Aussie Under 18 squad tunes up with friendly series
23 August 2015
Running in concert with the MLB Academy Programme, Australia is currently experiencing invaluable competition in an eight-game Friendly Series against Canada prior to both countries departing for the Under 18 Baseball World Cup towards the end of August.
Although both nations have taken extended lists into the Canada series – which started at Surfers Paradise on Monday 17 August – World Cup squads will be limited to a final list of twenty that will be announced during the next week.
Of crucial importance for Australia is the knowledge that wins in the Canada series will accrue IBAF points that will have direct bearing on our ranking as a baseball nation for future events such as Premier 12 and a potential return of baseball to the Olympics.
UPDATE (Monday 24 August): AUSTRALIAN NAMES ITS 20-MAN WORLD CUP SQUAD
Smacking five runs in the fourth innings, Australian won the first game of the Friendship Series 7-2 against Canada - gaining twenty points towards our IBAF ranking – on the back of outstanding pitching by Max Barrett and Jye Deeble, along with some timely offence led by second sacker Dean Frew and designated hitter Tristan King. The Canada squad included first-sacker Josh Naylor - twelfth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Game Two was a 13-1 blowout in favour of Australia - which posted a Game Three win in spectacular fashion with a ninth innings two-run homer by Tristan King for a 6-5 result - followed by a hard-fought Australian 4-3 win in Game Four.
Game Five produced a clear-cut result with Australia taking the honours 8-3, while a double-header on Sunday 23 August yielded a 4-0 Game Six whitewash and a 3-2 Game Seven outing that maintained the Australian team's unbeaten record. Game Eight was played on Monday 24 August, resulting in a 1-0 win for the Canadian squad.
Notwithstanding substantial changes to former coaching and management positions, Australia has named a group of outstanding people to head our World Cup campaign at this key age level.
Appointed Manager of the Australian squad, Steve Fish will be assisted by former Major Leaguers Graeme Lloyd (Pitching Coach) and Glenn Williams (Assistant Coach). Victorian Damian Shanahan will be an Assistant Coach and the vastly experienced Neil Barrowcliff will be Executive Officer for the touring party.
A prestigious international event, the World Cup has drawn teams from twelve baseball nations. Listed in Group A by qualifying through the Oceania Series early this year, Australia will face squads from Japan, United States, Mexico, Brazil and Czech Republic for an initial Round Robin. The top three teams from each group will progress to a Super Round Robin, while the other six nations will be rescheduled to decide finishing order.
Australian Baseball Alumni will seek to provide daily updates and comment during the Under 18 World Cup, which will run from 28 August through to 6 September.