Venezuela ends their final Olympic qualifier opening round with win over Netherlands

Venezuela ends their final Olympic qualifier opening round with win over Netherlands
24/06/2021
A night after six home runs weren’t enough, Venezuela had to bounce back quickly facing a talented Netherlands team. Mission accomplished.

Behind five two-hit performances in its lineup, Venezuela’s national team did more than enough to notch its first win of the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier, pulling away with a four-run ninth for a 9-3 win over the Netherlands at Estadio Hermanos Serdán in Puebla, Mexico on Wednesday night.

Venezuela pummeled six solo shots in a 10-7 loss to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday but showed no effects of a hangover at the plate a night later. Alexi Amarista continued his hot offensive start to the Final Qualifier with a leadoff walk in the first inning, and Hernan Perez followed with a single through the left side. Two batters later, the pair scored on Alexander Palma’s double to right-center. Venezuela hardly looked back.

Wednesday’s visiting team added a run in the second and two more in the fifth to build a 5-0 lead by the game’s midway point.

The offense provided support for a bullpen that pitched five innings on Tuesday night against the DR and was pressed into duty even earlier against the Netherlands. Venezuela starter Jhonathan Diaz pitched a 1-2-3 first inning with a strikeout but didn’t come out for the second, replaced by Henry Centeno. That started a string of seven relievers to pitch the game’s remaining eight innings and keep the Netherlands at bay.

Playing their first international game since the opening round of 2019 Premier12, the Netherlands notched four hits from the second through fourth innings but didn’t plate a run until the sixth when Juremi Profar scored Jiandido Tromp with a sacrifice fly. By the time the world’s No. 9 team scored again, their deficit had ballooned.

Venezuela put the game away with a four-run ninth inning on the strength of seven straight baserunners to open the final frame. Amarista capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly. The infielder has logged 11 plate appearances so far in the Final Qualifier and has reached in eight of them with two homers, two singles, and four walks.

Trailing 9-1, Sharlon Schoop hammered a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Netherlands’ final runs. Tromp went 3-for-5 in the loss.

Netherlands starting pitcher Diegomar Markwell was saddled with the loss, charged with three runs (two earned) on four hits over two-plus innings.

Eduardo Paredes picked up the win for Venezuela with two scoreless innings of relief.