With a team of independent minor leaguers, pitchers from the Dutch hoofdklasse and several players that hadn’t played a game in a year, the Dutch took on Venezuela in the second game of the Final Olympic Qualifier. It didn’t pan out well as the Dutch fell to the Venezuelans 9-3.
Since players from the Caribbean, South and Central America feast on fastballs, manager Hensley Meulens sent Diegomar Markwell to the mound in an attempt to restrain the offense of Venezuela with his off speed stuff. Unfortunately, Markwell didn’t bring his A game last night as he struggled to find the strike zone. When he hit the strike zone, he was hit hard. As a result, Venezuela was leading 3-0 by the time he was pulled in the third inning.
Mike Bolsenbroek, who took over on the mound, managed to keep the Venezuelan bats in check for two innings but in the fifth, he had to surrender two more runs thanks to two doubles and a fielding error.
It took Kingdom of the Netherlands until the sixth inning to get on the board. Back-to-back singles by Jiandido Tromp and Roger Bernadina put Tromp on third base, from where he scored on a sac fly hit by Juremi Profar.
Eventually, in the top of the ninth, Venezuela scored four “insurance” runs thanks to two singles, a fielding error, a bases loaded walk, a bases loaded HBP and a sac fly. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dutch scored two more runs but that was nothing more than a formality.
The Dutch defense committed four errors, of which three were committed by two players that hadn’t played an official game in the past year. As a result, only five of the nine runs that Venezuela scored were earned.
Venezuela used eight pitchers, probably to keep the Dutch lineup off balance. They succeeded in that strategy. The Dutch were limited to nine hits.
Winning pitcher was Eduardo Paredes, who pitched two frames in which he gave up three hits. Diegomar Markwell took the loss. In two innings and a batter faced in the third, he allowed three runs (two earned), walked three and struck out one.
The best hitter for Venezuela was leadoff hitter Alexis Amarista, who went 2 for 2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Jiandido Tromp had the honor of being the best hitter for team Kingdom of the Netherlands as he went 3 for 5 with a run scored.
How demotivating this loss may be, all’s not lost. Even if the Dutch lose against the Dominicans tonight, they still have a chance to get to the final as the nr. two and three finishers of the round robin still have to play a game for a spot in the final. That game is all that matters for now.