In 2009, the Netherlands’ national team was one of the World Baseball Classic’s biggest stories, pulling off a pair of upsets against the Dominican Republic to advance to the second round.
That, and the Dutch 2011 World Cup championship, made Saturday’s 5-0 victory against South Korea a bit less of a surprise to international baseball observers. But it was still an upset, considering South Korea’s 12-4 overall record in the first two Classics.
The Dutch got four scoreless innings from lefthander Diegomar Markwell, a former Blue Jays farmhand and international veteran. The 32-year-old earned the victory and got a significant assist from another Dutch national team vet, righthander Orlando Yntema, who pitched in the U.S. minors in the Giants system.
South Korea was thoroughly outplayed, committing four errors and getting out-hit 10-4. South Korea faced a tough, talented Netherlands lineup that got three hits from Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and a pair of RBIs from Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina.
Curt Smith, formerly of the Marlins and Cardinals organizations, had an RBI single in the second off Yoon Sik-Min to kick-start the Dutch offense. Wladimir Balentien also had an RBI, and Andruw Jones had two hits as well.
Leon Boyd got five outs for the Dutch before former Cubs farmhand Mark Pawelek, a 2005 first-round pick who is attempting a comeback, got the final out. Pawelek hasn’t pitched professionally since a season in the Reds organization in 2009.
The loss leaves South Korea tied at 0-1 with Australia in Pool B. Two teams advance out of each pool, and the Koreans may have to win out against host Taiwan and the Aussies to advance to the second round.