Myworld is in the Netherlands and we were at Pim Mulier Stadium to watch our first two games yesterday. When you purchase tickets you have to purchase day tickets but it entitles you to both games. There is no reserved seating. Those who get to the park first grab the best seats. With a two to three hour break between the first game and second game very few people leave their seats to sacrifice what they claimed for the Netherlands versus Japan match. You read books, eat at the park or lay your belongings on the seat to reserve them. It was a sellout for the second game with very few seats available in the stadium that holds about 3,000. That is dedicated fandom to stay in the stadium two to three hours to watch the second game.
Taiwan 7 Curacao 0
The first game saw Taiwan battle Curacao, which brought a good crowd for an afternoon game, when most people would be working. Taiwan pitcher Tzu Peng Huang silenced the Curacao bats for eight innings, including the bat of Kelvin Silvania, who came into the game hitting .500. Curacao got a runner to third in the fourth inning, but that was the closest they got to home, limited to six hits. Tzu had a fastball in the high 80s with a decent breaking pitch.
Taiwan scored early off Curacao pitcher Rodienne Albertus. A lack of command of his pedestrian pitches proved to be his undoing, walking the leadoff hitter. Yu-Ting Tsao advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a double landing in the right centerfield gap hit by Tzu-Hsien Chan. Rightfielder Sherwenne Antersign dove for the ball but fell far short of it.
The second inning found the Curacao defense at fault for most of the damage. A one out single by Yu-Chieh Kao got the inning started. Ming-Hung Wu grounded a ball to second. Rupert Ustacia bobbled the ball, then tried to make a hurried throw to first, throwing the ball away. Chung-Yu Chen got a clutch two run single up the middle to score two after a hit batsman and walk loaded the bases. After the inning Taiwan was up 4-0.
Taiwan put the game away in the sixth with three more runs. Yu-Ning Tsao scored three times but was on base all five times he came up, walking twice, singling and getting on base via an error. Chen drove in three runs with his two hits.
Netherlands 7 Japan 3
This was the closest game with the Netherlands pulling away at the end. The one major league prospect was Tomoya Hoshi, who got his fastball up to 95. Myworld did not see a great breaking pitch, but it silenced the Netherland bats for the first three innings. The 7′1″ Loek Van Mil surprised me with his fastball that hit between 95-97. He did not throw one breaking ball retiring the side in order in the ninth with two whiffs.
Hoshi retired the first nine Netherlands hitters he faced, three of them on strikeouts. Gianison Boekhoudt whiffed swinging and missing at a 95 mile per hour fastball.
Lars Hujer was sharp for the Netherlands. His sloppy defense and the team’s sloppy defense allowed the game to be close. Lars was throwing a no hitter when with two outs in the third saw a ground ball hit to first. It looked like Lars would finish three innings without allowing a hit. He dropped the throw from the first baseman allowing Akihiro Yamamoto to reach. Lars exacerbated the issue by throwing to first with Yurendell de Castro having the ball clank off his glove allowing Yamamoto to advance to second. He scored on a Kazunari Ishii single.
The second time the Netherlands faced Hoshi the hitters had more success. Remco Drijer got the inning started with a double down the first base line. Yurendell deCaster ripped a single to right center, the throw too late to get Drijer and deCaster advancing to second on the throw. A walk to Boekhoudt put two runners on for Dwayne Kemp, who sliced a double to the opposite field to score one. Hoshi struck out the final two hitters, Lampe swinging and missing at a 94 mile per hour fastball to keep the deficit to 2-1.
Japan took advantage of more sloppy Netherlands fielding to tie it in the sixth. Akihiro Yamamoto hit a high fly to the opposite field in right. Remco Drijer turned the wrong way, recovered but with the ball tailing away from him it clanked off his glove. Myworld would have given him a two base error but the scorer generously ruled it a double. A bunt single by Kazunari Ishii, when Netherlands second baseman Nick Urbanus was late to the bag put runners on first and third with no out. Lars then threw the ball to third to pick off Yamamoto, but Dwayne Kemp was not at the base and the tying run scored to even it at 2-2. Lars retired the next three hitters to lesson the damage.
A leadoff walk to Boekhoudt in the bottom of the sixth, and two wild pitches, one to get Boekhoudt to second and the other to score him put Netherlands on top 3-2.
The Netherlands did some more booting in the seventh. A single by Mampei Kobayashi brought Taisei Yoshida home when the throw from the leftfielder skipped past the catcher and past the foot of pitcher Berry Van Driel, who tried to use his soccer skills to kick the ball to prevent it from getting past him. He failed to stop the ball from getting past him which could be a testament to his soccer skills. This put runners on second and third with one out, but Van Driel was able to strike out Yamamoto for the second out and retire the third hitter on a pop up to keep the score tied at 3-3.
Netherlands pulled away from the game in the next two innings, taking advantage of a less than stellar deep Japanese bullpen that was working on their fourth pitcher. Two balls hit to the corners, both diving stops that fell short, resulting in two singles for Netherlands and runners on first and second. With one out deCaster hit a slow roller to shortstop, who attempted to turn two, but threw the ball over the head of the second baseman, allowing the Netherlands to break the tie. A Dwayne Kemp single up the middle upped the lead to 5-3. A fifth pitcher, Keisuke Sawada was brought in and struck the last two hitters with the bases loaded and one out to keep the score at 5-3.
Sawada was not so lucky in the eighth. Netherlands scored two more runs, one on a wild pitch and the other after a ball clanked off the left fielders glove to allow Nick Urbanus to score to make it 7-3. That proved too much for Japan to overcome facing Van Mil, who were clearly overmatched with his fastball.
Double header Game Notes: Fans bring in coolers to the game with beverages and sandwiches all wrapped up inside…At the stadium myworld had a frikandahl, a kind of a hot dog to satisfy us through the first game and then the fish sticks or Kleebers between games to get us through the second game. We would recommend the Kleebers…There is smoking allowed inside the stadium, but the fans who do smoke try to go to vacated areas…There is no between innings entertainment. “Sweet Caroline” and “Take me out to the Ballgame” is played with some audience participation. The second game saw the wave used in the later innings and the breaking out in song that you would normally see in a soccer game, with cheering after the song is completed…There is limited shade seating so if you are going to an afternoon game you may have to sit in the sun…The tickets entitle you inside the stadium. There appears to be no reserved seating. You stake your claim to the seat by placing your possessions on it if you plan to leave. Behind the stands they had tented suites that were filled for the second game…They have a small video board, but they need a larger one to make it viable. I hardly looked at it, focusing more on the scoreboard, which posted the player name and his average…It will cost you a half Euro to use the rest room. That is not too bad when you consider you are getting clean restrooms because someone has accountability for keeping it clean…There were a number of kids climbing on the dugouts in an attempt to get the Netherlands players autographs before the second game.