2011 Holland Series
The 2011 Holland Series was the 25th Holland Series. It featured two teams making their fifth appearance, the Pioniers and Amsterdam Pirates, but the first time the two squared off with another in the Series. Amsterdam won their fourth Series. The MVP was center fielder Wesley Connor, who hit .455/.500/.591 with a homer, steal, 9 runs and 5 RBI in five games. In a Dutch first, his sister Debby Connor was MVP of the 2011 Holland Series in softball.
The Pioniers were managed by Robert Klaver. They had the worst regular season record of the four playoff teams, but had the best record in the playoffs to win home field advantage for the Series. They outscored opponents 250-167, with the league's 4th-best offense and third-best pitching and defense. Nik Gumeson (.315/.378/.467) led the league with 40 RBI, while the Duursma brothers - Mark Duursma (.313/.423/.347) and Mike Duursma (.301/.451/.368) provided plenty of times on base. The pitching was led by European veteran Eddie Aucoin (11-1, 1.98, 12 BB in 100 IP, the league leader in wins) while solid relief came from Shane Gnade (2-4, 2.83) and Czech Jan Řeháček (2-1, 1.40). The team's other two primary starters both had been signed by MLB clubs, but neither did particularly well - former Orioles farmhand Conrad Orman (#-5, 5.29) and 2011 Mariners signee Lars Huijer (2-3, 5.86, .375 opponent average). They had lost the 2009 Holland Series.
Amsterdam was managed by Charles Urbanus Jr., though he sat out the first two games due to suspension and coach Randell Hannah filled in. They had lost the 2010 Holland Series. At 30-11, they had tied DOOR Neptunus for the best regular-season record. They were third with 257 runs and second with 151 runs allowed. Veteran catcher Sidney de Jong (.329/.487/.543, 44 R, 44 BB in 41 G) led the league in OBP, while former Expos farmhand Vince Rooi hit .381/.452/.604 with 37 RBI in 38 games and Bas de Jong batted .354/.397/.470. The ace hurler was four-time Olympian Rob Cordemans (9-1, 0.31, .135 opponent average, 10 BB, 127 K in 88 IP), the league leader in both ERA and whiffs. They also were mediocre after their #1 hurler, with Jos de Jong (5-3, 4.00) and Ben Grover (5-2, 4.14) as the #2 and #3 starters.
Game 1 in Sportpark Toolenburg
|Win: Koks (1-0) Loss: Řeháček (0-1)|
The opener of the 2011 Holland Series set new records for innings played (14) and playing time (3 hours, 47 minutes), breaking the mark set in the 2007 Holland Series. The time elapsed record would last until 2016.
Pioniers ace Eddie Aucoin was unable to contain Amsterdam in the early part of the game. In the first, CF Wesley Connor led off with a single, then C Sidney de Jong hit a one-out single. With two out, SS Vince Rooi singled in Connor. RF Bas de Jong hit a solo homer off Aucoin in the third to make it 2-0. Jos de Jong, meanwhile, had blanked the Pioniers through three, tossing a perfect game to that point. In the 4th, SS Mike Duursma drew a walk, then 3B Rashid Gerard erred on a grounder by C Mark Duursma. RF Nik Gumeson hit into a double play, but 39-year-old DH Dè Flanegin singled in Mike Duursma to cut it to 2-1.
In the 7th, Connor drew a two-out walk from Aucoin, then 2B Roelie Henrique drilled a 2-run homer. He had never hit a homer before in the Hoofdklasse. In the bottom of the 7th, Kinheim made up one run when CF Jefferson Muzo singled home 3B Mervin Gario (who had been plunked by de Jong and bunted over). Amsterdam got two men on in the 8th against Aucoin but Jean-Paul Gulinck relieved and retired DH Bas Nooij.
Al Morales Gomes relieved de Jong in the bottom of the 8th but blew the lead. He plunked Mike Duursma, then Gumeson went yard to tie the score at four. Both teams challenged in the 9th but failed to score. While the Hoofdklasse had employed the IBAF Extra innings rule in the regular season, they used traditional baseball extra innings rules in the Holland Series.
In the bottom of the 11th, 1B Mark-Jan Moorman singled off Amsterdam's Jurrian Koks and Gario walked with one out, but 2B Zerzinho Croes hit into a twin killing. In the top of the 13th, Rooi singled and advanced on a bunt by LF Kenny Berkenbosch and a grounder by 1B Percy Isenia. Nooij then grounded out. In the bottom of the 13th, Flanegin singled for his third hit but Moorman was retired on a bunt, Gario on a grounder and Croes on a fly (with a Norbert Lokhorst intentional walk in between).
In the 14th, former Twins farmhand Connor singled off Jan Řeháček for his 4th hit. Řeháček tried to pick him off, but threw the ball into right field, sending Connor to third. Henrique tried to lay down a squeeze bunt, but failed; it didn't matter as Connor slid past Mark Duursma's tag as Olav Steijger made the right call on a close play at home. Koks went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th for the win.
Koks tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings of relief while Řeháček allowed only one unearned run in six relief innings. Connor was the star of the day offensively, going 4 for 5 with a walk and 3 runs.
Game 2 in Sportpark Toolenburg
|Win: Řeháček (1-1) Loss: Delamarre (0-1)|
950 fans showed up to see the home team even the series at one; it was the first time since the 1993 Holland Series that the first two games were decided by a run.
Amsterdam starter Ben Grover survived two walks in the first, then allowed a Pioniers run in the second. The inning began with a one-out single by 3B Mervin Gario, a walk to #8 batter and 2B Zerzinho Croes followed by a bunt by CF Jefferson Muzo. With two outs, SS Michael Duursma pulled off a surprise bunt. 3B Rashid Gerard threw home to C Bas Nooij, but Gario knocked the ball loose in the collision at home.
In the third, Amsterdam took the lead. 1B Percy Isenia singled off Roger Kops and was bunted over by Nooij. Gerard singled and an error by Muzo made it 1-1. CF Wesley Connor singled, then 2B Roelie Henrique hit into a Croes error. DH Sidney de Jong hit a 2-run single to make it 3-1 but cleanup man/RF Bas de Jong went down on strikes.
In the 4th, the Pirates increased their lead to three. LF Kenny Berkenbosch hit a one-out double off Kops; after an out, Nooij singled him home. Gerard singled off Gario's shoulder, but Shane Gnade relieved Kops and quenched the rally by retiring Connor.
In the fifth, bad defense by Amsterdam let the Pioniers tie it. Muzo singled, then Michael Duursma hit into an error by Henrique. Mark Duursma bunted to Grover, who tried to get the speedy Muzo at third but the throw wasn't in time and Gerard failed to catch it, allowing Muzo to score. A wild pitch by Grover closed it to 4-3. RF Nik Gumeson lined out to SS Vince Rooi, but DH Dè Flanegin was plunked and 1B Mark-Jan Moorman hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-4.
The Pioniers went ahead in the 7th. Facing rookie reliever Ian Delamarre, Mike Duursma singled for his first hit of the Series then Mark Duursma bunted him over. A single by Gumeson put the home team ahead. The Pirates tied it in the 8th but blew a chance to build a lead. Sidney de Jong drew a walk from Gnade, who was relieved by Jean-Paul Gulinck. Bas de Jong and Rooi singled to load them up. Despite his workload a day earlier, Jan Řeháček was summoned from the bullpen. The former Astros farmhand fanned former Marlins minor leaguer Berkenbosch, but Isenia hit a game-tying sacrifice fly. Nooij flew out as Amsterdam left two men on.
In the bottom of the 8th, LF Norbert Lokhorst walked but Gario hit into a 9-3 double play, Bas de Jong doubling him up at first. Řeháček went 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th, 20-year-old Croes singled and was bunted over by Muzo. Mike Duursma was intentionally walked. Rik Geestman relieved Delamarre. The move didn't pay off as Mark Duursma singled to right, scoring Croes with the game-winner.
Game 3 was scheduled for September 8 but was rained out.
Game 3 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Cordemans (1-0) Loss: M. de Lincel (0-1)|
Amsterdam went to their ace, Rob Cordemans, and he delivered to put them ahead 2 games to 1. Mika de Lincel shut out Amsterdam for the first two innings but ran into trouble in the 3rd. DH Bas Nooij doubled, then #9 hitter/3B Rashid Gerard singled. CF Wesley Connor hit a sacrifice fly. After 2B Roeland Henrique was plunked, Gerard and Henrique advanced on an error by SS Mike Duursma during a pick-off attempt. C Sidney de Jong hit a sac fly and it was 2-0.
The Pioniers tied it in the top of the 4th, getting their only runs off Cordemans on a single by RF Nik Gumeson and a home run by 1B Mark-Jan Moorman. In the bottom of the inning, LF Kenny Berkenbosch went deep off de Lincel to knock him from the game. The Pirates got insurance in the 6th against Shane Gnade, when RF Bas de Jong singled and SS Vince Rooi doubled him home; Rooi was out trying for a triple.
The scoring was rapped up in the 7th. With one out, Gerard drew a walk from Jean-Paul Gulinck, who also walked Connor. Kjeld de Lincel (Mika's brother) relieved and allowed a RBI double to Henrique. After an intentional walk to Sidney de Jong, Red Sox farmhand Swen Huijer became the 5th Pioniers pitcher of the day. Bas de Jong grounded to 3B Mervin Gario, who threw to second for the force; Henrique scored for a 6-2 lead.
Cordemans finished with 9 strikeouts, 5 hits and no walks in eight innings. Jurrian Koks faced three batters in the 9th to finish the pitching for Amsterdam.
Game 4 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: J. de Jong (1-0) Loss: Aucoin (0-1)|
Eddie Aucoin might have been 11-1 in the regular season, but the Amsterdam batters still torched him today. RF Bas de Jong opened the bottom of the second with a single, then SS Vince Rooi doubled to right. The rally seemed to end as LF Kenny Berkenbosch grounded out, then 1B Percy Isenia hit into a force at home. The bottom of the order got it going again, though, as DH Bas Nooij doubled in Rooi and 3B Rashid Gerard played Isenia with a single to center. CF Wesley Connor singled in Nooij for a 3-0 score. 2B Roelie Henrique and C Sidney de Jong followed with two more hits, the latter a 2-run single for a 5-0 lead, more than enough for Jos de Jong.
The Pioniers got their only run off de Jong in the 4th. With one out, 3B Mervin Gario singled. LF Randy Reiph singled Gario to third, then 2B Zerzinho Croes bunted him in to make it 5-1. Amsterdam padded their lead in the 7th against Swen Huijer. Sidney de Jong walked, then Bas de Jong got hit by a pitch. Rooi hit into an error by SS Mike Duursma to score Sidney de Jong. A fly out by Berkenbosch advanced Bas de Jong, then Rooi stole second. Isenia singled in de Jong to make it 7-1. Mariners minor leaguer Scott Ronnenbergh relieved Huijer and struck out Nooij, but then threw a wild pitch for Amsterdam's 8th and final run.
Jos de Jong went the distance, allowing six hits, one run and no walks (the second straight walk-free day for the Pirates staff).
Game 5 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Grover (1-0) Loss: Kops (0-1)|
In front of 1,333 fans, Amsterdam easily won its third straight at home to put away the Series.
The Pirates started things off in the bottom of the third, when C Bas Nooij hit into an error by 3B Nik Gumeson. Pirates 3B Rashid Gerard laid down a bunt hit, then CF Wesley Connor delivered a 3-run homer to center off Roger Kops. Neither team scored again until the 7th, when 1B Mark-Jan Moorman hit a solo shot off Amsterdam starter Ben Grover.
In the bottom of the 7th, Amsterdam's first baseman, Percy Isenia, hit a solo home run of his own, ending 3 shutout relief innings from Czech national team member Jan Řeháček. After two outs, Connor singled, 2B Roelie Henrique walked and DH Sidney de Jong walked. Shane Gnade relieved Řeháček and allowed a 2-run single to RF Bas de Jong to make it 6-1 Amsterdam. SS Vince Rooi walked to load the bases, but LF Kenny Berkenbosch hit into an inning-ending force.
In the 8th, two-time Olympian Dave Draijer relieved Gnade. With one away, Nooij hit into an error by SS Mike Duursma, his third miscue in three games. Gerard singled, as did Connor to load the bases. Henrique singled to right, bringing home Nooij. Sidney de Jong then cleared the bags with a double for a 10-1 score. The Pioniers got one last run in the 9th. Facing reliever Jurrian Koks, Moorman led off with a single, then DH Norbert Lokhorst hit into an error by Isenia. RF Randy Reiph delivered a sacrifice fly. LF Kevin Dirksen singled, then 2B Zerzinho Croes flew out to end the game.