HOOFDDORP, Netherlands – In front of an electric, sold-out crowd of 3,350, Yurendell De Caster singled with the bases loaded in the bottom the 10th to push the Netherlands past Spain, 3-2, Sunday night and capture the CEB European Baseball Championship 2016.
2.16m / 7’1″ tall Loek Van Mil pitched the final two innings for the Netherlands, shutting down Spain with a 154 km/h / 96 mph fastball to earn the win.
Netherlands outfielder Kalian Sams, who raced/arrived to the stadium in the fourth inning following the birth of his newborn son, told the Italian Baseball Softball Federation, “I haven’t slept in 48 hours, but this is the best day of my life: I’m a European Champion and father.”
World No. 10 Netherlands went an undefeated 9-0 in Europe’s pinnacle baseball competition, including an extra-inning 6-5 victory over Europe’s current top-ranked country, No. 9 Italy, en route to defending their European title — Netherlands’ 22nd in history.
For world No. 21 Spain (7-2), it was the first time in 61 years that the nation advanced to the championship final, using a no-hitter against No. 20 Germany on Saturday to earn a spot in the Finale.
Prior to the start of the Final, there was a moment of silence in honour of the Mexican Baseball Federation president and international baseball leader, Alonso Perez, who recently passed away.
With Italy’s third-place finish, the Netherlands is set again to become Europe’s top-ranked nation upon the next update of the WBSC Baseball World Rankings 2016. The Netherlands National Team programme also captured Europe’s U-18 title in July.
- Czech Republic
- Great Britain
Niet iedereen kan het optreden waarderen van Wolter Kroes tijdens het EK Honkbal… pic.twitter.com/5wfWiIakYC
— Neal Petersen (@nealpetersen) September 18, 2016
Photos courtesy of FIBS/Erzio Ratti