2018 Holland Series
The 2018 Holland Series was the 32nd Holland Series. Neptunus and Amsterdam faced off for the third consecutive season and Neptunus won their fifth straight title, three in a row over the Pirates.
Neptunus had won the last four Holland Series. They were managed by Ronald Jaarsma. They led the 2018 Hoofdklasse in runs (291), hitting .311 as a team, and allowed only 94 with a 2.04 ERA. Dwayne Kemp (.407/.429/.539, 20 SB) led the league in average, slugging, hits (68), total bases (90) and RBI (41) while Stijn van der Meer batted .340/.454/.451 led the loop with 45 runs. Closer Loek van Mil (4-0, 6 Sv, 0.22) won the ERA title easily and tied for the most saves, while ERA runner-up Diegomar Markwell (11-0, 1.24) and Orlando Yntema (11-1, 2.2.28) split the win lead. Thgey were reinforced by the return of Kevin Kelly, who had pitched in Italy's 2018 Serie A1.
Amsterdam, managed by Charles Urbanus Jr., also allowed only 94 runs and led in ERA (1.80) while finishing second in offense (259 R). The offensive leaders were no match for Neptunus's stars - Rashid Gerard hit .330/.451/.393 and Kenny Berkenbosch .308/.428/.503. Five pitchers had sub-2 ERAs: Robin Schel (5-0, 1.41), Kevin Heijstek (6-3, 1.62), Kyle Ward (7-0, 1.72), Nick Veltkamp (2-0, Sv, 1.21) and Jim Ploeger (0-3, 5 Sv, 1.64). 10-time Pitcher of the Year Rob Cordemans became the league's all-time strikeout leader but was actually their least effective starter though still very good (7-1, 2.17). They also were reinforced by the return of two former players, Gilmer Lampe (who had played in Italy in 2018) and Kalian Sams (who had played in the Canadian-American Association)
Game 1 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Cordemans (1-0) Loss: Markwell (0-1)|
While Amsterdam had been outplayed in the previous two Series, and in the regular season, they won handily in the opener. Neptunus did start well off Cordemans, pitching in his 16th Holland Series and 24 years since his debut one. SS Van der Meer singled, 2B Benjamin Dille bunted him over, 3B Dwayne Kemp grounded him to third and C Gianison Boekhoudt hit into an error by 3B Gerard. Amsterdam quickly came back against Markwell. SS Nick Urbanus hit a one-out single, LF Lampe walked and RF Sams singled in the tying run. 1B Berkenbosch also singled in a run while CF Shaldimar Daantji made an error on the play. Markwell fanned DH Linoy Croes then Gerard delivered a two-run single.
Boekhoudt homered in the 4th to cut it to 4-2 but 43-year-old Cordemans allowed nothing further before leaving with two outs in the 8th; he got his 14th Holland Series win but first in seven years; Ploeger closed it out. In the bottom of the 4th, Lampe's two-out single knocked out Markwell, for his shortest stint in 21 Holland Series outings. Neptunus loaded the bases in the 5th but Cordemans retired Kemp in the clutch. The Pirates got insurance in the bottom of the 7th against 7' 1" van Mil; Lampe walked, stole second and came home when Sams hit a liner off the leg of Kemp. Berkenbosch singled in Sams for a 6-2 edge. In the 8th, 2B Niels van Weert singled off van Mil and stole second. Urbanus hit a one-out single and Lampe walked for the 4th time today; he was the first player to draw four walks in a Holland Series game since Eugène Kingsale in 2010. Sams singled in two more for a 4-RBI day.
Game 2 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Heijstek (1-0) Loss: Yntema (0-1)|
Amsterdam went up 2 games to 0 as Heijstek threw the 28th shutout in Series annals. He allowed only three hits and a walk in an excellent outing. Meanwhile, the Pirates pummeled Yntema. CF Remco Draijer led off with a 8-pitch walk, SS Urbanus singled and advanced on a fly-out by LF Lampe. RF Sams hit into a run-scoring force and 1B Berkenbosch (honored for reaching 500 career games in the Hoofdklasse) smacked a double. DH Croes singled in a pair for a 3-0 lead. The Pirates doubled their lead in the 2nd. 2B van Weert, Draijer and Urbanus drew three straight walks and Lampe doubled them all in. Brendan Schoemaker took over for Yntema, who had only lasted one inning; Schoemaker provided fine relief with 5 shutout frames. In the 8th, the hosts got their last run. Sams greeted Taylor Clemensia with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and wound up scoring later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by 3B Gerard.
Game 3 in Familiestadion
|Win: Koeiman (1-0) Loss: Ward (0-1) Save: van Mil (1)|
As in Game 1, the home team rode the arm of a 40-plus starter to victory. This time, it was Neptunus and their 45-year-old hurler Elton Koeiman, who allowed only 4 hits and one run in 7 1/3 IP. His team got going early behind youth when 17-year-old LF Darryl Collins led off with a single against Ward. 2B Dille singled as well and SS van der Meer bunted them over; on the play, van der Meer collided with the arm of Amsterdam 2B van Weert, sending him to the hospital but nothing was broken thankfully. It was a not a good day health-wise for Amsterdam; manager Urbanus was out with an infection (Randell Hannah was filling in) and LF Sams left the game late with wrist pain. 3B Kemp then singled in Collins.
The Pirates tied it in the 2nd. 1B Berkenbosch had an infield hit with one out, then with two outs, 3B Gerard doubled him in. Amsterdam's only other two hits both came from Victor Draijer, who replaced van Weert at second. Neptunus went ahead by scoring the game's remaining runs in the 4th. Van der Meer singled and Kemp bunted him over. C Boekhoudt walked and 1B Dudley Leonora singled to load the bases. DH Gregory Muller singled to left to score two runs and CF Daantji singled to chase Ward. Schel took over and allowed one baserunner over the next 4 2/3 innings but Amsterdam failed to get any more runs.
Game 4 in Familiestadion
|Win: Markwell (1-1) Loss: Cordemans (1-1) Save: van Mil (2)|
While the score wound up lopsided in Neptunus tying the Series, it was close most of the way. Amsterdam was limited by injuries from game 3 that sidelined Sams and van Weert, plus head coach Urbanus was still sick and Rodney Daal was out with pneumonia. Neptunus went ahead in the first on back-to-back two-out doubles by SS van der Meer and 3B Kemp off Cordemans. In the 2nd, Amsterdam took the lead. RF Croes singled and 2B Victor Draijer laid down a bunt hit. 3B Gerard bunted them over, then C Max Clarijs singled off Markwell to bring in Croes. DH Aidan Finnegan hit into an error by Markwell to make it 2-1, then CF Remco Draijer doubled for a 3-1 lead, but Finnegan was thrown out by CF Daantji, trying to score on the play.
Neptunus got one run back in the 2nd. 1B Leonora singled and DH Quintin De Cuba doubled to right-center to bring him in. Neptunus took the lead in the 4th. Leonora and De Cuba singled and Clarijs made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt. Daantji's sacrifice fly scored Leonora, then RF Jochem Koedijk singled and stole second. LF Collins hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3 for the home team.
In the 7th, van der Meer drew a one-out walk from Schel and Kemp doubled again. C Boekhoudt hit a sacrifice fly, the third of the day, for a 5-3 lead. Maickel Rietel took over and gave up a RBI single to Leonora. The Pirates got back within two in the top of the 8th. With two outs, Victor Draijer singled off van Mil, advanced on a wild pitch, Gerard walked and Clarijs delivered a run-scoring double.
Neptunus then exploded for 7 in the bottom of the 8th to put it out of reach, as Amsterdam tried four pitchers (Rietel, Veltkamp, Daan Hendrix and Jan-Willem Geerts. Van der Meer finished the day with 3 runs, Kemp 4 hits, Leonora 4 hits, 3 runs and 3 RBI, de Cuba 3 hits and Daantji 3 hits and 3 RBI.
Game 5 in Familiestadion
|Win: Yntema (1-1) Loss: Heijstek (1-1) Save: van Driel (1)|
Neptunus took the Series lead with their third win in a row at home. Amsterdam challenged in the first, when CF Remco Draijer and SS Urbanus singled and LF Lampe bunted them over, but Yntema retired 1B Berkenbosch and fanned RF Croes to escape the jam. In the bottom of the first, three-time Series MVP Dille had a one-out single off Heijstek and took second when Croes made an error on the play. SS van der Meer and 3B Kemp both singled as well for a 1-0 lead.
Yntema stranded the potential tying run (Victor Draijer) at 3B in the top of the 3rd when he K'd both Urbanus and Lampe. In the bottom of the 3rd, with one out, Neptunus got four singles in a row from LF Collins, 2B Dille, van der Meer and Kemp to make it 3-0. In the bottom of the 4th, Neptunus got their last run; CF Daantji singled with one away, stole second and scored on a two-out hit by Collins.
The Pirates got their lone run in the 7th when Croes doubled off Yntema and 3B Gerard singled him in. Yntema finished with 10 K and one run in 6 2/3; Kelly, van Mil and van Driel provided scoreless relief. Amsterdam did challenge again in the 8th off van Mil when Urbanus singled, Berkenbosch had a one-out single and Croes grounded them over. Gerard hit a liner down the middle but van der Meer made a great stop and threw him out. Collins, van der Meer and Kemp each finished with 3 hits.
Game 6 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Kelly (1-0) Loss: Ward (0-2)|
For the only time this Series, the home team lost. It meant a 5th straight Series title for Neptunus, closing in on their record of seven straight from 1999-2005. This one was a fine pitching duel between Koeiman and Ward.
In the bottom of the first, Amsterdam got a shot when CF Remco Draijer drew a two-out walk from Koeiman, LF Lampe singled and Koeiman threw a wild pitch to put both in scoring position. 1B Berkenbosch flew out to right, though, on a full count. In the 2nd, Amsterdam got one-out singles from 3B Gerard and DH Daal but C Clarijs hit into a double play.
Neptunus came close to scoring in the 4th. 2B Dille laid down a bunt hit and SS van der Meer singled him to third. 3B Kemp grounded to Ward, who caught Dille in a run-down leading to an out at the plate. After C Boekhoudt walked, 1B Leonora lined into an unassisted double play by Gerard. There were 17 straight outs after that before Leonora singled in the 7th.
Kelly replaced Koeiman in the bottom of the 7th and kept Amsterdam off the bases again. In the top of the 8th, CF Daantji hit into a throwing error by Gerard. With two outs, Dille singled and van der Meer walked on a full count. Ward nearly escaped the jam, getting Kemp to fly to right but Croes dropped it for a game-costing three-run error; the ball was dropped in foul territory, leading to questions about the call but TV replays confirmed that 1B umpire Roy van der Wateringen had made the correct call as Croes touched the ball in fair territory. Croes had not made an error during the regular season or the playoffs. Schel replaced Ward and retired the last four, but Kelly was cruising as well, giving up only one hit (to Urbanus) over the final two to leave the home fans disappointed. Amsterdam head coach Urbanus announced his retirement at the end of the Series. Daantji, on the other hand, had been rumored to retire at year's end, but decided to keep playing.
Van der Meer was named Series MVP, joining his infield mates Kemp (2017) and Dille (2009, 2013, 2015) in having won the award.