came alongside to force extra innings.
In the 9th inning, Nathalie Timmermans belted a 2-run homerun to make it 4-2, but China again tied the score.
The Dutch then struck with three runs in the 10th inning on a single by Britt Vink, triple by Chantal Versluis and double by Jessie van Aalst.
With the win, the Dutch advanced to the Third Round, then was shutout 8-0 by Australia to be eliminated.
With the loss, the Dutch Team ends up in a tie for fifth place with Chinese Taipei, which was eliminated by Canada.
The ISF World Championship has no game to decide fifth/sixth place and also no game to decide seventh/eighth place.
Netherlands vs. China
Today's schedule again was bothered by rain, which meant the Dutch Team started its first game against China at 5:23 PM.
The Dutch Team played another thriller againt China, one of the best softball-countries in Asia and the world, winning 7-5 in 10 innings.
This game was followed immediately by the match-up against Australia.
In case, the Orange squad also would have beaten Australia, a third game would have followed, which would have been the semi-final and would have ended well after midnight.
Unfortunately, as we all know, this last scenario didn't happen, as the Dutch were shutout by Australia and therefore was eliminated for a place in the top-four.
But let's first go back to the suspenseful game against China in which the Dutch Team took the lead three times.
Twice, China managed to come alongside, the third time, the game belonged to the Dutch!
The win against China was the second in history by the Netherlands Softball Team.
The first came a little bit over 15 years ago, on Saturday, June 26, 1999.
Back then, the game was played during the Haarlem Softball Week and the Dutch Team won 1-0.
Joyce Smit went the distance for the Orange squad, which back then also was led by Head Coach Craig Montvidas!
And guess what, there is a special fact between the two games.
15 years ago, winning pitcher Joyce Smit wore uniform number 24 and back then, catcher Biance Hageraats had number 26.
Today, winning pitcher Femke van Dusschoten also had number 24 and catcher Nathalie Timmermans also wore 26!
The Dutch Team took the lead twice, but saw China come alongside, then decided the game in the top of the 10th inning of this thriller.
The Orange scored twice in the second inning.
Saskia Kosterink and led off with singles, then a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Gosewehr accounted for the first run and put runners on first and third base.
The bases were then loaded when Areke Spel was hit by a pitch.
Moments later, the lead was doubled on a force play-grounder by Nathalie Timmermans.
Areke and Nathalie advanced on a grounder by Merel Oosterveld, but then stranded on second and third base when a line drive by Britt Vonk was caught.
In the fifth and sixth inning, the Dutch Team left a runner on second base and it was in these innings that China came alongside.
In the bottom of the fifth, an one-out single by Jia Chen brought in the first run.
And in the sixth, a 2-out single by Jingjing Yuan (who was 3-for-4) tied the score.
With Yuan at first base, Dutch starter Dagmar Bloeming ended the inning with a strikeout, just as she did in the seventh at bat with runners on first and second base.
After a scoreless eighth inning, the Dutch Team took a 4-2 lead in the ninth.
Tie-break pinch-runner Anne Blaauwgeers moved on a sacrifice bunt by Nathalie Gosewehr.
With two outs, Nathalie Timmermans drove the ball over the leftfield-fence for a 2-run homerun!
But again, China tied up the score off of reliever Femke van Dusschoten, who had taken over in the inning before and then closed with two strikeouts and runners on first and second base.
In the bottom of the ninth, there were two outs and runners on first and third base when Ying Lu connected for a 2-run double into leftfield that made it a 4-4 score.
After an intentional walk set up a force, Femke ended the inning with her fourth strikeout in two innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, the Dutch Team struck with three runs to take a 7-4 lead.
And this time for good!
Tie-break runner Merel Oosterveld scored the go-ahead run when Britt Vonk singled up the middle.
Hereafter, Chantal Versluis drilled an RBI-triple that made it 6-4, then scored herself when Jessie van Aalst followed with a double.
This led to a pitching change.
After an intentional walk, China turned a double play and ended with a strikeout, but the Dutch Team had taken a decisive lead.
In the bottom of the 10th, China got one run back after Femke had struckout two more batters.
With a runner on first base, 2B Chantal Versluis made a great running catch on a foul-fly near the rightfield-line to end the game.
Box Score Netherlands vs. China
(photos above made by Fred Versluis)
Netherlands vs. Australia
After the 3-hour thriller vs. China, the Dutch Team faced Australia in a game that started 40 minutes later.
And this was a complete different game, as the Dutch Team was unable to produce despite having several baserunners and ended up empty-handed, losing 8-0 in 4½ inning.
Initially, the Dutch appeared to open the score in the first inning.
Britt Vonk led off with a single and advanced to third base on an one-out single by Jessie van Aalst.
But unfortunately, the two stranded.
In the third inning, trailing 4-0, Merel Oosterveld led off with a triple.
She was unable to advance on an infield-hit by Britt Vonk, but the Dutch now had runners on first and third base with no outs.
A pop-fly and double play then ended this scoring opportunity.
In the fourth inning, now trailing 7-0, the Orange got the bases loaded off of new pitcher Jocelyn McCallum.
Saskia Kosterink led off with a walk and Virginie Anneveld singled.
After two strikeouts, the bases got loaded when Nathalie Timmermans also walked, but the bases were left loaded when another strikeout ended the inning.
McCallum then struckout the side in the fifth to end the game.
Australia scored its first run in the first inning off of starter Femke van Dusschoten on a 2-out single by Chelsea Forkin.
Three runs were added in the second inning, also with two outs, thanks to a 2-run double by Stacey Porter and a single by Melinda Weaver, the latter coming off of new pitcher Lindsey Meadows.
Three more runs followed in the third at bat, highlighted by a 2-run triple by Clare Warwick.
A 2-out double by pinch-hitter Rachel Lack in the fourth made it 8-0.
Box Score Netherlands vs. Australia
(photos above made by Fred Versluis)