IN PROGRESS: Australian Schoolboys Tour
6 October 2016
The Australian National Schoolboys side wrapped up its playing schedule in the best possible manner, with a 2-1 win over the highly-regarded Placentia Mustangs in a high-standard game. Prominent in offence for the Aussies were Ben Tsui (three hits), Jake Taylor (a hit, a walk and an RBI), Shane Kelleher (a hit, a walk and an RBI), Cooper Goodman (two hits) and Dermot Fritsch (two hits), while Jamie Young did a superb job behind the dish managing six pitchers used to full effect. The touring squad finished with a record of eleven wins, two drawn and five losses.
Neil Barrowcliff’s Game 18 report - with all details and stats - is posted HERE.
A final report and overview of the Australian National Schoolboys tour is posted HERE.
5 October 2016
Our National Schoolboys team had a day out against Irvine Valley - one of the strongest college programmes in Southern California - by winning both games of a doubleheader as the playing schedule draws towards its close with a final match tomorrow. Pitching and defence were first-class for Game 16, which resulted in a 2-1 win highlighted by a superb five innings from Aussie starter Oliver Howitt and a two-run scoring double by Harry Fullerton that proved decisive in the third innings. Producing what Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff described as the team's "best offensive game of the tour", the Aussies blasted seven in the first of Game 17 to set the base for a comprehensive 10-2 win. While Jack O'Loughlin, Jamie Young and Dermot Fritsch were all terrific on the hill, the scoring damage was done by Matthew Martinson (triple and double for three RBIs), Ben Tsui (three hits and two ribbies), Cooper Goodman (two and two) and Conor Laverty (one and two). Neil Barrowcliff's game reports - with full details and stats - are posted below.
4 October 2016
Heavy rain caused cancellation of the second of a doubleheader against Arizona Tigers/Padres after the United States team had pinched a high quality game 2-1 over an Australian side that played exceptional baseball against a star-studded combination of serious Tigers and Padres prospects. In what Tour manager Neil Barrowcliff described as "perhaps the best pitching outing of the tour", Josh Robins spun six innings of scoreless work for three hits and no passes. Neil's Game 15 report - with all details and stats - is posted HERE.
2 October 2016
Scheduled for weekend doubleheaders at the magnificent Peoria Complex in Phoenix Arizona, the Australian Schoolboys side made light of sweltering conditions for a first-up 4-0 win over AZ Pro, an All-Star high school team that was overpowered by Josh Bedggood (nine strikeouts over five innings) and Conor Laverty - who whiffed four to close out a seven-innings contest in which the tourists generated terrific team hitting to maximise limited chances. Although AZ Pro got the jump in the nightcap and held on for a 5-4 win, the Australian team created regular scoring opportunities - with eight players posting hits - but could not fully execute in key moments and suffered a tough late break when the game was on the line. Neil Barrowcliff's game reports - with full details and stats - are posted below.
30 September 2016
Pitted against a tough opponent swinging aluminium bats, the touring squad drew 2-2 with San Diego Community College when the playing schedule resumed on Thursday. Scoring both in the first - on a Shane Kelleher homer - the Aussies stranded a number of runners on base whilst scattering just three hits between six pitchers used judiciously given two double-headers to be played in Phoenix over the weekend.
28 September 2016
The National Schoolboys side wrapped up the Oregon leg of its United States tour with a 3-1 win over Lane Community College in a tight contest that featured solid pitching by Josh Bedggood, Conor Laverty, Jamie Young and Harry Fullerton - who combined to scatter four hits - and timely offence delivered by form hitter Alex Hall (three hits/one RBI) and Cooper Goodman (a hit, two walks, two ribbies). Facing lengthy travel time over the next few days, the side will take in Padres and Diamondbacks MLB games before resuming their playing schedule with a doubleheader on Friday (our time). Neil Barrowcliff's game report - with all details and stats - is posted HERE.
27 September 2016
Recovering from a five-run deficit, the Australian Schoolboys side plated two in the seventh and another four in the eighth to force a hard-earned 6-6 draw against Southwestern Oregon Community College. With six hours of travel during the day - and with an already demanding schedule - team managers agreed not to play extra innings. The touring side will play its last game in Oregon tomorrow, against Lane Community College. Neil Barrowcliff's game report - with all details and stats - is posted HERE.
26 September 2016
The Schoolboys squad extended its win loss ratio to six and three with another victorious doubleheader - this time over Showtime Baseball, a high school All-Star team from Washington State. The 6-0 and 4-2 wins were highlighted by timely hitting in both games - with the standout in Alex Hall - and very good pitching that saw Jack O'Loughlin and Dermot Fritsch dominate Game Eight before Josh Robins and Maclain Wilson combined over seven innings for Game Nine. Neil Barrowcliff's game reports - with full details and stats - are posted below.
24 September 2016
Despite smacking a lot of hard-hit balls against Linn Benton Community College, the baseball gods deserted the Australian touring team for Game Seven, which produced a solitary knock for the visitors as the local team posted a 4-0 win. Oliver Howitt and Jamie Young were terrific in relief for the Aussie side, which will have a rest day tomorrow before a Sunday doubleheader at Oregon State's magnificent baseball field. Neil Barrowcliff's game report - with all details and stats - is posted HERE.
23 September 2016
Having a great day in its doubleheader against Chemeketa College, Australia won both contests - 9-4 in Tour Game Five and 7-2 in Game Six. Both games produced some superb hitting - including a four hit/four RBI performance by Shane Kelleher in the early game and solid pitching outings by Maclain Wilson and Dermot Fritsch in the nightcap. Neil Barrowcliff's game reports - with full details and stats - are posted below.
The team's next game will be against Linn Benton Community College in Albany Oregon.
21 September 2016
Our lads enjoyed a hard-fought 7-5 win over Mount Hood College - regional champions of the past two seasons - despite a ragged third innings when they conceded five unearned runs. With Jack O'Loughlin and Luke Turner outstanding on the hill, the Aussie side fought back with four in the seventh in a strong offensive effort that owed much to timely hitting by Will Day, Shane Kelleher and Jordan McArdle.
Tomorrow will be a travel day before Game Five against Chemeketa College in Salem, Oregon. Neil Barrowcliff's game report - with full details and stats - is posted HERE.
20 September 2016
Playing easily their best baseball of the tour - against a highly ranked Clarke Community College, the Aussie side had a pleasing 4-1 win highlighted by great pitching and timely run conversion. The team next faces another tough opponent in Mount Hood.
Neil Barrowcliff's game report - with full details and stats - is posted HERE.
19 September 2016
After a rainout on Saturday, our Australian team put up an improved showing against Clackamas Community College but fell just short in a 7-5 result - due in part to some untimely walks and too many runners being left stranded on base.
"A really pleasing aspect is that after both games we've played so far, the coaches of each college have expressed a specific interest in a number of our players (seven) about the opportunity of playing with them next year after they've finished high school," said Executive Officer Neil Barrowcliff. "This is exciting for the kids and really is what this tour is about." Neil's game report - with full details and stats - is posted HERE.
The team will next play Clarke College (Washington State).
17 September 2016
Just a day after its arrival, the squad was into playing action, taking on a strong side from Lower Columbia Community College in Washington State. Despite a 0-5 loss, the Aussie team stayed right in the nine-innings contest behind some tight defence and quality pitching.
"Our fellas stuck to the task all game and there were some real positives to be taken out of it," reported Team Executive Officer Neil Barrowcliff, who will kindly be providing daily updates. Neil's game report - with full details and stats - is posted HERE.
Schoolboys squad embarks on eye-opening tour
13 September 2016
Managed and coached by a vastly experienced staff, a group of twenty Australian teenagers will fly out later this week for a three-week baseball and cultural tour of United States.
While the trip includes nineteen baseball games against college opponents, the now biennial Australian Invitational Schoolboys’ Tour will provide the young men with an experience of a lifetime in engaging with another culture and preparing themselves for educational and sporting opportunities that may arise.
Sanctioned by School Sport Australia and supported by Baseball Australia, the Australian Invitational Schoolboys’ squad will depart on Thursday 15 September and will return on Saturday 8 October.
The twenty-player squad was selected after completion of the National Schoolboys Tournament held in Perth during May of this year.
Although some players were forced to withdraw from the original squad, replacements have helped ensure that there is cross-nation representation in a group that includes many of our emerging baseballers who are expected to progress to higher honours in the sport.
“Our roster of twenty players is drawn from six different states and territories, with home addresses ranging from Perth through to Cairns,” Team Executive Officer Neil Barrowcliff told Australian Baseball Alumni this week. “Six are from New South Wales, five from Queensland, three each from Victoria and Western Australia, two from South Australia and one from the ACT.”
“From the initial selections we’ve had four players withdraw – for various reasons,” he said. “One of those was Western Australian Ulrich Bojarski, who recently signed professionally with Detroit Tigers. Another Tigers signee in South Australian Jack O’Loughlin will be touring with no restrictions other than our own protocols in following age pitching restrictions.”
Departing from Sydney on Thursday 15 September, the squad will be away for three weeks, during which it will play nineteen baseball games across four different states – Oregon, Washington State, California and Arizona.
First game will be against Lower Colombia Community College on Friday 16 September and the last will be on Wednesday 5 October versus Placentia Mustangs, in Santa Ana California.
“Our opposition will be mainly junior colleges,” Neil Barrowcliff said, “although there are some four-year colleges as well, meaning that we are normally playing teams where the kids are a couple of years older than us. This makes it tough, but it is a real eye-opener for our players as it gives them a good idea of the level they need to be at if they want to play in United States.”
From the last three Australian Schoolboys Tours – in 2009, 2011 and 2014 – a remarkable eighty-five per cent of players have ended up furthering their careers either at college or in professional baseball in United States. It is a statistic that Neil Barrowcliff attributes in part to the personal quality of the players selected, and in part to the experience that this particular tour offers.
“We play lots of games and have lots of travel,” he said. “We are trying to give our boys the experience of what it will be like playing in the states – travel, play, travel, play and so on – as literally all of them have expressed a wish to end up playing there, either through college or professionally.”
IMAGE: 2014 Australian Schoolboys Tour
Managed by a group comprising several schoolteachers with proven organisational skills and attention to detail, the touring squad will be exposed to more, far more than bus rides and baseball games.
“Although it is an extremely busy schedule, we value the educational component of the tour and we see the great opportunity for our boys directly experiencing United States culture as almost as important as the baseball games themselves," Barrowcliff said.
“In some respects even more so. We certainly aim to keep the whole experience as real and as broadly-embracing as we can.”
“Our kids will be in home-stay accommodation in Portland, Corvallis and Anaheim, plus three nights at motels in San Diego and Phoenix. We will be attending three big league baseball games and a college football game. On one day our kids will attend school with their billets and that night go to the high school football game,” he said.
“Feedback from previous tours has shown this day to be one of the real highlights of the tour for our kids.”
The squad will be prepared and accompanied by an experienced and professional staff comprising Peter Giles (Head Coach), Chris Norrie (Assistant Coach), Kevin Hooker (Pitching Coach), Brendon Wallace (Assistant Coach/Sports Trainer) and Tour Manager Neil Barrowcliff, who encapsulated the worth of the touring project this way:
“Our goal is to try and replicate the life of a college or professional player with games played almost every day, plus a large amount of travel,” he said. “We believe that this has proven extremely beneficial as – from our previous three tours – forty five out of a possible fifty five players are now playing either college or pro ball in United States.”
“In addition, this tour has also proved to be a stepping stone to further national team representation, with ten out of thirteen eligible players from the 2014 tour participating in the Under 18 World Cup in 2015.”
With the kind assistance of management staff, Australian Baseball Alumni will be providing regular reporting on the progress and the experiences of our Australian National Schoolboys squad.
We wish the squad all the very best for safe travels, great baseball and positive social interaction during what will surely be a great learning experience and a memorable experience for all.