IN PROGRESS:   Women's Baseball World Cup

Facing tough, world-class international competition, Australia has finished fifth overall in the 2016 Women's World Cup that concluded in Gijang City on Sunday 11 September. Japan emerged as gold medal winner ahead of silver medallist Canada, with Venezuela taking bronze in a classic final game over Chinese Taipei. See the WBSC LINK for all final details.

 

Congratulations to the medallists. Well done to our Emeralds team on representing Australia with class and distinction.  Special congraulations to Tahnee Lovering and Tammy McMillan on being named to the World All-Star Team after outstanding tournaments.

 

Emeralds bow out of World Cup

Kingsley Collins

10 September 2016

 

Australia has finished fifth overall at the Women’s World Cup after dropping its final Super Round game to Venezuela in Gijang City tonight.

 

In an scenario reminiscent of their Friday game against Japan, the Emeralds coughed up a string of early runs and were brave in catch-up mode as Venezuela pressed on to a 7-4 win that will secure their own spot in the Bronze Medal final.

 

While the final result is not what it would have hoped for, the third-ranked Australian side played some terrific baseball and enjoyed memorable moments that will surely include its stunning win over United States and a classic encounter against Canada.  

 

SUPER ROUND GAME FOUR:     VENEZUELA 7 defeated AUSTRALIA 4

 

Needing to win by a decisive margin to qualify for the Bronze Medal game, Australia landed runners on base in the first but came up empty as Venezuela turned an infield double play.

 

Sending Jacinda Barclay to the hill, the Emeralds were under early pressure when an aggressive Venezuela offence batted through the order to put up a five-spot in the equaliser before Morgan Doty ended the assault with a diving flyball in short centrefield.

 

Again thwarted by solid defence, Australia went scoreless through the second and Barclay held the line while Venezuela continued to give nothing away.

 

Moments of errant defence continued to plague the Emeralds team, which remained in the contest by holding Venezuela scoreless after the initial outburst until a tiring Barclay – who had done a superb job after the first inning – conceded a run in the bottom of six and was relieved by Kim McMillan with the bases juiced and none out.

 

Although McMillan was able to minimise the damage, Venezuela took a seven-run break into the last – which was more than enough for winning pitcher Orianny Hernandez, who displayed great control and scattered just seven hits, including doubles to Doty and Chelsea Forkin that combined with an error to plate late runs for the Emeralds and apply some eleventh-hour pressure in the seventh.

 

While a two-out Shae Lillywhite RBI-single up the middle – her second hit - gave the Emeralds some belated hope, Venezuela was able to close out the game and advance to the Bronze Medal playoff.

 

With one win from its four Super Round games and a carryover loss against Chinese Taipei from group play, Australia finished fifth of the sixth Super Round teams ahead of Korea.  Qualifying for the Gold Medal Game are Japan (5-0) and Canada (4-1), while Venezuela (3-2) will face Chinese Taipei (2-3) in the Bronze Medal game.

 

Both games can be watched live via ESPN and You Tube stream (see WBSC link below).

 

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Big inning hurts Emeralds

Kingsley Collins

9 September 2016

 

Facing a powerful Japanese national side ranked world number one - and winner of the past four world championships at this level - Australia had its chances but was unable to impose itself on the contest during a Women’s World Cup Super Round defeat in Gijang City this evening.

 

A wonderfully accomplished unit in all facets of the game, Japan made light of an early interruption by amassing six in the first to set the base for a 10-0 win over an Emeralds outfit that stuck to its task but struggled to produce under sustained pressure.

 

Still an outside chance of qualifying for the Bronze Medal game, Australia is scheduled for another tough assignment when it locks horns with Venezuela on Saturday evening.  

 

SUPER ROUND GAME THREE:     JAPAN 10 defeated AUSTRALIA 0

 

Doubling in the first – with one out - Morgan Doty was left high and dry as Japanese starter Miyu Shimizu settled into a rhythm, while Emeralds hurler Tabitha Callander found it tough early going against the reigning world champion that plated six in an eventful first innings that drew Laura Neads from the pen in relief.

 

Doing a fine job in subduing the Japan offence, Neads breezed through the second and third before Doty swatted her second double of the game – a blow that was squandered when she was thrown out on base before Chelsea Forkin hit safely and Kim McMillan forced an infield error as the Emeralds came up empty.

 

With her side certainly not out of the game, Leslie Anglin singled in the top of five but was cut down at the plate trying to score on a one-out Olivia Bannon double as another scoring opportunity went begging.

 

A walk and an Aussie throwing error were costly in the bottom of the frame, when successive hits gleaned two more for Japan – which could probably sense an early finish and was relentless in scoring the mandatory last couple of runs to force an early finish under the mercy rule.

 

In a tough outing for the Emeralds, Neads was gutsy and super-impressive in relief, while Doty was a standout with the bat and Bannon played terrific defence at second base.  

 

While Australia is out of contention for the Gold Medal playoff, we believe that it can still qualify for the Bronze Medal playoff should it beat Venezuela in the final Super Round game on Saturday night, starting at 8.00 PM AEST. A win over Venezuela could place the Emeralds in fourth placing with a head to head advantage over Venezuela, which would finish fifth ahead of Korea. However, check the WBSC links.

 

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Emeralds blank Korea with strong showing

Kingsley Collins

8 September 2016

 

Back into action just hours after their loss to Canada in a Wednesday nightcap, the Emeralds returned to winning form in the Women’s World Cup with a thumping 13-0 win over South Korea in Gijang City this morning.

 

Creating numerous scoring opportunities against a sometimes shaky Korean defence, Australia put up crooked numbers in the second, third and fifth - in support of winning pitcher Amy Collins - to wrap the game up under the mercy rule.

 

Still a real chance of making the medals round, the Emeralds face their toughest tasks of the tournament to date in games still to come against Japan and Venezuela. 

 

SUPER ROUND GAME TWO:     AUSTRALIA 13 defeated KOREA 0

 

Both sides had early scoring opportunities, with Australia landing two on base in the first and Korea hitting safely in the equaliser for no result.

 

With southpaw Amy Collins looking sharp on the hill, Australia applied the pressure in the top of the second when Kim McMillan drew a pass, Leslie Anglin hit safely and centrefielder Morgan Doty opened scoring on a grounder before Abbey Kelly singled for two more and a three zip lead.

 

Tahnee Lovering hit safely with two out in the third, Kim McMillan and Tammy McMillan both walked to set the table for Leslie Anglin to rip a double into the leftfield corner to clear the bases as the Emeralds skipped away, compounded further with a fielding error that allowed a seventh run across the plate as Korea went to the pen.

 

Threatening again in the fourth – with runners at first and second and one out - the Emeralds were thwarted by a double play though remaining well in control as Collins continued to dominate.

 

Tammy McMillan singled, Anglin drew a walk and pinch hitter Erin Fox hit safely to load the bases in the top of five. Kelly wore an errant pitch and Chelsea Forkin swatted a two-run scoring single to give Australia an unassailable lead that was bloated further on a Lovering sacrifice fly and a tough infield hop off the bat of pinch hitter Shae Lillywhite.

 

It was a comprehensive all-round performance for the Emeralds, who played impeccable defence behind Collins, who conceded just two hits and was offered grand offensive support by Anglin (two hits and a walk for three ribbies), Kelly (a hit and three RBIs), Forkin (one and two) and Kim McMillan (three walks).

 

Still well in contention as a medals chance, Australia will face a powerhouse Japanese side on Friday night (8.00 PM AEST), followed by another tough assignment against Venezuela on Saturday (8.00 PM AEST).

 

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Emeralds leave run too late against Canada

Kingsley Collins

7 September 2016

 

Strangled by Canadian superstar Autumn Mills through the early innings, Australia mounted a late challenge that came up just short in the first of its Super Round games at the Women’s World Cup in Gijang City this evening.

 

While Aussie starter Brittany Hepburn kept tabs on the Canadian hitters until a three-run breakout in the sixth, her own offence was unable to generate run production until the bottom of that frame, when a tiring Mills was taken for a three-spot but was still credited with a 5-3 win.

 

Effectively needing to win all of its three remaining Super Round games to qualify for the Gold Medal game, Australia will face South Korea early on Thursday morning.  

 

SUPER ROUND GAME ONE:     CANADA 5 defeated AUSTRALIA 3

 

Walking the lead-off hitter, Emeralds starter Brittany Hepburn was offered immediate defensive support as her infield turned a slick double play to escape the innings, although the Canadians backed up with a run-scoring second frame on a two-out single by Jennifer Gilroy.

 

Struggling for offence against Canadian sidewinder Autumn Mills, the Emeralds were under further pressure in the top of four – when the Canadian leadoff doubled to the rightfield wall – but Hepburn was up to the task by producing the big pitches in deteriorating weather conditions.

 

Third-sacker Laura Neads forced an infield error in the bottom of four, advanced on back-to-back balks called on Mills, who walked Karina Connors and tattooed Tammy McMillan but induced a couple of cheap outs to get out of the innings with no scoreboard damage.

 

Taking advantage of a HPB and a stolen base, Canada plated a second run with a two-out single in the top of five to make it tough for the Emeralds – who remained hitless against Mills until the sixth.

 

A lead-off hit, a wild pitch, a walk and a base hit with one out in the top of six offered another opportunity for Canada and Hepburn was relieved by Jacinda Barclay in a tight situation for the multi-sport athlete, who conceded a two-run single and an RBI grounder as the Canadians surged to a five zip break.

 

A walk and a HPB gave the Emeralds belated hope in the bottom of six, when Tammy McMillan singled to load the bases and pinch hitter Shae Lillywhite drew a run-scoring pass before a grounder and a throwing error forced another two across the plate.

 

But with Mills getting out of the innings and Heidi Northcott spinning a scoreless last frame, Canada emerged a worthy winner against an Emeralds side that was solid on the hill and in defence but could muster just three hits.

 

Given minimal time to rest, Australia will be at it again early on Thursday, when it fronts up for its second Super Round game – this time against South Korea, starting at 10.30 AM AEST.

 

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Emeralds blitz United States and progress to next round

Kingsley Collins

5 September 2016

 

Producing scintillating form when it mattered most, Australia rode a veritable pitching gem by teenager Abbey Kelly to storm past United States and book its ticket to the Women’s World Cup Super Round scheduled to start on Wednesday.

 

Responding to an early opposition run, the Emeralds blasted three in the bottom of the first and plated another in the second, followed with a momentary lull before a storm that arrived in the form of a game-breaking four-spot in the fifth as Australia went on to a crushing 10-2 win over second-ranked United States that may yet be eliminated from contention.

 

It was a comprehensive and inspired win by our national team, which appears to be approaching its best at the opportune time. 

 

GAME THREE:     AUSTRALIA 10 defeated UNITED STATES 2

 

With her side needing a win by at least five to be sure of a Super Round berth, Australian starter Abbey Kelly conceded a run-scoring triple in the first before the Emeralds responded in appropriate manner with a three-run equalising frame featuring a Tahnee Lovering double and a two-run, two-out single to Tammy McMillan.

 

After United States rang an early pitching change, Olivia Bannon hit safely to lead off the second, advanced on a balk and a Bronwyn Gell bunt before crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by Chelsea Forkin for a three-run lead.

 

Doing a great job against quality United States hitters, Kelly retired eleven in a row through the middle innings while the Emeralds continued to create scoring opportunities – with Bannon drawing a walk and Gell hitting safely after a terrific at bat in the fourth before a stunning infield double play thwarted a golden opportunity.  

 

Issuing a lead-off walk in the top of five – her first pass of the game – a controlled and seemingly laid-back Kelly was backed by some grand defence in escaping the innings.

 

Calling on one of its best in Stacy Piagno to restrict the Emeralds offence, United States was again under the pump when Laura Neads and Karina Connors landed on base with none out in a pivotal fifth innings. Notwithstanding a baserunning blunder, the Aussie offence was undaunted with a string of hits driving four across the plate – including RBI knocks to Tammy McMillan and Leslie Anglin, capped by a two-run scoring shot to Bronwyn Gell for a seven-run break.

 

The lead was stretched even further in the bottom of six as the Emeralds offence continued to rack up the hits – including an RBI single to Kim McMillan and a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Tammy McMillan.

 

Poised over an outstanding 6.1 innings of work, Kelly was superb in scattering two hits before Jacinda Barclay was handed the pill to close out the game, while the Australian offence enjoyed magnificent contributions from Lovering (three hits and RBI), Tammy McMillan (two and four), Gell (two and two), Karina Connors, Anglin and Bannon (all with two hits).

 

The Emeralds are assured of a berth in the Super Round of six teams starting on Wednesday. The six teams will be Venezuela and Korea (from Group A), Japan and Canada (Group B), Chinese Taipei and Australia (Group C). While the WBSC website should be consulted for the Super Round schedule, it seems that Australia will play Canada (Wednesday 7 September), Korea (Thursday 8 September), Japan (Friday 9 September) and Venezuela (Saturday 10 September) prior to the medals rounds.

 

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Happier day for Emeralds, with work still to be done

Kingsley Collins

4 September 2016

 

In a dominating Game Two performance, Australia whitewashed Hong Kong 13-0 to post its first win of the Women’s World Cup and stay in contention for the Super Round that starts on Wednesday.

 

Collecting the win with a complete-game outing for Australia, Kim McMillan was supported by an errorless defence and plenty of timely hitting that broke the game open with six runs in the fourth to set up a mercy-rule call after five.

 

While the Hong Kong side was clearly outclassed, Australian staff would be delighted with the all-round, confidence-building performance of its squad after its first-up loss.  

 

GAME TWO:     AUSTRALIA 13 defeated HONG KONG 0

 

Scoring in the first when Bronwyn Gell walked, advanced on errant pitching and scooted home on a fielder's choice, the Emeralds offered early run support for starter Kim McMillan, who hit safely in the second and herself crossed the plate on a muffed infield flyball.

 

With McMillan consistently around the strike zone – in contrast to her counterparts – the Emeralds maintained the early break before an offensive explosion in the third when they took full toll of erratic pitching and defensive errors to put up a six spot, including a two out, two-RBI single by third sacker Laura Neads.

 

Continuing to generate offence with a string of hard-hit balls, the Emeralds stretched the lead to ten when Olivia Bannon swatted a two-run scoring double in the top of four before Hong Kong turned a timely double play to avert another big innings.

 

Getting out of a jam in the bottom of the frame, McMillan was accorded even further insurance to card the win as Emeralds staff took the opportunity to inject bench players into the game while driving in another three for a comprehensive win that owed much to the offence of Tahnee Lovering (two hits and an RBI), game MVP Kim McMillan herself (with two and one), Laura Neads (one and two), Olivia Bannon (one and two), Tammy McMillan (one and two) and Leslie Anglin (three walks).

 

Stung by the Chinese Taipei loss but still in contention for a Super Round berth, the Emeralds face a must-win match up against United States on Monday, starting at 1.30 PM AEST.

 

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Emeralds outgunned in World Cup opener

Kingsley Collins

3 September 2016

 

Conceding early runs against a bellicose Chinese Taipei offence in the first round of the Women’s World Cup in South Korea, Australia clawed its way back into the contest but was unable to withstand a ferocious counter-attack by an opponent that sealed the deal 12-4 with five runs in the top of the last.

 

While Taipei is ranked sixth in women’s baseball, this was an upset of considerable proportion against an Australian squad rated third in the world and that will surely be determined to atone when it meets Hong Kong on Sunday.   

 

GAME ONE:     CHINESE TAIPEI 12 defeated AUSTRALIA 4

 

Chinese Taipei was on the board early , with two in the first off starter Brittany Hepburn, who negotiated the second before a defensive miscue cost a third run in the top of three – followed by another as Taipei scorched away to a four zip lead.

 

Bronwyn Gell doubled over rightfield to place runners at second and third in the bottom of three and the experienced Chelsea Forkin singled to score a first run for Australia before Gell scooted home on a defensive error and Forkin crossed the place on a Karina Connors sacrifice fly.

 

When Tahnee Lovering drew a walk it was curtains for Taipei starter Hsu yu Chen as southpaw Huang Chiao Yun pitched out of the innings and stranded two on base.

 

Jacinda Barclay relieved Hepburn and breezed through the fourth compliments largely of some great work by rightfielder Leslie Anglin – who was one of the Emeralds’ better hitters.

 

Olivia Bannon doubled and Gell singled to put runners at the corners in the bottom of four and Forkin singled to level the scores – although only momentarily as the Asian outfit responded with a booming base-clearing double with two out in the fifth.

 

Conceding two hits in the top of seven, Barclay was relieved by teenager Jordan Richardson, who was greeted with a run-scoring single, a sacrifice flyball and a double that helped set up a five-run frame and an insurmountable lead.

 

Out-slugged twelve to eight and conceding seven unearned runs, the Emeralds produced some solid offence through Forkin (three hits and two RBIs) and Gell (two hits and a walk), but it was far from enough against an opponent that maintained offensive pressure and was efficient in converting its scoring opportunities.

 

Australia will play Hong Kong on Sunday 4 September, starting at 6.00 PM AEST before meeting United States on Monday 5 September at 1.30 PM (AEST), with the two top teams in each of the three groups qualifying for the Super Round.

 

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