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The Netherlands hopes to win its first medal at the Women’s Softball World Cup during the 2024 Final – World Baseball Softball Confederation


World number 8 Netherlands will enter the 2024 WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Final, which will take place from July 15 to 20 in Castions di Strada, Italy, hoping to claim their first ever medal in the tournament.

Having participated in 14 of the 16 editions of the event (the Netherlands only missed the first two editions in 1965 and 1970 and have played in all 14 editions since), the European champions have the best finish: fourth in 2016, just missing out on the podium after losing to hosts Canada in the bronze medal match in Surrey.

Having since finished eighth at the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands narrowly missed out on an Olympic spot in Tokyo 2020 during the Africa/Europe qualifier in 2019 before claiming the European title in 2022 and then delivering a dominant performance to win the WBSC Women’s Softball to win. World Cup Group B last year in Valencia, Spain.

As we look ahead to the 2024 final, head coach Ferenc Jongejan says he hopes his side can break their medal drought, although he acknowledges the challenge ahead.

“It will be a very competitive tournament,” said Jongejan. “Like all other opponents, we want to finish as high as possible. It could be world champion, it could be eighth. We will be happy with whatever place we finish, as long as we play the best softball we can. Of course, we would like to finish with a medal to go home.”

Reigning champions USA lead the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup with 11 gold and four silver medals, followed by Olympic champions Japan with three gold, six silver and two bronze medals. Eight national federations have previously won a medal at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup – USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Canada, Philippines and Chinese Taipei.

The Netherlands starts the Final in Group B, where it will meet world number 2 Puerto Rico (July 15), number 10 Australia (July 16) and number 2 Japan (July 17) in the opening round.

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Born in 1978, Jongejan played professional baseball in the United States from 2001 to 2004, appearing in 160 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) games, including 29 at the Triple-A level as a left-handed reliever for the Chicago Cubs. He represented the Netherlands twice at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

After co-founding the Bixie Baseball Regional Academy in 2005, he led UVV in Dutch Baseball Major league (Major League) from 2013 to 2016. He switched to Tarrasvogels in Women’s Softball Major league in 2017 before serving as the pitching coach of the Dutch National Team in 2019 and as head coach from 2020.

Jongejan will select the Women’s Softball World Cup Final selection mainly from the eight-man Major League. Including the minor league, from the first to the fifth division, the number of women’s softball players in the Netherlands is almost 10,000.

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Jongejan does not want to go public about the selection he has in mind. “When selecting I do not look at previous tournaments, only at the next tournament and the players who best fit the team. There may be changes in the selection from previous tournaments and changes in the selection in future tournaments.”

He worked on an extensive selection for months. “We had the opportunity to have our team together all year long. That is an asset we hope to leverage during the event. Players knowing each other and how each player reacts in certain situations can make us stronger.”

The Netherlands will prepare for the World Cup final in Italy. The exact schedule will be announced later.

The final of the Women’s Softball World Cup is Jongejan’s last tournament as head coach of the national team. Former star player of the national team, Saskia Kosterink, participant in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, takes over.

“Saskia will become head coach from the European Championships later this year,” Jongejan concluded.

“It has been a privilege to be a head coach for the past five years, even though it has cost me a lot of gray hairs. It has been great to be part of this team’s journey, and the players have experienced it individually. I am extremely proud of them and of our program. I look forward to this last event together, with Saskia taking over and further building the program, and seeing the players grow.”

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