by Pim van Nes
European and Netherlands champions Corendon Kinheim from Haarlem has qualified for the playoffs of the national major league, called Hoofdklasse, seven games before the start of the postseason. On Sunday the defending champion suffered a mercy rule defeat versus DOOR Neptunus in Rotterdam, runner-up in the present standings of the regular season and number four of last year’s campaign. The other club from Rotterdam, Sparta/Feyenoord, lost unexpectedly on the road versus ADO The Hague and lost sight on the first spot in the Hoofdklasse standings. It is not very likely, that even the fourth spot can be reached in the last seven games to be played by Olympic stars Rob Cordemans and Percey Isenia and their teammates, ranked fifth at four games behind Konica Minolta Pioniers from Hoofddorp.
Without unforeseen blackouts by the present numbers two, three and four, the other three playoff spots will be occupied by DOOR Neptunus, the L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Konica Minolta Pioniers. The latter two have won all three games since the re-opening of the Hoofdklasse season after the national team of the Netherlands represented Europe as continental champion in the Olympic Games. However, the two top clubs in the Netherlands were defeated since the restart: Kinheim once and Neptunus even twice.
Yesterday in Rotterdam Neptunus was close to lose their third game trailing 0-3 in the second inning, but with two club members back home from professional baseball the remaining lineup members Andy Leer, Benjamin Dille, Martijn Meeuwis and Jeffrey Arends doubled, singled, singled and homered for a 9-3 comeback in the very same second inning. The Kinheim defense had been opened by Kinheim shortstop Roel Koolen committing back-to-back errors and disrupting rookie pitcher Robin van Eis’ strong performance on the mound. Neptunus had closed in to 2-3 and singled twice, when national team player Koolen made his third error in the inning allowing Mexican League player Sharnol Adriana his first base in his second at-bat. Remaining first base man Jeffrey Arends then homered with two men on, driving in runs seven, eight and nine for Neptunus. The 9-3 lead was conserved and Kinheim was beaten 14-4 in eight innings.
Yesterday your Mister Baseball reporter in Holland was seated between two MLB mothers: at his right hand side next to the best fan of Rien Vernooij (New York Mets) and at left by the best fan of Gregory Halman (Seattle Mariners). Vernooij came back to Rotterdam after his first professional season spent with the Mets in the Venezuela Summer League and Gregory Halman was promoted from Single A to Double A, where he will help his teammates of West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in the playoffs. Rien Vernooij enjoyed his parents’ attention as third base man for Neptunus in his first home game in Rotterdam this year and Gregory’s brother Jason Halman as designated hitter for Kinheim was cheered by the all American sports mother of also a basketball playing daughter. In the eight innings game Jason Halman got only three at bats and reached base once, but Rien Vernooij singled once, doubled once, drove in two, scored twice including the mercy rule claiming last run of the game.
Winning pitcher for Neptunus was Jurjen van Zijl, who recovered well from Kinheim’s shocking start in the first inning, when Tjerk Smeets and Roel Koolen drove in three runs almost spoiling the business club party of DOOR Neptunus hosted in the Familie Stadium before and during the game. Van Zijl was rescued by his teammates in the box score producing homeruns in the second inning (Arends for three runs) and in the third inning by Eugene Kingsale for two runs. In case the game would have been lost by Neptunus, also the club’s second place in the standings would have been lost to Amsterdam Pirates nearing the playoffs with their home advantage for clubs one and two of the final regular season standings.
Corendon Kinheim and Konica Minolta Pioniers have the toughest schedule during the last two weeks of the regular season. Kinheim has to face L&D Amsterdam twice and Pioniers twice between now and next week Tuesday. Number four Pioniers will host Kinheim next Thursday September 4 and once more on Tuesday September 9 for the remaining innings of the interrupted brawl game of May 18. Additionally the Pioniers has one game in hand versus Amsterdam and two versus Neptunus. These four clubs are pretty sure of a post season position, but which position has to be decided for each of them in the last two weeks before post season. Every club can finish first and every club can finish fourth.
Pim van Nes
Baseball writer for
|Dates and Times are subject to change! In case of doubt check with the responsible national federation!|
|Wednesday, September 03 2008|
|19:45||Konica Minolta Pioniers||ADO||Hoofddorp - Spo...|
|19:45||MediaMonks RCH||Sparta/Feyenoord||Heemstede - Hee...|
|Thursday, September 04 2008|
|19:45||ADO||DOOR Neptunus||Den Haag - Leen...|
|19:45||Konica Minolta Pioniers||Corendon Kinheim||Hoofddorp - Spo...|
|19:45||Mr.Cocker HCAW||MediaMonks RCH||Bussum - Sportv...|
|19:45||Sparta/Feyenoord||Amsterdam Pirates||Rotterdam - Spo...|
|4||Konica Minolta Pioniers||28||14||290||165||.666||4||W1|