Spark's Jeroen Sluijter is preparing to take on the world - in his role as coach of a youth baseball team! From 15 to 28 August nine countries will fight it out in the American Little League World Series for the unofficial world cup. The tournament promises to be tough, says Sluijter, who has been youth coach at Neptunus for a year. ‘If you lose twice, you're out'.
Sluijter has been playing baseball at Neptunus for 17 years¸ in the top amateur class; and they've been national and European champion several times. Three years ago he took to the field in Beijing as a member of the Dutch Olympic baseball team. After the 2010 season he hung up his gloves and decided to throw himself on the youth at Neptunus. In addition, he coaches a team with talent from the Rotterdam region.
Earlier this year, Sluijter started on a winning streak with this club. First the Rotterdam talent hauled in the national title. Shortly after, Sluijter's team won the European Championships in Poland and with it a ticket to the Little League World Series.
So, what are the chances in the US? Sluijter thinks there's a possibility of reaching the semi-finals. ‘Japan and Taiwan have been champions in recent years. But we have some good players. The semi-final could be ours! '
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