Team Netherlands is off to a great start at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Two wins over Korea and Chinese Taipei has the Netherlands at 2-0, and tied for first in Pool A with surprise team Israel. The Netherlands is lead by major leaguers Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore Orioles), Xander Boegarts (Boston Red Sox), Jurickson Profar (Texas Rangers) and DiDi Gregarious (New York Yankees).
The Netherlands is adjusting to life as a favorite after surprise runs in both the 2009 and 2013 tournaments. The Netherlands reached the semi finals in 2013 before losing to eventual champion Dominican Republic 4-1. Many people feel that the Netherlands over achieved in 2013, but now a semi final run is almost expected. Players returning from that team include Jonathan Schoop and Xander Boegarts as well as others. This years teams feels that they have the talent to go all the way and judging by their start it is a very real possibility. The Netherlands came into this tournament as a favorite to advance out of Pool A. Pool A includes Korea, Chinese Taipei and Israel. After already defeating team Korea 5-0 and Chinese Taipei 6-5. The Netherlands sits at 2-0 going into the final game against team Israel. Team Israel is also 2-0 meaning this game decides who will win the pool. The top two teams advance in each pool, but winning the pool is their goal.
In game 1 versus Korea the Netherlands had the first 3 batters reach and scored 2 runs in the first inning. Thanks to a Jurickson Profar 2 run bomb. The Netherlands would score again in the bottom half of the second to go up 3-0 on an Adrelton Simmons double. They would finish the scoring in the 6th with another two run homer, This time it was hit by Randolph Oduber. The Dutch staff was paced by Rick Van De Hurk who went 4 innings allowing 3 hits and no runs. Jonathan Schoop went 0 for 4 in the game, but was very active defensively.
Game 2 was a much tighter affair as the Netherlands would win on a walk off walk in the bottom of the ninth. The Dutch offense was pace by New York Yankee DiDi Gregorious who went 3 for 4 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI's. Dashenko Ricardo and Jurickson Profar each had RBI's with Dashenko driving in two. Jonathan Schoop went 1 for 4 with a base hit.