by Pim van Nes
Trailing in Holland Series as from scratch, defending champion DOOR Neptunus needed to beat L&D Amsterdam Pirates all three times since game 4 in the traditional Best of Seven for the 2014 national championship of the Netherlands. Neptunus lost home games 1 and 2, then halved the gap twice in road games in Amsterdam thanks to usual starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell and rare starting pitcher Berry van Driel. Back in Rotterdam the home team missed Markwell due to a suspension and once more usual closer Van Driel got the start for Neptunus. In their Familie stadium Neptunus beat Pirates 8-3 in game 6 and 1-0 in game 7 and clinched the Dutch national baseball title 2014. Occasional starter Berry van Driel received the MVP Award for Holland Series 2014.
The city of Rotterdam booked its 24th national baseball title, thanks to 9 championships collected by Sparta since 50 years ago and 15 by Neptunus since 1981. For Mister Neptunus Frans van Aalen, former Dutch minor league player and founder of the Dutch major league club Neptunus, the fresh championship indeed means number 15. DOOR creator Bart van Luijk told Mister-Baseball.com that for him it is baseball title number 12 and for Geoffrey Kohl the 2014 championship is his first success as new club president. Together with more good old baseball fans they hugged and congratulated each other in front of the press box after the closing ceremony. Last year’s championship was a straight rally of 4-0, but this time they struggled back from 2 games behind.
Even in game 6 on Saturday, DOOR Neptunus faced an early lead by visiting L&D Amsterdam Pirates, but their starting pitcher Orlando Yntema grew stronger every inning and when Benjamin Dille at 5-3 in the 8th inning drove in 3 insurance runs, their club completed a race behind Pirates, which started two weeks before. As a matter of fact, the first time Neptunus got ahead in the seven games series, was in the bottom of the sixth frame of yesterday’s game 7. What later turned out the only run of the all decisive game was scored by Raily Legito on a ground ball batted by Dwayne Kemp on smart pitching Rob Cordemans. Home starter Berry van Driel pitched a two hitter till deep in the eighth inning and earned the win of the finale game of Holland Series. Neptunus closer Kevin Kelly faced four Pirates batters and kept the bases clean for the 1-0 victory.
Games 6 and 7 of these Holland Series were covered by NOS TV for live streaming on internet and live broadcast on television on Sunday. Baseball exposure by media was favored by the soccer free weekend in Europe and by the return of Indian summer on Sunday. Other media active in the stadium on the last baseball Sunday of Hoofdklasse season were NOS Radio, regional radio stations Rijnmond and Noord-Holland, newspapers Algemeen Dagblad and Het Parool, websites Mister-Baseball.com and Honkbalsite.com and many photographers. Among the fans we spotted several baseball vips, such as CEB president Jan Esselman, former TD Robert Eenhoorn and new TD Gijs Selderijk, former president Gerard Vaandrager and present president Bart Volkerijk for World Port Tournament in Rotterdam and Haarlem Honkbal Week director Roderick Balk. KNBSB vice president Frits Mulder attended the game in order to give the championship cup to the winning captain.
Photos by Rob Jelsma and Hans Zoethoutmaar (MVP Berry van Driel)