In 2013, the Netherlands National Women Softball Team captured the European Championship-title for the third consecutive time and again remained undefeated. In Czech capital Prague, the Orange team dominated from July 7 through 13. The third title in a row was sealed by winning the final against Italy, 3-0.
First, let's go a moment back in history. After losing the European Championship-final of 2007 in Amsterdam, a month later the team staged a successful Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Italy. There, Italy, which was then the favorite, was beaten in a spectacular final. After trailing twice, the Dutch team won 3-2 in the eighth inning. And so, the Netherlands Softball Team returned to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1996 and participated in the Olympic sofball-tournament of 2008 in Beijing.
In November 2008, Craig Montvidas became the new head coach of the national women softball-team. As several international players retired after the Olympic Games, he started building for the future with a new and young national squad. From 2009 on, Dutch softball again moved upwards, as the team immediately captured the European title in Valencia (Spain) in its first season. Two years later, in Ronchi Dei Legionari (Italy), the title was prolonged in a very convincing matter. In 2013, the third consecutive title followed.
Head coach Craig Montvidas: ,,The first time was unexpected, as we played with a young team. In 2011, we won convincingly. This year was the hardest, not on, but off the field. Again, there was much pressure from the outside, due to the decision of the NOC not to fund softball, but this group again found a way to perform. They are the most unknown European champion of the Netherlands. The players also showed globally that they have a meaning for their sport. We are now working with this team for five years and their strength is their mental defensibility.''
In recent years, the Netherlands also climbed on the world ranking. On the World Championship of 2010 in Venezuela, the team reached the play-offs and finished in eighth place. In 2012, during the World Championship in Canada, another qualification for the play-offs followed and the event was closed with the sixth position.
But there also were fine results during the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City (USA) and the Canada Cup, while the team played and won good games against American university-teams. With this, not only the popularity of the team grew internationally, but the Orange team also became a well respected softball-partner.
The Netherlands Softball Team is also doing a lot in The Netherlands itself. Annually, the team stages a Holland Tour, playing games around the country, organizes clinics for clubs and schools, while the players act as coaches themselves during try-out sessions for youth teams.
There also are individual successes. Britt Vonk went on to play for the Divsion-I team of the University of California at Berkeley and played at the College World Series. Nathalie Timmermans played for university-teams in Oklahoma. Early 2013, Saskia Kosterink was elected for the Australian All Star Game and is playing for four seasons now in the Italian Softball League. This year, five national team-players played in Italy. Several international players from both the National Team, as well as the National Junior Team study and play for American universities.
The Netherlands Softball Team can look back to five successful years with many highlights. But the Netherlands Team also keeps on looking forward, introducing new initiatives. But also looks ahead to the World Championship, which in 2014 will be held in Haarlem. An event, which has to become a highlight in the Dutch softball-history.
Go for more information to the Website of the Netherlands Softball Team.
Association: KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball association)
Participations (incl. 2014): 12
Participation in: 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990,
1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010,
Best result: 6e
Website federation: http://www.knbsb.nl/
Website team: http://www.dutchsoftballteam.com/
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org