The Asia Winter Baseball league has started again. Teams with talented young players will participate. This year, like every year, the Japanese NPB, the Korean KBO and the Taiwanese CPBL will send a team. But this year the European Baseball League, CBE, will send a delegation too. This team will replace the Dominican Republic.
First no Dutch players would participate, but in the last weeks eight have been added to the European roster: Lars Huijer (former Mariners farm hand and now playing for his hometown Vaessen Pioniers),Maickel Rietel (also from Vaessen Pioniers), Robin Schel and Rashid Gerard (both L&D Amsterdam Pirates), Kevin Weijgertse (HCAW Bussum), Daniel Fernandes and Urving Kemp (Curacao Neptunus) and Matz Schütte (Minnesota Twins organization).
The biggest chunk of players comes from the Italian Baseball League: twelve.
The complete roster of the European team is:
Milvio Andreozzi (Nettuno 2), Leonel Cespedes (Templiers de Sénart), Filippo Crepaldi (Fortitudo Bologna), Lucas Dickman (Regensburg Legionäre), Diego Fabiani (Ronchi dei Legionari), Gianny Fracchiolla (Regensburg Legionäre), Kruno Gojkovic (Olimpija Karlovac), Lars Huijer (Vaessen Pioniers), Owen Ozanich (Rouen Huskies), Maickel Rietel (Vaessen Pioniers), Javier Sanchez (Atlanta Braves), Robin Schel (L&D Amsterdam), Matz Schütte (Minnesota Twins), Bryan Sheldon (Bollate) and Daniel Thieben (Paderborn Untouchables).
Alessandro Deotto (Parma), Chris Howard (Regensburg Legionäre) and Alberto Mineo (Chicago Cubs)
Premek Chroust (Draci Brno), Freddy Noguera (Parma), Rashid Gerard (L&D Amsterdam), Luca Martone (Padova), Mattia Mercuri (Nettuno 2) and Kevin Weijgertse (HCAW)
Sam Buelens (Toronto Blue Jays), Maik Ehmcke (Arizona Diamondbacks), Daniel Fernandes (Curaçao Neptunus), Federico Giordani (Los Angeles Dodgers), Urving Kemp (Curaçao Neptunus) and Sebastiano Poma (Parma).
Today the European team took on the Korean delegation.
Lars Huijer took the mound for Europe and gave up three runs in the second inning to the Koreans. At bat the Dutch players that participated in this game, were not quite successful yet. Urving Kemp went 0 for 5, and pinch hitters Daniel Fernandes (0 for 1) and Rashid Gerard (0 for 2) could not impress yet. The only successful Dutch hitter was Kevin Weijgertse, who collected four hits (one of them a homerun )and was promptly named MVP of the game.
The Europeans took a lead three times but in as many times they let their opponent come back. Dutch pitchers Robin Schel and Matz Schütte both allowed a run. Eventually Italian closer Milvio Andreozzi shut the door in the bottom of the ninth to hold the 9-9 tie.
In an interview with De Nederlandse Honkbalsite, earlier this week, one of the European Coaches, Ivan Rodriguez, said that participating in this winter league will not be easy. But in the very first game the Europeans proved to be a worthy replacement for the Dominican Republic and left a nice impression.
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