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Cal Ripken tour the experience of a lifetime

UPDATE:  8 August 2017


Our Under 12 Australian squad has commenced its playing campaign at the Cal Ripken World Series that started in Branson Missouri on 3 August (local time).


Management has been especially active reporting online and is maintaining a brilliantly informative and entertaining Facebook page (link below) as the team builds towards its first CRWS game against Korea on 4 August (Missouri time). That will be followed with games against Canada and Mexico before the World Series moves into its next phase and completes with the final on 10 August.




Big innings sets up strong Aussie win


With Bayley Stevens, Peter Bae and Jordan Hodges combining to scatter just three hits and one earned run, Australia generated a terrific all-round team performance to down Kansas 6-2 at the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series in Branson Missouri overnight.


GAME FOUR:       AUSTRALIA 6 defeated KANSAS 2


Plating two in the first and a match-breaking four in the fourth, the three Aussie pitchers were backed by solid defence in restricting opportunities for the Kansas offence.


A spread of hits through the Australian order was led by Elijah Hewitt (hit and two RBIs), Wilson Spinks (one and one), Stevens (one and one), Genevieve Beacom and Jackson Grounds - in a win that would have been especially satisfying for our squad, given that it was against an American team on its home soil.




Late surge sends Mexico past Australia


Although out-hit by a strong opponent, Australia edged to within two runs late, but was unable to withstand an outburst that delivered Mexico an 11-1 win at the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series in Branson Missouri earlier this morning.




The Aussies started brightly with a Branden Moyle single in the first before Mexico turned a classy double play and opened scoring with a two-out run in the equaliser that was built on with two more in the second of a rain-delayed contest.


While Australia landed runners on base through walks, Elijah Hewitt finally scored in the top of the last after being tattooed, stealing second, advancing on a grounder and scoring on a passed ball before the Mexican side put the game beyond doubt with an eight-run blast – including a three-run homer - as the Aussies went to Joel Hogan and Ben Ferencakovic in relief of Jude Barker, who had spun an outstanding starting stint.


Thirteen hits to two told the tale in the end – although Australia has the chance to hit back hard tomorrow when it meets the loser of the Kansas/Colorado game also being played today.


GAME DETAILS                          TEAM FACEBOOK PAGE


Aussies pipped by Canada in extra-innings thriller


Responding from an early deficit, a gutsy Australia team drew level with Canada at the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series in Missouri overnight, but was not able to hold off an opponent that forged ahead in extras for a narrow win.


GAME TWO:     CANADA 13 defeated AUSTRALIA 11


Taking the start in a history-making role for Australia, Genevieve Beacom was solid through 2.2 innings for five hits and three earned runs, although her side’s offence was held scoreless into the bottom of three – when the Aussie offence began to fire.


Four in the fourth, two in the fifth and another three Aussie in the sixth saw scores deadlocked as the game went to deciding extra frames.


While Nathan Howarth, Callum Donnelly, Peter and Joel Hogan were all effective in relief for Australia, the Canadians were able to gain a break in the top of the last and withstand a late challenge.


Although both sides made some defensive errors, Australia made the most of its scoring opportunities – with Elijah Hewitt (three hits, including a two run homer) and Ned Hargreaves (two hits and four RBIs) playing starring roles.


Buoyant after a strong showing against Canada, Australia will meet Mexico on Monday (4.30 AM AEST).


GAME DETAILS                             TEAM FACEBOOK PAGE


Tough loss first-up for Australia


Held to one hit in its opening game at the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series that commenced in Branson Missouri yesterday, Australia was unable to contain a powerful Korean team that exploded in the fourth on its way to a 17-0 victory.


GAME ONE:     KOREA 17 defeated AUSTRALIA 0


Facing one of the strongest international teams at the tournament, Australia landed a runner on base in the first but was unable to convert before Korea scored one off starter Ben Ferencakovic and followed up with a four-spot in the second.


While a second Aussie drew a walk in the top of three, the Korean offence was on the march, plating another twelve in the bottom of the third as reliever Wilson Spinks and the Australian defence continued to be placed under enormous pressure.


Although the Australians toughed out the game and made some solid defensive plays, the Korean pitchers gave nothing away until Jackson Grounds singled in the fourth – his team’s only hit - and reached second on a wild pitch before the game was called.


Australia will re-group for its next scheduled match against Canada at 6.00 AM Sunday (our time) before facing Mexico (4.30 AM Monday our time). To stay in touch with excellent online coverage of the squad’s progress, you can follow the TEAM FACEBOOK PAGE.


TOURNAMENT LINK for schedules, news, play by play and all scores.

UPDATE:   Friday 28 July 2017


Our Cal Ripken squad is currently playing in preliminary games prior to participation at the Major 7 World Series in Branson Missouri. Australian Head Coach Dean Marnell has posted the following update:




Team Australia got out to a two run lead in the top of  the first, courtesy of a RBI double to Jordon Hodges  and an RBI single to Nathan Howarth.  Genevieve Beacom started our campaign on the mound with a scoreless first innings without recording a hit against her.


The Australia bats were hot in the second inning plating another 6 runs…. Ned Hargreaves (triple), Ben Ferencakovic  (double) and singles going to Brayden Moyle, Peter Bae, Wilson Spinks, Ethan Martin, and Elijah Hewett.  Ben Ferencakovic and Jude Barker fought hard for strikes on the mound, allowing Starz a 5-run comeback.


The third innings saw no change in the score with Jude Barker finding his rhythm. The Aussie bats were also kept quite in the fourth. Bayley Stevens pitching shut down the Stayz bats in the bottom of the fourth.


Top of five and the Aussie bats rekindled,  scoring five more runs. A game highlight was Nathan Howarth’s  home run over deep centre left. Singles were also recorded to Ned Hargreaves, Jackson Grounds, Elijah Hewett.  On the mound, Peter Bae retired the Stayz in order with two strike outs.


Top of six and Joel Hogan led off with a triple. Brayden Moyle pushed him home in with a controlled opposite side single. Elijah Hewett closed the game, allowing one run and awarding Team Australia with a 14 -9 win on American soil.


The team wore black arm bands out of respect to the passing of SA Little League Stalwart , Coach and Mentor Ron MacBeth.
























Cal Ripken tour the experience of a lifetime

Kingsley Collins

24 July 2017


Under-aged Australian baseball will be front and centre over the next three weeks as two teams travel overseas to contest major international tournaments.


While our national team is off to Taipei for the Under 12 World Cup starting later this week, a squad of other impressive eleven and twelve year-olds is stateside bound for the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series scheduled for Branson Missouri from 3-10 August.


Former playing professional, long-time servant of Australian baseball and Alumni member, Cal Ripken Head Coach Dean Marnell has his squad champing at the bit for the experience of a lifetime in the home of world baseball.  


Previously held in Aberdeen Maryland for seventeen years, the Cal Ripken World Series has been relocated to Branson Missouri – a town of around 11,000 residents renowned for its attraction as a family tourism destination in the Ozark Mountains.


Its magnificent “Ballparks of America” facility is touted as offering 10 to 13 year olds “a chance to play on two-thirds replicas of five iconic stadiums spanning the history of baseball”.


“The Branson facility is a new one that was opened only twelve months ago,” Dean Marnell told Australian Baseball Alumni. “It has the same type of theme as the fields in Aberdeen, where they have replica fields like Fenway, St Louis, Cubs – with the ivy in the outfield.”


“They also have a replica Ebbets Field to create a little history about the place.”


The move to Branson Missouri is expected to ignite refreshed interest in the iconic World Series, which was struggling for financial viability after its many years in Aberdeen.


“Previously the international players in Aberdeen were housed with host families,” said Marnell, who is Head Coach of the Australian squad for the fourth time. “This time the teams will stay in Major League type suites, which should be great for team bonding and interaction between all the different teams.”


First becoming involved in 2011, Dean Marnell remains enthused about the Cal Ripken World Series for its capacity to engage young people and their families in the sport with the support of some outstanding baseball people – both in Australia and United States.


“I really enjoy coaching at this level and took up the opportunity to apply for the coaching role after being active with the T-Ball programme at Essendon Baseball Club for five years,” he said.


“I was fortunate to be on one coaching panel with Baseball Australia Hall-of-Famers Bob Nilsson and Lionel Harris. That was just a great experience for Lionel and me to be working with Bob – who had been Head Coach of the Australian Cal Ripken team for ten years.”


“Recently we have been fortunate to have other real quality coaches in Mark Shipley, Andy Kyle, Shayne Watson and Andrew Scott involved in the programme,” he said.

The Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series has again drawn eighteen teams – ten from United States and another eight from overseas, including reigning champion Japan, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Korea and Australia.


Australia has received an invitation to the Cal Ripken World Series each year since 2002.


While there are selection processes in place to best identify members of the Australian group, the playing squad this time was finalised somewhat later than usual – leaving limited time for preparation.


“The team is always extremely difficult to pick and obviously there is a substantial cost involved, given that we receive no sponsorship or other financial assistance,” Marnell said.


“We communicate with the High Performance guys in each state and they usually have a list of players that they nominate, with a summary on each player. We also scout the Little League Nationals and we work around other tournaments for which players might be considered.”


“There has been very minimal preparation this time around - prior to our departure on 26 July - largely because the Little League tournament was delayed and that impacted on our selection of a final squad.”


“It has been a hectic few weeks, though we are organised for a decent lead into the World Series itself," he said. "We will travel to Aberdeen for a pre-World Series camp and we will compete in a tournament at the Ripken facility there. We currently have five games organised in Aberdeen – as well as some practice sessions.”


“We will also be taking the athletes to an MLB game between the Orioles and Royals at Camden Yards, where we will get to chat to Peter Moylan in what should be a great thrill for these kids.”


“Also on the schedule is a Minor League game with Aberdeen Ironbirds in short season A-Ball.”


With families of most players accompanying the Australian contingent, Dean Marnell anticipates plenty of loud and enthusiastic support from the stands as our emerging athletes take on some of the very best eleven and twelve year-old baseballers from across the globe.


“The game really speeds up when it comes to playing the likes of Japan, Korea and Mexico at this age level,” he said. “The competition gives our athletes an understanding of what lies ahead if they are to progress into future national teams.”


“There are great benefits to be derived from this trip – many memories and the formation of lifelong friendships. The cultural experience is a wonderful thing for the kids and even to take them to a Minor League game or an MLB game is all part of it.”


“And they get to play baseball representing Australia. There is no better feeling than that,” he said.


Of the dozens of Australian players who have gone through the Cal Ripken experience over the past fifteen years, many have progressed through the ranks to college, Australian Baseball League or professional baseball careers.


“Jack O’Loughlin was in this team and recently signed with Detroit Tigers,” Marnell said. “He and Ky Hampton both were starters for Adelaide Bite last season as sixteen year-olds. We’ve also had Jesse Williams, Alex Hall and Josh Diggens – who all had time with Perth Heat last season.”


“Darryl George was previously on this team - as well as Matthew Beattie and Lewis Thorpe. Beattie and Oliver Dunn have played with Melbourne Aces, Shane Kelleher and Harry Fullerton were on the Sydney Blue Sox roster. Josh Rawlinson went on to a college career.”


“And it gives us real pleasure to announce that we have named our first female competitor to play in the Australian Cal Ripken team this time,” he continued. “Genevieve Beacom will be continuing on from Japan to join us for the tournament.”


“It has taken a great team effort from a number of people to have this Cal Ripken team ready to go within the short time frame that we have had. Glenn Williams and Simone Wearne have been magnificent, as well as team Executive Officer David West and our Assistant Coaches in Craig Watts and Michael Ibbotson.”


“And the parents have been fantastic in helping us with preparations,” Dean Marnell said.



Australian Baseball Alumni extends its appreciation to Dean Marnell for his assistance in the preparation of this story. We wish the players, the management staff and team supporters all our very best for an exciting and memorable experience. With input of the touring squad, we will seek to provide updates, news and images during the Cal Ripken World Series.








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