The Netherlands' run at the World Baseball Classic ended on Sunday, but anyone who watched the Dutch team play likely came away impressed with the brand of baseball played in Holland.
Bryan Engelhardt hit a big league home run off a big league pitcher. So he big leagued it. As a result, teammate Vince Rooi got a welcome-to-the-big-leagues fastball behind the back.
A pitching staff that had gone above and beyond finally gave out on Sunday night, and The Netherlands lost to Team USA, 9-3, in an elimination game at the World Baseball Classic.
The Netherlands will attempt to stave off elimination from the World Baseball Classic at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday when it faces Team USA in a win-or-go-home losers' bracket game in Pool 2.
Miguel Cabrera's fourth-inning solo home run off of Sidney Ponson sent The Netherlands to a hard-fought 3-1 loss to Venezuela in the opener of the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Pitchers Jair Jurrjens of the Braves and Shairon Martis of the Nationals made the difficult decision to stay in camp to hone their skills for the Major League season, passing up the chance to compete in the Classic for The Netherlands.
After stunning the mighty Dominican Republic twice in Round 1, The Netherlands is clearly the Cinderella of the World Baseball Classic. The team is embracing that role as it heads into Round 2, with its first game against Venezuela on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
Team USA not only expected to visit Miami this weekend but has aspirations beyond just a few more games in South Florida. The World Baseball Classic clubs from Puerto Rico and Venezuela, both stocked amply with Major League talent, can say the same thing.
After eliminating the Dominican Republic in upset fashion, The Netherlands will shift its focus to Venezuela in Saturday's opener of second-round Pool 2 play.
Even in his current job as the manager for the United States team, Johnson hasn't forgotten the path that got him to the helm of the All-Star-packed American club. That road went right through the Netherlands.