U18 World Cup 2017: Dutch beat Italy in close game

U18

In a very close game against its eternal archrival, the Kingdom of the Netherlands bested Italy. Despite collecting fewer hits, the Dutch scored one run more than the Italians did as they took advantage of the miscues the Italians made. Final score: 2-1

In the first inning, the Italian defense was a bit shaky already. Starting pitcher Michele Vassalotti started the game with giving up a walk to Jeandro Tromp. Tromp advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, Makesiondon Kelkboom also drew a walk, but this time on another wild pitch that allowed Tromp to advance to third. After Richgelon Juliana struck out. When Makesiondon Kelkboom stole second, Jeandro Tromp could score the opening run as the Italian catcher threw towards second base in an attempt to throw out Kelkboom, but second baseman Ricardo Paolini did not handle the ball well and thus allowed Tromp to score. But despite another walk and another error, the Dutch didn’t score more runs and thus kept Italy in the game.

In the mean time, Dutch starter Donny Breek, cruised through the first four innings in which he retired the side, though in the fourth he got some help from his defense, after he gave up the first hit, as the Dutch fielders turned a double play.

In the fifth, the Italians started to see his pitches. With runners in scoring position, Lorenzo Morresi drove in Ricardo Paolini on a 6-3 groundout.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Dutch did not need the help of the Italian defense and they showed how to produce a run. Tijmen Takke drew a lead off walk and advanced to third on two ground outs. Makesiondon Kelkboom then singled to first base to drive in Tijmen Takke for the game winning run.

Donny Breek pitched eight solid innings. In six of them, he retired the side. Only in the seventh inning, he got into trouble a bit when he gave up two singles and a walk to give the Italians a runner at third base, but eventually, Donny got out of the inning without any damage.

So Donny earned the win as he gave up only one run on three hits and three walks and struck out nine. Donny needed 112 pitches of which 72 were called for a strike. Aaron de Groot pitched the final inning for the save, in which he gave up one hit.

Makesiondon Kelkboom was the best hitter for the Dutch as he went 1 for 3 with a RBI. Dylan Koster got the other hit as he went 1 for 4.

Thanks to this win, the Dutch have clinched the eighth spot. Despite the fact that they did not make the super round, the team can be satisfied with the outcome. They won the games that had to be won and gave opponents like Cuba and Japan a hard time. In those two games, they had a good chance to win but lacked a bit of luck to end up at the right side of the score.

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