Success in international tournaments is becoming routine for the Netherlands.
The national team reached the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic and won the 2011 World Cup in Panama. Tuesday in Taiwan, the Dutch added another success, beating Australia 4-1 to move to 2-1 in Pool B in Taiwan and advance to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The Netherlands saved top starter Rob Cordemans, the 38-year-old ace and six-time Dutch Major League ERA champ, for the third and final game, and Cordemans came through with a gem. With a 65-pitch limit as part of WBC rules, Cordemans tossed five scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out three without walking anyone.
Cordemans, who pitched in four Olympics (1996, 2000, ’04 and ’08), and continued his recent international success. He won both starts (one over Cuba) in the ’11 World Cup and pitched 6.2 scoreless innings in the ’09 WBC.
Four Dutch relievers finished up, with 7-foot-1 righthander Loek Van Mil (Angels) getting the save by pitching out of a ninth-inning jam of his own creation.
The Netherlands got all its runs in the first two innings of Dushan Ruzic, who pitches professionally in the Dutch Major League. Andrelton Simmons, leading off for the Dutch as he’s expected to do for the Atlanta Braves, doubled and came around to score on a single by Roger Bernadina (Nationals). The Dutch put the game away in the second with three more runs, as Simmons drove in Curt Smith with a grounder.
Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop, who had sacrificed Simmons to third in the first, then showed the raw power that makes him a potential future big leaguer, crushing a deep two-run home run to left field. It was the first home run hit to left field in pool play at International Stadium.
Veteran Chris Oxspring came on for Australia and kept the team in the game with five scoreless, one-hit innings of relief, but the Aussies just couldn’t rally. They got a run in the seventh as Stefan Welch (Mets) doubled and scored on a two-out single by Brad Harman (Phillies), but they left eight runners on base, including two in the seventh and two in the ninth against Van Mil. Harman, representing the tying run, hit a deep fly-ball out to end the game.
Australia finishes 0-3 in the ’13 WBC and drops to 1-8 all-time in WBC play. Now the Aussies must go through the qualifying round to play in the 2017 Classic, and they will not participate in the next big international tournament, the 2015 Premier 12, which will match the top 12 finishers in the ’13 Classic.