Under 12 Baseball World Cup 2019
Aussies outplayed in final game
Australia has finished tenth at the Under 12 World Cup – with two wins and six losses – after conceding early runs and struggling to make inroads against Czech Republic, which dominated a disappointing 9-2 contest in the last of our Consolation Round games this morning.
GAME EIGHT: CZECH REPUBLIC 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 2
Australia began brightly, when Max Durrington walked in the first, stole second, advanced on a grounder and scored on a Josh Nati infield play – although Czech Republic hit back against starter Kristian Haeusler with a four-run response.
Two walks following a Riku Mochizuki double loaded the bases in the second for Australia, who plated one on a grounder before the Czechs generated three more in the second – a tally which might have been more but for some solid Aussie defence and a bases-loaded strikeout by reliever Lachlan Vella.
Continuing to apply the pressure – including aggressive running and some effective small ball – Czech Republic threatened again in the third, but the Aussie side was not about to concede this one despite giving up a run with none out.
With his side facing a six-run deficit, Lachlan Heap replaced Vella with bases juiced and was immediately helped out when Nati turned a double play at the hot corner to enable Australia get out of what was shaping as an ugly inning.
Loading the bases in the top of five, Australia was unable to convert and the Czech offence held firm through the top of the sixth to secure a comfortable 9-2 win.
Although the Czechs were restricted to six hits, walks and errors enabled them to take full advantage of opportunities created, while the Australia offence was well held despite the best efforts of Romero Rubens (hit), Sam Levick (hit), Mochizuki (hit), Will Kent (hit), Nati (hit), Durrington (two walks) and Austin Moyle (two walks). BOX SCORES
Australian Baseball Alumni members and supporters extend our congratulations to the Under 12 World Cup squad, coaches and support staff on representing our country with spirit and distinction in Taipei over the past ten days. We know that it will have been a memorable experience for our emerging young athletes, all of whom will have benefited enormously from playing against the best in the world in their age group at this presigious international event.
Aussies crush Fiji for second win
Building in confidence as the tournament has progressed, Australia posted its second win of the Under 12 World Cup in Tainan, Taipei with an overpowering 15-0 offensive display against winless wildcard Fiji – a world baseball minnow which battled hard while being decisively outplayed.
GAME SEVEN: AUSTRALIA 15 defeated FIJI 0
Australia was off to a blistering start against Fiji, smacking seven in the first by way of three HPBs, a walk, an error, a wild pitch and hits to Lachlan Heap, Josh Nati (two-RBI double) and Will Kent (RBI single).
Spinning a scoreless bottom of the frame, Aussie starter Riku Mochizuki was afforded further run support in the second – when walks and a Daniel Thwaites single loaded the bases for Austin Moyle, who duly delivered with an RBI-single before further timely hitting by Liam Kiddle, Nati (bases-clearing double) and Romero (RBI double) stretched the lead to thirteen.
A Moyle RBI-double and a Kent grounder added two more in the top of three and Mochizuki (2.2 innings for one hit) continued to retire the Fijian hitters before handing the ball to Isobel Lambert to close out the game with Australia holding a mercy-rule 15-0 lead after four.
Nati (two doubles and five RBIs) and Moyle (two and three) were standouts for Australia, along with Lachlan Heap (two and one), Kent (one and two) and Kiddle (hit, RBI and walk).
Now at two and five, Australia will wrap up its 2019 World Cup campaign on Saturday 3 August (rescheduled to 11.30 AM start AEST), when it meets a well-performed Czech Republic, which has already beaten Italy comfortably in the Consolation Round. BOX SCORES
Big-hitting Aussies dispense with South Africa
Producing its best offence of the tournament, Australia scored in four of the six innings played to record its first win of the Under 12 World Cup – a 7-4 result against a brave South Africa side that kept hitting back in a tight contest.
GAME SIX: AUSTRALIA 7 defeated SOUTH AFRICA 4
Australia was out of the blocks early, with a two-run first built around a Simon Slapetta single, a stolen base and RBI-singles by Lachlan Vella and Riley Cooper.
Showing decent pitch selection for a string of passes, South Africa loaded the bases in the second but came up empty before Josh Nati stretched the lead with a solo homer in the top of the third – a break that was shaved in a two-run bottom of the frame.
Intentionally walking Nati after Slapetta hit safely in the top of four, South Africa paid dearly when Vella crunched a three-run bomb for a four-run break and the Aussies continued to play solid defence under pressure from a dogged opponent that hit back to draw within two in the bottom of five.
Amassing eleven hits to five, Australia had hitting contributions right through the order, with standouts in Vella (three hits and four RBIs), Max Durrington (two hits), Slapetta (two hits), Nati (home run and two walks), Cooper (hit, RBI, two walks) and Daniel Thwaites (hit and two walks).
Plating an insurance run in the bottom of the last, Australia called upon Vella to close out the game – which he proceeded to do with aplomb by stranding three runners on base after one had scored.
Looking to finish its campaign with a flourish through the Consolation Round, Australia will next play Fiji on Friday 2 August, starting at 4.00 PM AEST before its final game against Czech Republic on Saturday. BOX SCORES
Late outburst propels Venezuela to big win
Meeting another tough team in a powerful group at the Under 12 World Cup, Australia did especially well on containment through the early innings before Venezuela stepped up the offensive pressure – with a seven run last inning - for an impressive 13-0 win.
GAME FIVE: VENEZUELA versus AUSTRALIA
Starting against a team whose offence has been on fire thus far, Kristian Haeusler did a great job in keeping the Venezuelan hitters off balance in a one-run first inning and a two-run second.
Daniel Thwaites walked to lead off the third but Australia was unable to convert and Venezuela forged further ahead in what was – for it – a vital game in striving to qualify for the Super Round.
Facing a six-run deficit, the Australian offence made some decent contact but was thwarted by a slick opposition defence as Riku Mochizuki was called from the Aussie pen to relieve Haeusler in the bottom of four – when Venezuela blasted another seven to set up another early finish.
While being competitive through the early innings, Australia could muster just one hit – by Mochizuki, with two out in the last – and was outgunned in the end by a Venezuelan side that amassed sixteen knocks in an irrepressible display.
With a rest day tomorrow, Australia will prepare for a strong showing in the Consolation Round that begins on Thursday 1 August. BOX SCORES
Tough outing against free-scoring Mexico
Facing a fourth baseball powerhouse at the Under 12 World Cup, Australia was stunned by an early offensive outburst against a belligerent Mexico team that blasted eight in the first on its way to a thumping 21-2 win that has emphatically dropped the Aussies out of Super Round contention.
GAME FOUR: MEXICO 21 defeated AUSTRALIA 2
Still in search of a first round win, Australia was rocked in the first when the Mexico offence – which enjoyed a slice of fortune - exploded against starter Isobel Lambert, who consistently threw strikes against aggressive hitters in an outburst that gleaned eight runs, two of those unearned.
Showing great poise in a tough situation, Lambert was terrific in containing Mexico through a one-run second, although her side continued to have issues against southpaw Javier Garcia, who whiffed five in a no-hit start for his country.
Relieving for Australia in the third, Daniel Thwaites battled to stem the flow against a side that continued to make solid contact while generating another eight-run blast and following up with four more off Lachlan Vella to force an early finish to a lopsided contest.
Simply unstoppable with the bat, Mexico racked up twenty-six hits over the four-innings contest, while Australia landed just six runners on base, the third and fourth of those crossing the plate on back-to-back knocks to Kristian Hauesler and Rubens Romero in the bottom of the last – belated high points of the contest that had Australian supporters on their feet clamouring for more of a team committed to battling it out until the end.
While this was a comprehensive loss to a Mexican side capable of beating anyone in the tournament, the Australian pitchers conceded only a solitary walk and our defence was debited with just one error against an avalanche of opposition offence. BOX SCORES
Out of contention for a Super Round berth but eager to derive plenty from the remainder of the tournament, Australia faces another tough task in its final Opening Round game against Venezuela on Tuesday 30 July.
Nati a star as Aussies fall short against Italy
Looking to open its winning account at the Under 12 World Cup in Taipei, Australia began in a promising vein and mounted a stirring comeback under pressure but in the end paid dearly for defensive slip-ups against a polished opponent that took advantage of its opportunities.
GAME THREE: ITALY 6 defeated AUSTRALIA 4
Chasing its first win of the tournament – and its first run – Australia took an early lead when Riley Cooper singled with two out in the second, stole second and scored on catcher Sam Levick’s hit into leftfield.
Conceding a pair of hits as Italy challenged in the bottom of the frame, Aussie starter Josh Nati retired the next two hitters before a wild pitch and a single enabled Italy to square the ledger.
Max Durrington and Lachlan Vella drew walks for Australia in the third, setting the table for three hitter Nati, who obliged with a booming ground-rule double to regain the lead – momentarily, as a defensive error conspired with two hits for a two-run response.
Called upon in relief for Australia in the bottom of four with a runner at second, Riku Mochizuki induced a ground ball before an RBI-single and an error gleaned two more for Italy – creating a three run break that was shaved in the fifth when Nati left the yard with a two-out, two run blast to keep his side in the contest.
With Australia going to Rubens Romero with a runner at third in the second last of the six scheduled innings, Italy plated a sixth run to make it super-tough for the Aussies - who were unable to bridge the gap in a rain-affected final stanza.
Throwing a high percentage of strikes in his outing while himself driving in three runs, Nati was the standout player in an Australian side that enjoyed solid contributions from Vella (hit and walk), Mochizuki, Cooper and Levick – although this game was certainly one that the Aussies will feel got away.
Australia will next meet Mexico (two wins and a loss) on Monday 29 July, starting at 12.00 PM AEST. BOX SCORES
Korea blanks Australia in faultless display
Meeting another powerful baseball nation in its second game of the Under 12 World Cup, Australia again battled it out with real spirit without being able to produce the offence against a highly skilled Korean side that did not concede a hit while itself scoring in four of the five innings played to emerge a 13-0 winner.
GAME TWO: KOREA 13 defeated AUSTRALIA 0
A one-out walk proved costly for Aussie starter Simon Slapetta in the first, when Korea forced three across the plate before a timely strikeout and a classy infield play by Josh Nati held the lead to manageable proportions.
Relieving for Australia in the second, Kristian Haeusler whiffed the first hitter he saw before some slick baserunning and a two-out double gleaned a fourth run for the Koreans – whose submariner on the hill proved a tough proposition.
Doing a great job for his team, Haeusler breezed through the third although Korea continued to apply the offence and run the bases aggressively, plating five more in the fourth – including a two-run homer – as Australian Manager Brian Murphy summoned Alasdair Ballantyne from the pen to close out the inning.
Another four runs underscored an unassailable lead and it was not until the bottom of five that Australia landed its only runner on base – compliments of a throwing error – as the fourth of its quality pitching arms closed out the game for Korea.
While the first two games have been tough going for Australia – after a promising start against United States – they have been losses against two of the strongest baseball nations in the world. The experience of competing against such nations is invaluable in itself for our young players, who will regroup and refocus on deriving plenty from the games to come.
Australia is next scheduled to meet Italy on Sunday 28 July, starting at 4.00 PM AEST. BOX SCORES
Aussies falter as U.S. breaks out in World Cup opener
Well in the contest through the early innings of its opening World Cup game, Australia eventually succumbed to the might of United States – who constructed a 10-0 win around brilliant pitching and powerful offence that produced thirteen hits to one.
GAME ONE: UNITED STATES 10 defeated AUSTRALIA 0
Fronting the three-time champion at this level, Australia was off to a bright start when Josh Nati smacked a two-out double in the first and starting pitcher Daniel Thwaites tossed a scoreless equaliser assisted by some solid defence.
Heads-up base-running and timely two-out hitting gleaned two in the second for United States, who forged ahead with another couple in the third despite Thwaites doing a great job of keeping his side in the game against an aggressive offence in support of its impressive starter Brenden Lewis.
Relieving Thwaites with one out in the bottom of four, Western Australian Austin Moyle induced a pair of outfield fly balls to strand two runners on base, although the Americans were again on the march with back-to-back homers to lead off the fifth – drawing southpaw Riley Oliphant from the Aussie pen in a tough situation.
A three-run bomb by player of the match Lewis stretched the lead to nine-zip as United States completed a game-breaking six-run frame to force a mercy rule call.
While it was a dominant performance by United States in the end, Australian management would be pleased with a highly competitive first four innings and the excellent Thwaites outing.
Australia’s second game will be against world third-ranked Korea, starting at 12.00 AEST on Saturday 27 July. BOX SCORES
Australian Baseball Alumni members and supporters extend our congratulations and best wishes to the young players selected to represent Australia at the 2019 WBSC Under 12 World Cup.
The tournament is being played in Tainan, Taipei, from 26 July to 4 August.
Australian Baseball Alumni is following the tournament with interest and will seek to publish reporting and updates to complement in-depth coverage provided by World Baseball Softball Confederation and Baseball Australia.
Kingsley Collins (Editor)