2019 Holland Series
The 2019 Holland Series was the 33rd Holland Series. Neptunus and Amsterdam face off for the fourth consecutive season; Neptunus was trying for their seventh title in a row. Amsterdam became the first team to win after being down 3 games to 0.
Neptunus had won the last five Holland Series. They were managed by Ronald Jaarsma. They led the 2019 Hoofdklasse in runs (274), hitting .303 as a team, and allowed a league-low 100 with a 1.95 ERA. Dwayne Kemp (.364/.400/.545) led the league with 40 RBI, Stijn van der Meer (.309/.401/.382) led with 39 runs and Gianison Boekhoudt (.302/.439/.496) tied for first with six homers; six regulars topped .300. Diegomar Markwell (11-1, 1.69) and Misja Harcksen (11-2, 1.95) tied for the most wins while Orlando Yntema (8-1, 2.22) fanned 94 in 77 innings. Kevin Kelly (2-1, 9 Sv, 0.56, .068 opponent average) led in saves while Berry van Driel (1.69, 4 Sv) and Elton Koeiman (1-0, 1.93) also provided fine relief.
Amsterdam, managed by Brian Finnegan, was only two wins behind Neptunus and was second to them in both offense (268) and pitching/defense (108 runs allowed). Their offense was more of a two-man show with Denzel Richardson (.388/.459/.619, 38 RBI in 35 G) leading the league in slugging and average and Gilmer Lampe (.382/.479/.618, 38 R in 38 G) leading in OBP. Indy league veteran Kalian Sams rejoined the team for the Series after playing in the US during the summer. They also had three effective starters in Jim Ploeger (9-2, Sv, 1.18), Rob Cordemans (6-1, 2.11, 58 K in 55 1/3 IP) and Kevin Heijstek (6-2, 2.56) while the bullpen was also solid with Jhan Rifaele (4-1, Sv, 1.19), Maickel Rietel (1-0, Sv, 1.21), Tom Stuifbergen (1-0, 8 Sv, 1.89) and Mike Groen (2-1, 1.93).
Game 1 in Familiestadion
|Win: Markwell (1-0) Loss: Ploeger (0-1) Save: Harcksen (1)|
Ploeger and long-time Series star Markwell traded goose eggs for 2 1/2 before Neptunus started their title defense attack. In the bottom of the 3rd, RF Gregory Muller (the #9 hitter) singled and advanced on an error by RF Sams. LF Coco Johnson singled and SS van der Meer singled in Muller. In the 4th, Amsterdam struck back. LF Lampe drew a walk from Markwell and CF Richardson singled back to the mound; an error on the play advanced both runners. 3B Kemp hit into a double play but it was his lone out in five at-bats today. Sams' sacrifice fly tied the game and 1B Kenny Berkenbosch singled to make it 2-1, Pirates.
Neptunus struck back in the bottom of the 4th. C Boekhoudt walked and 1B Dudley Leonora singled. A bunt hit by CF Shaldimar Daantji loaded the bags. Ploeger fanned DH Quintin de Cuba but 2B Benjamin Dille, a three-time Series MVP, singled in Boekhoudt. Ploeger struck out Muller but a passed ball by C Max Clarijs put Neptunus back ahead, 3-2. Amsterdam again came back; SS Sharlon Schoop opened the 5th with a walk and Lampe smacked a two-run shot to left for a 4-3 edge.
In the 5th, Neptunus pulled ahead for good. Kemp led off with a double. Another Clarijs passed ball sent him to third with one out and Leonora walked. Groen relieved and retired Daantji but hit de Cuba and walked Dille on a full count to force in a run. Groen then uncorked a wild pitch to score Leonora with the winner. Neptunus got insurance in the 6th; van der Meer and Kemp had back-to-back singles with one out and Leonora added a two-out single to bring in van der Meer. Amsterdam got two hits off Kelly in the 7th but former Marlins farmhand Berkenbosch grounded out to end it. In the 8th, they got two walks with one out from Kelly. Harcksen came on and fanned DH Roelie Henrique Jr. and retired Schoop on a grounder to escape the jam. In the 9th, Harcksen went 1-2-3 against the heart of the order, whiffing Lampe and Richardson and then getting Sams to end it.
Game 2 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Yntema (1-0) Loss: Heijstek (0-1)|
Amsterdam got ahead first in a pitching duel today. In the bottom of the 3rd, C Clarijs and DH Henrique both singled off Yntema. SS Schoop bunted for a single (one of his three hits today) and an error on the play by Neptunus 3B Kemp made it 1-0. The Pirates had a chance in the 5th but 2B Niels van Weert was caught in a run-down between third and home.
Heijstek blanked Neptunus for the first five. In the 6th, LF Johnson doubled and scored a two-out double by 1B Leonora to tie it. In the 7th, DH de Cuba singled and Kaj Burema pinch-ran. 2B Dille bunted him over and Burema took third on a ground ball by RF Jochem Koedijk. Johnson singled in Burema with the winner.
Game 3 in Familiestadion
|Win: Kelly (1-0) Loss: Stuifbergen (0-1)|
The Pirates blew another lead, this time a 6-0 one after 4 1/2, to fall behind 3-0 in the Series. Neptunus tried an opener, going with Brendan Schoemaker, who had not started a game all year. Amsterdam loaded the bases with one out in the 1st against him but RF Sams hit into a double play. In the top of the 2nd, 1B Berkenbosch singled for the first of three hits today and 3B Delano Selassa walked. 45-year-old Koeiman relieved and 2B van Weert hit into a force. C Clarijs was plunked to load the bases. DH Henrique drew a four-pitch walk to force in Selassa but SS Schoop lined into a twin killing as again Amsterdam blew a bases-loaded, one-out situation.
In the 3rd, LF Lampe and CF Richardson hit back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0. With one out, Berkenbosch singled to plate Lampe. Selassa doubled and van Weert hit a two-run two-bagger for Amsterdam's 4th double of the inning and a 5-0 lead. In the 5th, Berkenbosch singled again and Selassa hit into a force then stole second. With two outs, Clarijs singled in Selassa to make it 6-0. After that, though, Amsterdam was shut down by Harcksen for 2 2/3, van Driel for 1 2/3 and Kelly for 2 1/3.
Meanwhile, Neptunus kept pecking away at the Pirates' lead. 44-year-old Cordemans had shut them out for four (he and Koeiman became the oldest pitching opponents ever in a Holland Series). In the bottom of the 5th, 1B Leonora hit a one-out single and CF Daantji singled. 2B Dille delivered a two-run triple. In the 6th, Rietel relieved Cordemans. With one out, 3B Kemp drew a walk and C Boekhoudt homered to cut it to 6-4. The Pirates still led 6-4 entering the bottom of the 9th. DH de Cuba drew a leadoff walk from Stuifbergen and Burema pinch-ran. With one out, PH Muller singled and Sams made an error on the play, scoring Burema and bringing Muller to third. That put him in position to score on a sacrifice fly by LF Johnson.
Stuifbergen shut out Neptunus in the 10th and 11th while van Driel and Kelly were blanking the visitors. In the bottom of the 12th, SS van der Meer singled off Stuifbergen and Kemp bunted him over. Boekhoudt struck again, this time with a double to win it for the hosts.
Game 4 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Groen (1-0) Loss: Harcksen (0-1)|
Amsterdam prevented a sweep in a game plagued by rain. The contest started with a short-handed umpiring crew when Winfried Berkvens was caught in a traffic jam, leaving no ump at second base for an inning. Ploeger and Harcksen traded goose eggs for four innings. In the 5th, Neptunus struck first. 1B Leonora doubled and came home on a one-out single by DH de Cuba. 2B Dille singled. Heavy rains and lightning halted the game for 72 minutes. Groen took over for Ploeger and threw a wild pitch then walked RF Muller on a full count. LF Johnson's fly to center brought in de Cuba to make it 2-0. Groen retired every batter he faced from the 6th to the 9th to get the win.
In the bottom of the 5th, the home team rallied. 2B Selassa greeted reliever Harcksen with a single. LF Henrique hit into a force at second, then stole second and took third on a throwing error by C Boekhoudt on the play. Harcksen's wild pitch made it 2-1. CF Lampe singled and stole second, then SS Schoop walked. Another wild pitch by Harcksen made it 1st and 3rd and Schoop stole as well. RF Richardson walked as Harcksen's control issues continued. He was relieved by Kelly. DH Sams grounded back to Kelly but his bat broke on the play and part of it hit Kelly on the leg. Sams was still out at first, but Lampe scored the tying run. After being tended to by the trainer, Kelly returned to the hill but 1B Berkenbosch greeted him roughly with a 3-run homer to left for the game's last runs. Schoemaker shut out Amsterdam from the 6th through the 8th.
Game 5 in Familiestadion
|Win: Heijstek (1-1) Loss: Yntema (1-1) Save: Stuifbergen (1)|
Amsterdam fought off elimination again with their first road win of the Series. In the 2nd, C Clarijs hit a two-out double off Yntema and 2B Selassa singled him in. Heijstek tossed a gem, allowing only 4 hits in 7 innings. In the bottom of the 7th, he allowed his lone run. DH de Cuba hit into an error by Selassa and 1B Dille bunted him over. 3B van der Meer singled in the tying run. Amsterdam got it back in the 8th when CF Lampe led off with a homer off Yntema to win it. The game was delayed but not due to rain like Game 4 but due to geese on the field in the 8th.
Game 6 in Loek Loevendie Ballpark
|Win: Ploeger (1-1) Loss: Kevin Kelly (1-1)|
This time, Amsterdam was the one to stage a comeback, tying the Series at three games apiece with their third win in a row. Four-time Olympian Cordemans (an impressive feat since baseball had not been an Olympic sport in the past 11 years) had a rocky day. In the 2nd, DH de Cuba drew a one-out walk, CF Daantji hit into a force, 3B van der Meer singled and RF Richardson made an error on the play and RF Koedijk singled in Daantji.
In the 3rd, 1B Dille drew a leadoff walk and after an out, C Boekhoudt drilled one to right for a 3-0 Neptunus lead. Amsterdam threatened in the 2nd with two hits and a walk against Harcksen by 2B Selassa was caught stealing after a leadoff single and Harcksen got the last two batters to ened the threat. In the 4th, Richardson atoned for his earlier error by starting a 9-6-4 double play on a fly by Koedjik. Ploeger relieved Cordemans in the 5th and pitched no-hit ball over the final five innings, walking only one. He was aided by fine defense from corner outfielders Henrique and Richardson, both who made good grabs to rob Neptunus of hits.
Amsterdam got a run in the bottom of the 4th. 1B Berkenbosch singled. With two outs, C Clarijs walked and Selassa singled; an error on the play by LF Johnson let Berkenbosch score to make it 3-1. In the 6th, Pirates 3B Rashid Gerard hit his first home run at home in his ten-year career to make it a 3-2 contest. Harcksen left after 7 2/3 and Kelly came in to try to rap it up. The regular-season star, though, had a terrible 9th. #8 hitter Clarijs drew a leadoff walk and Selassa singled. Henrique bunted and Kelly threw for third but not in time to load the bases. CF Lampe grounded to SS Leonora but van der Meer was not covering third and Clarijs came in. With Neptunus shifting to a five-man infield, Kelly walked SS Schoop to force in Selassa with the winning run to complete the stunner.
Game 7 in Familiestadion
|Win: Rifaele (1-0) Loss: Markwell (1-1)|
With Amsterdam's three regular starting pitchers all tired, two having pitched 4+ innings yesterday, Finnegan turned to Rifaele for Game 7. The move paid off as he pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings (4 H, 3 BB) then Groen and Stuifbergen retired 8 of 9 batters they faced to close it out as the Pirates became the first team to come back from a 3 games to 0 deficit to win a Holland Series.
On the other hand, Series veteran Markwell had a rough day. CF Lampe led off the game with a single and SS Schoop bunted him over. Lampe took off for third, got the steal and came home when C Boekhoudt's throw went off the mark for an error. It was the first of three for Neptunus, which proved costly. In the 2nd, DH Sams drew a four-pitch walk. 3B Gerard singled and an error on the play by CF Daantji put both men in scoring position. C Clarijs walked. 2B Selassa doubled to right and a throwing error on the play by 2B Dille made it 4-0. Markwell got one more out before former Series MVP van Driel took over. He would blank Amsterdam over the next four innings. In the 7th, the Pirates got some unnecessary insurance. Selassa drew a leadoff walk. With two outs, Schoop took van Driel deep for a 6-0 win.
Unlike usual, the Series MVP was not given out right after the Series; instead, Selassa was given the honor three days later.