Roster of European (Netherlands and Italy for the most) team unveiled

17 Febbraio 2015
The World Baseball and Softball Confederation announced the roster of the European team that will take on Samurai Japan in a two game series on March 10 and 11 in the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The team is a mix of players from the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany and France. The series is all organized and paid for by the NPB to put baseball in the spotlight, so it can make a comeback as Olympic sport.I wrote the biographies stated below for the Japanese press and NPB, at the request of the KNBSB, so the Japanese have some information about the European players.
Steve Janssen

Born: February 20, 1972 in Wilrijk, Belgium
height: 1,79 meter
Current club: Dutch national team
Uniform number: 10
Clubs: as a player:
Luchtbal (1987 – 1992)
Brasschaat Braves (1993 – 1997)as a manager / coach:
Brasschaat Braves (1998 – 1999)
DOOR Tridents (2000 – 2003)
DOOR Neptunus (2006 as third base coach)
Sparta/Feyenoord (2008)
DOOR Neptunus (2009 – 2010)
At the age of fifteen, Steve Janssen made his debut in the highest Belgian League with Luchtbal, a team in the Antwerp region. Janssen played as a catcher and clinched the Belgian title with Luchtbal in 1991 and 1992. Five more consecutive Belgian titles were won when he played for the Brasschaat Braves from 1993 through 1997. When his playing career ended, he started to manage/coach youth teams at a very young age (14). Janssen participated in three European Cups with the national team of Belgium. As a manager he won one Belgian title with the Brasschaat Braves in 1999.From 2000 through 2003 he managed DOOR Tridents, the farm team of multiple Dutch champion DOOR Neptunus. In 2002 he was hired as an assistant coach of the Dutch national team. From 2003 – 2005 he was appointed as the pitching coach of the Dutch team that brought home gold medals from the 2003 and 2005 European Cup. In 2004 he was part of the Dutch squad that participated in the 2004 Olympics. Since 2010 Janssen is back with the Dutch team. First as pitching coach and as manager in 2013.As a pitching coach he won a gold medal with the Dutch team in the 2011 World Cup. With the 2013 World Baseball Classic he handled the Dutch pitchers together with Hall of Famer Bert Blijleven.
Under his helm the Dutch team brought the European Cup back to the Netherlands in 2014, winning the European title as unbeaten team.
Marco Mazzieri
Born: December 20, 1962 in Grosseto, Italy
height: 1,78 meter
Current club: Italian national team
Uniform number: 5
Clubs: as a player:
Bbc Grosseto (1980 – 1990)
C. Verdi Casalecchio (1991)
Fortitudo Bologna (1992 – 1993)
Bbc Grosseto (1994 – 2000)as a manager:
Bbc Grosseto (2001 – 2003)
Marco Mazzieri is the current manager of the Italian national team. Except for 1991, when he played for Calze Verdi Casalecchio and 1992 and 1993 when he played for Fortitudo Bologna, he played for Grosseto from 1980 to 2000 as an outfielder. He won two championships with Grosseto.
In 2002 he took up the managerial role with Grosseto, taking them to the semi-finals in the Italian championship. In 2005 he managed the Italian junior team to a European championship. In 2007 he was at the helm of the Italian seniors national team. In 2010 he guided the team to a gold medal during the European Cup and he would repeat that again in 2012.The following season, he lead the Italian team during the World Baseball Classic to the second round.
Last year he helped guide Italy to the finals of the European Cup. Mazzieri has also acted as a European scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sidney de Jong
Born: April 14, 1979 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
height: 1,86 meter
Current club: Dutch national team
Uniform number: 24
Hitting coach
Clubs: as a player:
Amsterdam Pirates (2000, 2007 – 2012)
Kinheim Haarlem (2001 – 2002)
HCAW Bussum (2003 – 2006)as a manager:
Amsterdam Pirates (2013)
Sidney de Jong debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse in 2000 with Amsterdam Pirates. After a few side steps he returned to Amsterdam in 2007 and played on until he hung up his spikes in 2012.
He won Dutch championships in 2008 and 2011 with Amsterdam Pirates.
He debuted with the Dutch national team in 2001 when he was backup catcher to Johnny Balentina. In that year he won his first European title with the Dutch squad. Three more would follow in 2003, 2005 and 2007. De Jong participated in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
With the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic he was one of the players that carried the Dutch team, hitting batting .455/.500/.455 in 2006 and going 5 for 10 with a double as the best Dutch hitter in 2009. His biggest hit during that tournament was the decisive game against the Dominicans where he hit a double of Carlos Marmol.
The final medal as a player would be the gold medal at the 2011 World Cup when the Dutch beat Cuba 2-1 in the final.
Martin Brunner
Born: August 11, 1974 in Starnberg, Austria
height: 1,74 meter
Current club: RegensSburg Legionaere
Uniform number: 3
Pitching Coach
Clubs: As a player:
Regensburg Legionaere (1990 – 1997)As a manager/coach:
Regensburg Legionaere (1997 – 2015)
Martin Brunner is currently the pitching coach of the Regensburg Legionaere. His first baseball experience was in 1990 at the age of seventeen. Major League Baseball at the time was sponsoring a “Pitch, Hit and Run” program that dispatched coaches to Western Europe, spreading America’s pastime to youth groups and high schools.After his active career Brunner started a career as a trainer. He built the foundation of a professional baseball structure in the state of Bavaria.
Since 2002 Martin Brunner is head of the Regensburg baseball school. Brunner managed the Legionaere in 2001, 2006 and 2007. Brunner won German titles with Regensburg as their pitching coach in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Ben Thijssen

Born: July 19, 1966 at Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1,86 meter
Current club:
Uniform number: 44
Third base coach
Clubs: As manager/coach:
HSC Tilburg (1998, 1999)
Oosterhout Twins (2001)
DOOR Neptunus (2002-2004)
Kinheim (2005 – 2008)
In 2001, Ben Thijssen was appointed third base coach for the Dutch national team, a position he held until 2007. He was a coach in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2006 Intercontinental Cup, 2010 European Championship and 2014 European Championship among other events.As of 2012, he was the Curaçao scout for the Boston Red Sox.From 2002-2005, Thijssen was third base coach for DOOR Neptunus when they won four consecutive Holland Series. As manager of Kinheim, Ben Thijssen won back-to-back Dutch championships in 2006 and 2007.
Augusto Medina
Augusto Medina
Born: unknown
height: unknown
Current club: T&A San Marino
Uniform number: 32
First base coach
Clubs: as a manager
A.S.D. Parma (2010 – 2014)
T&A San Marino (2015 – )
Augusto Medina was a clubhouse assistant in Venezuela and in Italy. In 2010 he became a coach for Parma. He was first base coach for the Italian national teamin the 2014 European Championship.
For the 2015 season he will jump ships and join T&A San Marino as third base coach.
Wim Martinus
Born: October 3, 1963 on Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1,83 meter
Current club: Kinheim
Uniform number: 34
Bullpen coach
Clubs: as a player:
Battery Boys
La Comoditat
Panama Store
Coca Cola Rangers
Neptunus (1984 – 2003)as a manager/coach
Tridents (2000 – 2004)
Sparta/Feyenoord (2005 – 2006)
ADO (2007)
DOOR Neptunus (2008 – 2012)
Kinheim (2013 – )
As a player, Wim Martinus played twenty seasons for Neptunus from Rotterdam. With Neptunus he appeared in the Holland Series (Dutch championship) twelve times. After the 1998 season he retired but made a comeback in 2000 and would play on through the 2003 season.
As a player he was member of the Dutch national team during the 1992 European Cup and the 1993 Haarlem Baseball Week.
After his retirement he focused on managing Tridents, the farm team of DOOR Neptunus.
He managed Sparta/Feyenoord from 2005 – 2006, guiding them to the playoffs in 2005. In 2007 he managed ADO from The Hague and in 2008 he was appointed as assistant coach of DOOR Neptunus. Eventually in 2013 he moved to Kinheim in Haarlem where he was appointed assistant coach. He stepped in as manager for Kinheim in 2014 after the previous manager decided to step down.
In 2006Martinus joined the Dutch national team for Intercontinental Cup and continued in the 2007 European Championship, 2007 Baseball World Cup , 2008 Olympics, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2009 Baseball World Cup, 2010 European Championship, 2010 Intercontinental Cup, 2012 European Championship, 2013 World Baseball Classic and 2014 European Championship.
Alessandro Maestri
Born: June 1, 1983 in Cesena, Italy
height: 1,83 meter
Current club: Orix Buffaloes
Uniform number: 91 RHP
Clubs: San Marino, Italy (2005)
Boise Hawks (2006)
Peoria Chiefs (2007)
Daytona Cubs (2008, 2010)
Tennessee Smokies (2008 – 2010)
Lincoln Salt Dogs, independent (2011)
Brisbane Bandits, Australian Baseball League (2011, 2012)
Rimini Pirates (2012)
Kagawa Olive Guyners (2012)
Orix Buffaloes (2012 – )
Alessandro Maestri started his professional career with the Chicago Cubs organization. For five seasons he worked his way through the organization. AA was the highest level that he reached. After five years he was released and played one season for the independent Lincoln Salt Dogs of the American Association.   During his stints with the Brisbane Bandits he earned himself he status of ace of the team, posting a 3.25 ERA over two seasons. For the 2015 spring training he is added to the Buffaloes’ Ich-gun group. In 2014 he had a splendid year as a reliever for the Buffaloes. He posted a 1.97. In 50.1 innings pitched he struck out 48 and walked 30.Maestri pitched in both the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic. Maestri gave up one earned run in two appearances out of the bullpen in the 2006 WBC. In2009, Maestri pitched 2.2 innings without giving up a run.
Loek van Mil
Born: September 15, 1984 in Oss, Netherlands
height: 2,16 meter
Current club: Free Agent
Uniform number: 51
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: HCAW (Dutch Hoofdklasse) (2005, 2006)
Gulf Coast Twins (2006)
Elizabethton Twins (2007)
Beloit Snappers (2008)
Fort Myers Miracle (2009, 2010)
New Britain RockCats (2010)
Arkansas Travelers (2010, 2011)
Akron Aeros (2012)
Columbus Clippers (2012)
Salt Lake Bees (2012)
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2013)
Louisville Bats (2013)
Rakuten Golden Eagles (2014)
Loek van Mil started to play baseball at the age of seven with the Vos Cardinals from Oss, Netherlands. He first played catcher but as he got older, he got taller and soon he was too tall to keep playing at that position. He was transferred to first base. Later a coach tried to let him pitch because of his strong throwing arm. In 2005 he debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse with HCAW from Bussum.Loek participated in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics. In 2008 he was selected for te Dutch team to participate in the 2008 Olympics. But before the Olympics started he went home because of a serious shoulder injury. In 2014 he signed a contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Most of the year he pitched in the Japanese Minor Leagues but at the end of the season he made seven appearances in which he lost one game and allowed four runs in 8.2 innings, resulting in a 4.15 ERA.
Andruw Jones
Born: April 23, 1977 in Willemstad, Curacao
height: 1,86 meter
Current club: Free Agent
Uniform number: 25
Clubs: Atlanta Braves (1996 – 2007 )
Los Angeles Dodgers (2008 )
Texas Rangers (2009)
Chicago White Sox (2010)
New York Yankees (2011 – 2012)
Rakuten Golden Eagles (2013 – 2014)
In 1993 Andruw Jones signed with the Atlanta Braves. It took him only three years to work his way up to the Majors. Andruw Jones made his major league debut with the Atlanta Braves in 1996. When he hit a home run in the post season that year at only 19, he became the youngest player in major league history to achieve that feat. Jones spent his 17-year major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees as well as the Braves, having his best season in 2005 when he belted 51 home runs and drove in 128 runs for the Braves.In 2006 and 2013 he joined the Dutch national team in the World Baseball Classic and was named to the 2008 Olympic team, but had to bow out due to a shoulder injury. Jones’ winning run in the 2013 WBC sent the Cuban team home and advanced the Dutch to the semi-finals in San Francisco where they lost to the Dominican Republic in a close game.After the 2013 WBC Jones went to Japan to join the ranks of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, helping them to their first NPB championship.
Rick van den Hurk
Born: May 22, 1985 in Eindhoven, Netherlands
height: 1,99 meter
Current club: Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Uniform number: 44
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: Gulf Coast Marlins (2003, 2006)
Jupiter Hammerheads (2004, 2005 , 2006, 2009)
Greensboro Grasshoppers (2005)
Carolina Mudcats (2007, 2008 )
Albuquerque Isotopes (2007, 2008)
Florida Marlins (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
New Orleans Zephyrs (2009, 2010)
Norfolk Tides (2010, 2011)
Baltimore Orioles (2010, 2011)
Bradenton Marauders (2012)
Indianapolis Indians (2012)
Pittsburgh Pirates (2012)
Samsung Lions (2013, 2014)
Softbank Hawks (2015 – )
Rick actually never played at the highest level in the Netherlands. He played for the Oosterhout Twins (Dutch overgangsklasse, one level below the Hoofdklasse). In 2002 he was signed by the Marlins as an international free agent. It took him five years to work his way up through the minors. In 2007 he made his MLB debut for the Florida Marlins. After several stints in the Majors (he played a total of 50 MLB games in which he posted a 6.08 ERA), Van den Hurk went in a new direction by signing with the Samsung Lions. He played two years for this club from the KBO. In his final season he won the best ERA award by posting a 3.18 ERA and he also struck out the most batters (180).
In December 2014, the Softbank Hawks from Fukuoka signed Van den Hurk to a two year deal.
In 2004 Van den Hurk was called up for the Dutch national team to participate in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. But due to a hip injury he never made the cut. In 2009 he was a member of the Dutch team that participated in the World Baseball Classic of that year. The Dutch ousted the Dominican Republic by beating them twice. In 2013 Van den Hurk preferred to prepare himself for the season in Korea instead of participating with the Dutch squad in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Jan Niclas Stöcklin
Born: May 11, 1990 in Lüneburg, Germany
height: 1,90 meter
Current club: Mainz Athletics
Uniform number: 24
Right handed pitcherClubs: Lüneburg Woodlarks (1996 – 2003)
Mainz Athletics (2004 – 2011, 2014)
Mannheim Tornados (2012 – 2013)
After joining the Mainz Athletics in 2004, Jan Niclas Stöcklin made his debut in the first Bundesliga (highest German league) in 2007 with the Mainz Athletics. In 2012, Stöcklin moved to the Mannheim Tornadoes and going 7-3 with a 3.58 ERA. In 93 innings, he struck out 106 and allowed only 50 hits.In 2012 he debuted for the German national team during the European Cup in a game vs Belgium.
He also was part of the German pitching staff during the 2014 European Cup.
Stefano Desimoni
Born: April 12, 1988 in Parma, Italy
height: 1,80 meter
Current club: Parma
Uniform number: 48
Clubs:   Junior Parma (2003-2004)
A.S.D. Baseball Parma (2005 -)
Stefano Desimoni started playing baseball for teams like Astra and Collecchio from the region of Parma. In 2003 and 2004 he played for Junior Parma, a satellite team of ASD Baseball Parma. At the age of 17 he joined ASD Baseball Parma. With that club he won the Italian championship in 2010 and still plays for that club.In 2010 he made his debut for the Italian national seniors team. In that year he won the European Cup with team Italy. In 2012 they repeated that feat. Stefano was also part of the Italian WBC squad in 2013. The 2014 season was his best , when he hit .313 with a slugging percentage of .373 and an on-base-percentage of .403.
Luke Sommer
Born: June 22, 1985 in Oregon City, USA
height: 1,905 meter
Current club: Heidenheim Heideköpfe
Uniform number: 32
Lefthanded Pitcher, utility
Clubs: Arizona Cubs (2008)
Boise Hawks (2008)
Daytona Cubs (2009, 2010)
Tennessee Smokies (2010, 2011)
Iowa Cubs (2010)
Somerset Patriots (2011, independent league)
Corendon Kinheim (2012)
Heidenheim Heideköpfe (2013 -)
Luke Sommer started his professional career with the Arizona League team of the Chicago Cubs. After only three seasons he managed to reach the Iowa Cubs at AAA level. With Iowa he appeared in seven games but had no starts and clinched one victory while sporting a 4.05 ERA. After the 2011 season he started his international career and went to the European continent to play with Corendon Kinheim . In that year Kinheim won the Dutch championship.Since he is playing for Germany with the Heidenheim Heideköpfe, he is a fix for the German national team. In 2012 he participated in the WBC Qualifiers. In 2014 he participated with team Germany in the European Cup in which he sported a 0-1 record.
Rob Cordemans
Born: October 31, 1974 in Schiedam, The Netherlands
height: 1,87 meter
Current club: L&D Amsterdam Pirates
Uniform number: 19
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: SV Schiedam
The Hawks ( – 1993)
Neptunus (1994 -2005)
ADO (2006 – 2007)
Uni-President Lions (2007)
Sparta/Feyenoord (2008 – 2009)
Amsterdam Pirates (2010 – )
Rob Cordemans started playing baseball at the age of fourteen with SV Schiedam. His talent was discovered by Neptunus from Rotterdam and in 1994 he made the move to the Hoofdklasse club. Through the years he proved to be one of the best pitchers in the Dutch competition.In 2007 Cordemans had a try-out with the Uni-President Lions from Taiwan but he was released early in the season with a 3-4 record and a 4.50 ERA.
In 1999 he won the award for best pitcher in the Netherlands. In 2005 he pitched a no-hitter in a regular competition game vs Amsterdam Pirates. Since 2013, next to being one of L&D Amsterdam Pirates’ pitchers, he is the club’s pitching coach.Cordemans participated with the Dutch national team in four Olympic Games (1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing). He participated in all World Baseball Classic tournaments.
The cream on the cake of this impressive career must be his win over Cuba in the final game of the 2011 World Cup. He left the game as winning pitcher as the Dutch clinched the world championship.
Owen Ozanich
Born: June 23, 1989 in Annemasse, France
height: 1,82 meter
Current club: Rouen Huskies
Uniform number: 23
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: University of Vermont
Rouen Huskies (2011 – )
Adelaide Bite (2012)
Ozanich was born in France before moving to Aruba and then the United States. He grew up in South Burlington, Vermont. In 2001 the South Burlington little league team advanced to the championship game of the New England bracket, the furthest any Vermont little league team has ever gone. Ozanich was the winning pitcher in the state championship game which sent the team to the regional tournament.Ozanich has been with the French National team since 2011. Since then, has appeared in 11 games, posting a 2-2 record in 41.0 IP, surrendering 44 hits, allowing 18 earned runs (3.95 ERA) while walking 13 and striking out 35. Ozanich started for France against South Africa in the Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in Jupiter. In the opening game of the 2014 European Cup, Ozanich led France to a 3-2 victory over co-host Germany, going five innings in which he allowed two runs (one earned).
Orlando Yntema
Born: February 21, 1986 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
height: 1,94 meter
Current club: Curacao Neptunus
Uniform number: 40
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: Arizona Giants (2004, 2006)
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (2008, 2009)
August GreenJackets (2008, 2009)
Catania Warriors (2010)
UVV (2011 – 2012)
Neptunus (2013 – )
Orlando Yntema was born in the Dominican Republic. Because he has a Frysian father, he also has a Dutch passport (Friesland is a province of the Netherlands). He started a professional career in 2004 with the San Francisco Giants organization. It brought him to the rookie league, the A Short Season league and the A Full Season league. After he was released by the Giants he went to Italy to play for the Catania Warriors of the Serie A. In 2011 he went to the Netherlands to become a starting pitcher for the UVV from Utrecht. From 2013 he has been pitching for Neptunus from Rotterdam.Yntema is a member of the Dutch national team. In 2011 he was part of the World Cup winning team. He also participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In the opening match of the Dutch team vs Korea, Yntema entered the game in relief in the fifth inning. He lasted three frames and allowed one base hit, walked two and did not allow a run. The Dutch won the game 5-0.
Yntema was also part of the Dutch team that clinched the 2014 European Championship
Gianison Boekhoudt
Born: October 15, 1989 in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1,85 meter
Current club: Curacao Neptunus
Uniform number: 40
Clubs:   Gulf Coast League Nationals (2010)
Coasta Bend Thunder (2010, 2012)
Arizona League Dodgers (2011)
DOOR Neptunus (2013 – )
Gianison Boekhoudt signed a deal with the Washington Nationals in 2009 but because he remained on the restricted list, he only started to playing in 2010. He played only two games for one of the Nationals’ rookie teams. He finished the 2010 season in the independent United Baseball League where he played for the Coastal Bend Thunder. In 2011 the Los Angeles Dodgers offered him a contract. He played 31 games for their rookie team but once again he was released. He played the 2012 season for the Coastal Bend Thunder again. Since 2013 he is an important value for Neptunus from Rotterdam. In his debut in the Dutch Hoofdklasse he collected four hits.Since 2013 Gianison is also an important part of the Dutch national team. In 2014 he batted .385 with 10 and 15 Runs batted in. He won the award for most RBI of the European Cup, which the Dutch won for the 21st time.Michael Duursma

Born: February 26, 1978 in Heiloo, The Netherlands
height: 1,76 meter
Current club: L&D Amsterdam Pirates
Uniform number: 8
Clubs: Mr. Cocker HCAW (1996 – 1999)
Cypress Community College (1999)
Purdue Boilermakers (2000, 2001)
Vaessen Pioniers (2001 – 2012)
Michael Duursma debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse with Mr. Cocker HCAW in 1996. With that club he won Dutch titles in 1996 and 1998. He played baseball in the USA at college level with the Cypress Community College in 1999. In that same year he was also part of the Dutch team that clinched the European championship. In 2000 he joined NCAA Division I university Purdue. On their website he was stated as arguably the best defensive shortstop in the Big Ten conference.When he was undrafted in the amateur draft in 2001, he returned to the Netherlands and joined VaessenPioniers from Hoofddorp. Despite being selected for the preliminary games for the 2004 Olympics, he did not make the cut.In 2008 he was part of the Dutch team that played the final (until then) Olympic baseball tournament in China. In 2006 Duursma made the cut for the Dutch team that participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Duursma was also part of the team that upset the Dominican Republic in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On his prize list are 3 gold medals (1999, 2005 and 2007), 2 silver medals (2010, 2012 ) of the European baseball championship and 1 silver medal (2006) of the Intercontinental Cup.
Juan Carlos Infante
Born: October 8, 1981 in Caracas, Venezuela
height: 1,76 meter
Current club: Fortitudo Bologna
Uniform number: 6
Clubs: Gulf Coast League Expos (1999, 2000)
Fort Worth Cats ( independent, 2001)
New Jersey Jackals (independent 2004)
Anzio baseball club (2006)
Ottawa Rapides (independent, 2008)
Edmonton Cracker Cats (Independent, 2008)
Fortitudo Bologna (2009 – )
Juan Carlos Infante started his professional career with the Montreal Expos organization. After two seasons he was released. He had several stints with independent clubs and the Italian baseball club Anzio before ending up with Fortitudo Bologna of the Serie A. In his first season with Bologna he produced the following numbers .321/.419/.438. Over the first five seasons with Bologna he posted a .313 batting average.In 2009 and 2013 he was on the roster of the Italian team that participated in the World Baseball Classic. With Italy he won back-to-back European championships in 2010 and 2012.
Kevin Heijstek
Born: April 9 , 1988 in Dordrecht, The Netherlands
height: 1,93 meter
Current club: L&D Amsterdam Pirates
Uniform number: 13
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: Zwijndrecht
DOOR Neptunus (2005, 2007 – 2012)
L&D Amsterdam Pirates (2013 – )
Kevin Heijstek started playing baseball with club Zwijndrecht. In the following years he was added to the Rotterdam baseball academy and played for Tridents, the farm team of DOOR Neptunus. He debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse with DOOR Neptunus in 2005 vs Almere ’90. In 2006 he didn’t make it to the Hoofdklasse roster of DOOR Neptunus. But after that season he became an important value for the Rotteram based Hoofdklasse club. In 2013 Kevin jumped ships and moved to arch rival L&D Amsterdam Pirates. Despite clinching only 3 wins in 9 games, he had a microscopic ERA of 0.51.
In the opening game of the 2014 Holland Series, Heijstek dominated the highly favored DOOR Neptunus. In 8.1 innings he allowed just five hits and struck out four. Heijstek won the award for best Dutch Hoofdklasse pitcher in 2014 with a 1.33 ERA. He struck out 77 batters in 101 1/3 innings.
Heijstek was on the Dutch roster for the 2014 European Cup. He pitched four perfect innings vs Germany in round 2. In round one, vs Croatia, he pitched two innings and allowed two hits and struck out three. In 2013 he was on the Dutch roster during the World Baseball Classic. In a 10-6 loss to Japan, he pitched 2.2 innings in which he allowed two runs on four hits. In the 16-4 loss to Japan he had similar numbers in as many innings but fanned two.
Diegomar Markwell
Born:   August 8, 1980 in Willemstad, Curacao
height: 1, 85 meter
Current club: DOOR Neptunus
Uniform number: 36
Left handed pitcher
Clubs: St. Catharines Stompers (1997 – 1999)
Queens Kings (2000)
Hagerstown Suns (2000)
Charleston AlleyCats (2001)
Dunedin Blue Jays (2001)
Tennesse Smokies (2002)
New Haven Ravens (2003)
Sparta/Feyenoord (2004)
DOOR Neptunus (2005 – )
Diegomar Markwell, a cousin of Andruw Jones, signed a professional deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996. During his minor league career he worked his way up to AA with the Tennesse Smokies and the New Haven Ravens. In November 2002, Diegomar was added to the Blue Jays 40 man roster. He made his debut for the MLB squad during a spring training game in 2003. After he signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals, he was released before the 2004 season started.He went back to the Netherlands and joined Sparta/Feyenoord and debuted in the Hoofdklasse in May. He lasted two innings in which he struck out two and allowed two hits. DOOR Neptunus was very impressed as they signed him for the 2005 season.Since 2004 he joined every Dutch squad with every international tournament (European Cup, World Cup, Olympic Games, Intercontinental Cup and World Baseball Classic). Perhaps his most famed performance was during the semi-final of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In that game he kept the Dominicans in check for four innings.
Jose Escalona
Jose Escalona
Born:   January 7, 1986 in Lara Venezuela
height: 1, 79 meter
Current club: A.S. Rimini
Uniform number: 37
Left handed pitcher
Clubs: Venezuelan Summer League Mariners (2005)
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (2006, 2008)
High Desert Mavericks (2007, 2008)
Unione Picena (2009)
T&A San Marino (2010)
Nettuno (2011)
A.S. Rimini (2014 – )
Jose Escalona took his first steps in professional baseball in his home country of Venezuela with the local farm team of the Seattle Mariners. After five seasons in the Mariners’ organization he was released and moved to Italy to try his luck with UnionePicena, a Serie A2 team in Italy.
He moved to San Marino in 2010 before joining Nettuno in 2011. In the 2010 play offs, Escalona pitched twelve innings in relief and struck out fourteen. He was labelled with two losses despite posting an ERA of only 1.50. Earlier this year, Escalona joined the Indios del Boer of the Nicaraguan professional baseball league with whom he clinched the championship.
Alessandro Vaglio
Alessandro Vaglio
Born:   January 28 , 1989 in Montefiascone, Italy
height: 1, 74meter
Current club: Fortitudo Bologna
Uniform number: 23
Clubs: Rammen Viterbo (2004-2008)
BSC Arezzo (2009)
Bbc Grosseto (2010-2011)
Fortitudo Bologna (2012 – )
In 2010 Vaglio debuted in the Italian Baseball League with Grosseto. In his first two season in the highest Italian division, he struggled at the plate but after his move to Bologna he started to hit well posting a .340 average in 2012 and .411 in 2013.Since the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, he was part of the Italian National team. In 2012 he won the European championship and in 2013 he was on the Italian Roster as well, but was limited to two games and one at bat.
Oscar Angulo
Oscar Angulo
Born: February 1, 1984 in Barquisimeto Venezuela
height: 1,90meter
Current club:
Uniform number: 13
Clubs:   Arizona League Brewers (2004)
El Llano (2008)
CB Viladecans (2009)
CB Barcelona (2010 -)Oscar started his professional career in the Milwuakee Brewers’ organization. In 2004 he played in the rookie Arizona League, mostly as a designated hitter. He played six games at second base, two on third and two as a pitcher in which he threw 3.2 innings and allowed four hits and no runs with three strikeouts. After the 2004 season he jumped across the Atlantic and went to Spain where he is playing in the Division de Honor. In 2009 he starred for CB Viladecans where he put up the following numbers: .379/.438/.591. In 2011 he put up even better numbers with CB Barcelona: .468/.535/.581 with ten extra base hits, 36 runs and 30 RBI in 32 games .In 2010 he was on the roster of the Venezuelan team for the Pan American Games qualifiers. In 2011 he joined Venezuela in Panama for the World Cup.During the 2014 European Cup he represented Spain and led his team in various offensive categories including batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles and total bases.
Blake Ochoa
Born: September 5, 1985 in Maracay, Venezuela
height: 1, 80 meter
Current club: Valencia Astros
Uniform number: 5
Clubs:   Carabobo (2004)
Gulf Coast Marlins (2005)
Jupiter Hammerheads (2005)
Jamestown Jammers (2006)
Everett AquaSox (2007)
Greensboro Grasshoppers (2007)
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (2007, 2008)
Carolina Mudcats (2007)
Clinton LumberKings (2009, 2010)
High Desert Mavericks (2010)
Tacoma Rainiers (2010)
Washington WildThings (2011)
Valencia Astros (2012)
Blake Ochoa started his professional career in the Venezuelan Summer League. In 2005 he was signed by the Florida Marlins. Halfway through the 2007 season he was traded to the Seattle Mariners where he worked his way up to AAA. After the 2010 season he didn’t get a new contract with the Mariners and he played one year for the independent Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League. From 2012 he played for the Valencia Astros in the Spanish Division de Honor.He was on the Spanish 2013 WBC squad and also played for Spain during the 2014 European Cup.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic he was limited to one at bat in which he struck out. In 2013 he lead the Valencia Astros with a .286 batting average and he led the league with four home runs. In 2014 he led the league in slugging percentage, on base percentage, homeruns and Walks.
Fernando Martinez

Born: October 10, 1998 in Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
height: 1,83 meter
Current club: ?Uniform number: 8
Clubs:   Gulf Coast League Mets (2006, 2007, 2008)
Hagerstown Suns (2006)
St. Lucie Mets (2006, 2010)
Binghamton Mets (2007, 2008)
Buffalo Bisons (2009, 2010, 2011)
Oklahoma City RedHawks (2012, 2013)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (2013)
New York Mets (2009, 2010, 2011)
Houston Astros (2012, 2013)
Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz (2014 – )
Fernando Martinez signed a contract with the New York Mets as an international free agent. He was one of the top prospects in the Mets’ organization. He worked his way up to the majors where he played a total of 99 games. After batting .291 with 8 home runs and leading the International League with 25 extra-base hits in 42 games with AAA Buffalo. Martínez was called up to the major leagues on May 26, but he struggled in the majors and was sent down again.In 2014 he was added to the roster of team Spain which participated in the European Cup. Despite being the player with the most experience on that roster, he did not lead the team in any offensive category. He had a decent .393 batting average though with .643 slugging percentage and a .438 on-base-percentage.
Tom Stuifbergen
Born: September 26, 1988 in Breda Netherlands
height: 1, 95meter
Current club: Corendon Kinheim
Uniform number: 44
Right handed pitcher
Clubs:   Jeka (1993 – 1998)
Kinheim (1999 – 2004, 2014 -)
Amsterdam Pirates (2005, 2006)
2007 Gulf Coast League Twins
Elizabethton Twins (2009)
Fort Myers Miracle (2009, 2011 , 2012, 2013)
Beloit Snappers (2010)
Rocherster RedWings (2011)
New Britain RockCats (2013)
Tom Stuifbergen started playing baseball at the age of five in his hometown Breda. At the age of eleven his parents moved to Haarlem where he joined Kinheim. He debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse with the Amsterdam Pirates. In 2006 he signed a deal with the Minnesota Twins. After the 2007 season in the Gulf Coast League, he joined the Dutch team for the European Cup, but two days before the start of the season he was scratched from the roster due to a shoulder injury. After missing the entire 2008 season, he started with the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League. Eventually he made it to AAA Rochester where he made one start and pitched five innings in which he allowed two runs . During the 2013 season he was injured again and needed Tommy John surgery.Stuifbergen was part of the Dutch team that won the world championship in Panama, beating Cuba 2-1 in the final game. He was selected to the Dutch team for the 2014 European Cup. In the final game against Italy, he entered in relief and pitched out of a jam. In the ninth he retired the side by striking out the three batters he faced. He pitched in the semi-final of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, also in relief for Diegoma rMarkwell.
Dashenko Ricardo
Born: March 1, 1990 in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1, 82 meter
Current club: Corendon Kinheim
Uniform number: 21
Clubs: Dominican Summer League Orioles (2007)
Gulf Coast League Orioles (2008)
Bluefield Orioles (2009, 2010)
Delmarva Shorebirds (2009)
Aberdeen IronBirds (2010)
Arizona League Giants (2011)
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (2012)
Great Lakes Loons (2013)
Chattanooga Lookouts (2013)
Albuquerque Isotopes (2013)
In 2007 Dashenko Ricardo started his professional career in the Dominican Summer League. He played for the Baltimore Orioles organization through the 2010 season. Next season he signed a contract with the San Fransico Giants but was released in February, 2013 . TheLos Angeles Dodgers did not wait long to pick him up. He moved up through the Dodgers farm system quickly but was release before the 2014 season started. He moved to the Netherlands where he signed with the Hoofdklasse club, Corendon Kinheim from Haarlem.Dashenko participated with the Dutch in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic and won the 2014 European championship with them.
Shairon Martis
Born: March 31, 1987 in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1, 85 meter
Current club:
Uniform number: 64
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: Arizona League Giants (2005)
Savannah SandGnats (2006)
Augusta GreenJackets (2006)
Potomac Nationals (2006,2007)
Harrisburg Senators (2006, 2008, 2011)
Columbus Clippers (2008)
Syracuse Chiefs (2009, 2010)
Altoona Curve (2012)
New Britain RockCats (2012)
Rochester RedWings (2012, 2013)
Indianapolis Indians (2012)
Washington Nationals (2008, 2009)
Minnesota Twins (2013)
Uni-President Lions (2014)
Shairon Martis started his professional career with the San Francisco Giants. In 2005 he debuted with the Arizona League Giants. In 2006 he was traded to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Mike Stanton. Martis worked his way up through the minors and in 2008 debuted for the Washington Nationals. Martis played a total of 26 games in the majors. At the end of the 2013 season, the Twins released him.In 2014 he played for the Uni-President Lions of the Taiwanese professional baseball league.Shairon was part of the Dutch WBC roster in 2006 and 2013. With the 2006 World Baseball Classic he pitched a seven inning no-hitter vs Panama in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He is the only pitcher who has accomplished this feat during the World Baseball Classic.
Curt Smith
Born: September 9, 1986 in Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1, 82 meter
Current club: Lincoln SaltDogs
Uniform number: 9
Clubs: Johnson City Cardinals (2008)
Quad Cities River Bandits (2008)
Palm Beach Cardinals (2009)
Springfield Cardinals 2009, 2010)
Lincoln SaltDogs (2011, 2013)
Jacksonville Suns (2012)
New Britain RockCats (2013)
Springfield Cardinals (2014 )
While playing for the University of Maine, Curt was offered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals. After the 2010 season he was released and he signed with the Lincoln SaltDogs of the Independent American Association (not to be mixed up with the AAA level American Association that folded in 1997). In 2012 Curt played affiliated ball again with the Florida Marlins’ AA team, the Jacksonville Suns. After a year with the Twins he returned to the Cardinals in 2014. He has signed a contract for the 2015 season with the Lincoln SaltDogs again.Curt was added to the Dutch roster for the first time in 2009. With the World Baseball Classic, he drove in Sidney de Jong for the game tying run vs the Dominican Republic in the game in which the Dominicans were sent home. In 2011 he was part of the World Champions squad and was named MVP of the World Cup tournament. With the 2014 European Cup he batted .488 with six homeruns and fourteen RBI. It doesn’t come as a surprise that he was named MVP of that tournament too.
Leslie Nacar
Leslie Nacar
Born: July 20, 1983 in Libertad de Baminas Venezuela
height: 1,86 meter
Current club:
Uniform number: 26
Right handed pitcher
Clubs: Arizona League Giants (2001-2003 )
Tenerife Marlins (2006 – )
Leslie Nacar played three years of professional ball in the Arizona League for the Giants. He never had the chance to get any higher because of several injuries.
In 2006 he started to play in Spain for the Tenerife Marlins. With that club he won the Spanish championship four years in a row (2006-2009). Through the years he has been the ace of the Marlins. In 2006 he ranked 5th in the Division Honor with a 1.30 ERA that year while going 3-1. In 2008. He had a 10-1, 1.00 record with 44 hits and 11 walks in 90 innings while striking out 80. In the 2008 European Cup, he fanned 13 in a win over the Antwerp Royal Greys, allowing three runs. Nacar improved to 16-1 in 2009 though his ERA rose to 1.89. He struck out 141 in 133 1/3 innings and had a WHIP under one. He was 8th in the league in ERA , led in strikeouts and wins.During the 2013 WBC Nacar appeared in one game. He pitched 0.2 innings in which he gave up one walk and one strike out.
Nacar started two games with the European Championship in 2014 and earned one win and a no-decision. His 3.46 ERA was the fourth best of the Spanish team.
Kalian Sams

Born:  August 25, 1986 in The Hague, The Netherlands
height: 1, 88 meter
Current club: Curacao Neptunus
Uniform number: 35
Clubs: ADO (2005-2006 )
Everett AquaSox (2007, 2009, 2010
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (2007)
Pulaski Mariners (2008)
Clinton LumberKings (2009, 2010, 2011)
High Desert Mavericks (2011)
Jackson Generals (2012)
Camden RiverSharks (2013, 2014)
Frisco RoughRiders (2013)
San Antonio Missions (2013)
Tucson Padres (2013)
Topco Scientific Falcons (2014)
Kalian Sams started his career with ADO from The Hague. In 2005 he debuted in the Dutch Hoofdklasse. After playing two seasons in the highest Dutch league, he signed a contract with Seattle. He debuted with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Eventually he made the jump to A Advanced and played a part of the 2011 season with the High Desert Mavericks. Despite hitting only .200 there, he was promoted to AA where he hit .242 with 11 homeruns. After he was released, he signed a deal with the San Diego Padres who sent him to their AA team in San Antonio where he hit 10 homeruns in just 26 games before he was promoted to AAA Tucson. He had some trouble adapting at that level and was sent down again. After 50 games in the Padres’ organization he was released. The Camden River Sharks of the independent Atlantic League were quick to sign him. Eventually his contract was sold to the Texas Rangers. For their AA team, he belted four more home runs in 20 games. Before the start of the 2014 season he was released by the Rangers. Once again he signed a deal with the River Sharks., but after an injured he was released, eventually he ending up with the Topco Scientific Falcons of the Taiwanese Popcorn League with whom he won the championship.With the Dutch national team he won the 2011 World Cup and the 2014 European Cup. Kalian may be best known for his walk off sacrifice fly that drove in Andruw Jones for the win over Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic game that sent the Dutch to San Francisco to play the semi- finals.
Mario Chiarini

Born: January 7, 1981 in Rimini, Italy
height: 1, 85 meter
Current club: T&A San Marino
Uniform number: 45Clubs: Rimini Pirates (1997- 1999, 2001-2014)
Arizona League Mariners (2000)
T&A San Marino (2015 – )
Mario Chiarini is the current captain of the Italian baseball team. He debuted at the highest level of Italian baseball (Serie A, now the Italian Baseball League) at the age of sixteen. In 1999 he won the Italian championship with Rimini. The next year he would head to the USA where he would play for the Arizona League Mariners (M’s rookie team). In 24 games he hit .313 with an on-base-percentage of .372. In 2001 he returned to Rimini where he would play until the end of the 2014 season.
He signed a contract with T&A San Marino for the 2015 season.He debuted for the Azzurri (the nickname of the Italian team) in 2002. In 2004 he participated in the Olympic Games. Chiarini is the captain of the Azzurri since 2010. He won back-to-back European Cups with Italy in 2010 and 2012. He was also a member of the Italian squad during the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Chiarini is a lifetime .296 hitter in the Italian League. In all seasons but two he hit way above .300 . One season with a .253 and one with a .228 batting average had a negative impact on his lifetime batting average. In the 2010 European Cup he had a excellent .583 batting average.
Yurendell De Caster
Born: September 26, 1979 in Brievengat, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
height: 1, 83 meter
Current club: Free Agent
Uniform number: 77
Clubs:   Gulf Coast League Devil Rays (1998)
Princeton Rays (1999)
Charleston RiverDogs (2000 )
Hickory CrawDads (2001)
Lynchburg HillCats (2001, 2002, 2003)
Altoona Curve (2004)
Indianapolis Indians (2005, 2006, 2007)
Pittsburgh Pirates (2006)
Harrisburg Senators (2008)
Columbus Clippers (2008)
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (2009)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (2009)
Broncos de Reynosa (2010, 2011)
Winnipeg GoldEyes (2012, 2013 )
Olmecas de Tabasco (2012)
Acereros de Monclova (2013)
Yurendell De Caster, a journey man, has played in several organizations and had several stints in the AAA Mexican League with several clubs.De Caster debuted with the Dutch national team in 2003 during the European Cup. He was also part of the Dutch roster during the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic. He was also on the Dutch roster that participated in the 2008 Olympic Baseball Tournament.
During the 2014 European Cup he had the second best batting average (.448), together with Curt Smith and Randolph Oduber behind Shawn Zarraga who had .667 average.