Massive weeks ahead on international stage

Kingsley Collins

25 July 2016

 

There may never be a more hectic and exciting time for Australian baseball than over the coming months, when several of our national teams will be travelling to compete against the very best that other countries have to offer – especially in under-aged and women’s tournaments.

 

Another successful Major League Baseball Australian Academy Programme and the competitiveness of a national senior side at the Honkbal Tournament are an ideal segue into a string of elite international tournaments between now and November – including the Cal Ripken World Series, the Under 15 World Cup and the Senior League World Series starting later this week.

 

Australian Baseball Alumni will seek to complement Baseball Australia coverage of upcoming events during this vital period by providing access to links, news, articles and information within our limited human resources.  

 

While we are acutely aware of several other baseball tours either under way or pending, we will be focusing our attentions on particular groups that will representing Australia at elite international events that are either sanctioned or recognised by world governing baseball bodies – such as the recent Honkbal Tournament in which our national men’s team finished a most creditable third behind Netherlands and Japan in an effort that will draw invaluable IBAF ranking points.

 

The Honkbal Tournament concluded on Sunday - around the same time as the time-honoured Major League Baseball Academy on the Gold Coast that has served our sport so very well since its inception in 2001.

 

“The MLBAAP was again an extremely successful camp,” Baseball Australia High Performance Manager Glenn Williams told Australian Baseball Alumni in a chat today. “We had several MLB personnel visit this year and they were again impressed by the quality of the programming and the way the staff put the players through their day to day activities.”

 

“It is a credit to Jon Deeble, Tony Harris and the rest of the staff who do a great job in putting together a program that is extremely worthwhile for the players,” said Williams, a former Major Leaguer who has impressed all with his commitment and his magnificent work ethic since taking over the High Performance role at head office not long ago.

 

“The relationship with MLB continues to be very beneficial for our programs and they continue to work with us in an effort to help us grow our programs and opportunities for players,” he said.

 

Speaking of programmes and opportunities, this week alone three of our under-aged teams will be flying out to contest major international events as a reflection of an increasingly welcome expansion of Australian baseball presence on the world stage.

Under experienced Head Coach Dean Marnell, an Australian team will again be playing in the

CAL RIPKEN WORLD SERIES to be held in Aberdeen, Maryland, USA, from 29 July to 6 August.

 

Drawn in the international division and looking to build on past appearances, Australia will be playing against teams from New Zealand, Canada, Korea and Mexico. 

 

More information, our team roster, schedule, results and reports can be tracked through the following links. We have also added a link to the Cal Ripken website to the right of our home page.

 

BASEBALL AUSTRALIA                                CAL RIPKEN WEBSITE

Another vital event for our prospects of gaining IBAF ranking points will be the UNDER 15 BASEBALL WORLD CUP that will be held in Iwaki, Japan, from 29 July through to 7 August. Australia will play preliminary group games against Japan, Czech Republic, Cuba, Colombia and Korea before the tournament moves to the Super Round, Consolation Round and Medals Rounds.

 

With the assistance of our members on the ground, Australian Baseball Alumni will seek to provide day-by-day reporting, images and interviews to complement what we know will be quality coverage provided by the WBSC, Japanese baseball bodies and Baseball Australia media staff who did such a terrific job at the Honkbal Tournament.

 

Alumni coverage will be provided through a dedicated page updated on a daily basis from commencement of the series. The service will include a link to an outstanding day-by-day BLOG that is maintained by the father of one of our Under 15 Australian players travelling with the side.

“After the success of the Honkbal Tournament - where the team performed so well in our off-season against opposition with the advantage of weeks of preparation - it is exciting to have our Under 15 team in Japan,” Glenn Williams said.

 

“The performances of our teams in international competition have a direct effect on our world rankings and subsequently on our chances of Olympic qualification for 2020. To add to the honour of representing Australia, these young men have the opportunity to drive our programs forward and increase our world rankings while potentially furthering their own careers in baseball,” he said.

 

“An increase in world rankings allows more funding opportunities and in turn enables Baseball Australia to be able to execute more programming for more players across the country.”

Undefeated champion team at national and Asia-Pacific levels, Melbourne-based Southern Mariners will fly out this week to play in the SENIOR LEAGUE WORLD SERIES to be held in Maine, United States, from 31 July through to 6 August.

 

Guided by the wonderful tutelage of Jack Larner and Brendan Wilson, the Mariners have drawn in a pool that sees them pitted against Canada, Central, Europe-Africa and Latin America.

 

More information, the Mariners roster, schedule, results and reports can be tracked through the following links. We have also added a link to the Senior League World Series to the right of our home page.

 

SENIOR LEAGUE WORLD SERIES         SOUTHERN MARINERS WEBSITE

Australian Baseball Alumni committee and volunteers extend their very best wishes to all of the players, coaching staff, families and supporters who will be involved with the three afore-mentioned events starting in just a few days.

 

Now if – like us – your head is already spinning at the prospect of Australian teams contesting these marquee international events, take a seat. For there is more, much more.

 

Sydney club Cronulla will be travelling to Taylor, Michigan, United States, to make its presence felt at the JUNIOR LEAGUE WORLD SERIES scheduled for 14-21 August, while fellow Sydney outfit Hills has earned entry to the LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES to be held in Willliamsport, Pennyslvania, from 18-28 August.

 

While more news, detail and links for those events will be provided by Australian Baseball Alumni as we move closer to both events, our participation itself is reflective of a sea change in under-aged baseball that brings us into line with the programmes offered in other countries.

“Pathway opportunities in Little League have been great for the game,” Glenn Williams said. “The concept continues to grow in this country and the quality of baseball has benefited accordingly. The incentive to play for your local club in international competition is unique – and it is a great thing for the kids.”

 

“Our entire national team program is excited about the opportunity for these players to experience international baseball at a young age. I have no doubt the result will be more and more players on national teams who have had the chance to play in international competition before they become mature-aged baseballers,” he said.

 

So while there will be a veritable smorgasbord of international baseball happening during July and August, there is of course plenty more to come as summer associations gear up for their domestic competitions, as Australian Baseball League rolls out a somewhat different format for the 2016-17 season and as our national men’s team embarks on preparations for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Oh, and as it happens – along the way – there is the matter of our national team participating at the WOMEN’S WORLD CUP scheduled for Gijang City, South Korea, from 3-11 September.

 

Reigning bronze medallist with a stellar history of achievement at this tournament, the Australian team has undergone some significant turnover in personnel but is still expected to be a potent force under National Head Coach Simone Wearne.

 

“The Women¹s team will again be a major threat in Korea for a World Championship,” Glenn Williams said. “The effort that Simone, Narelle, Dean and David have done behind the scenes to get the camp organised and the team prepared for the World Cup is incredible.”

 

“Hopefully this will be the year for them to bring home the Gold Medal they have been aiming for.”

 

More news, detail and links will be provided as we move closer to the Women’s World Cup.

Following our participation at the Women’s World Cup in September, Baseball Australia High Performance personnel will be immediately into planning and preparation mode for the UNDER 23 BASEBALL WORLD CUP that will be held in Monterrey Mexico, from 28 October to 6 November.

 

Accorded a high profile by the WBSC as it commits to raising the standard of international baseball at all age levels, the competition will be one of the largest distributors of world ranking points for the sport, behind only the Premier 12 and the WBSC-sanctioned World Baseball Classic.

 

Australian participation at such events is absolutely vital to help raise the profile and the standing of our baseball whilst providing invaluable opportunities to achieve ranking points.

 

As the top international competition of the year, the Under 23 World Cup will allocate a total of 690 world ranking points to the first-ever world champions at this age group, which has been added to the WBSC schedule to more fully represent baseball interests spanning all age groups and women’s competitions.

Busy and challenging times indeed for Australian baseball! Exciting times, and potentially enormously rewarding times that may well help shape the future of our version of the greatest sport on earth.

 

“The last few months have been quite hectic in preparing for all of the events and all of the opportunities the players will be presented with,” Glenn Williams said. “It is unprecedented the amount of baseball currently available for our teams and it takes a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get them prepared.”

 

“It is the really exciting part now, though, where we can see the hard work starting to pay off in this range of tournaments the players are competing in. There are a lot of good things happening, but we know we still have a way to go in building the sport across all levels."

 

 

Australian Baseball Alumni extends its appreciation to Baseball Australia High Performance Manager Glenn Williams for his assistance in the preparation of this story. We congratulate all of our representative teams on their selection and we wish them the very best for personal development and for team success.

 

 

 

Cal Ripken squad on departure