On the first day of the U23 European Baseball Championship, the Battle of the Lowlands took place. Of the two neighboring countries, the Netherlands stayed on the right side of the score but it took a while before the team could walk away.
The Netherlands 17 – 3 Belgium
Brendan Versrpeet, who normally serves as a reliever with his club Hoboken Pioneers, started the game for Belgium. For two innings, he kept a hoofdklasse players studded lineup in check but in the third, the Dutch got a grip on his pitches. Verspreet retired the first batter he faced but then hit Dave Janssen with a pitch and gave up a double to Jeandro Tromp. With runners on the corners, Julian Rip singled home Dave Janssen. A failed pickoff/throwing error allowed Tromp to score the second run for the Dutch. Max Kops followed with a double to right field on which Julian Rip could score the third Dutch run.
Dutch starter Scott Prins, who pitched two perfect innings and only needed sixteen pitches for that, struggled in the third inning. He walked Arthur Heymans and allowed a single to Stefan Schoonheydt. After Prins recorded his first out, Zion de Brauwer singled to load the bases. Kantaro Ryelandt drew a bases-loaded walk to put Belgium on the board. Benjamin Goffaux singled to drive in Stefan Schoonheydt. With the bases still loaded, Lucas Rizzi drew another walk to tie the game at three.
Eventually, in the fifth inning, the Netherlands walked away. Sam van Nuffel gave up two walks and then allowed a single and a double that drove in three runs. After Van Nuffel was replaced, Tommy van de Sanden drove in the fourth run of the inning with a double through the left side. In the top of the sixth inning, Dave Janssen was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Thanks to a single by Jeandro Tromp, Janssen moved to third and scored on a single by Julian Rip. Then Max Kops homered to right field and took Tromp and Rip with him to make it 11-3. The Netherlands would win 17-3 in six mercy-rule innings, eventually. Based on the first four innings, the result may be a bit flattering but on the other hand, Belgium lacked the pitching depth to keep the Dutch offense in check.
Aaron de Groot earned the win. In 1.1 perfect innings in relief he struck out two.
Sam van Nuffel took the loss. He gave up four runs on two hits and two walks in one inning in relief.
Jeandro Tromp was the best hitter for the Dutch as he went 2 for 2 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.