A long hot day...|
NERATOVICE (Czech Republic) - Tuesday was a long and hot day for Terrasvogels on Day 2 of the European Cup Tournament in the Czech Republic. In the afternoon, the team was handed an unexpected loss vs. Dornbirn Sharx from Austria, but in the evening, the Santpoort-squad showed what it is capable of and defeated Brasschaat Braves, 7-1. On Wednesday, Head Coach Glen Roff's team meets Skövde Saints from Sweden and is still on track for reaching the second round, which starts on Thursday.
Oh, and another thing, what a miracle the human body is. On Monday, Nicole Wessels sustained what appeared to be a serious lower back injury and couldn't even move. Today, she was able to walk around again steadily. Not yet in a playing mood, but good enough to walk, sit down and carry things around. And that, of course, was a great view after yesterday's incident in the opening game against Legnano.
For decades, teams from the Netherlands and Italy dominated the European Cup-tournaments.
In the preliminary rounds, teams from other countries were simply beaten most of the times to set up a final between the representatives of these two European arch-rivals.
But that period is now history.
Since the coming of the so-called pick-up players, most teams add foreign players especially for the tournament. These players have no history with the club and can even be picked up from teams within their own league.
And so, most of the participating teams add foreign pitchers.
As a result, the games in the European Cup Tournaments not only gained a higher level, but also got unpredictable results.
And that's what happened today against Dornbirn Sharx, which already had an international team the last few years and captured the Austrian championship the last six years in a row.
For this tournament, Dornbirn added Australian pitcher Jocelyn McCallum, who last year was a member of the national Australian team and faced the Dutch national team.
The righthander showed why Dornbirn is still unbeaten after three games, as she struckout ten batters and gave up only five hits.
Dornbirn opened the score in the first inning on a walk, sacrifice bunt, passed ball and a single, but Terrasvogels came alongside immediately.
Nathalie Gosewehr led off with a walk, advanced on a sac-bunt by Petra van Heijst and scored on a single by Dana Horeman.
But was to be all for Terrasvogels, which got two more runners into scoring position later in the at bat, but would strand six runners in the remainder of the game.
Also, the team hadn't had the luck on its side. One runner was caught stealing (close call), another was picked off and there was a line drive double play, but McCallum retired the last eight batters of the game in order.
On the Terrasvogels-side, pitcher Crissy Autry hadn't her best day in the circle.
The American pitcher, who recently recovered from a sickness after returning from China, where she attended the Olympic Games in Beijing, struckout seven, but also gave up twelve basehits.
In the third inning, Dornbirn broke the 1-1 tie when a run was scored on a passed ball, then added a run in the fourth on two singles.
After leaving runners behind in the fifth and sixth inning, the Austrian team added two insurance runs in the seventh at bat.
A lead-off double was then followed by a single, a runscoring wild pitch and an one-out, RBI-single to make it 5-1.
In between games, most of the players hide in the shadow, as it was very warm today with temperatures reaching the 27 degrees Celsius.
But it was also possible to walk around a little and see some scenery of Neratovice, which is located less than 30 minutes drive by bus from Prague, has 16.400 inhabitants and has the river Elbe running through it.
The city also is the location of a big chemical plant.
By the way, Dutch Umpire Commissioner Rob Kerkman took 1 1/2 hour to reach the softball-field, as his Czech driver took a wrong turn and ended up some 40 kilometers outside of Prague, but not in the neighbourhood of Neratovice.
Eventually, Rob did arrive on the playing site.
After the team held a meeting to go over the details of the previous game, it showed what it is capable of doing.
Head Coach Glen Roff had made some changes in the starting line-up and batting order and the team took charge of the game from the beginning and was agressive in hitting and on the basepaths.
After a scoreless first inning, Terrasvogels scored three runs in the second at bat.
Solange Starrenburg led off with an infield-hit, then advanced to third base when a throwing error followed on a sacrifice bunt by next batter Linda Hoenderdos.
Solange then beat the throw to home on a fielder's choice-grounder by Olga Kleinlooh, who did the catching in this game.
Next, Linda scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by Shannah van der Kaaij.
With one out, Olga scored all the way from first base on a double by Blake Hoorelbeke to make it 3-0.
The fourth run was added in the third inning.
With one out, Solange Starrenburg doubled, moved on an error and scored on a fielder's choice-grounder.
Three runs were then scored in the fourth to make it 7-0.
In this at bat, Blake Hoorelbeke walked, then her pinch-runner Nathalie Gosewehr stole second and later scored when an error was made at the plate on a fielder's choice-grounder by Petra van Heijst.
Next, Marieke Jansen singled and both she and Petra scored when another Belgian error was made on a 2-out grounder by Solange Starrenburg, who reached base four times and also added a double in the sixth inning.
Blake Hoorelbeke started the game for Terrasvogels as pitcher and struckout six batters, while giving up only two hits in the four innings she threw.
With a 7-0 lead, Kirsten Scheele took over the pitching in the fifth.
Only three outs were needed to end the slow-paced game, but Brasschaat prevented a mercy-rule ending, by scoring their lone run in this at bat.
The team got the bases loaded with one out, but then the lead runner was forced out at home on a strong throw from short stop Petra van Heijst.
However, next batter Debby Connor followed with an infield-hit to give Brasschaat a run, before another grounder ended the at bat.
As the run-difference was now six, the game had to continue.
In the home of the sixth, Terrasvogels was close to ending it after all, as Marieke Jansen was waved home all the way from first base on a double by Solange Starrenburg, but she was thrown out at the plate on a nice play by the Belgian defense, which, by the way, committed seven errors.
In the seventh inning, Brasschaat reached base two more times, but was unable to add more runs off Kirsten, who struckout four batters in the last two innings.
Earlier in the day, Legnano lost one of its prominent hitters, as Christina Rolla twisted her knee while batting in the game against Skövde and had to be supported back into the bus.
In the game against Brasschaat, she had hit another homerun, as she also had done vs. Terrasvogels the day before.
But hey, everything these teams hit now, they won't hit later in the week, isn't it?
Terrasvogels also has a good and solid team. Have no worries, the hitting and victories will come. We're simply the best!
Terrasvogels enters the softball-field in Neratovice for today's games
Players look to the game between Legnano and Brasschaat
Dutch Umpire Bob Gieskens makes a call at 1B in the Legnano-Brasschaat game
Head Coach Glen Roff goes over the details before the first game
Annemiek van Riessen, Marieke Jansen, Dagmar Bloeming, Nathalie Gosewehr
and Solange Starrenburg prepare before the game vs. Dornbirn
The team plays a game before the match-up against Dornbirn Sharx
The coaches of Terrasvogels and Dornbirn meet with the umpires
Players of Terrasvogels and Dornbirn exchange gifts before the game
A look into the Terrasvogels dug-out
Pitcher Crissy Autry throwing vs. Dornbirn Sharx
Head Coach Glen Roff goes over a situation with batter Linda Hoenderdos
Solange Starrenburg beats a throw and reaches 2nd base in the 4th inning...
...but needs some treatment, after she had slid into second base
Martin de Jonker assists
Nathalie Gosewehr singles to lead off the fifth inning
Shannah van der Kaaij cheers her teammates from the dug-out
Between the games, some of us walked around in Neratovice
and ended up at the Elbe River
More scenic photos of the center of the old center of Neratovice
The team waits for the next game in the shadow of some trees in centerfield
Injured Legnano-player Christina Rolla is assisted to the team's bus
The team returns from a meeting before the game vs. Brasschaat
Assistant Coach Michael Laarman hits some grounders
On the left is Annemiek van Riessen
Starting pitcher Blake Hoorelbeke
Debby Connor playing third base for Brasschaat Braves
Glen Roff coaching at third base for Terrasvogels
Kirsten Scheele, who completed the game
The team looks back to the game against Brasschaat
Afterwards, Physical Therapist Natalie Landsaat found a local friend