Bogaerts, Profar HRs power Netherlands to 2-0 record

March 9th, 2023

TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- Well, Thursday's Pool A matchup between Netherlands and Panama in the World Baseball Classic turned out to be just as expected: An elite defensive battle.

Panama gave up three runs on seven hits (it could’ve been more if not for a laser throw by left fielder to cut down  at the plate). But the Netherlands, with superstar  leading the way at shortstop, gave up just one run to win its second straight game in Pool A, 3-1.

Bogaerts not only was fantastic on the defensive side of the ball, he also provided a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the third to give his country an early 1-0 lead. He ended the day with three hits – adding a single and double – an RBI and two runs. He hustled home on a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth.

"It's fun. I'm very exhausted right now, very tired. The sun is hot," Bogaerts said postgame. "But the adrenaline, it keeps you going."

Fellow big leaguer gave the Dutch some more breathing room with another dinger to right in the fifth.

"For me, I didn't have a hit in the first game," Profar said. "So today, I just tried to slow myself down and slow the game down a little bit at the plate, and I put a good swing on it."

Of course, when you give up one run, it’s not just the defense, it’s also the pitching.

didn’t pitch a no-hitter again, but he gave up just three hits and struck out four over 3 1/3 innings. , a 6-foot-8 righty out of Apeldoorn, Netherlands, (who once pitched a perfect game in international play) gave up one run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Kevin Kelly, Franklin Van Gurp and Wendell Floranus took care of things the rest of the way.

Both Profar and Bogaerts also talked about the sense of togetherness this team has -- that they're family, that they feel like brothers.

"We've played against guys from Curaçao, guys from the Netherlands since we were little," Bogaerts said. "Now we play together with them; some of them we still play against. It's really very comfortable playing with each other and knowing that we have a lot of studs on our team."

And that familial support extends all the way across the world.

"We have family here and almost the whole island [of Curacao] is supporting us, too," Profar said. "Aruba, The Netherlands, everywhere."

The Netherlands' next game is against Chinese Taipei here on Saturday (6 a.m. ET Friday, Tubi), while Panama takes on Cuba on Friday (11:30 p.m. ET Thursday, FS1). Italy is also in Pool A. Each team faces the other four in round-robin play, with the pool's winner and runner-up advancing to the quarterfinals in Tokyo against the top teams from Pool B.