This game was about nothing as both teams had reached the second round already. And that showed as the Dutch team took the hitting a bit too lightly. Eventually, the team lost 4-2 and finishes second in group A.
In what could have been advertised as the clash of the Titans of group A, the Kingdom of the Netherlands trailed early as Israel took a 3-0 lead. Good old Robbie Cordemans started promising by retiring leadoff hitter Sam Fuld on a 6-3 ground out. But from there he got into trouble as he struggled through the first inning. A walk, a single, a double and a 4-3 ground out gave Israel a 2-0 lead. Another single by Ryan Lavarnway drove in the third run for Israel. In the top of the first inning, Jurickson Profar blew a scoring chance as he was too aggressive as he overran third base on a fly out to center field.
It looked like the Dutch took this game a bit lightly as they tried to hit for the fences in the first innings, resulting in several fly outs. But the Dutch got on the board in the top of the third frame.
After a walk, drawn by Randolph Oduber, Jurickson Profar just missed a homerun as he doubled off the rightfield wall to put runners in scoring position. Xander Bogaerts grounded out 5-3 to put the Dutch on the board.
Manager Jerry Weinstein of Israel, who has no record of professional baseball but is in the coaching business since 1966, shrewdly used his pitching staff as he used a different pitcher in each inning. In that way, he kept the Dutch lineup off balanced for most of the game. And in this way, the game moved on without really much happening.
In the top of the sixth inning, Jurickson Profar hit into the gap between center and right field for a double, but as he aggressively tried to stretch it into a triple he was thrown out on a 9-6-5 out.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lars Huijer got into trouble as he loaded the bases. He got some help by his infield as they turned a 6-3 double play, but they could not prevent Israel from scoring another run. Huijer got out of the inning by striking out Ryan Lavarnway.
In the eighth inning, the Dutch did something back at last. With the bases loaded, Jonathan Schoop reached on a throwing error that allowed his brother Sharlon to score the second run for team Kingdom of the Netherlands. But the next hitter, Didi Gregorius, took the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending double play. Josh Zeid retired the side in the ninth inning for the Israeli victory.
Sure there was nothing at stake, but the Dutch could have put a little bit more effort into the hitting. You can wonder if they were doing a good job as Israel’s pitchers needed 6-8 pitches in some innings.
Despite giving up four runs, the Dutch pitching did a decent job, keeping the team in the game for nine innings even though things did not look quite good after the first frame.
The Dutch will move on to Tokyo where they will face Israel (again), Japan and the number two of group B, which will be decided in the game between Cuba and Australia.
This report was brought to you by Score66 Baseball.