WBC: Netherlands advance by dropping Australia 4-1 in Pool B


Taichung. Behind the solid pitching of starter Rob Cordemans and an early hitting outburst, the Netherlands dropped Australia 4-1 in WBC Pool B final day action.

By Jason Pan at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, Chinese Taipei

Taichung. Behind the solid pitching of starter Rob Cordemans and an early hitting outburst, the Netherlands dropped Australia 4-1 in WBC Pool B final day action.

They scored once in the opening frame, then blew the game open with 3 runs in their next at-bat to go ahead by 4 runs. Australia could only muster one late run in the 7th inning for the 4-1 final.

Thus for the Dutch national team, they wrap up the round-robin with a 2-1 record, and secured one of the two berths from Pool B for advancing to the WBC second round in Tokyo, Japan.

Australia finished up with 0-3 record, and did not get into their hitting groove – scoring a paltry two runs in the three games.

For the other berth in Pool B, it will depend on the outcome and runs scored in the Chinese Taipei vs. Korea showdown in the final day’s evening game.

Winning pitcher Rob Cordemans, who played in Taiwanese pro league with Uni-President Lions in 2007, had an outstanding day. He tossed five scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits with 3 strikeouts to send the Netherlands on the way to victory.

Cordemans has been a reliable performer in the Dutch Oranje uniform at international tournaments, including WBC in 2006 and 2009, and Baseball World Cup in 2005.

Aussie pitcher Dushan Ruzic was charged with the loss, in giving up 6 hits and 4 runs through two innings. He was on the mound for the outburst by Netherlands in the early going. Ruzic gave up a leadoff double by Andrelton Simmons in the opening frame, who went home on an RBI-single by Roger Bernadina.

The Dutch turned on the firepower in the second inning, when with two men on, second baseman Jonathan Schoop slammed a shot over wall on the left side for a three-run homer.

Taking the 4-run lead, four other pitchers followed Cordemans to shut down the Aussie batters. The visitors from Down Under did managed one run on a walk and 2 hits in the seventh frame.

In their final turn at bat, the Aussies nearly level things up when they had two runners on with two singles, with only one out.

Up comes Australian second baseman Brad Harman to face Dutch reliever Loek van Mil. Harman pulled the trigger on the 3-2 count to sent a high fly over to the rightfield.

It looked might have a chance to sail out of the ballpark, as Aussie players and fans hollered for the ball to carry farther. However, with a strong breeze blowing in at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, the ball fell to the waiting glove of Dutch outfielder Randolph Oduber for the second out.

It was a very close call for the Netherlands, because the Aussie came very close to tie up the score at that point, and could have changed the outcome. But it was not to be, and van Mil struck out the next batter for the final out, to preserve the Dutch victory.

Hensley Meulens, manager for the Netherlands, gave credit to his pitching staff, “We got great pitching today. We had our best pitcher in international tournaments, Rob Cordemans.  He went five scoreless innings. That was the key to our winning the game today. The home run by Schoop in the second inning puts the icing on the cake.”

Australian manager Jon Deeble said “It was difficult to give up the early runs and having to play catch up.” He also explained the team would have done much better, if many of his country’s Major Leaguers in the US can participate in this WBC tourney.

He noted that with the absence of these MLB baseballers on his roster, it was a tough task going up against the very strong oppositions in this group.

With the 4-1 trumph, the Netherlands advances and will head to the Tokyo Dome in Japan for WBC second round starting on March 8.

Results Pool B:

Saturday, March 2:
Netherlands 5 – Korea 0
Chinese Taipei 4 – Australia 1
Sunday, March 3:
Chinese Taipei 8 – Netherlands 3
Monday, March 4:
Australia 0 – Korea 6
Tuesday, March 5:
Netherlands 4 – Australia 1