World Baseball Classic Pool D: Netherlands – Dominican Republic 2-1 (11)
DOM 000 000 000 01 1 7 3 NED 000 000 000 02 2 5 1
Unbelievable. The Netherlands pulled off the second upset in the 2009 World Baseball Classic against the Dominican Republic in a few days and advance besides Puerto Rico to round two. They stunningly countered a Dominican run in the eleventh inning to win by a final score of 2-1. Obviously one of the biggest victories in European Baseball history.
The Dominican Republic wanted payback for their 2-3 loss from last Saturday and put their best potential offensive lineup on the field. David Ortiz, usually a designated hitter, started at first to bring Hanley Ramirez into the game besides shortstop Jose Reyes. With Miguel Tejada at third this might not be the best defensive infield, but certainly has enough power to out-slug every team in the world.
But this was only theory, as the Dutch pitching was able to hold the Dominicans in check for ten-plus innings. In the eleventh a fielding error by right fielder Eugene Kingsale allowed Reyes, who had reached with two outs on a walk, to score all the way from first, when the flyball of Jose Bautista slipped past the diving Kingsale to the wall.
However the Netherlands didn’t give up, pulling of one of the most stunning upsets in baseball history against one of the best relievers in the game. Pinch hitter Sidney de Jong led off the bottom of the frame with a double off the left-center wall against Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs. Pinch hitter Curt Smith grounded out to shortstop Reyes, advancing De Jong to third. He scored and tied the game on Kingsale’s flyball single to right field, making up for his error a few moments earlier.
Marmol tried to pick off Kingsale at first, but ironically new first baseman Willy Aybar, a usually much better defender than Ortiz, couldn’t catch the ball, which went through, allowing Kingsale to advance all the way to third base. Sharlon Schoop struck out swinging to make it two outs. Yurendell de Caster stepped to the plate, worked a full count, before hitting a sharp groundball to Aybar at first, who wasn’t able to field the ball. Kingsale scored and the Dutch celebrations begun after the impressive well-deserved victory in walk-off style. The decisive rally in a clip on MLB.com
Manager Rod Delmonico was touched in the post game press conference. Quote:
“Our guys came together as a team, and, miraculously, we won,” said Dutch manager Rod Delmonico after the victory.
“It was not because we are a better team than they are,” Delmonico explained, referring to the Dominicans. “They are one of the best teams in the world. Collectively, we just played hard and it happened.”
“Our guys were upset that they scored,” said Delmonico. “The mood in the dugout was, ‘Hey, it’s our turn.’ When they came in, everybody was up. We were ready to go to bat. It was not a mood [of] feeling sorry for themselves.”
Delmonico had to fight off tears during his postgame news conference when talking about his team.
“I am a blessed man to have had the opportunity to manage them,” he said of his Netherlands players.
It was certainly a long way to the win. Dominican starter Ubaldo Jimenez, blessed with a 95+ MPH fastball, dominated the first four innings at will. He overpowered the Dutch pitchers with his impressive stuff, striking out a World Baseball Classic record-setting ten of the first 13 batters. He gave up just two singles. And it didn’t get much easier in the following innings. Pedro Martinez, Tony Pena, Rafael Perez and Damaso Marte combined to throw six innings of brilliant relief, giving up just one hit and a hit by pitch. But Marmol couldn’t close it out, though their offense isn’t blameless either.
The Netherlands pitching also held the zeros for the first ten innings, setting up the exciting final period. Starter Tom Stuifbergen gave up five hits and two walks in four innings, striking out three. Alex Smit, Rob Cordemans, Dennis Neuman and Diegomar Markwell induced one more hit and four walks until the tenth. Leon Boyd (W 1-0) entered the game with two outs in the first extra inning and picked up the win.