The Kingdom of the Netherlands “hosted” Taiwan in their second game of the tournament. In an exciting game in which the score went back and forth, the Dutch came back from trailing 5-4 and eventually walked off as a winner with a 6-5 win, due to a bases loaded walk.
In a must win game for Taiwan, Jair Jurrjens took the mound for team Kingdom of the Netherlands. Manager Hensley Meulens took this decision because of the experience that Jurrjens has in the Taiwanese professional league, the CPBL. Jurrjens pitched almost one season for the Uni President 7-Eleven Lions and had some mixed results. Eventually, he was released due to a nagging injury.
The decision to send Jurrjens out to the mound was a bit unlucky perhaps. In the first two innings Jurrjens worked his way through the inning without any damage. But in the third inning he started to struggle. Back-to-back singles, a wild pitch and a sac fly allowed the Taiwanese to score two runs. At the start of the fourth frame, Jurrjens had to be replaced because he had reached the maximum number of pitches.
Lars Huijer replaced Jurrjens. Huijer started well in the fourth, retiring the side, but in the fifth the Taiwanes saw his pitches well as they scored three runs on a two run blast and one on a force out at second base when Chih-Hsien Chiang scored the go-ahead run.
In the previous innings the Dutch took a 1-0 lead in the second when Didi Gregorius scored from third on Dashenko Ricardo’s line drive to center field. Two innings later, the Dutch took a 4-2 lead when Didi Gregorius doubled to left field and drove in Wladimir Balentien from second and Jonathan Schoop from first.
With the help of his defense, Mike Bolsenbroek managed to work his way through the sixth, seventh and eighth inning. One play that deserves to be mentioned was the double play that Andrelton Simmons ignited as he caught a fly ball hit by Chih-Hao Chang and gunned down Chin-Lung Hu at first base.
But as the game continued, the Taiwanese showed their excellent defense. On the pitching of Shao-Ching Chiang the Dutch were not able to score runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. But in the eighth inning it looked like the Dutch started a rally when Xander Bogaerts and Wladimir Balentien hit back-to-back singles but Jonathan Schoop then hit into a very questionable double play that advanced Bogaerts to first. Very questionable because in the replace it became very clear that Schoop should have been called safe.But eventually, Bogaerts scored the game-tying run when Didi Gregorius hit his third double of the game.Hensley Meulens sent Shairon Martis to the mound to keep Taiwan at bay and he succeeded in doing his job as he retired the side in the ninth. The Dutch on their turn loaded the bases as Dashenko Ricardo reached first base on a throwing error, Randolph Oduber was hit by a pitch and Andrelton Simmons singled to center field. Jurickson Profar kept his nerves and wasn’t too eager as he drew a six-pitch walk to walk in the winning run. Quite an anticlimax, but a win is a win.
The win went to Shairon Martis who pitched a perfect ninth frame.
The Best hitter for Kingdom of the Netherlands was Wladimir Balentien, who went 4 for 4 with a run scored. The most impact had Didi Gregorius, going 3 for 4 with three doubles and three runs batted in and two runs scored.
Thanks to this win, the Dutch advance to the second round in Tokyo toghether with Israel. Tomorrow’s game will be for the bragging rights and for the win of the group.
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