Team Netherlands Advances In The World Baseball Classic
The Dutchman, backed by a strong pitching performance by Robbie Cordemans, handed Team Australia 4-1 loss advancing to round two of the tourney.
The 38-year old Cordemans tossed five scoreless innings of work, only surrendering two hits, and fanning three Aussies along the way. Cordemans is no stranger to International play, having pitched for Team Netherlands in the previous four summer Olympics.
Baltimore Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop paced the Netherlands offensively with a two-run blast in the contest. Schoop was the 82nd-ranked prospect in all of baseball last year according to Baseball America. The 21-year old middle infielder connected for 14 homes runs as a member of the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
The team from the Kingdom of Netherlands has a good core of major league players and prospects, featuring Andruw Jones, Roger Bernadina, Andrelton Simmons , Xander Bogaerts and Wladimir Balentien.
Balentien has nine seasons of professional baseball under his belt, including that last two with the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League, where he has hit more than 30 home runs in two consecutive seasons.
The Netherlands will now advance to the second bracket with Chinese Taipei, Cuba, and Japan in what should be a very entertaining bracket. The Dutch have advanced to the second round in both previous Classics, but their tourney hopes ended there.
The Netherlands hope they can make tourney history upsetting baseball super powers Japan and Cuba to forge through to the semi-finals with their sights set on a finals berth.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.