2016 Holland Series
The 2016 Holland Series was the 30th Holland Series. The Series was preceded by a week of odd news items. First, Neptunus announced it was not retaining manager Evert-Jan 't Hoen despite a very successful run under the former Olympian. Next, Amsterdam fired 3B coach Ronald Jaarsma for discussing the Neptunus head coach position before the teams were about to meet.
Neptunus had won the last two Holland Series and had been the dominant regular season team. They had the best record (34-7), the most runs (273) and the fewest runs allowed (99). Their 1.66 team ERA led the league by nearly a full point. Christian Diaz hit .382/.429/.474 and won the batting title while Gianison Boekhoudt (.290/.433/.476) led in homers (5) and walks (37) and was second in RBI (37). Dwayne Kemp (.271/.358/.361) tied for the run lead (36) and Dashenko Ricardo hit a stellar .404/.448/.543 in 25 games after coming out of a brief retirement. The staff was led by ERA leader Kenny Vandenbranden (9-0, 0.62) of Belgium and Dominican Orlando Yntema (10-1, 1.20) while the bullpen had numerous strong options in Kevin Kellij (2-0, 4 Sv, 0.29), Bayron Cornelisse (3-3, 1.38), Loek van Mil (2-0, 8 Sv, 1.69) and Berry van Driel (Sv, 2.18).
Amsterdam, managed by Charles Urbanus Jr., was second in the regular season in record (31-11), runs (272) and runs allowed (134). Kenny Berkenbosch (.356/.465/.471) was second in average and OBP, Linoy Croes (.355/.419/.564) led in slugging and Mike Duursma (.294/.480/.349) led in OBP. Tom de Blok (5-0, Sv, 0.88) was second in ERA and Kevin Heijstek (5-1, 1.80) and Kyle Ward (5-0, 2.20) also pitched well. Heijstek would miss the Series with injury, but Amsterdam had gotten back long-time ace Rob Cordemans from an injury that had sidelined him almost the entire season.
Game 1 in Familiestadion
|Win: de Blok (1-0) Loss: Harcksen (0-1) Save: Burgersdijk (1)|
The first game was a record-setter, going 4 hours and 18 minutes, breaking the record, set in the 2011 Holland Series (the record would fall in 2020). Cordemans, who had only pitched two games for Amsterdam after his return from injury (though he had also pitched for the Dutch national team in the 2016 European Championship), did not start off well. The 2004 Holland Series MVP gave up one-out hits to LF Randolph Oduber, 3B Raily Legito, DH Boekhoudt and SS Kemp. An error by 3B Rashid Gerard on Kemp's hit didn't help. C Ricardo hit a sacrifice fly and it was 3-0.
Amsterdam started their comeback against 2005 Holland Series MVP Diegomar Markwell (Neptunus's worst starting pitcher of 2016, though) in the second. 1B Berkenbosch walked and RF Danny Rombley hit into a force. DH Croes grounded him over and Gerard singled to make it 3-1. Neptunus added another run in the 4th. 1B Rien Vernooij doubled off Cordemans and 2B Benjamin Dille bunted him over. CF Shaldimar Daantji singled in Vernooij. Urbanus yanked Cordemans in favor of Ward; the four-time Olympian had allowed six hits and four runs in 3 1/3 IP.
In the top of the 5th, Gerard drew a walk, C Max Clarijs singled, CF Remco Draijer had a sacrifice bunt and SS Duursma hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2, but Kemp took Ward deep in the bottom of the frame and Neptunus had their third three-run lead of the day. Neptunus loaded the bases in the 7th against Ward but he got Vernooij on an inning-ending fly that would prove critical.
After Kellij relieved in the top of the 8th, Amsterdam got back to work. Duursma walked. After an out, LF Gilmer Lampe walked and Berkenbosch singled. Neptunus turned to former NPB hurler van Mil to try to close it, but the 7-foot giant didn't seal the deal as Rombley hit a two-run single and it was a one-run game. Van Mil fanned Croes and Gerard to prevent further harm at that point. In the top of the 9th, Draijer drew a one-out walk and Duursma grounded him over, putting the Pirates down to their last out. 2B Nick Urbanus, of the famed Urbanus family of Dutch baseball, delivered a clutch game-tying single. Lampe singled as well but van Mil recovered to get Berkenbosch.
Neptunus had a chance to win in the bottom of the 9th. After a scoreless 8th by Daan Hendrix, de Blok came in. With one out, Legito hit into an error by Jesse Aussems, who had entered at 3B (several other players having switched positions). Boekhoudt drew a four-pitch walk. Dwayne Kemp singled to right but his brother Urving Kemp (pinch-running for Legito) was gunned down at home by Rombley. Ricardo singled to load the bases; Aussems slipped trying to make the play and had to be helped off the field. Vernooij hit into an inning-ending force and the game went extra innings.
After a relatively quiet 10th, Duursma hit a two-out single in the 11th and Nick Urbanus walked, but Lampe flew out. In the bottom of the inning, Oduber singled and backup 1B Daniel Fernandes hit into a force. Fernandes stole second during a strikeout and took third on a throwing error by Gerard (now playing catcher). Dwayne Kemp (who had four hits) was intentionally walked and stole second, but de Blok fanned 2015 Hoofdklasse MVP Ricardo to keep the game alive.
Misja Harcksen relieved van Mil in the top of the 12th in his first game after returning from the Los Angeles Dodgers system, where he had spent the summer. Berkenbosch singled and Rombley grounded him over. Croes was intentionally walked and Gerard grounded both runners into scoring position. While PH Patrick Bok was batting, a passed ball by Ricardo scored Berkenbosch with what would be the winning run. Bok walked but Harcksen got Draijer on an inning-ending grounder.
Now, it was Dennis Burgersdijk';s turn to try to close it out. He retired Vernooij and three-time Holland Series MVP Dille. Daantji came up big with a triple, though, bringing up batting champ and 2015 MVP runner-up Diaz. Burgersdijk got Diaz in the clutch, on a game-ending grounder to Nick Urbanus at second.
Game 2 in Familiestadion
|Win: Yntema (1-0) Loss: Schel (0-1) Save: van Driel (1)|
Game 2 was not nearly as close. Amsterdam started well off Yntema as CF Draijer singled, stole second, 2B Urbanus drew a one-out walk, Yntema threw a wild pitch and LF Lampe hit a two-run single. Neptunus put it away quickly after that. In the bottom of the inning, RF Diaz and LF Oduber singled (both finished with three hits today) and 3B Legito walked, as did DH Boekhoudt. SS Dwayne Kemp hit a sacrifice fly then Robin Schel walked both C Ricardo and 1B Vernooij to make it 3-2. Schel was yanked after having walked four of the first seven, retiring only one. Burgersdijk relieved and gave up a sacrifice fly to 2B Dille for a 4-2 game.
In the second, Diaz and Oduber singled and Legito grounded in Diaz. Kemp singled in Oduber for an early four-run lead. Things turned bleaker for Amsterdam in the third when Burgersdijk was hit on the hand by as liner from Ricardo, the Pirates' second injury in two days and adding to an injury-riddled season (following Heijstek, Ward, Cordemans and Aussems at least).
Game 3 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Markwell (1-0) Loss: Schel (0-2)|
Game 3 was delayed a day due to rain. Steve Janssen threw out the first pitch. Neptunus again shells Schel from the get-go, scoring four runs in the first two innings. DH Ricardo goes 4 for 5 with two runs and two doubles, LF Oduber has three hits including a double and C Boekhoudt doubles, homers and drives in two. 2B Urbanus doubles twice in a loss.
Game 4 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Yntema (2-0) Loss: Cordemans (0-1) Save: Loek van Mil (1)|
In a repeat of game 3, Neptunus scored four in the first two innings, then Amsterdam scored one apiece in the 4th, 5th and 6th. Unlike game 3, Neptunus failed to add any insurance, but their early start was good enough. In the top of the first, Cordemans plunked LF Oduber with one out. With two outs, C Boekhoudt and SS Dwayne Kemp both singled to make it 1-0.
In the second, the 7-8-9 hitters all singled - 1B Fernandes, 2B Dille and CF Daantji. RF Diaz grounded in a run and Oduber hit a two-run single. After that, Cordemans blanked Neptunus for the next three and de Blok pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief, allowing only one hit and no walks.
Amsterdam started their comeback in the bottom of the 4th. 2B Urbanus drew a walk from Yntema and LF Lampe bunted him over. 1B Berkenbosch grounded Urbanus to third and RF Rombley singled him in. DH Croes singled, but 3B Gerard grounded out to strand two. In the 5th, C Clarijs singled and CF Draijer walked. After SS Duursma bunted them over, Urbanus singled in Clarijs. On a delayed double steal, Urbanus stole home. The run was annulled by umpire Henri van Heijningen in what would be a decisive call as Lampe had called time right before the steal. Lampe wound up whiffing and Berkenbosch flew out.
Croes homered off Yntema in the 6th for the game's last run. Amsterdam had a shot in the 7th when Urbanus drew a two-out walk and Lampe drew a walk from reliever van Driel, but Berkenbosch grounded out. Van Driel then went 1-2-3 in the 8th, as did van Mil in the 9th to wrap it up.
Game 5 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: de Blok (2-0) Loss: van Mil (0-1)|
Dutch women's national team members Sascha Egas and Isabelle Markies both threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game as Amsterdam finally won at home to send the Series back to Rotterdam. Both starters - Ward for Amsterdam and Vandenbranden for Neptunus - turned in strong games. The Pirates loaded the bases in the first on a single by CF Draijer, a one-out walk to 2B Urbanus and a hit by pitch for DH Croes, but former Marlins farmhand 1B Berkenbosch hit into an inning-ending double play. Amsterdam would strand 8 in the first 7 innings, five of them in scoring position.
Amsterdam scored in the 4th on a double by Croes and singles by Berkenbosch and RF Rombley, their lone run off Vandenbranden in six innings. Meanwhile, Neptunus only got one runner as far as second base in the first 7 innings against Ward, who was even sharper. In the top of the 8th, DH Ricardo singled off Ward and Urving Kemp pinch-ran. De Blok, who had been excellent in relief, replaced Ward and 1B Vernooij bunted Kemp over. Dille got hit by a pitch. After an out, RF Diaz singled to tie it. Oduber battled in a 13-pitch at-bat, fouling off 9 pitches, before finally being retired.
In the top of the 10th, Neptunus had a shot against de Blok. With two outs, Dille, Daantji and Diaz hit three straight singles, but Dille was thrown out trying to score on Diaz's hit. In the bottom of the 10th, Croes and Berkenbosch both singled with one out off former NPB hurler van Mil. C Fernandes then had a passed ball; he was only catching because starting C Boekhoudt had been ejected by Stenar van Groningen Schinkel for arguing a strike out and Ricardo (the other catcher usually) had left for a pinch-runner. Rombley was intentionally walked to load the bases. Van Mil fanned 3B Gerard. C Clarijs grounded to Dwayne Kemp at short and he threw to Dille for the force, but Dille was pulled off the bag to get the throw and Winfried Berkvens ruled Rombley safe at second as Croes scored the winning run. Neptunus argued Berkvens' call to no avail.
Game 6 in Familiestadion
|Win: van Mil (1-1) Loss: de Blok (2-1)|
The finale was a third straight one-run game, as Neptunus took their fourth straight title. Cordemans was back on the hill for Amsterdam and did his best work of this Series, striking out the side in the first. In the third, he allowed men on the corners with one out but got LF Oduber to hit into a double play. In the 4th, he allowed two runs, but neither was earned. With two away, SS Dwayne Kemp hit into an error by 3B Gerard. 3B Legito doubled him in, stole third and came home on a throwing error on the play by C Clarijs, giving Neptunus two runs on one hit.
With two away in the 5th, RF Diaz doubled and Oduber singled him home for a 3-0 cushion. After being blanked for six by Markwell, Amsterdam rallied in the 7th. 1B Berkenbosch singled and DH Croes was hit by a pitch with one out. Gerard made up for his earlier miscue with a two-run double down the left field line. With two outs, SS Duursma singled in Gerard to tie it up.
Neptunus had three singles off reliever Hendrix in the 7th (by 2B Dille, CF Daantji and Oduber) but de Blok came out of the bullpen with two outs to retire C Ricardo in the clutch. Amsterdam had their shot in the top of the 8th. LF Lampe, facing van Driel (who relieved Markwell), hit into an error by Dwayne Kemp and stole second. 2B Urbunus grounded him to third. After an intentional walk to Berkenbosch, van Mil relieved van Driel. Game 5's losing hurler retired RF Rombley but walked Croes to load them up. Gerard grounded into an inning-ending force, though.
In the top of the 8th, Neptunus got another two-out rally, as with their prior two. Legito had a two-out single off game 5 winner de Blok and stole second. 1B Vernooij then singled him in with the game-winning run. Amsterdam did not go down without a fight. Backup 1B Bok led off the 9th with a single (Berkenbosch had moved to 3B) and was bunted over by Duursma. On a grounder by CF Draijer, Bok was retired trying for third. That proved big as Lampe singled to left, sending Draijer to third. Urbanus then went down swinging to end the game and the Series.
Dwayne Kemp was named Series MVP.