Netherlands Downs Spain for European Championship

The Netherlands was missing Kalian Sams, one of their top hitters when the game started because his wife was giving birth. He did arrive in the fourth inning and was put in the game in the 8th inning as a defensive replacement. That was the only inning in which Spain scored both their runs.

The Netherlands took an early 2-0 lead on a Nick Urbanus two run single in the second inning. With runners on first and third with one out Netherlands had the chance to score more but a fielder’s choice at home and a Yurendell de Caster strikeout with the bases loaded killed any remaining threat. Yurendell would make up for his failure in the 10th inning.

Antonio Noguera came on to pitch the third against the Netherlands and quieted their bats for the next five innings. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven. The Netherlands went with Rob Cordemans for the first four innings and Lars Huijer for the next three to keep Spain off the scoreboard. They finally put together a rally in the 8th off Shairon Martis, whose biggest claim to fame is pitching a no hitter in the first World Baseball Classic against South Africa.

Martis gave up a hit to the first batter he faced Oscar Angulo. The second hitter Engel Beltre also singled. The Dutch were fortunate to pick off Angulo at second for the first out. With two outs Jesus Martinez mashed a ball into right field for a two run homer to tie the game at 2-2.

The Netherlands blew an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom frame. With runners at first and second and one out Kalian Sams singled to left field. Yurendell de Caster, who had doubled to start the inning stopped at third, but Gianison Boekhoudt, who had been walked intentionally was caught advancing too far off second and was thrown out by the catcher. Randolph Oduber struck out to leave de Caster stranded at third.

Spain could not score in the top of the 10th with runners on second and third with one out. Oscar Angulo and Engel Beltre both struck out against Netherlands closer Loek Van Mil. The Netherlands had their opportunity to put runners on first and second. Andres Perez, facing his first batter in the tenth Christopher Garia hit him to load the bases with no one out. Yurendell de Caster ended the game with a walk off single up the middle, making amends for his failure to drive in a run in the second inning.

The Netherlands Van Der Meer Stijn won the MVP award for the tournament. It was his second MVP award in the last three months after being awarded the MVP of the Honkball tournament in July. Stijn was a 34th round pick by the Astros in the 2016 draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He played in 21 rookie league games hitting .329. He plays shortstop for the Netherlands but for the Astros he bounced around between shortstop and second base, with some action at third.

For the Netherlands it was their second consecutive championship. Italy had won the previous two after the Netherlands had put together five straight championships. For Spain they had finished in third place for five out of the last six championships. The second place finish was their highest result since the championships began, when they finished in second for the first European championships in 1954 and won the second European championships in 1955. After those first two they have never been able to finish better than third.

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