France International Baseball Tournament: Major upset

A major upset tonight in Sénart. The French national team gave the Dutch a spanking with a 12-8 victory over the orange squad.

The Dutch started the game with a two run inning when Nick Urbanus drew a walk after Michael Duursma popped out at first base. Urbanus advanced on a passed ball by catcher Andy Paz. A homerun by first baseman Curt Smith put the Dutch on the board with two runs. But the French team wasn’t impressed by the early lead of the Dutch. Maxime Lefevre led off with a single towards second base, followed by a double to left field by Pierre Turette. A single by René Leveret put the French on the board: 2-1 Netherlands.

Both teams had identical innings in the second (no runs), in the third (one run for both) and in the fourth innings (no runs).

In the bottom of the fifth Mike Bolsenbroek replaced starter Orlando Yntema. Maxime Lefevre proved to be a teaser for Mike Bolsenbroek. He drew a walk of the Dutch reliever and after a couple of pick off attempts he stole second base. Lack of control, resulting in a wild pitch, allowed Lefevre to advance to third base. It seemed that Bolsenbroek settled down when he struck out Felix Brown but another wild pitch allowed Lefevre to tie the game at three. After Pierre Turettes struck out as well, René Leveret hit a solo shot over the center field fence. This was only an omen what was about to come.

The Dutch managed to tie the game in the top of the sixth when Gianison Boekhoudt drew a walk followed by a double down the left field line hit by Kalian Sams. Yurendell de Caster singled through the left side of the infield to drive in Boekhoudt for the tying run.

But in their sixth at bat, the French flexed their muscles. With two outs and Andy Paz at first base, Mike Bolsenbroek couldn’t get out of the inning. Paz advanced to third base on a single by Jacques Boucheron. Then Mike Bolsenbroek gave up the fifth run for the French when he threw another wild pitch and Boucheron advanced to second base. Then Maxime Lefevre singled down the left field line to drive in Boucheron. Apparently Bolsenbroek threw a melon when Felix Brown slammed a triple down to left center field. After Bolsenbroek gave up a walk to Pierre Turettes, manager Steve Jansen decided to pull Bolsenbroek and replace him with Jurrian Koks. But Koks wasn’t able to close the flood gates either. Two singles by René Leveret and Aram Kushigian drove in Brown and Turettes. The final batter in the seventh inning would be Arthur Paturel. Paturel doubled down the right field line and drove in Kushigian and Leveret. But Paturel tried to stretch his double into a triple and was bowled of third base after a strong throw by right fielder Gianison Boekhoudt to third baseman Nick Urbanus. And all of a sudden the score went from 4-4 to 11-4.

In the seventh, the French added another run to their score when Jorge Hereaud scored from second base on a double by… Maxime Lefevre.

After both teams didn’t score in the eighth inning, the Dutch did everything they could to make the score more bearable. With one out Dashenko Ricardo singled to left field and advanced to third base on a ground out (1-3) by Michael Duursma. Then Urbanus doubled down the left field line to drive in Ricardo. Curt Smith drove the ball into left field and advanced on the fielding error by left fielder Pierre Turettes. Nick Urbanus scored on the occasion. With Curt Smith on second base, Gianison Boekhoudt homered to right center field for the final score: 12-8.

The Dutch pitchers didn’t have a good outing. Orlando Yntema pitched four innings in which he allowed two runs on six hits. Yntema struck out three. In 1.2 innings Mike Bolsenbroek allowed seven earned runs on five hits, two walks and three wild pitches. He also fanned three. Jurrian Koks pitched 1.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out two and walked none. The only pitcher that kept the French squad in check was Juan Kevin Kelly*. In one inning Kelly didn’t allow a hit and struck out one.

Can you say that the French pitchers did well? Not really (with the exception of Matthieu Brelle), but at least they pitched better than their Dutch counterparts. Jonathan Mottay worked four innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks. Matthieu Brelle lasted three innings for the win and allowed just one run on two hits. Brelle also fanned one batter and walked one. Lucas Serafin pitched two innings in which he allowed four runs on five hits and gave up one base on balls.

I don’t think that it doesn’t come as a surprise that René Leveret was
the game’s MVP: 4 for 5 with a homerun

What can I say about this game? Sure it is a preparation game in which a manager tries some things out. Those things didn’t really pan out. The Dutch pitching underperformed but wasn’t helped by their defense, which committed two errors, either. Even though this was just a practice game, I think this loss never may have happened. I have to be carefull with this remark not to be too arrogant, because the French did a splendid job. Besides the fact that they jumped on Mike Bolsenbroek and Jurrian Koks, they also managed to score two runs with Orlando Yntema on the mound; who is, in my opinion, still one of the best pitchers in the Dutch competition.

Therefore I tip my cap to the French squad tonight. I hope that the Dutch will get their revenge tomorrow.

* The stats of the game show Juan Carlos Sulbaran as last pitcher for the Dutch. But according to several sources from the Dutch baseball Federation, Kevin Kelly pitched the final inning.

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