2008 Holland Series
The 2008 Holland Series featured some old and some new. Corendon Kinheim had won the 2006 Holland Series and 2007 Holland Series and were looking to defend their title. On the other hand, the L&D Amsterdam Pirates had not played in a Holland Series since 1987, the first Series ever (which they had won). It would feature the fifth sweep in Holland Series history and had a record four rain-cancelled games.
Kinheim, the defending champions, had fallen a bit from 2007, going 32-10, but they still had the best regular-season record. They were only 4th of 8 teams in offense (245 runs) and were second in pitching and defense (134 runs allowed). 1B Bryan Engelhardt (.294/.392/.504) had been the top offensive threat while decent seasons were turned in by former MVPs Dirk van 't Klooster (.331/.392/.368) and Tjerk Smeets (.329/.375/.418). The offense also boasted former US minor leaguers Vince Rooi (.297/.384/.439) and Danny Rombley (.333/.417/.438). The rotation was headlined by David Bergman (8-1, 1.42) and Patrick Beljaards (11-0, 2.44) while the bullpen was led by Michiel van Kampen (1-0, 11 Sv, 0.90).
L&D Amsterdam Pirates
Led by rookie manager Rikkert Faneyte, the Amsterdam Pirates had finished a strong third, going 29-13, just 3 games behind Kinheim. They then stunned traditional powerhouse DOOR Neptunus in the semifinals, beating them 3 games to 2 after falling behind 2-1. They were third in the regular season in runs (250) and 4th in runs allowed (176). C Sidney de Jong (.360/.489/.581) was second in the league in average, led in runs (38) and slugging and tied for the most homers (6) while Bas de Jong hit .333/.381/.519 and led in RBI (42). Former Twins farmhand Wesley Connor batted .314/.359/.442 in his first season back home. Jos de Jong (7-0, 2.18) and Kenny Berkenbosch (10-2, 2.24) led the staff; Berkenbosch also hit over .300 and slugged .509. 2008 Olympian Pim Walsma (1-4, 10 Sv, 3.88) was their closer. Jos de Jong and Bas de Jong are brothers; Sidney de Jong is apparently unrelated to them.
Game 1 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Stuifbergen (1-0) Loss: van Kampen (0-1) Save: Walsma (1)|
Kinheim got on the board first. In the 2nd inning, DH Bryan Engelhardt drew a walk from Jos de Jong and came home on a double to left by SS Roel Koolen. During the play at the plate, Amsterdam C and star Sidney de Jong twisted his wrist and would be sidelined for the rest of the Series. He was replaced by Maikel Benner. A single by 1B Jeffrey Verbij put Kinheim up 2-0.
In the 4th, Kinheim loaded the bases but LF Denny Beljaards flew out. In the bottom of the inning, CF Remco Draijer laid down a bunt hit off of David Bergman and advanced on a single by 47-year-old DH Fausto Álvarez. 3B Ryan Murphy singled in Draijer and 2B Zair Koeiman singled in Álvarez to tie the game.
Amsterdam took the lead in the 7th when SS Marvin Bleij doubled, as did Draijer. The defending champs knotted the score in the 8th against Nick Stuifbergen when C Tjerk Smeets doubled in RF Dirk van 't Klooster.
The Pirates came back quickly. 1B Kenny Berkenbosch, a former Marlins farmhand, singled off of Michiel van Kampen, the MVP of the 2007 Holland Series. With one out, CF Wesley Connor singled Berkenbosch to third. On a two-strike count, Benner successfully laid down a squeeze bunt to score Berkenbosch and make van Kampen the loser.
Pim Walsma struck out 2 batters in the 9th to pick up the save.
Game 2 in Pim Mulier Stadium
|Win: Berkenbosch (1-0) Loss: P. Beljaards (0-1) Save: Walsma (2)|
After a Holland Series record 4th rain cancellation, the Series resumed on October 7 in Haarlem. Both teams were missing key leaders as Sidney de Jong was hurt for Amsterdam and Bryan Engelhardt began serving a suspension given out during the playoffs; neither would return to action.
Amsterdam opened with a flurry. LF Wesley Connor singled and stole second, then C Maikel Benner drew a walk from Patrick Beljaards. The game was then delayed for 11 minutes for a rein delay. SS Marvin Bleij laid down a bunt and Beljaards made an error. DH Fausto Álvarez coaxed a walk to force in Connor. With one out, 1B Ryan Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Kinheim closed the gap to one in the 2nd when 3B Vince Rooi homered off of Kenny Berkenbosch. An inning later, Álvarez singled and Murphy walked. With two outs, 3B Pavèl van Zaane an 2B Zaïr Koeiman both delivered RBI singles to put the Pirates up 4-1.
Kinheim got runners on second and third in the bottom of the third but Berkenbosch fanned Tjerk Smeets. In the top of the 4th, Benner drew another walk. He moved to third on a grounder and throwing error by SS Roel Koolen. A wild pitch by Beljaards made it 5-1 Amsterdam.
Kinheim rallied in the bottom of the 5th when CF Danny Rombley singled, was bunted over by 2B René Cremer and scored on a hit by RF Dirk van 't Klooster. In the 8th, they made it a 2-run game when C Tjerk Smeets homered. Rooi singled but was erased on a double play ball from Koolen after Pim Walsma relieved Berkenbosch.
Murphy homered in the 9th to make the lead 6-3 and Walsma went 1-2-3 in the 9th to end the game. Connor finished 4 for 6 for Amsterdam.
Game 3 in Pim Mulier Stadium
|Win: Murphy (1-0) Loss: Bergman (0-1)|
On October 8, Amsterdam concluded the 5th sweep in Series history (but the second in a row) in a leave-no-doubt fashion, putting the 7-inning mercy rule into play.
Kinheim went to ace David Bergman on short rest, but he was not up to his standards. In the first inning, veteran DH Fausto Álvarez smacked a 3-run homer. RF Bas de Jong singled and scored on a two-bagger by 1B Kenny Berkenbosch and ground-out by 3B Pavèl van Zaane. Amsterdam never looked back, knocking out Bergman in the second and shredding three relievers as well, including national team members Duko Jansen and Michiel van Kampen.
Overall, the Pirates had 22 hits, led by four apiece from C Maikel Benner and SS Marvin Bleij. Six other players had multiple hits. Benner, Bleij, Álvarez and de Jong scored multiple runs while Álvarez drove home 4.
Murphy was named Series MVP, having excelled at the plate (4 for 6, 2 BB, HR) and on the mound (2 H, 0 R in 6 IP, 1-0).