2021 Holland Series
The 2021 Holland Series was the 35th Holland Series. Neptunus and Amsterdam faced off for the sixth consecutive season; Neptunus had won the first four of those, Amsterdam had won in 2019 and the 2020 Series was cut short due to COVID-19 safety protocols in the Netherlands with Amsterdam up 2 games to 0 but with neither team being declared the titlists. Amsterdam won the 2021 Series, with a comeback just like they had in 2019.
Neptunus had won five of the last seven Holland Series and had the best regular-season record. They were managed by Ronald Jaarsma. DH/C Gianison Boekhoudt (.378/.484/.581) led the team in OPS but did not play enough to make the leaderboards. Other key offensive contributors were 2B Dwayne Kemp (.388/.444/.513, 43 R, 42 RBI), CF Roger Bernadina (.331/.468/.446, tied for 1st with 37 BB), 3B Stijn van der Meer (.327/.452/.434, a league-high 46 runs), SS John Polonius (.324/.419/.463) and 1B Dudley Leonora (.342/.393/.394) as the team hit .326 overall. Diegomar Markwell (10-0, 1.88) led the league in wins while Kevin Kelly (3-0, 6 Sv, 0.71) tied for the save lead while capturing the ERA title. Orlando Yntema (5-0, 1.64), Kaj Timmermans (6-4, 4.26) and Misja Harcksen (4-2, 3.67) were the other regular starters while Kevin Bakker (3-0, 2.79), Aaron de Groot (2-2, 2.22) and Berry van Driel (1-0, 2.70) were other reliable relievers.
Amsterdam, managed by Michael Duursma, finished only a half-game behind Neptunus. They had a team ERA of 2.17. Anchoring the rotation were Shairon Martis (4-0, Sv, 0.56), Juan Carlos Sulbaran (8-2, 1.61), Tom de Blok (3-2, 1.64) and Naut Kragt (5-2, 1.66). Effective relievers included Gio de Graauw (5-0, 1.99), Nick Veltkamp] (2-1, Sv, 2.05), Kevin Geestman (3-0, 2 Sv, 2.13) and Mike Groen (3 Sv, 2.35). RF Denzel Richardson (.447/.521/.673, 46 RBI, 21 SB, 18 2B) led the league in average, RBI, hits, doubles, OBP and slugging to win the MVP and was joined in packing some punch by CF/LF Gilmer Lampe (.353/.476/.528, 32 BB, 36 R), C Sicnarf Loopstok (.356/.473/.542) and IF Delano Selassa (.314/.387/.467). CF/LF Roelie Henrique Jr. (.258/.395/.352) scored 39 runs.
Game 1 in Neptunus Familiestadion
|Win: Martis (1-0) Loss: Markwell (0-1)|
The opener had been rescheduled due to weather conditions and there was near-constant rain but the game was completed in 2 1/2 hours thanks to dominating pitching from Martis. The former big league hurler, best known perhaps for his no-hitter in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, showed he still had it 15 years later by allowing only three hits to the powerful Neptunus offense.
Martis got a scare in the 2nd. SS Polonius singled and LF Benjamin Dille bunted into a Martis error. CF Shaldimar Daantji grounded out and SS van der Meer drew a walk to load the bases but Martis retired fellow ex-big leaguer RF Bernadina on an infield fly and 2B Kemp flew out. Amsterdam got all the game's runs in the 4th. RF Richardson drew a one-out walk from Markwell and DH Kalian Sams singled. C Loopstok doubled in Richardson and 1B Kenny Berkenbosch drew a walk. 3B Rashid Gerard's sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
Game 2 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Sulbaran (1-0) Loss: Bakker (0-1)|
Amsterdam went up 2-0 just like last year. Neptunus scored first, when 3B van der Meer and RF Bernadina both singled. 2B Kemp bunted into a force at third, then 1B Leonora singled to make it 1-0. Sulbaran allowed only one more hit and no more runs over the next eight as the Pirates became the first team to get consecutive 9-inning complete games to open a Holland Series. Amsterdam loaded the bases in the 2nd, again facing Markwell, but failed to score. In the 3rd, DH Lampe homered to tie it up. Markwell lasted just 2 2/3 IP, his shortest outing of the year.
In the 6th, the Pirates went ahead for good. RF Richardson singled off Bakker, who was relieved by Harcksen. CF Sams drew a walk then C Loopstok hit into a force. 1B Berkenbosch also hit into a force, scoring Richardson with the winner. Amsterdam got one more, in the 7th. 2B Raydley Legito reached on a two-base error by SS Polonius, then LF Henrique bunted him over. Lampe singled in Legito.
Game 3 in Neptunus Familiestadion
|Win: Kelly (1-0) Loss: Martis (1-1)|
Neptunus turned to Kelly, usually a reliever, for his first start in four years. It was an inspired move as he threw the second one-hitter in Holland Series, following one by Markwell in 2010. Martis was nearly as good but allowed two in the 1st. 3B van der Meer singled and an error on the play by SS Schoop sent him to second. RF Bernadina singled as well and a wild pitch made it 1-0, Bernadina going to 3rd. After an out, 1B Leonora singled in Bernadina. In the 3rd, Amsterdam got two men in scoring position on walks and a grounder but Kelly retired LF Henrique and CF Lampe hit into a force. In the 4th, RF Richardson singled for Amsterdam's only hit as Kelly just missed a historic no-hit bid.
Game 4 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Timmermans (1-0) Loss: de Graauw (0-1)|
In the first rout of the Series, Neptunus evens it up. Amsterdam did go ahead in the first against de Groot. LF Lampe walked, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a hit by SS Schoop. De Groot walked RF Richardson. After one out, DH Loopstok singled and 1B Berkenbosch's sacrifice fly made it 2-0. De Groot left after 4 hits and 3 walks in 2 innings, with Timmermans providing superb relief (6 1/3 shutout innings) before Bakker closed it out.
Things sure turned around in the 4th. 1B Leonora and SS Polonius drew walks from de Graauw and DH Boekhoudt doubled to make it 2-1. C Ricardo tied it with a single, then LF Christian Diaz singled home Boekhoudt with the winning run, though Diaz was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Geestman replaced de Graauw but had trouble as well. CF Daantji walked, then 3B van der Meer, RF Bernadina, 2B Kemp and Leonora all singled for a 7-2 lead. Groen succeeded Geestman and his first pitch deflected off the glove of C Max Clarijs, hitting Polonius on the chin, causing him to spit up blood, though he remained in the contest. Polonius hit into a double play, but the damage had been done. Amsterdam threatened in the bottom of the 4th, loading the bases, but Daantji made a diving catch to rob Schoop to end the frame.
Game 5 in Neptunus Familiestadion
|Win: Markwell (1-1) Loss: Sulbaran (1-1) Save: Kelly (1)|
After one rout, it was back to a close affair in Game 5. After Amsterdam stranded two in the first against Markwell, Neptunus got to Game 2 star Sulbaran in the bottom of the frame. 3B van der Meer walked then RF Bernadina doubled and 2B Kemp grounded him home. Amsterdam took the lead in the top of the 2nd. 1B Berkenbosch hit into an error by his counterpart, Leonora. 3B Mick Vos and 2B Legito both singled, then Markwell walked LF Henrique to force in the tying run. CF Lampe flew out to LF Diaz, who gunned down Vos at the plate in a key play. SS Schoop singled in Legito, but Henrique was thrown out trying to score for Amsterdam's second out at home that inning.
Neptunus came right back. C Ricardo singled; with two outs, van der Meer walked, Bernadina singled and an error on the play made it 3-2. Amsterdam regained the lead in the 4th. Berkenbosch once again reached on a Leonora error and Vos singled him to third. Legito hit into a run-scoring error by Kemp. Henrique and Lampe both laid down bunt hits off the veteran Markwell then Schoop's sacrifice fly brought home Vos for a 4-3 lead. Amsterdam loaded the bases but DH Sams popped up to end the threat.
Diaz led off the bottom of the 4th with a single, was bunted over and scored on a hit by van der Meer but Neptunus followed Amsterdam in stranding runners (a pair in this case). After a quiet 5th, Neptunus went ahead in the 6th. Diaz tripled and scored on a one-out wild pitch. They got a key insurance run in the 7th. Ricardo singled and Diaz tripled; no one had ever hit two triples in a Holland Series game before.
De Groot relieved Markwell to open the 9th but Schoop singled and RF Richardson drew a walk. Kelly replaced de Groot and Sams singled to load them up with no one out. Loopstok struck out swinging. Berkenbosch hit into a run-scoring force; Jaarsma argued the call at second over the double-play break-up slide by Sams but 2B umpire Niek Elshof held it up (with consultation from the other umpires). Kelly got out of the jam by retiring Vos on a pop-up to short to end an exciting and record-setting game.
Game 6 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Clara (1-0) Loss: Bakker (0-2) Save: Groen (1)|
Amsterdam kept their hopes alive with a big offensive effort. In the 2nd, Neptunus took an early lead when SS Polonius singled off de Graauw and DH Boekhoudt homered. It was his 8th career Series homer, extending his record. In the bottom of the 4th, the Pirates cut the gap in half when RF Sams went yard off Timmermans, Neptunus's 4th different starting pitcher of the Series. In the top of the 5th, Neptunus got an insurance run when C Ricardo singled and LF Diaz doubled. After CF Daantji grounded out, 3B van der Meer hit a fly to center off reliever Robyn Clara to score Ricardo. Clara intentionally walked RF Bernadina then retired 2B Kemp on a grounder.
In the bottom of the 5th, 3B Vos began with a single off Timmermans and advanced on a grounder by 2B Legito. A wild pitch scored Vos to make it 3-2, then LF Henrique hit into an error by van der Meer. Bakker relieved and CF Lampe singled him over. SS Schoop singled (one of four hits for him today) to load the bases. DH Richardson showed off his MVP form with a two-run double to put the hosts ahead, then Sams singled in Schoop to make it 5-3; an error on the play by Daantji scored Richardson and advanced Sams to third. C Loopstok singled in Sams for Amsterdam's 6th run of the inning.
Neptunus fought back in the 6th. With one out, Polonius walked, Boekhoudt singled and Ricardo got plunked, then Diaz singled to make it 7-4. Amsterdam built their lead further in the 7th. Schoop singled off Bakeer. Harcksen relieved and Richardson smacked a two-run shot for a four-RBI day. In the 8th, Neptunus got their final run when Ricardo doubled, van der Meer hit a two-out single and Bernadina hit a RBI single but former Series MVP Kemp flew out and they were still down 9-5. Amsterdam then got a couple more in the bottom of the 8th on a one-out single by Legito, a walk by Henrique and a two-out two-run single by Schoop. Neptunus got two hits in the 9th off Groen but he retired Diaz on a fly to end the game and get the save for a 3 1/3 inning effort.
Game 7 in Neptunus Familiestadion
|Win: Martis (2-1) Loss: Kelly (1-1)|
Just as they won the opener on the road, Amsterdam took the finale on the road to pull off their second come-from-behind Series win in three years against Neptunus. Both teams turned to pitchers who had turned in star performances earlier - Martis in Game 1, Kelly in Game 3.
Neptunus got two hits in the 1st, from 3B van der Meer and SS Polonius, but came up empty when DH Boekhoudt grounded out. In the top of the 2nd, Amsterdam had an even better threat, as C Loopstok walked, 1B Berkenbosch hit into an error and LF Henrique drew a two-out walk but CF Lampe hit into an inning-ending force. Neptunus had a second two-hit inning in the 3rd but again did not score.
In the top of the 5th, the Pirates got all the runs they needed. 2B Legito drew a one-out walk (one of seven today for Kelly, not as sharp as in Game 3). Lampe singled him to third and SS Schoop's sac fly made it 1-0. Kelly intentionally walked DH Richardson but the move did not pay off as RF Sams swatted a three-run bomb to left to make it 4-0. Neptunus finally got to Martis in the bottom of the 6th. 1B Leonora reached on an error by Legito then Polonius hit into a force. Boekhoudt doubled and RF Diaz grounded in Polonius.
Amsterdam had another strong shot in the 7th, loading the bases on hits by Lampe and Richardson and a walk to Sams but Kelly got Loopstok swinging. In the bottom of the 8th, Bernadina singled and Polonius hit a one-out double, Bernadina scoring on a Legito error on the play to cut it to 4-2 but Martis recovered to retire Boekhoudt and Diaz. Martis finished with a nine-hitter, but walked none, using 109 pitches to go the distance, while the wild Kelly threw 126 pitches in 7 innings.
Schoop was named Series MVP, leading the Series with six RBI and tying for 2nd with 10 hits.