IBAF Under 12 World Cup 2015
The tournament will be held in Tainan, Taiwan, from 24 July to 2 August.
Twelve nations will compete, drawn into two pools of six. Pool A comprises Cuba, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Venezuela, Brazil and Russia. Australia has drawn in Pool B along with Japan, United States, Mexico, Nicaragua and France.
Australian Baseball Alumni will be seeking to provide day-by-day reporting, comment and images during the course of the series. Please check back here for updates and/or engage in our FACEBOOK discussions.
GAME 8: SOUTH KOREA 11 defeated AUSTRALIA 9
It was a booming start for Australia, which took advantage of wayward Korean pitching and a Solomon Maguire single to force a change on the hill and drive three first innings runs across the plate – with another three runners stranded on base.
Conceding two runs in the bottom of the frame, Australia continued to put it to the Korean pitching, with doubles to Maguire and Dylan Bojarski the highlights of a three-run second inning.
With Aussie errors proving a factor, Korea put up a four spot in the third – for a one run lead – and Riley Yeatman relieved after Matthew George had tossed a steady three innings of work for just two earned runs.
After Australia tied the game up in the top of four, Korea continued to exploit defensive slip-ups and stretched the lead, which they maintained marginally - despite the Aussies hitting back - until the game was called.
While it is unofficial, we believe that the Australian record of two wins and six losses would place us in tenth position overall for the tournament – an excellent outcome against the strongest baseball nations in the world, each with a massive player pool to draw upon at this level. The team’s wins will attract valuable IBAF points in calculation of world baseball rankings over the next few years.
Australia Baseball Alumni extends its congratulations to all players, coaching staff, officials, families and supporters for contributing to a history-making first appearance at the Under 12 Baseball World Cup – one made even more meritorious given the hot, draining conditions and player injury during the series. Well done, all!
Although the series is over for Australia, medals game are still to be played. The bronze medal game is scheduled for Sunday 2 August, starting at 4.30 PM AEST, followed by the gold medal game at 8.30 PM (AEST) on Sunday 2 August.
GAME SEVEN: BRAZIL 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 1
Taking their offence into the Brazil game, Australia started strongly with two hits in the first – including a triple by Solomon Maguire that was converted on a wild pitch – although their opponent replied with two in the bottom off the frame off Aussie starter Ian Lee.
Both pitchers were in control in the second, with Lee whiffing two - after the Brazilian lead-off reached second with none out - before handing the pill to Dylan Bojarski in a tough situation.
Walking one and hitting another two, Bojarski paid dearly when Brazilian lead-off Andrew Sato clubbed a grand slam to give his side a seven run lead that proved beyond reach of an Australian side that played solid defence and held its opponent to a handful of hits.
Aaron Callaghan went two from two, while Ranieri and Maguire continued their fine hitting form for Australia, which faces another challenge in its final game against South Korea on Saturday 1 August, starting at 12.00 PM AEST.
Australian Baseball Alumni wishes the Australian squad all the very best for a strong finish to a memorable and very successful debut appearance at the Under 12 World Cup.
GAME SIX: AUSTRALIA 10 defeated RUSSIA 3
No doubt keen to make the most of their Consolation Round matches, Australia exploded to an early lead against Russia, with Aaron Callaghan, James Nati, Solomon Maguire, starting pitcher Jacob Bald and Zach Newbold all hitting safely to drive in four runs in the bottom of the first.
After retiring the Russian hitters in order in the opening frame, Bald pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam in the second and collected his second hit and RBI as his side tacked on another couple in the equaliser for a six-zip lead.
Relieving Bald after the Victorian had tossed a terrific three innings, Alessandro Ranieri conceded a run in the fourth before inducing a crucial ground ball to quell a Russian threat with runners stranded.
As if in atonement for that score, Ranieri dealt a telling blow for Australia by clearing the bases with a booming double that delivered an unassailable eight-run lead.
While Russia scored another two in the top of the fifth, the Aussies were quick to reply, compliments of a Zak Elvy single and a run-scoring Nati triple that put the game beyond any doubt.
It was a comprehensive win for the Australian side, which out-hit its opponent twelve to four on the back of timely offensive contributions by Nati (two hits and three RBIs), Ranieri (two and three), Maguire (two and one) and Callaghan (two hits).
Surely buoyed by the confidence-boosting win, Australia will meet Brazil on Friday 31 July, starting at 12.00 PM AEST.
GAME FIVE: NICARAGUA 17 defeated AUSTRALIA 2
Facing second-placed Nicaragua, the Aussies were off to a perfect start when Lachlan Thompson walked, stole second and scored on a double by Solomon Maguire, who followed him across the plate when Ian Lee singled into rightfield.
Nicaragua hit back immediately against Australian starter Maguire, with two in the equaliser and another two in the second – all unearned - to draw Aaron Callaghan into the fray against a belligerent offence that exploded to blast another four for the innings, including two home runs.
The Nicaraguan big hitters continued to press with another pair of homers and eight runs in the third, though to their credit the Aussie pitchers kept fronting up and throwing strikes to give themselves a chance.
Australia loaded the bases in the fourth but was unable to convert before Matthew George finished the game strongly on the hill for the Aussies, who conceded some unearned runs but were overpowered after a very promising start against one of the tournament favourites.
Finishing fifth after the first round in Group B, Australia will move on to play three Consolation Round games, starting on Thursday at 4.30 PM with a match againsts Russia. That will be followed by a game against Brazil on Friday and against South Korea on Saturday, with the potential there for Australia to finish as high as seventh overall.
GAME FOUR: UNITED STATES 13 defeated AUSTRALIA 1
Already favoured to make the gold medal game, United States was too strong for Australia, which had its chances early on and battled out the game under offensive pressure.
Australia played some solid defence to get out of a jam in the first innings and itself had scoring opportunities in the bottom of the frame before starting pitcher Riley Yeatman paid for some inaccuracy in the third, when United States took him for six runs – including a three-run Nicholas Kurtz homer that forced a pitching change.
Zak Elvy immediately came under fire with consecutive doubles for a seventh run to make it tough for the Aussies, who again responded when Solomon Maguire and Alessandro Ranieri hit safely.
Another three in the top of the fifth gave United States an unassailable lead as Australia called on Zach Newbold – who fanned two hitters and induced a ground out after another two unearned runs crossed the plate.
Not about to lay down, the Aussies drew a couple of passes in the equaliser and scored on a Ranieri single before the side was retired with three stranded on base.
It was an impressive win by United States, which played solid defence and out-hit the Aussies eleven to four – two each by Ranieri and first sacker Maguire, who had another terrific game with the bat.
Australia will play its last pool game against Nicaragua on Tuesday 28 July, starting at 4.30 PM AEST. From there the tournament will move into the Super Round (first three teams in each pool) and the Consolation Round (lowest three teams in each pool).
GAME THREE: AUSTRALIA 8 defeated FRANCE 4
Looking for its first ever win at this event, Australia conceded a run in the first but rebounded immediately by putting up a three-spot in the equaliser and another two in the second – although the lead could have been greater had four runners not been left on base.
An unearned run scored another for the French in the second, although Australian starter James Nati was well in charge and again instrumental in offence with a two-out double that stretched the Aussie lead to five after the third inning.
With its top order racking up the hits, Australia scored again with two out in the fifth as Nati and Solomon Maguire produced timely hitting.
As in Game One, though, some errant defence crept into the Australian game and the French managed another run before Lachlan Thompson was called to replace Nati, who had allowed just two hits and no walks into the sixth.
A second unearned kept the French hopes alive before Thompson closed out a game that saw both sides slip up in defence, although the outstanding Nati game and other productive hitting by Jacob Bald and Aaron Callaghan proved too much for the French lads.
The World Cup in any sport is an inevitably tough gig and the Aussies face a further challenge when they meet an undefeated United States on Monday 27 July, starting at 12.00 PM AEST.
GAME TWO: MEXICO 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 1
Although the result appeared clear-cut for Mexico, the Australian squad would be pleased with the efforts of their young charges against one of the stronger nations contesting the Under 12 World Cup.
Plating a run in the first, Australia remained well in a high-standard defensive contest - trailing by two runs until a grand slam in the fourth delivered an insurmountable lead to the Mexican outfit. Although pitchers Ian Lee and Dylan Bojarski were solid in restricting Mexico to a total of nine hits, Australia again battled for offensive production, with James Nati posting both of his country's two hits against some quality arms.
Having two hard games already under their belts, the Aussie boys will be looking for a bold showing when they meet France on Sunday. Hopefully this can be a confidence-builder leading into a clash with reigning champion United States and then an ultra-competitive Nicaragua side that was brave against the Americans.
Australia will play France on Sunday 26 July, starting at 4.30 PM AEST.
GAME ONE: JAPAN 12 defeated AUSTRALIA 0
Playing in this prestigious tournament for the first time, Australia had a rugged start to the Under 12 World Cup that commenced today.
Drawn first against Japan – a world baseball powerhouse at all levels – our youngsters found it tough going both with the bat and in defence against a well-drilled side that showed good pitch selection and base speed.
While the Japanese hitters posted three-spots in the first and the third innings, their pitching was dominant, with starter Shina striking out the nine Aussie hitters he faced.
Relieving Australian starter Jacob Bald, Riley Yeatman did a great job in stemming the flow mid-game, conceding just one earned run over three innings of work.
Dylan Bojarski lifted the Aussie spirits with a double in the bottom of the five, but it was not enough to spark a challenge against a Japanese side that took full toll of defensive errors and more passes than our boys would have liked.
Head Coach Brian Murphy was full of praise for his young team after the opening game.
"It was a tough game to start and we competed well, although we were over matched by the Japanese pitchers. I thought we battled well against them but it was obvious why they are currently ranked No. 1. A great experience for all the boys today. We were able to get 17 of the 18 players into the game today to give them a taste of the action and take some of the nervousness out."
"Pretty proud of their efforts," Brian Murphy said. "They didn't give up and they fought until the end."
"Jacob Bald started and threw quite well keeping the Japanese hitters off balance with his unorthodox three quarter arm throwing action."
"Riley Yeatman came in second and was superb in relief upsetting the hitters with a great change up."
"Dylan Bojarski managed our only hit in the game with a double to centre right," Murphy said.
"Unfortunately we threw too many walks throughout the game and we made some crucial fielding errors at key times."
"Overall, it was a wonderful experience and a valuable learning curve for the boys today," he said. "Now the nerves have settled, it will be onwards and upwards."
Giving so many players a taste of the action in what was always going to be a tough ask, Australian management will be confident of a stronger showing when it meets Mexico on Saturday 25 July, starting at 4.30 PM AEST.