Australian Schools Baseball Tour 2018
Persistent, heavy rainfall disrupted the playing schedule towards the end of the United States tour - causing a number of games to be cancelled. Despite that disappointment, we have no doubt that the young men who comprised the touring Australian party will have derived enormous benefit from their experience over the past three and a half weeks - an experience that may be potentially life-changing as their baseball skills were showcased to college and professional baseball interests.
We extend our appreciation to Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff and to accompanying supporters for helping Australian Baseball Alumni provide detailed and timely updates on the tour. We will aim to provide a comprehensive final report in the near future.
GAME FIFTEEN: CANYON THUNDER 6 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 1
Passing up scoring opportunities earlier in the game - while Max Watson spun a superb start - the Australian Schools touring team faltered in defence in the eighth and ninth, when Canyon Thunder broke a 1-1 deadlock with late runs.
A total of six defensive miscues were costly for Australia, whose scoring conversion rate was disappointing despite the best efforts of Liam Evans (solo home run), Luis Gonzalez (two hits) and Aidan Torpey (two hits) to spark the team offence.
Watson conceded a solitary earned run over five quality innings before Ky Jackson (three innings for five hits and two earned runs) and Tyson McKee (two scoreless innings) kept their side well in the contest. MATCH REPORT
GAME FOURTEEN: GLENDALE COLLEGE 17 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 3
The Australian touring team was outplayed by an aggressive and enthused opponent that scored in eight of nine innings playeed and was never really threatened after our squad plated the first two runs of the game.
Sustaining the offensive pressure against Aussie pitchers in Alex Torpey, Brandan Bidois and Mitch Ellison, Glendale amassed twenty-three hits to eleven - including a couple of long balls - while Cody Rodwell (three hits), Alex Skepton (two, with a HPB) and Luis Gonzalez (two hits and an RBI) were most productive for the tourists.
Australia will next meet Canyon Thunder Travel Team. Neil Barrowcliff lodged this MATCH REPORT.
GAME THIRTEEN: CENTRAL ARIZONA COLLEGE 10 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 9
Playing against an historically very strong baseball college - whose team included Queenslander Jye Deeble and Victorian Liam Spence - our touring squad came back from a 3-10 deficit and had realistic chances in the eighth and ninth to pinch the game.
The telling factor in this contest was an ugly fifth innings by Central Arizona, which took toll of Aussie defensive errors to the tune of nine unearned runs (including a grand slam) in steamy conditions that made it tough for starter Raleigh Pelkonen - who was terrific over 4.1 (for three hits and no earned runs) but was forced to throw more pitches than he would have liked before Tyson McKee (0.2 innings) and Josh Meyer (three scoreless) mopped up.
Out-hitting their opponent nine to seven - but slipping up four times in defence - the tourists had strong offensive contributors in Liam Evans (two hits and an RBI), Rhys Dewick (one and two), Mitch Ellison (one and two) and Cody Rodwell (two hits and a walk). MATCH REPORT
GAME TWELVE: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 12 defeated GATEWAY COLLEGE 3
Responding in the best possible manner after a heavy loss yesterday, the touring side played a superb all-round game to post a strong win against Gateway College - whose starter just happened to be Queenslander Ricky Deeble.
Amassing twenty knocks to five, Australia had eleven players contribute to the hit parade - with standouts in Mitch Ellison (four hits and two RBIs), Luis Gonzalez (three and three, with three stolen bases), Ethan Stacey, Josh Meyer, Cody Rodwell and Will Tucker (all with two hits) along with Nick Hosie (hit and three RBIs).
Liam Evans (five innings for one earned run) and Jack Lee (four, for one earned run) combined beautifully on the hill for the tourists, who will next match up against Central Arizona College. Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff posted this MATCH REPORT.
GAME ELEVEN: SOUTH MOUNTAIN COLLEGE 14 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 3
The Australian touring side had a tough outing for its first game in Phoenix, with a very strong Division One school managing to blow the game open with seven in the third.
Max Watson, Mitch Ellison and Ben Fierenzi shared pitching duties against what Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff described as "the best side that we have played", one that racked up eighteen hits to nine - at least half of them for extra bases.
Liam MacDonald (two hits, including a monster three-run homer) and Liam Evans (two hits) were standouts in offence for the Aussie outfit, which will meet Gateway Community College tomorrow. MacDonald and Evans have both been named to the invitational MLB World Select Team that will play at the Arizona Fall Classic starting in a fortnight. MATCH REPORT
GAME TEN: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 11 defeated SHOWTIME 0
The Australian Schools side has completed the Oregon leg of its United States tour with a thumping result over Showtime Baseball - its seventh win from ten games thus far.
Brandan Bidois (three innings for eight punchouts), Tyson McKee (two innings), Ky Jackson (two innings) and Jack Lee (two) combined to scatter three hits while striking out fourteen in a dominant overall pitching performance, while the Australian offence racked up fifteen hits and was never in doubt after blasting seven runs in the first and another four in the fourth.
Luis Gonzalez (three hits and two RBIs), Josh Meyer (three and one), Will Tucker (two and two), Aidan Torpey (two and one) and Liam Evans (two hits and a walk) were standouts with the bat in what Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff described as a "pleasing" result before the squad flies to Arizona - with its next game scheduled for Wednesday. MATCH REPORT
GAME NINE: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 6 defeated LINN BENTON 5
Pitted against one of the most highly-credentialled junior colleges in the region, Australia fought out a tough, high-quality contest and posted an impressive win after edging ahead with two in the top of the last.
The go-ahead blow in the last was struck by Cody Rodwell with a two-RBI single in the ninth, although nine players contributed in offence - with other standouts in Nick Hosie (hit and two RBIs) and Liam MacDonald (two hits).
After Linn Benton had scored four off Australian starter Max Watson (4.1 innings), Raleigh Pelkonen (2.2 innings for two hits and no earned runs) and Jack Lee (two scoreless innings for one hit) did a superb job in applying the clamps against a strong opponent.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff posted this MATCH REPORT.
GAME EIGHT: LANE COMMUNITY COLLEGE 10 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 3
Our touring side had a tough outing against Lane Community College, which took full toll of seven defensive blunders - five of them in a seventh innings blowout that gleaned seven unearned runs for the host team.
Although the Aussies had fought back from a deficit to draw level at 3-3, the fielding lapses did not do justice to solid pitching outings by Aidan Torpey, Ky Jackson, Ben Fierenzi and Mitch Ellison - who combined to concede just two earned over nine innings.
It was a relatively quiet day in offence for our lads, with Alex Skepton (two hits and an RBI) and Brandan Bidois (two hits) dominating a modest total of six knocks to eleven.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff lodged this MATCH REPORT.
GAME SEVEN: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 17 defeated S.W. OREGON COLLEGE 3
After a tight first two innings, the Australian Schools touring team came alive in offence - blasting six in the seventh and three-spots in the eighth and ninth on their way to a comprehensive win in Game Seven.
Carding thirteen hits to seven, the Aussies had stand-outs in DH Aidan Torpey (three hits, including a triple, for two RBIs), Nick Hosie (two hits and two ribbies, with a walk), Josh Meyer (one and three (with a walk) and Luis Gonzalez (triple).
Liam Evans (four innings), Tyson McKee (two) and Meyer (three) combined in style on the mound for Australia.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff penned this MATCH REPORT during a lengthy road trip back to Corvallis.
GAME SIX: CHEMEKETA COLLEGE 7 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 5
In Game Six of its United States tour, the Australian Schools side opened the scoring before Chemeketa gained a break that it held throughout the contest as four of the touring party spent time on the mound.
Not able to convert a number of scoring opportunities, our team out-hit Chemeketa ten to six - with Liam Evans (three hits and two RBIs) and Luis Gonzalez (two hits, walk and an RBI) again prominent with the bat.
Team Manager Neil Barrowcliff posted this MATCH REPORT.
GAME FIVE: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 5 defeated CLARK COLLEGE 4
The Australian touring squad enjoyed another strong win, holding off a strong-finishing Clark College - which plated three in the bottom of nine, with two out, to make this a real contest after our lads had gained a break.
Max Watson (5.1 innings for no earned runs_) and Raleigh Pelkonen (3.2 innings) shared mound honours, while Luis Gonzalez (two hits and two RBIs) and Liam Evans (two hits) showed the way for an Aussie offence that again had a number of contributors.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff lodged this detailed MATCH REPORT.
GAME FOUR: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 19 defeated SHOWTIME BASEBALL 2
The original double-header scheduled was reduced to one nine-innings game, which remained tight through five innings before the touring squad offence exploded with nine in the sixth - including a bases clearing Will Tucker triple - and five in the ninth. Twelve players posted hits for Australia, while Aidan Torpey (six innings for seven punchouts) and Josh Meyer (three hitless, scoreless innings) dominated on the mound.
The team faces a tough schedule over the next five days, as they play five different colleges in different parts of Oregon.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff provided this detailed MATCH REPORT.
GAME THREE: MOUNT HOOD COLLEGE 3 defeated AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 2
Despite out-hitting its opponent nine to eight and having a number of realistic scoring opportunities, the Australian team made a crucial error in a three-run seventh innings that effectively decided the game.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff kindly provided this MATCH REPORT.
The Australian team will next play Clarke College in the rescheduled Game Two.
GAME TWO: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 15 defeated CLACKAMAS COLLEGE 9
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff has provided this MATCH REPORT.
GAME ONE: AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 4 defeated NORTH PORTLAND KNIGHTS 0
The Australian Schools Baseball team has started its United States playing tour in fine fashion, spearheaded by quality pitching backed by a strong defensive effort - with almost all players enjoying some game time.
Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff reports that there has been quite a bit of rain in Portland over the past few days, causing a slight change to the playing schedule. Our lads were due to play Clarke College tomorrow, just over the border in Washington State. Their ground is out of action, so Australia will instead play Clackamas College - who we were scheduled to play against on Monday. The game against Clarke is now scheduled for Monday.
Neil Barrowcliff has kindly provided this MATCH REPORT. All game reports and updates will be posted here as available.
13 September 2018
After leaving Sydney earlier this week, the Australian Schools Baseball squad is currently in Portland Oregon as it embarks on the first stage of a twenty-four day tour that will see it play twenty-one games against junior colleges, four-year colleges and high school All-Star teams.
Comprising twenty teenage players from six states and territories, this is the fifth occasion that a squad selected from the Australian Schools Championship has embarked upon the tour, which has a remarkable record of providing a launching pad for emerging young players to proceed to college or professional baseball in United States.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Peter Giles, Assistant Coaches Kevin Hooker and Chris Norrie - along with Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff – the experience is designed to replicate the life of a professional or college baseball player while engaging in a range of tourist and cross-cultural activities.
Supported and endorsed by Baseball Australia, the Australian Schools Baseball tour has been conducted every two years as a remarkably broadening personal experience of potentially life-enhancing benefit to participants especially committed to achieving their baseball best.
While much is rightly made of our young players signing to professional contracts, it is noteworthy – from the four previous schools tours – that 63 out of a possible 75 young men are now playing either college or professional baseball in United States. In addition to that, the tour has proved to be a stepping stone to further national team representation - with ten out of the thirteen eligible players from the 2014 tour playing the Under 18 World Cup in 2015, and six out of ten from the 2016 tour selected for the 2017 Under 18 World Cup.
Engaged in the programme since its inception, Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff is a strong believer in the worth of both the Australian School Baseball Championship and the United States tour.
“We arrived in Portland yesterday, and we get back home on 6 October,” Neil Barrowcliff told Australian Baseball Alumni this morning.
“In the twenty-four days we are over here, we’ll play those twenty-one games across four different states – Oregon, Washington State, Arizona and California,” he said. “Our opposition is mainly junior colleges, which makes it tough and a real challenge for our kids as generally they're up against kids who are a year or two older - but it gives them a good idea of the level they need to be at if they want to play in the United States.”
“So it’s lots of games (almost a summer season back home) and lots of travel in a short time frame. We're trying to give our boys the experience of what it will be like playing in the states - travel, play, travel, play and so on. Literally all of them want to end up playing here, either through college or professionally. They are aware of the very high percentage of kids from previous tours who have achieved that, but they know it just won’t happen automatically.”
“We have a roster of twenty players who come from six different states or territories, with home addresses ranging from Perth to Brisbane,” he said. “They were all selected following the Australian Schools Championships in Adelaide in May.”
“As always, the tour schedule is an extremely busy one,” Neil Barrowcliff said. “Most of the coaching staff are teachers who have embraced and who value the educational component of the tour. We see the opportunity of our boys directly experiencing United States culture as almost important as the games themselves.”
“Our kids are in home stay accommodation in Portland, Corvallis and Phoenix, plus two nights in motels in Phoenix and Los Angeles,” he said. “We're also attending two big league games and a college football game. On one day, our kids attend school with their billets and that night go the high school football game. Feedback from previous tours has shown this day to be one of the real highlights of the tour for our kids.”
Based in Portland until 17 September, the Australian Schools Baseball squad will complete some acclimatisation training before its first game – against North Portland Knights – on Friday 14 September (Australian Eastern Time). That will be followed by games against Clark College, Mt Hood College and a double-header against Showtime Baseball before the touring party departs Portland for Oregon City.
Australian Baseball Alumni again extends its congratulations to the young men (below) selected in the touring party and we wish them all the very best for a memorable and productive few weeks. We look forward to following team progress with interest and will seek to provide regular updates both here and on our Facebook page.
AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS BASEBALL ROSTER 2018
Brandan BIDOIS (Queensland)
Rhys DEWICK (New South Wales)
Mitch ELLISON (New South Wales)
Liam EVANS (Victoria)
Ben FIERENZI (Victoria
Luis GONZALEZ (New South Wales)
Nick HOSIE (ACT)
Ky JACKSON (New South Wales)
Will KORTEKAAS (South Australia)
Jack LEE (New South Wales)
Liam MacDONALD (Queensland)
Tyson McKEE (South Australia)
Josh MEYER (Victoria)
Raleigh PELKONEN (Western Australia)
Cody RODWELL (Victoria)
Alex SKEPTON (Queensland)
Ethan STACY (New South Wales)
Aidan TORPEY (New South Wales)
Will TUCKER (Victoria)
Max WATSON (Queensland)
Peter GILES (Head Coach)
Chris NORRIE (Assistant Coach)
Kevin HOOKER (Pitching Coach)
Brendon WALLACE (Assistant Coach/Sports Trainer)
Neil BARROWCLIFF (Tour Manager)
Image: Jason Fierenzi