TAIPEI--The Dutch kingdom’s youth baseball team showed its strength at the recent Under-18 World Cup in Taiwan (Chinese Taipei). With a selection comprising the brightest talents from Aruba, Curaçao and the Netherlands, the squad demonstrated that it could compete with the world’s top teams.
With no-hitters against Venezuela and Spain plus a victory over eventual champions Japan, the team led by coach Eric de Bruin advanced to the Super Round with the top six countries.
There they suffered close defeats to favourites like the US, Puerto Rico and South Korea. This ultimately resulted in a sixth-place finish.
It was the third consecutive World Cup (following the U-18 and U-23 versions of 2022) in which a kingdom team reached that far.
This year’s U-18 selection consisted of talents from the Aruba Baseball Academy, the Dutch Caribbean Baseball Academy in Curaçao and the Talent TeamNL Center in the Netherlands.
Aruban players included Joan Sierra, Nathan Arends, Tai Vic Tromp, Keyon Ashby and Isaac Mendez, with Randolph Oduber as their coach. Curaçao was represented by Rodiënsly Ignecia, Ryjeteri Mérite and Jared Veeris.
The combined no-hitter against Venezuela, a direct competitor for a place in the Super Round, was considered an excellent example of how strengths from across the kingdom were united. Pitchers Rodiënsly Ignecia (Curaçao) and Nathan Arends (Aruba) threw a combined no-hitter, aided by excellent defence from shortstop Amarensio Franka and catcher Keegan Pieternella (the Netherlands).
The collaboration between the various academies is continuously growing and will hopefully lead to even more success at the global level in the future, stated a release.