Baseball: Slammers take their cuts against Netherlands softball team in Battle of the Sexes game
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media July 14, 2014 10:08PM
The Slammers' Chris Epps bats against Netherlands pitcher Dagmar Bloeming during Monday night's Battle of the Sexes game at Silver Cross Field. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 15, 2014 2:13AM
The Netherlands National Fastpitch softball team found time to take a little detour.
In its only game against a men’s team on a three-week Chicago tour playing other softball teams, the Dutch squad made a stop in Joliet to face the Slammers Monday night at Silver Cross Field.
“This game is to break up the trip a little bit,’’ Dutch coach Craig Montvidas said. “It really worked out perfectly as far as the planning goes.’’
Playing a softball game with the smaller dimensions, including a mound just 43 feet from the plate, the Slammers were impressed with the competition.
“I’m used to seeing everything overhand, and see it come underhand equally or at more speed, it’s pretty tough,’’ the Slammers’ Max Casper said during a break in the game.
“It’s 43 feet and they’re jumping off it forward, so they’re getting a couple of extra feet. It’s coming in hard.’’
Managing from the dugout without some of his usual players, Joliet skipper enjoyed the experience despite his team being behind 2-0.
“That thing is close. Our guys have no chance,’’ Joliet manager Jeff Isom said with a smile. “This is fun. The fans enjoy this type of thing, the Battle of the Sexes.
“This is no joke out here. We’re trying our hardest.’’
Andrew Busby, a starting pitcher in the Slammers’ regular rotation, led off for Joliet and struck out against pitcher Dagmar Bloeming.
“It’s pretty nasty,’’ Busby said. “I didn’t know what to do with my first at-bat. They’re throwing pretty hard. It’s pretty tough. They’re throwing hard sinkers up there.’’
The exhibition game comes in the middle of the July tour for Montvidas’ squad.
“We’re preparing for the world championships and for the first time ever it’s in Europe,’’ Montvidas said. “We had a trip in March and went to Florida for 25 days and played 22 games against university teams.’’
The Dutch team started its tour with several games in Elgin and Rosemont, including facing the Chicago Bandits.
“They’re all ladies teams with players that have graduated from college and in summer leagues,’’ Montvidas said. “Some we play are travel teams.’’
Games over a four-day period in Bloomington and Normal preceded Monday night’s contest at Silver Cross Field.
The Netherlands team will conclude its trip with games this week in Rosemont and Plainfield, with the Chicago Bandits, Beverly Bandits and Illinois Zephyrs among the opposition.
“This was just a change of pace and a little bit of a promotional idea from (Slammers owner) Josh Schaub,’’ Montvidas said. “It’s a good idea if you can get softball players who maybe don’t come to a baseball game and then all of a sudden they see a beautiful stadium here.’’