2020 Holland Series
The 2020 Holland Series was the 34th Holland Series. It was the fifth straight Series to feature Amsterdam (the defending champion) and Neptunus (who had won the prior five). The 2020 Hoofdklasse season had been cut in about half by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Series started later than usual due to the delays the pandemic created. The Series was then abruptly ended after two games after the Netherlands stopped sports nationwide due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation ruled that no one would be crowned as champion.
Neptunus, managed by Ronald Jaarsma, once again dominated the league. They had the best record (18-2) and led in runs (179) and fewest runs allowed (51). They hit .342/.442/.461 and had a 2.30 ERA. John Polonius (.367/.462/.532) led the league with 27 runs, Dwayne Kemp (.404/.427/.596) tied for the most steals (14) and Gianison Boekhoudt (.344/.545/.508) led with 27 walks. The team benefited from having Darryl Collins for a full season due to the minor league season being canceled; he hit .352/.444/.537. Gregory Muller hit .417/.618/.694 while Orlando Yntema (6-1, 0.86) and Kevin Kelly (1-0, 3 Sv, 1.00) were 1-2 in ERA and Yntema led in wins.
Amsterdam, managed by Michael Duursma, was trying to retain their title. They scored nearly as many runs (172) as Neptunus and their 70 runs allowed were 2nd-fewest. Kalian Sams (.359/.516/.813) led the league in homers (8), RBI (27) and slugging, while Denzel Richardson (.412/.485/.682, 23 R, 26 RBI), Kenny Berkenbosch (.365/.488/.476) and Sharlon Schoop (.350/.451/.600) all hit very well. They had no ace with Jim Ploeger (2-2, 3.33) being their top starter in terms of ERA; legendary Rob Cordemans was 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA at age 45 in a season limited by injury. Mike Groen (1-0, 2 Sv, 0.73) was their best reliever. Former major leaguer Shairon Martis was 1-0 with a save and a 2.63 ERA out of the bullpen.
Game 1 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Martis (1-0) Loss: de Groot (0-1)|
Neptunus started off well, as RF Coco Johnson drew a four-pitch walk from Ploeger, advanced on two grounders and scored on a double by LF Kemp. Amsterdam kept blowing early opportunities. With two on and one out in the 2nd against Diegomar Markwell, they hit into a double play. In the third, they stranded a pair. In the 4th, Delano Selassa (2019 Series MVP) was gunned down at home by Kemp to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Pirates tied it when CF Sams homered to center. In the 7th, Aaron de Groot relieved Markwell and walked a pair but survived unscathed. In the 8th, he walked Sams and 1B Berkenbosch, then Kelly relieved. DH Selassa bunted the runners over and a wild pitch by Kelly made it 2-1. C Max Clarijs doubled in Berkenbosch and the Pirates had a two-run cushion. Martis retired all six batters he faced in the 8th and 9th for the win.
Game 2 in Neptunus Familiestadion
|Win: Veltkamp (1-0) Loss: Kevin Kelly (0-1)|
By dropping Game 2 in extra innings, Neptunus had lost as many games as they did in 20 regular-season contests. They had a shot in the first when 3B Stijn van der Meer doubled off Cordemans with two outs and LF Kemp laid down a bunt single, but DH Boekhoudt grounded out. Amsterdam drew two walks in the second from Misja Harcksen but failed to score. In the bottom of the 2nd, Neptunus went ahead. With one out, they got singles from SS Polonius, C Dashenko Ricardo and CF Shaldimar Daantji to make it 1-0 but Cordemans retired Johnson and 1B Benjamin Dille.
Neptunus doubled their lead in the 4th. 2B Dudley Leonora led off with a single and scored on a two-out double by Ricardo. Naut Kragt took over for Cordemans and walked a pair with two out but got van der Meer to end the inning. Amsterdam came back in the 5th, though. 2B Niels van Weert singled and DH Roelie Henrique Jr. laid down a bunt hit. LF Gilmer Lampe popped up a bunt attempt and SS Schoop hit into a force at second. Harcksen threw a wild pitch to score van Weert, then walked CF Sams and RF Richardson singled to tie it.
Amsterdam drew two walks in the 6th but de Groot fanned Henrique and retired Lampe. Neptunus blew a chance in the bottom of the inning when Ricardo and Daantji hit one-out singles but Johnson hit into a force and 3-time Series MVP Dille grounded out. The Pirates went ahead in the top of the 7th. Schoop drew a leadoff walk from de Groot; with two outs, Berkenbosch doubled him in. Neptunus again got two men on in the 7th but Groen got Polonius looking to end the inning.
Tom de Blok relieved Groen in the 8th and began by walking Ricardo. Daantji bunted into an error by van Weert and de Blok erred on a pick-off throw, sending Ricardo to third. A wild pitch made it 3-3, sending Daantji to third. Johnson took a called third strike, then Martis relieved and got both backup LF Muller and van der Meer to escape further harm.
In the top of the 10th, 2019 Series MVP Selassa pinch-hit a one-out single off Kelly and Clarijs singled. Kelly walked van Weert to load the bases with one out. Henrique hit into an inning-ending 3-2-3 double play. In the bottom of the 10th, Neptunus also blew a bases-loaded opportunity. Ricardo drew a one-out walk from Donny Breek and Johnson and Muller drew two-out walks. Nick Veltkamp relieved (the 7th Amsterdam hurler) and retired 2018 Series MVP van der Meer to get out of that jam.
Amsterdam then really went to town in the 11th. Lampe doubled and Schoop walked, then they advanced on a passed ball. Kelly intentionally walked Sams and Richardson singled in a pair (his 3rd hit of the day). Kaj Timmermans relieved Kelly and walked Berkenbosch. Backup 3B Sebastiaan van der Horst grounded to third and the throw home got Sams. Clarijs singled in Richardson for a 6-3 edge. Berry van Driel took the mound and van Weert grounded home Berkenbosch for the final run. Veltkamp had a pretty smooth bottom of the 11th. Kemp flew out, backup DH Quintin de Cuba singled, Leonora flew out and Polonius flew out.
The game went 4 hours and 28 minutes, a new record for a Holland Series game (the old record had been Game 1 of 2016).