Netherlands Postgame Interview March 8

Q. What a big game it is, what is in your mind right now? What's the biggest reason why you beat Cuba?

HENSLEY MEULENS: Well, thank you very much. Of course it's a huge game. Winning the first game out of this round, we had a plan, and like I told the guys before the game, we had a plan to attack these guys and these guys executed.

Diego was great again for us for six innings. He's been pitching great this entire year after having a great workout off season, losing weight and all that. It's helped him become a better pitcher this spring. That's the only reason we are here. Jonathan had a billing big game driving in four runs with a three hundred homer and also a double.

The guys played great defense. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a player like Simmons made in this game today: Going into center field after Roger didn't pick up the ball, catching the ball, getting up and throwing to the guy at first for a double play, that's one of the greatest plays I've ever seen.

The guys also hit the ball good today. You know, they hit the ball good today. We could have scored a lot more runs. We had bases loaded, not outs and we didn't score. Line drive, hard hit right at the third baseman and he had a pop up ground ball.

But the guys, they played well, they executed the game plan we had before the game. And again, the starter was outstanding, Diego, and we had two great innings by Boyd. He gave up the one home run, the first pitch he made to one of the hitters and Van Mil was throwing really good in the ninth to close out the win.

Q. The moment, even though you got a head of the score, you used a lot of sacrifice bunts. Is this because you've played in Japan, the tactics?

HENSLEY MEULENS: No, no, no. This is just the way we've played lately. We have not really been driving in the runs from third and we have not really hit that well because it was a big game for us offensively. I was just thinking to move the guy up to third to get the next guy to drive him in.

We had to sacrifice four times today and then worked out a couple of times, and a couple other times it didn't work out. But we have to keep the line moving and get the guys to third and give the guys coming up next to drive in the runs and it has nothing to do with me playing here in Japan. It's a playoff type atmosphere and playoff type games, and we can't wait for guys to hit three run homers. We have to just move the guys and try to score them.

Q. What a big outing, you went six innings and only gave up one run. What is in your mind right now?

DIEGOMAR MARKWELL: I think in my mind I'm very happy, I started off a little up in the zone and the Cuban guys were very aggressive. I think in the third inning, I kept making the adjustments, even though I gave up eight or nine hits, I think I relied pretty much on my defense and my sinker, because I'm going to pitch it low. And I think when we got the lead 2 1, I said I'm going to shut them down and try to get as many outs as I can and help my team win the ballgame.

Q. Mr. Schoop had a three run home run and also four RBIs today. Was that a big help for you?

DIEGOMAR MARKWELL: Yes, it helped me pretty much, because the game was 2 1 and there was no room for mistakes at all. I think after he hit that three run home run and made it 5 1, I think I was pretty much had a cushion that I could rely on and throw my pitches down in the zone and let my defense do the work for me.

Q. What a game, you got four RBIs today.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: Yes, thank you.

Q. Is it a fact that you are hitting hot?

JONATHAN SCHOOP: Maybe I just see the ball well. I tried to put the ball in play, and I don't know, I just feel comfortable over the plate I think and I see the ball well.

Q. By the way, it's not a question about baseball. What are you eating right now?

JONATHAN SCHOOP: Just vanilla ice cream, it's good (laughter).

Q. What a moment you have right now, and I think that Team Netherlands has big momentum and you have a day off tomorrow. And then the day after tomorrow is a big game.

HENSLEY MEULENS: That's right. I think it's a great moment for our country. We have the momentum on our side right now. The guys are playing great. They are scoring first to keep the pressure off the pitching, and they are playing great defense.

And of course, having a day off tomorrow is huge. You know, we talked about this before the game; to give our guys a rest from being on the turf for three days in a row. You guys got to remember, we are not used to playing on the turf. It gets you sore. He got sore during the game today.

It's a great day for us to take off, have light practice tomorrow morning and come back to see who we have to play on Sunday. But this is an enormous moment in our country's history for, of course, it's the WBC.

Q. Can you tell us about how it feels to have comeback to Japan and win a big game like this in a place where you used to play?

HENSLEY MEULENS: Being the manager now and directing these guys to a big win over a tough opponent in Cuba, that makes us all feel really, really good. And for me personally, it was good to see my friends here in Tokyo and also reminisce, the good old days from winning the championship here in Japan in 1995. Hopefully we'll win won one again this time for the Dutch team.

Q. It's a big surprise, but it doesn't look like it's no surprise anymore if Holland beats Cuba.

HENSLEY MEULENS: With the team a few months ago, my advice to the players, we are going to start practicing to win the WBC and each game that we win is just throwing back what I said a couple of months ago.

We are an out away; we just have to keep playing team baseball and we have to keep continuing to pitch well like these guys have pitched, and catch the ball in the field like they have been and get timely hitting. The hitting has been getting better, but no means we are surprised by beating anybody right now.

I think that we are confident. We have a good team; we know that, and we are trying to win this thing. And that's how the only way to win it is not be surprised, and be sure of yourself that you're going to win, and that's what we are doing.

Q. You gave up a huge home run in the bottom of the second inning, which is early in the innings, did you feel any fear from Cuba's lineup? And also you've got an advance scouting report of Cuba's lineup; did you pick up their strong points and weakness?

DIEGOMAR MARKWELL: I think when I gave up that home run, I was trying to get a pitch down in the zone, but I was a little up. I think the Cuban hitters, they are good hitters, but I think we all work together here. The challenge is to make them hit what we want them to hit, and I think that we have been succeeding like that.

And I haven't feared any hitters. I think I just ran over the scouting report a couple of times. But just some hitters I've been facing the last couple of years, and so when the knew guys come in, just have to take a look at them.

But there wasn't fear at all. I trusted my pitches, I trusted my defense, and I think that's what kept me going in the game and I helped my team out for the W.