HOW SWEET IT IS…
AUS 4 def. NED 3
The Jubilant Australian side celebrates after their dramatic 'Walk-Off' win
Trailing by a run heading into their final turn at bat, the Aussies mustered every bit of fortitude they had in reserve to grind out one of the gutsiest wins in recent memory.
The victory evens
The standout for
After the game, a euphoric Oeltjen was surprised the Dutch gave him such a good pitch to hit with the scores deadlocked.
“I really didn’t expect them to come right at me with a base open,” Oeltjen said.
“I was sitting on a fastball, and when he put it right there I was a little surprised…but they gave it to me, and you can bet I am happy to take it,” he said.
Oeltjen wasted no time in putting together his monster evening by hitting a lead-off triple in
And when Glenn Williams crushed a two-out RBI double, it seemed clear the Aussies had put the disappointment of yesterday’s heartbreaking loss to
But Dutch starting pitcher Leon Boyd soon found his rhythm and kept the Australian bats relatively quiet for the next few frames, limiting the damage to a single run - Oeltjen again, this time scoring on a Ben Risinger double - in the bottom of the 5th inning.
However Blackley’s night hit a speed bump in the top half of the sixth when right fielder Dirk Van’t Klooster just barely beat out an infield single, before an error gave the
A well executed sacrifice bunt followed and paved the way for two runs to score on shortstop Hainley Statia’s ground ball single to centerfield, tying the game a two.
From there another base hit ended Blackley’s night; as he handed the reigns to Western Australian Brendan Wise to put a stop to the threat.
Wise, a ground ball specialist, was effective from the outset and cruised through the next eight Dutch sluggers, before things started to come unravelled in the top of the 9th inning.
After a lead-off single, a wild pitch allowed the runner to advance to second base – putting him just 180 feet home and handing the
But the Aussies thought they had escaped unscathed when veteran Dutch slugger Sharnol Adriana smoked a line drive straight 3rd baseman Glenn Williams, who quickly relayed the throw Luke Hughes in an attempt to double-off Raily Legito at 2nd base.
It appeared that Legito was out on the play, but 2nd base umpire William Higgins called the runner safe – much to dismay of Luke Hughes who wasn’t shy about illustrating his thoughts to the Canadian official.
The close call would prove costly for
Staring down the barrel of their second soul-destroying loss in as many games, the Australians were a little nervous heading into the final frame –to say the very least.
Aussie stalwart Brett Roneberg was one amongst several players in the dugout who were already thinking about the hole they had just dug for themselves.
“All I kept thinking was, ‘How the hell are we going to come back from two games down’,” he said.
Thankfully, those unnerving thoughts running through the minds of the Aussies were yet to make their way into their pounding Green and Gold chests – when a leadoff single by shortstop Brad Harman started the vital 9th inning rally.
With Harman at first base, Head Coach Jon Deeble turned to
After Fingleson bunted the first pitch foul – Deeble, who was looking to move Harman into scoring position – took a major punt by setting the runner in motion on a “Hit and Run” play.
The gamble paid off in spades when Fingleson chopped a ground ball to second baseman Michael Dursma who bobbled the ball before making a horrid throw to second that caromed into centre field, allowing Harman to advance to third with nobody out.
Facing the Dutch reliever Michiel van Kampen, Luke Hughes then lofted a ball into left field – just deep enough to plate Harman on a sacrifice fly and tying the game 3-3.
Fingleson, who had cleverly made his way into scoring position on the throw, now represented the winning at run second base, with one-out and ‘white-hot’ Oeltjen coming to the plate.
With first base unoccupied and a right-hand batter on deck, many thought Oeltjen would be lucky to see a pitch to hit.
But the speedy centerfielder wasted no time in delaying the celebrations by crushing a belt-high fastball the outfield wall on the very first pitch he faced and handing the Aussies a dramatic walk-off win.
The victory was crucial for
That leaves World Cup minnows
Next up for
The game can be seen LIVE via the internet, with the first pitch set for 3pm AEST.