2010 Holland Series
The 2010 Holland Series matched the last two teams to win the Holland Series, DOOR Neptunus (2009) and the Amsterdam Pirates (2008). For the second time ever, the Series was a best-of-seven affair instead of best-of-five - only the 1989 Holland Series had operated on a best-of-seven format.
Neptunus won its record 13th national title. The MVP was Dushan Ruzic, who won two games in relief and saved another.
Neptunus was managed by Steve Janssen. They boasted one of the best clubs in Hoofdklasse history, having gone 39-3. Their offense was well-balanced with a team batting line of .305/.403/.391 but they only had one player lead in any major offensive department, Benjamin Dille (.299/.375/.351) with 39 runs. Their top batters in terms of OPS were Raily Legito (.340/.443/.514, 35 RBI), Jeffrey Arends (.323/.446/.376), Danny Rombley (.309/.393/.430) and Dwayne Kemp (.296/.360/.454). Kemp and Legito did tie for the league double lead with 14. In limited action due to injury, former major leaguer Eugène Kingsale hit .405/.550/.524 with 30 runs in 24 games. The pitching was where Neptunus really dazzled with a staff ERA of 1.39 and opponent average of .194. Four pitchers each won nine games - ERA leader Leon Boyd (9-0, 0.39, .152 opponent average), Diegomar Markwell (9-1, 1.32), Dushan Ruzic (9-0, 1.56, .167 opponent average) and Kevin Heijstek (9-1, 2.24). The bullpen included fine performances by Jorian van Acker (0-1, 0.71) and Berry van Driel (2-0, 4 Sv, 1.08, .161 opponent average). They became the first team to sweep through the playoffs by way of shutout, blanking the Pioniers in three straight games.
Amsterdam was managed by Charles Urbanus Jr. While no slouches (outscoring their opposition 210-147 on the year), their 25-17 record was far worse than Neptunus. Their big three batters were Sidney de Jong (.333/.430/.382), Bas de Jong (.324/.380/.515) and Kenny Berkenbosch (.316/.389/.421). Their ace pitchers were former Neptunus star and four-time Olympian Rob Cordemans (7-2, 0.81, .168 opponent average) as well as Ben Grover (5-1, 1.93, .196). Their playoff was much harder, as they scraped by Kinheim in five games, with rain causing several delays and postponements. Surprisingly, the road team won all five of the playoff matches, only the second time in Hoofdklasse annals that such an event had occurred.
Game 1 in Familiestadion
|Win: de Jong (1-0) Loss: Markwell (0-1)|
Amsterdam started the tourney with an upset win over the highly-favored Neptunus club on the road. Jos de Jong (2 H, 0 R in 6 2/3 IP), Rik Geestman and Al Morales Gomes combined to shut out the potent offense for eight innings.
In the meantime, Amsterdam was putting on a couple runs against former AA hurler Diegomar Markwell. C Sidney de Jong, playing in his fifth Holland Series, cracked his first Holland Series homer, in the fourth inning. In the 7th, singles by 1B Kenny Berkenbosch, DH Rashid Gerard and LF Michael Kramer put across a second run.
In the 9th, the Pirates got three crucial insurance runs. Berkenbosch, a former Florida Marlins farmhand, drew a leadoff walk from Jorian van Acker. Berry van Driel relieved and was also wild, walking Gerard and plunking 2B Roelie Henrique. A wild pitch made it 3-0. SS Dwayne Kemp committed a run-scoring error and CF Wesley Connor (formerly of the Minnesota Twins organization) hit a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 9th, Neptunus finally showed some spark. RF Danny Rombley, Kemp and 1B Jeffrey Arends singled off Morales to make it 5-1. After PH Eldrion Regina whiffed, C Martijn Meeuwis walked. PH Rien Vernooij (straight from a season in the New York Mets chain) hit into a run-scoring force. With the potential tying run at the plate in former major leaguer Gene Kingsale, Morales came through, getting Kingsale to ground out to end it.
Game 2 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Ruzic (1-0) Loss: Grover (0-1)|
Amsterdam had won 9 straight Holland Series games going back 23 years (their last two in 1987, a three-game sweep in 1990, a three-game sweep in 2008 and the opener in 2010) and looked in good position here before a 8th-inning Neptunus rally let the favorites tie the game.
Neptunus looked like a strong challenger early, loading the bases in the first with one out but veteran Rob Cordemans fanned the next two batters. He would finish with nine whiffs in six strong innings, falling two short of his own Holland Series strikeout record.
In the second inning, RF Bas de Jong led off with a single against Dutch-Canadian Leon Boyd (a former Toronto Blue Jays minor leaguer). 3B Vince Rooi drew a walk and Berkenbosch singled in the game's first run. With two outs, #9 hitter Michael Kramer hit one down the third-base line. Neptunus 3B Raily Legito apparently touched the ball before it rolled foul, with Rooi coming home on the play. Home plate ump Henri van Heijningen called it fair, but 3B ump Jac Vrij ruled it foul. The foul ball call stood up, Rooi was sent back to third, and Kramer returned to the batter's box, where Boyd struck him out to end the crucial and controversial play.
In the 5th, Kramer hit a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by SS Nick Urbanus to make it 2-0. Boyd, who had nearly set a league ERA record, was yanked in favor of Australian giant Dushan Ruzic. Neptunus finally got to Cordemans in the 6th when former Montreal Expos farmhand Danny Rombley took him deep to make it 2-1. It would be his last inning on the hill.
Amsterdam added an insurance run in the 7th but again fell shy of a chance to put on more. 2B Roelie Henrique led off with a bunt single, then Kramer bunted into a Ruzic error. After Meeuwis had been hit on the head by a foul ball in the 6th, he had been replaced by backup C Mourik Huijser. Huijser immediately showed why he was a bench player, throwing away an error that advanced both runners. CF Wesley Connor hit a fly to center but Shaldimar Daantji lost it in the sun and wound up with a run-scoring error. Urbanus bunted Connor over, then Sidney de Jong walked to load the bases. With a 3-1 lead and just one out, cleanup man Bas de Jong struck out against Ruzic and former AA player Rooi grounded out to end the threat.
Those two outs proved to be crucial as Neptunus staged its comeback in the 8th. Legito led off with a double, then Rombley was plunked and former Chicago Cubs farmhand Dwayne Kemp laid down a bunt hit. 1B Jeffrey Arends singled in a run to close it to 3-2. Ben Grover finally got an out, but Huijser drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game. Al Morales Gomes relieved and fanned Daantji. In the clutch, backup SS Jeroen Sluijter smacked a 2-run ground-rule double under the fence in right for a 5-3 lead.
Ruzic wrapped it up with perfect work in the 8th and 9th.
Game 3 in Familiestadion
|Win: Heijstek (1-0) Loss: Grover (0-2) Save: Ruzic (1)|
951 fans turned out to see Neptunus take the Series lead for the first time in a game filled with records. Neptunus set a record for fewest hits by a winner in a Holland Series game, as their three broke the mark of four set back in 1995. They also set a record for worst hit margin (-6) by a winning team in a Holland Series game. Finally, LF Eugène Kingsale returned from injury to walk all four trips to the plate, tying a Holland Series record.
Amsterdam's best rally came in the second when they loaded the bags with one out against Kevin Heijstek before LF Michael Kramer hit into a rally-killing double play. Heijstek (6 1/3 IP) and Dushan Ruzic (2 2/3 IP) teamed up on a shutout as the Pirates scattered their hits the rest of the way.
A wild Ben Grover (5 walks, wild pitch in 2 1/3 IP) took his second loss of the Series. In the second, he walked 1B Jeffrey Arends and SS Jeroen Sluijter. A grounder advanced both runners, then Grover tossed a wild pitch. In the third, Kingsale walked and stole second. Grover attempted a pick-off, which resulted in an error. 2B Benjamin Dille walked, then 3B Raily Legito singled in Kingsale to make it 2-0. Frank van Heijst relieved Grover and turned in a strong outing, giving up just one run in 5 2/3 IP. That last score came in the fifth when C Mourik Huijser doubled and Dille doubled him in.
Game 4 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Cordemans (1-0) Loss: Markwell (0-2) Save: Morales (1)|
17-year veteran Rob Cordemans turned in one of the greatest outings in Holland Series annals to help Amsterdam tie the Series at two in front of over 1,200 home fans. Cordemans came close to the first no-hitter in the Series's 24-year history, holding Neptunus without a hit for 7 2/3 innings before Dwayne Kemp singled to break up the bid. Rob finished with ten whiffs and nearly had a complete game shutout.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam was doing some damage against former AA hurler Diegomar Markwell. In the third, DH Rashid Gerard singled and CF Wesley Connor doubled hime home. The next inning, C Sidney de Jong doubled, RF Bas de Jong singled and 1B Kenny Berkenbosch hit a one-out RBI double to make it 2-0. Connor took Markwell deep in the 7th for a 3-0 edge.
Cordemans finally flagged in the 9th. With one out, CF Shaldimar Daantji singled for the second Neptunus hit. LF Eugene Kingsale drew Cordemans' second walk. After a second out, 3B Raily Legito singled in Daantji to make it a two-run game. Al Morales Gomes relieved and retired cleanup man Danny Rombley on a grounder to end it.
Game 5 in Familiestadion
|Win: Ruzic (2-0) Loss: Geestman (0-1)|
For the second time this Series, Amsterdam had a late lead only to have their bullpen blow it. Had they won both games, they would have wrapped up the Series here. Instead, they fell behind three games to two.
Neptunus struck early off Jos de Jong when LF Eugène Kingsale singled and 2B Benjamin Dille doubled him in, but de Jong then turned it up a notch and allowed nothing further through the 7th. They did load the bases in the second with two out before Dille struck out.
In the 4th, 1B Kenny Berkenbosch drew a one-out walk. DH Rashid Gerard singled Berkenbosch to third. 2B Roelie Henrique grounded to 1B Jeffrey Arends, who fired to get Berkenbosch at home. LF Michael Kramer then cracked a two-run double to put the Pirates ahead.
Amsterdam still led, 2-1, going into the bottom of the 8th. With two away, RF Danny Rombley singled. Rik Geestman relieved de Jong and did not fare well. He gave up a full-count single to Arends, then DH Dwayne Kemp (back from an injury that kept him out a couple games) singled in Rombley, with a close play at the plate. Al Morales Gomes next tried to keep Neptunus off the board. He walked SS Jeroen Sluijter. Backup C Mourik Huijser singled over second, bringing in Arends with the winner. Of the five Neptunus batters faced by Amsterdam relievers, they only retired one.
Dushan Ruzic did much better from the Neptunus bullpen, throwing perfect ball in the 8th and 9th for his second win.
Game 6 in Sportpark Ookmeer
|Win: Markwell (1-2) Loss: Cordemans (1-1)|
After Rob Cordemans had dazzled in his first two outings, he proved to be human this time around while Diegomar Markwell turned in a superb outing for Neptunus to give his club the title. It was Neptunus's record 13th title, breaking Haarlem Nicols' record of 12 that had stood for a dozen years.
In the bottom of the second, the home team went ahead. RF Bas de Jong drew a leadoff walk from Markwell, who retired 3B Vince Rooi. Markwell plunked 1B Kenny Berkenbosch. DH Rashid Gerard then got the lone Amsterdam hit of the day, a single to center. De Jong collided with third base coach Randell Hannah, slowing him down, while Berkenbosch was racing to third thanks to poor ball-handling by Neptunus CF Shaldimar Daantji. De Jong got up and sprinted home to score. Neptunus skipper Steve Janssen argued it was coach's interference but the run was counted; umpire Johan Brandsma said that as the coach didn't touch the runner on purpose, it was not interference. Fred van Groningen Schinkel, a 40-year umpiring veteran, said that he has never seen a call like that before. (A similar play had taken place with Michael Young earlier in the summer in the US). Markwell tried to pick off Gerard. 1B Jeffrey Arends failed to get the out there, but then threw to 3B Raily Legito to try to catch Berkenosch off the pace. Berkenbosch and Legito collided and 3B ump Johan Brandsma gave Berkenbosch a run due to obstruction. Markwell recovered from the crazy plays to fan Roelie Henrique while Gerard was gunned down running. He would retire his next 22 batters and finish with the second one-hitter in Holland Series history, following Eelco Jansen and Ferenc Jongejan in the 2004 Holland Series.
Neptunus's offense would stage a rally to help turn Markwell into a winner for the first time in three starts this Series. With one out in the third, LF Eugène Kingsale and 2B Benjamin Dille singled. After a second out, RF Danny Rombley singled home Kingsale.
Neptunus tied the score in the 4th on a single by DH Dwayne Kemp, a bunt, a fly ball to advance Kemp and a Daantji single. In the fifth, they took the lead for good. Legito and Rombley each singled with one out. C Sidney de Jong, a star of the first two World Baseball Classics, tried to pick off Legito but instead hit him in the back, giving each runner a base. Arends then slugged a long two-run double off the left-field wall for a 4-2 lead, the decisive hit.
Facing Frank van Heijst in the 6th, Rombley doubled to go to 4-for-4 and Kemp singled him in two outs later. Danny had the 18th 4-hit game in Series history. Amsterdam finished with no batters left on base, the first time that had ever happened in a Holland Series contest.