In Progress:   Under 18 World Cup

Kingsley Collins

29 August 2017

 

After a series of eight preliminary games in Canada, the Australian squad has been building towards a bold showing at the Under 18 World Cup that commences in Thunder Bay on 1 September.

 

Fourth in the equivalent series after making the Super Round in Osaka two years ago, Australia has another real opportunity to impress on the world stage – and along the way garner more WBSC points for our world baseball ranking.

 

The Under 18 World Cup will be intensively covered online – including online streaming of selected games and day-to-day reporting by Baseball Australia. Team Executive Officer  and Alumni member Neil Barrowcliff offered some insights into team preparation and prospects.

 

“The players took a couple of days to get over the jet lag before they really hit their straps over here,” Neil Barrowcliff told Australian Baseball Alumni earlier this week.

 

“The fields that we have played on so far have been good, the facilities are excellent and so far we have been playing night games – where it has been extremely cold.”

 

“But that is what we will be facing in Thunder Bay, so we have had a good chance to become acclimatised.”

 

Acquitting itself especially well against the Canada national team – a quality outfit playing under familiar conditions – Australia has gained invaluable match practice that has included some outstanding individual and team performances that bode well for the World Cup tournament that starts on Friday 1 September.

 

“I think that our players have gained a lot of confidence from the wins, from a draw, and from the losses” Barrowcliff said. “We keep banging on to them about tournament play, and about how any team can beat anyone else in the world on any given day.”

 

At first appearance, Australia seems to have a relatively favourable group draw, but any World Cup is always tough.

 

“There are two pools of six countries,” Barrowcliff said. “In our pool we've got Korea, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Nicaragua and Canada. The top three teams in each pool progress to the Super Round to have a chance at a medal. It will be tough for us – we expect that – and we will have to play Canada in our last pool game.”

 

“I can see that as being an absolute crunch game where we will be playing in front of a large and vocal crowd who will obviously be supporting the home team.”

 

Although reluctant to single out individual players in what is a balanced, experienced and talented squad, Neil Barrowcliff is confident of the capacities of the team’s starting pitching, its offence and its solid defence – all of which can combine to make a real impact.

 

“Jack O’Loughlin is regarded as our number one starter,” he said. “Jack signed with Detroit Tigers last year and he just flat out knows how to pitch and how to compete. Jarryd Dale is a middle infielder who recently signed with the Padres. He has been super-impressive in the lead-up games, and we are hoping for big things from him.”

 

“Jess Williams is another player to really look out for. He is a middle infielder who will also do some pitching. He was actually in this Under 18 side two years ago – as an Under 16 kid – so he has a huge amount of experience already on his side.”

 

Australia will play its first group game on Friday 1 September – against a world powerhouse in South Korea. The game will be streamed live online, starting at 1.00 PM local time (3.00 AM Saturday 2 September AEST).

 

Baseball Australia will be reporting on the Under 18 World Cup in detail via their website and Facebook.

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

Kingsley Collins

6 September 2017

 

Aussies through to Super Round

 

Although out-gunned 8-2 by Canada in its final group game at the Under 18 World Cup, Australia has earned a berth in the Super Round regardless of the result of a catch-up game between Canada and Nicaragua scheduled for Thursday.

 

While the WBSC is still to release the Super Round Schedule, Australia can expect to meet United States, Japan and Cuba over coming days. A fantastic effort by our squad thus far!

 

GAME FIVE:     CANADA 8 defeated AUSTRALIA 2

 

Despite out-hitting its opponent nine to seven, Australia was damaged big-time by the long ball - with Canada leaving the yard three times in the first two innings for an insurmountable early lead.

 

Settling after a start that still yielded half a dozen strike outs over two - and nine overall - Jackson Boyd breezed through the third and fourth and the six zip lead was shaved by one on a Jamie Young sacrifice fly before Boyd was relieved by Duane Johanssen with runners at the corners in the bottom of five.

 

Back-to-back walks – and a run – drew Jett Wright from the pen in a tricky situation that gleaned another for the home nation before the Aussies turned a timely double play.

 

A Jess Williams single, a Nick Anderson-Vine walk and a passed ball in the seventh set the table for catcher Alex Hall, who swatted an RBI-single before a deflating double play and a grounder ended a potentially big innings for Australia – which would have been well aware of the need to keep scores relatively close in the event of a loss.

 

Amassing nine hits to seven, Australia had fine contributors in Anderson-Vine (two hits and a walk), Rixon Wingrove (two hit), Hall and Williams – although stranding eleven runners on base was a disappointing outcome.

 

Should Canada win its scheduled make-up game against Nicaragua on Thursday, it, would join Chinese Taipei on three wins and two losses – bringing tournament tie-breaker rules into effect to determine which team misses the Super Round.   BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

Kingsley Collins

5 September 2017

 

Hampton outstanding as Australia blanks Taipei

 

Timely hitting and clean defence in support of an extraordinary complete-game outing by Ky Hampton guided Australia to a 4-0 Under 18 World Cup win over Chinese Taipei – one of the early tournament favourites.

 

GAME FOUR:     AUSTRALIA 4 defeated CHINESE TAIPEI 0

 

Although scattering eleven hits to a potent Taipei offence, Hampton conceded no walks and no HPBs in a clinical nine innings that took just 109 pitches – 81 of those for strikes.

 

While Hampton was weaving his magic, the Australian offence gained an early break when Jacob Amos blasted a solo homer in the third and Jarryd Dale drove in a second run in the fourth, after Nick Anderson-Vine walked and stole second.

 

While both sides struggled for conversion through the middle innings, the Aussies tacked on insurance runs in the top of nine as Anderson-Vine and Rixon Wingrove delivered timely hits after Jess Williams legged out a lead-off triple.

 

Amos (two hits – the homer and a double), Wingrove (two hits and an RBI), Anderson-Vine (two and one), Dale and Williams were standouts for an Australian offence surely building in confidence as the tournament progresses.

 

Now looking good for a Super Round berth, Australia will meet Canada in the last of its group games on Wednesday 6 September, starting at 8.30 AM AEST.          BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

 

Kingsley Collins

4 September 2017

 

Aussies a step closer to Super Round

 

Australia has strengthened its chances of a Super Round appearance at the Under 18 World Cup with another dominant win in Thunder Bay – this time an 11-6 result over Nicaragua.

 

GAME THREE:     AUSTRALIA 11 defeated NICARAGUA 6

 

With Jack O’Loughlin spinning a superb start, the Australia offence was on fire early days, blasting three in the first and six in the second against an opponent that made a late recovery without really being in the contest.

 

With a walk and four of his side’s RBIs, Rixon Wingrove was the early hero for Australia, blasting a three-run homer to get his side off to an ideal start, although there were plenty of contributors in offence – including Alex hall (three hits and a walk for two RBIs), Dermot Fritsch (hit, three walks and an RBI), Jordan Barnett (three walks and an RBI), Jess Williams (hit and two walks) and Jarryd Dale (hit, a walk and an RBI).

 

Carding the win for Australia, O’Loughlin fanned nine over six innings for four hits and a solitary earned run – one of three for Nicaragua in the fifth, when the Aussie defence faltered momentarily before Jett Wright, Jamie Young and Liam Holm combined to wrap up a vital win with an innings of work apiece.

 

Australia will next meet Chinese Taipei on 4 September (11.30 PM AEST), with a win in either that match or against home nation Canada on Tuesday sufficient to secure a Super Round berth.       BOX SCORE

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

 

Kingsley Collins

3 September 2017

 

Australia crushes Italy for first win

 

Rebounding from a first-up loss to Korea at the Under 18 World Cup, Australia produced stellar form in all facets of the game to down Italy 15-0 in a game played in unsettled weather conditions.

 

GAME TWO:     AUSTRALIA 15 defeated ITALY 1

 

Tossing the complete game – which was mercifully called after six – Jacob Green (six innings for five strikeouts, six hits and one earned run) was backed by a clean defence and an offensive lineup that contributed one through nine.

 

Plating two in the first and three in the second, the Aussies exploded with a match-breaking eight runs in the fifth – part of an assault that was headed by Jarryd Dale (two hits and three RBIs for the game), Alex Hall (two and two, with a pair of walks), Jess Williams (two hits) and Designated Hitter Mitch Edwards (hit and two RBIs).

 

After an outstanding performance against a Italy team that had won first up, Australia – now at one and one - will meet Nicaragua on Sunday 3 September, starting at 11.30 PM AEST.    BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

Kingsley Collins

2 September 2017

 

Aussies edged out by Korea

 

Stranding nine runners on base in the first of its Under 18 World Cup games in Thunder Bay, Australia came up just short against South Korea, which effectively converted its limited opportunities to emerge a 4-1 winner.

 

GAME ONE:     KOREA 4 defeated AUSTRALIA 1

 

Starter Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis whiffed six over six superb innings for two earned runs before Lachlan Southee and Nicholas Holm each pitched a scoreless inning for Australia, which held the powerful Korean team to five hits and will be looking to rebound in offence when it meets Italy later this evening.

 

While Australia started brightly when Jess Williams doubled and Josh Bedggood wore a HPB in a scoreless first, unearned runs in the first and fourth handed Korea a break on Australia, which plated a run in the top of four after Jarryd Dale hit safely, advanced on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jamie Young.

 

However, stranding another two in the fourth and leaving bags loaded in the top of nine was disappointing for the Aussies, who could not quite deliver the offence against some quality arms and will re-group for their game against Italy – which posted an early win over a strong Nicaragua.       BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a series of eight preliminary games in Canada, the Australian squad has built towards a bold showing at the Under 18 World Cup that commenced in Thunder Bay, Canada, on 1 September.

 

Fourth in the equivalent series after making the Super Round in Osaka two years ago, Australia has another real opportunity to impress on the world stage – and along the way garner more WBSC points for our world baseball ranking.

 

UPDATE (7 September 2017): Australia has qualified for the Super Round, with games to come against Japan, Cuba and United States before medals playoffs of Sunday 10 September. The Super Round Schedule is posted below (local times).

 

Kingsley Collins

10 September 2017

 

Aussies finish fifth at Thunder Bay

 

Australia has wrapped up its Under 18 World Cup campaign with a 0-9 loss to an undefeated United States and will finish a very creditable fifth with an overall record of four wins and four losses against the best young international baseball talent.

 

SUPER ROUND GAME THREE:     UNITED STATES 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 0

 

While the final scoreline was convincing for United States – which outhit our team twelve to three – this game was tight early on, with the American outfit getting away with five in the third, three of those unearned.

 

With Jess Williams, Nick Anderson-Vine and Mitch Edwards the only players to hit safely, Australia toughed it out in typical fashion but struggled with offence and was made to pay for defensive slipups against an outstanding opponent that is favoured to win the tournament.

 

Spinning 2.2 innings of work for three earned runs, starter Duane Johannsen was steady for Australia before a terrific relief stint by Ky Hampton and one inning cameos by Lochlan Southee, Jackson Boyd and Liam Holm.

 

Finishing with a four wins and four losses record for the tournament, Australia can be extremely proud of its performance – one which will attract valuable WBSC world ranking points while further establishing the quality of our young players on the world stage.

 

Especially memorable will be our narrow losses to Korea and Japan, stunning wins over Chinese Taipei and Cuba and some outstanding individual efforts that will not have gone unnoticed.

 

 Medals games for the Under 18 World Cup will be played on Sunday 10 September.    BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

Kingsley Collins

9 September 2017

 

Aussies blank Cuba for stirring win

 

Following up from a hard-luck extra innings loss to Japan, Australia reacted in the best possible manner with a stunning 3-0 result over Cuba at the Under 18 World Cup in Thunder Bay overnight.

 

SUPER ROUND TWO:     AUSTRALIA 3 defeated CUBA 0

 

Assuming mound duties against a world baseball powerhouse desperate for a Super Round win, Jack O’Loughlin was superb for the Australian side, striking out six, walking none and conceding nine hits over seven innings of work - backed by a clean defence that made some stellar plays in tight situations.

 

With both sides racking up a dozen hits and stranding multiple runners on base, it was the Aussies who were better able to convert – doing so as the big bats came out in a game-defining top of four.

 

Leading off with a single, Jacob Amos scored on a booming Josh Bedggood triple followed by a fielder’s choice and a Nick Anderson-Vine single to set the table for Alex Hall – whose two-run triple helped deliver the game-defining three runs.

 

With Cuba still in the hunt after the O’Loughlin departure, Lochlan Southee and the versatile Jess Williams mopped up admirably with a scoreless inning each to seal Australia’s first Super Round win.

 

Again a livewire with the bat for Australia, Hall (two hits – including the triple – for two RBIs), Bedggood (two hits, with the triple, for an RBI), Williams (two hits) and first-sacker Rixon Wingrove (two hits and a walk) were pivotal in an offence that saw eight players contribute to the hit tally.

 

An outside chance of making the bronze medal game, Australia will meet United States in the last of its Super Round games on Saturday 9 September, starting at 11.30 PM AEST.        BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingsley Collins

8 September 2017

 

Aussies drop a thriller to Japan

 

Despite conceding the early lead, a gallant Australian team competed brilliantly against the tournament favourite at the Under 18 World Cup, eventually going down 3-4 to Japan in the bottom of the eleventh innings.

 

SUPER ROUND GAME ONE:    JAPAN 4 defeated AUSTRALIA 3 (11 innings)

 

Although Australia started brightly by landing runners on base in the first, it was Japan that scored first with two in the equaliser – one of those on a defensive error - as starter Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis settled into his work.

 

Hitting back in the top of four, Australia drew level on a two-out Josh Bedggood single and a Jordan Barnett double – with Bedggood thrown out at the plate as the potential go-ahead.

 

While Japan again edged ahead in the bottom of the frame, the Aussies again drew level at three apiece in the top of six with a rally started by catcher Mitch Edwards.

 

A period of pitching and defensive dominance by both sides forced a tie-breaker as the game stretched into extra innings under enormous pressure for both sides – with Japan finally plating the go-ahead in the bottom of eleven of a thrilling contest.

 

Both teams stranded runners on base - a testament to the quality of the pitching and defence – and Australian management would be especially pleased with its bullpen work, which saw Jacob Green (four innings for three hits and no earned runs) and Jett Wright (two hitless innings) doing a grand job in support of Cooper-Vassalakis (seven hits over four innings for two earned runs).

 

Outstanding behind the plate, Mitch Edwards (two hits and walk) was dangerous in offence along with Jacob Amos (two hits and a walk), Jess Williams (two hits), Barnett (hit and two RBIs) and Bedggood (one and one).

 

Australia will next meet Cuba on Saturday 9 September, starting at 3.00 AM AEST, followed by a match-up against United States at 11.30 PM AEST. Both games will be streamed live.   BOX SCORES

 

LINKS:

 

WBSC UNDER 18 WORLD CUP HOME

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA UNDER 18 PAGE

TEAM AUSTRALIA FACEBOOK PAGE