2015 18U Oceania Championship
Our Australian 18U squad will travel to New Zealand to participate in the prestigious Oceania Championship scheduled for 23-26 January.
We will aim to provide day-by-day reporting, images and interview material in these pages.
UPDATE THURSDAY 22 JANUARY
Australian Head Coach Jon Deeble will aim to take time out of his busy schedule to provide the Australian baseball community with regular updates before and during the tournament. The second of his reports appears below:
Boys had a good sleep in on Day Two. They spent the morning looking around downtown Auckland - it is a beautiful place.
Lunch at Denny's with Lloydy, then off to the ballpark.
We were able to train on the proper field today. It was very impressive, with a good surface. This field has just been set up for baseball NZ. It is a nice site.
Lost again in the way to the field. These I-Phone directions are just not working.
Another great training session we had. Took lots of ground balls, infield, outfield cut offs and relays bunt defence done at game pace as if it was the seventh game of the World Series. It is interesting - when you demand more of the players they demand more of themselves.
BP was good boys, swung the bat well.
We swept and watered the field after practice and headed back to the hotel.
Got lost again. However Lloydy pulled off the move of the trip - went the wrong way on the freeway but somehow got back the correct way and ended up in front of us.
Had a nice meal down on the ocean front. The kids were free to eat on their own.
Back home for an early night.
These kids have been fantastic. They have done everything asked of them.
Got the boys up for an early breakfast. We have them doing a recovery session in the ocean at the
Moment. Lloydy and Andy Kyle jumped in with the boys. Billy and I thought it best that someone look after the valuables.
Once the boys get out of the water we are heading to a restaurant for lunch, then to the field for 4 PM to 6 PM workout. We have a technical meeting at 7 PM.
Tomorrow is our first game. These guys are ready to go. Looking forward to some good results.
UPDATE TUESDAY 20 JANUARY.
Australian Head Coach Jon Deeble will aim to take time out of his busy schedule to provide the Australian baseball community with regular updates before and during the tournament. The first of his reports appears below:
"First training session went well today.
Outside of having to drag and water the field ourselves, we all thought we were back at Palm Meadows. When Lloydy picked up the rake his body rejected it. (Editor: see Graeme, below, kicking back after a hard day at the office).
We had a visit from baseball legend and former big leaguer Jim Colborn, who came down to talk to the players and will work with Lloydy on Thursday with the pitchers’ bullpens.
Had some trouble finding the field at our first training session. NZ baseball haven't been much help - here is the field, get there yourselves. Billy O'Sullivan had the directions but can't read with his bad eyesight so not a good start.
We talked to the players about upping the tempo , you play how you practice, we took infield outfield cut offs and relays, it was at game pace as if it was the seventh game of the world series. We talked to the players about how unacceptable it is to make mistakes. It is amazing - once we upped the tempo and got them to focus , with no mistakes, the session for the most part was perfect.
Very sharp 3-hour work out. BP was outstanding, as was our PFPs, pop fly priorities, bunt defences and firsts and thirds. The energy was great.
Got back to the hotel at 3.45 pm. Got the boys back on the bus and into the ocean for a nice recovery workout. It was beautiful blue water but looked cold, well it was cold when I put my hand in. Got lost going back to the hotel, last time I will let Lloydy take charge of the direction, we had to go 500 metres but took 45 minutes - lots of no right hand turns in downtown Auckland.
Visited the local pizza pasta for dinner. Boys shut it down early as they were pretty tired.
We have a 2.30 pm training session tomorrow (Wednesday) until 5 pm. Dinner at the local pub. We will throw in another ocean session as there were a few local teenage girls on hand to cheer the boys on. I think they are all pretty keen to get back there. Andy Kyle, Lloydy and myself were able to hold the girls back - we told the boys they were cheering us, not them.
We play a double header Friday v NZ and Guam. We have to beat both twice in six games to go through. NZ have got a lot better - it won't be a walk in the park."
19 January 2015
An Australian national squad is currently in New Zealand preparing for the IBAF 18U Oceania Qualifying Series that will run from Friday 23 January to Monday 26 January.
All games will be played at McLeod Park, Auckland, which has recently been the beneficiary of significant upgrades as New Zealand continues to make rapid advancement as a baseball nation.
The championship winner will qualify for the IBAF World Cup to be held in Japan during August.
While Australia (fourteenth) is well ahead on world rankings of the other competing nations in New Zealand (twenty-six) and Guam (forty-four), it faces some tough opposition – especially from a New Zealand Diamondblacks team that includes four players who represented the nation at the IBAF 21U World Championship in Taiwan.
Players to watch include Sam Harvey, Ben Thompson and Cooper Hutchinson along with current Seattle resident Jimmy Boyce – who tossed a remarkable eight-innings one-hitter against eighth-ranked South Korea in Taiwan.
Although the Australian squad comes off recent high-standard match play at the National Youth Championship in Sydney, it is without a couple of its key players – including Western Australian tyro Jake Turnbull – and it takes a relatively inexperienced combination into the series.
The Oceania Championship takes the form of a triple round robin – with each side playing the others three times over an arduous four days of competition. Australia is scheduled for a double-header on Friday (New Zealand/Guam), a single game on Saturday (New Zealand) and a single on Sunday (New Zealand) before capping off the event with another double-header on Monday.
Managed by National Coach Jon Deeble and his Assistants in Andrew Kyle and Graeme Lloyd, Australia has taken a twenty-man squad across the Tasman to address what will be another significant challenge for our emerging young players.
Australian Baseball Alumni wishes the Australia squad every success for the Oceania Qualifier. With the assistance of persons travelling with the group, we will seek to provide day-to-day reporting to complement coverage by Baseball Australia.
Australia qualifies for 18U World Cup
GAME SIX: Australia 10 defeated Guam 0
Australia finished the Oceania Qualifying Championship in the manner that it started on Friday – with a ten-run mercy rule result.
Held scoreless in the first two innings against some gentle offerings by the Guam starter, the Australian offence came alive in the third and pressed on to wrap the game up in six as ten players posted a hit apiece – with James McCallum and Mitch Holding both driving in two runs.
Although Brad Simon tossed two innings of scoreless work at the start, Lachlan McDonald did enough to be credited with the win before Jye Deeble and Jack Enciondo slammed the door with a scoreless innings each.
With the series already in the bag - and nothing effectively on the line - the Aussie boys may not have been at their sharpest for the final game but were still a clear class above their opponent.
Going through any tournament undefeated is a wonderful effort. Congratulations to our Australian Under 18 squad on taking the championship and on being fantastic representatives for our country.
At a more individual level, Alex Wells (accepting award below) was named as Tournament Most Valuable Player and winner of the Golden Arm Award, while Mitch Holding received the Hitting Award. Well done!
GAME SIX PLAY BY PLAY Post-game with Head Coach Jon Deeble......
GAME FIVE: Australia 11 defeated New Zealand 2
Coming off an imperious win over Guam in the Sunday morning game, Australia continued in its blistering offensive form by overpowering New Zealand in a contest that thankfully went the complete nine innings.
Sending right-armer Brad Inglis to the hill, the Aussies wasted no time in providing run support by hammering seven in the first as starter Kyle Glogoski came under fire, the Kiwi being forced to pay dearly for a string of free passes as extra base hits by Nate Vankan (triple), Alex Wells (double) and a single to George Callil delivered a seven spot.
While New Zealander Matthew Boyce halted the onslaught, Australia plated another on a James Percival triple in the fifth before Inglis landed in a spot of strife – when a walk, a HPB, a wild pitch and an error gleaned a couple for the host nation.
Relieving Inglis – who had given his team a terrific start over five innings for one hit – Josh Hendrickson tossed a hitless two innings before Rhys Steedman closed out the game after Australia had tacked on further runs in the seventh and eighth.
GAME FIVE PLAY BY PLAY Post-game with Assistant Coach Andy Kyle..... Brad Inglis on his start.....
Australia will wind up a successful Oceania Qualifying campaign when it plays its third game against Guam on Monday, starting at 3.30 PM NZ (1.30 PM AEDST).
GAME FOUR: Australia 19 defeated Guam 0
Australia has booked a berth in the 18U World Cup in Japan later this year with a thumping whitewash over Guam in a mismatch decided in just on an hour in Auckland this morning.
Max Barrett threw a perfect first three innings and Jye Deeble closed out with two innings for Australia, which hammered nine in the second and seven in the fourth for force another mercy-rule result – its third in four games.
Ten Aussies hit safely, with Dean Frew, Mitch Holding, Josh Rawlinson, George Callil and Louis Baker among the multiples.
With two games still to come – and two wins already against New Zealand, Australia cannot relinquish championship lead.
GAME FOUR PLAY BY PLAY Post-game with Assistant Coach Graeme Lloyd.....
GAME THREE: Australia 8 defeated New Zealand 1
Facing Kiwi pitching ace James Boyce – who already boasts an outstanding international record at under-aged level – Australia produced real quality of its own as southpaw Alex Wells spun a stunning six innings of work that gleaned eleven punchouts while conceding a solitary hit.
Australia made the early running as lead-off James Percival hit safely, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an infield error. A second run followed – in the third – when Dean Frew singled with two out, stole second and was driven in on a James McCallum hit.
With Wells in commanding form on the hill, the Australian side doubled its score in the fourth when Mitch Holding set the table with a lead-off single that was fully exploited as his side forced a pair of defensive errors from the Diamondblacks.
Landing on base with a fielder’s choice in the seventh, Percival effectively iced the contest when he stole second and crossed the plate on a catching error – the third unearned run – before Lachlan McDonald and Rhys Steedman closed out the game. Despite New Zealand scrambling a run in the seventh, Australia put the game beyond any doubt by blasting another three in the top of the last.
Again playing errorless defence, this was another impressive outing by the Australian squad, which made the very most of its scoring opportunities in a crucial match-up against tough early pitching.
Now with two wins against New Zealand in the triple round-robin series, Australia is favoured to nail the championship and qualify for the IBAF 18U World Cup in Japan later this year – although it will first need to win at least one of three remaining games, two of them against a thus far winless Guam outfit.
GAME THREE PLAY BY PLAY Head Coach Jon Deeble..........
Australia will meet Guam for a second time on Sunday, starting at 11.30 AM NZ time (9.30 AM AEDST), followed by an afternoon game against New Zealand before a Monday clash with Guam (3.30 PM NZ start ) to complete the Oceania Qualifying Championship.
Interview with Game One starter Alan Kenny......
Interview with Australian Assistant Coach Andrew Kyle after Game Two......
Interview with Head Coach Jon Deeble after Game One.......
Australia begins brightly with mercy-rule results
GAME TWO: Australia 15 defeated Guam 5
23 January 2015
With a two-run homer in the first, James McCallum had Australia off to a great start in the second of the Friday doubleheader, although Guam replied with one in the equaliser to give them some hope of making this a tight contest.
However - with Guam starter Panaguiton experiencing control issues - Australia put up a three spot in the second while Victorian Jack Enciondo continued to pound the strike zone.
His side effectively iced the game with a flurry of offence in the top of the third, when hits to Louis Baker, Mitch Holding, Alex Wells (double) and George Callil combined with a sacrifice fly and a grounder to drive another three across the plate and raise the spectre of another early finish.
Even a Guam pitching change was not enough to stem the flow, as the Aussie boys continued to exploit some errant pitching and defence to hit double figures in the fourth – despite stranding three runners on base.
Having tossed an extraordinarily high ratio of strikes in his outing (something like 30 to 6), Enciondo handed the pill to Bradley Simon, who paid for walking one hitter and tattooing another two by conceding two runs to Guam in the bottom of four.
As if stung into action, the Australian offence exploded in the fifth to tack on another five, courtesy largely of a two-out Callil triple into leftfield - a crushing late blow to the Guam side.
Conceding just four hits overall to the Guam offence, an error-free Australia swatted fifteen in a belligerent display led by Callil (three, with three RBIs), Holding (three and two), James McCallum (two and two), Alex Wells (two and one) and Nate Vankan (two hits).
While our national squad would be well-pleased with its start to the tournament, coaching staff will certainly be reminding their charges that tomorrow is another day and that two wins will be needed against each other nation to secure the championship.
The series will continue on Saturday, with Australia scheduled to meet New Zealand at 3.30 PM NZ (1.30 PM AEDST). Sunday’s game against Guam will start at 11.30 AM (9.30 AM AEDST), followed by another double header – against both teams - on Monday.
GAME ONE: Australia 12 defeated New Zealand 2
Australia opened its Oceania Qualifying campaign strongly with a comprehensive mercy-rule result over New Zealand, which faltered in defence early on after plating the first run.
While the Aussies conceded an unearned run in the top of the first, they made a fumble-fingered Diamondblacks pay dearly with a seven-run blast in the equaliser. Two more in the third and a couple in the fourth put the result beyond doubt as the Australian offence gave run support to a solid start by Alan Kenny before Josh Hendrickson closed out the game.
Alex Wells (two hits and four RBIs) was a stand out with the bat- along with Dean Frew (three and tw0) - in a strong offensive display that saw seven players chime in with hits.
Australian Head Coach Jon Deeble spoke briefly to Australian Baseball Alumni just after the game – and prior to fronting up to Guam in the second of the Friday doubleheader.
Hear Jon's comments........ Game One starter Alan Kenny speaks to Brett Ward.......