Aussies wrap up campaign with back-to-back wins
The Australian Under 15 team has completed its 2018 World Cup campaign with strong performances against China and Germany to post three wins from eight games overall.
Australia faced Opening Round games against Japan, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Netherlands and Cuba - with the top three teams from its group to progress to the Super Round. With one win from its Opening Round, Australia played Consolation Round games against Brazil, China and Germany to determine final placings.
Aussies post back-to-back wins
GAME EIGHT: AUSTRALIA 8 defeated GERMANY 2
Australia has completed its Under 15 World Cup campaign with a thumping 8-2 result over Germany to register its third win of the tournament.
Plating two in the first – on a Nick Chappell single – the Aussies gained a decisive break in the second, when Solomon Maguire belted a three-run homer after Jaimie Fox and Charlie Collins had both hit safely.
With two more in the bottom of five, the Aussies exploited defensive errors and converted efficiently for another classy team performance in support of a superb start by winning pitcher Bailey-Jay Cooke (five innings for two hits and one earned run) before Jake Burns and Max Chipper (1.2 hitless innings) closed out the contest.
Maguire (three-run homer and single) and Collins (three hits – including a triple) were standouts with the bat for Australia, along with Chappell (two-RBI single, two walks) and Quinn Johnson. BOX SCORES
While the squad would have loved to qualify for the Super Round, three wins from eight – and a narrow loss to Japan - was an impressive overall return during an experience from which the players will derive so much benefit in their baseball development. Well done, all!
Panama and United States have qualified to meet in the Gold Medal game, which will be streamed live by WBSC TV.
Team effort propels Aussies past China
GAME SEVEN: AUSTRALIA 9 defeated CHINA 2
Australia has posted its second win of the Under 15 World Cup with a comfortable 9-2 result over China, which scored in the first but was out-classed by an opponent that produced some of its best form in all facets of the game.
Despite stranding seven runners on base, Australia generated productive offence right through the order, scoring two in both the second and third innings before a game-breaking four-spot in the fourth – along the way racking up fourteen hits to seven.
Among the more prominent for Australia were Charlie Collins (double and triple for two RBIs), James Nati (two doubles, two RBIs), Jake Burns (two hits and two ribbies), Jaime Fox (one and three), Nikau Pouaka-Grego (triple, single, walk) and Solomon Maguire (triple).
Backed by an almost flawless defence, Maguire carded the win (four innings for one earned run) before Parker Robinson (two innings for one earned) closed out the game.
Looking to finish the tournament on a high, Australia will next meet Germany on Sunday (starting at 1.00 AM AEST). BOX SCORES
Aussies edged out by Brazil
GAME SIX (Consolation Round): AUSTRALIA versus BRAZIL
Playing in the first of its Consolation Rounds at the Under 15 World Cup, Australia matched Brazil on pitching and defence before its opponent scored the go-ahead run in the sixth and held on for a 3-2 win in Panama this morning.
Brazil applied the early pressure scoring two in the bottom of the first off starter Riley Yeatman before the Aussies responded with a two-out Charlie Collins RBI-double in the top of the second.
Aussie reliever Maddux Stivy tossed a scoreless third and drew a lead-off walk in the top of four, stole second, scooted to third on a defensive error and scored on a wild pitch to level scores as his side continued to play solid defence in a tight contest.
With Stivey remaining hitless from the third through the fifth, Australia challenged in the top of six, when Quinn Johnson walked, advanced on a wild pitch and reached third on an Alex Ranieri bunt – only to be stranded on an infield grounder and a flyball.
It was a missed opportunity for Australia, one that was exploited by Brazil in the equaliser – when a single, a wild pitch and a passed ball prompted a pitching change, with James Nati taking over after a terrific stint by Stivey.
Two passes – one of those intentional – loaded the bases for Brazil, which scored on another walk before Nati escaped the innings with his side one run down but unable to bridge the gap despite landing two runners on base in the last.
Again playing grand defence and with Stivey impressive in middle relief, one hit for the game – to Collins – was always going to make it a tough assignment for Australia, which will next meet China on Saturday (3.00 AM start AEST). BOX SCORES
Aussies out of World Cup Super Round contention
GAME FIVE: CUBA 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 3
Notwithstanding a mid-game flurry that brought our side back into the contest, Australia was unable to hold off a Cuban offence that edged away through the later innings to post a 9-3 result at the Under 15 World Cup in Panama this morning.
After a scoreless first, Cuba was promptly into offensive mode – plating four in the second and another in the third before Jaime Fox (RBI-triple), Charlie Collins (RBI-triple) and Matthew West (run-scoring single) headed an Australian recovery that gleaned three in the top of four.
However, with its lower order producing the goods, Cuba was able to skip away again with a three-run fifth to set up its fifth successive win at the tournament.
Seven defensive errors did not help the Australian cause, although staff would be pleased with the tenacity of our pitching, which saw Riley Yeatman toss a clean first innings before Jake Burns, Tye Kazmierowski, Max Chipper and Ian Lee combined to keep their side in the game against a tough opponent that was relatively contained in posting ten hits to six.
Fox (RBI-triple, BB and a HPB) was a standout for Australia along with Alex Ranieri (hit and BB), Collins and West.
Finishing its Opening Round with a win and four losses, Australia has failed to qualify for the Super Round but will collectively have derived plenty from the experience and should be fully commended for an outstanding game against Japan, a massive win over South Africa and the gutsy comeback against Cuba. Australia will now progress to the Consolation Round to determine final placings BOX SCORES
In-form Netherlands too strong
GAME FOUR: NETHERLANDS 22 defeated AUSTRALIA 7
A free-scoring Netherlands team has dealt Australia its third loss of the Under 15 World Cup – smacking eight in the fourth and six in the sixth to emerge a 22-7 winner in Panama overnight.
Emerging as a real threat in the tournament, Netherlands amassed fourteen hits to seven and made the very most of its scoring opportunities, although it was assisted somewhat by eleven walks and six unearned runs as the Aussies did not quite produce the defence in support of five players sharing pitching duties.
Beginning brightly enough, Australia held a lead after the first, but Netherlands exploded to a twelve-run lead before our side made a belated recovery – including a two-run Jake Burns homer in the bottom of four.
While it was a second disappointing loss on the trot, Australia had solid offensive contributors in Burns, lead-off Solomon Maguire (two hits, two walks and an RBI), Nick Chappell (hit, walk and RBI) and Quinn Johnson (hit and two walks).
Despite being out of Super Round contention, Australia will be looking for a stronger showing when it faces an undefeated Cuba in the last of its Opening Round games on Wednesday (1.00 AM start AEST). BOX SCORES
Tough day out as Dominicans dominate
GAME THREE: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 20 defeated AUSTRALIA 8
Despite a promising start to the contest, Australia was overpowered 20-8 by a big-hitting Dominican Republic that was never headed after constructing a massive second innings at the Under 15 World Cup in Panama this morning.
After a solo home run by Aussie short stop James Nati in the bottom of the first, Dominica embarked on a nine-run scoring spree in the second that was partially nullified by a three-run response before both sides traded blows and the game blew out somewhat towards the end.
Conceding twenty hits - half of them for extra bases - and slipping up in defence five times for seven unearned runs, Australia was put to the sword by a side that is making its first World Cup appearance at this level.
Australian pitchers Solomon Maguire, Max Chipper, Bailey-Jay Cooke and Alex Ranieri were all placed under enormous pressure by the Dominican hitters, while our own offence could muster just seven hits and stranded eight runners in response – with Nati (a walk and two hits – including the home run – for two RBIs), Nikau Pouaka-Grego (two walks, hit and RBI), Maddux Stivey (hit and two RBIs) and Quinn Johnson (one and one) being the standouts.
Now needing wins in its last two games to qualify for the Super Round, Australia will next face Netherlands (Tuesday 1.00 AM start AEST) before its clash with Cuba on Wednesday. BOX SCORES
Aussies crush South Africa
GAME TWO: AUSTRALIA 16 defeated SOUTH AFRICA 6
Playing errorless defence, Australia has opened its winning account at the Under 15 World Cup, scoring heavily and often for a thumping 16-6 result over South Africa in Panama overnight.
Showing quality pitch selection in drawing fifteen walks, Australia effectively converted its scoring opportunities with a five-run first inning and a six-run bottom of five after South Africa had issued a late offensive challenge.
While its opponent used six pitchers in trying to stem the flow of runs, Australia was delivered a perfect two-innings start by Maddux Stivey before Ian Lee and Matthew West each spun two innings of work and Max Chipper closed out the game in style.
All twelve hitters who went to the plate managed to reach base at least once for Australia, with the scoring damage being done by Quinn Johnson (two hits, including a bases-clearing double in the fifth, two walks and five RBIs), Jake Burns (home run and walk for four RBIs), James Nati (home run and two walks), Jaime Fox (RBI-triple) and Nick Chappell (hit and RBI).
Building in confidence after an impressive start to the tournament, Australia will meet Dominican Republic on Monday 13 August, starting at 5.00 AM AEST. BOX SCORES
Gallant Aussies push Japan in series opener
GAME ONE: JAPAN 4 defeated AUSTRALIA 2
Ultra-competitive in the first of its Under 15 World Cup games in Panama overnight, Australia forced a thrilling contest against the heavily favoured Japan, which held on 4-2 as the Aussies launched a late assault.
Despite conceding run in the first, Australia starter Riley Yeatman was superb over 4.1 innings (four walks and one walk for three earned runs) before reliever Matthew George halted a Japanese offensive in the fifth as his side battled to stay in the contest.
Passing up a scoring opportunity in the fifth, Australia gave itself a real chance in the top of the last, when a Quinn Johnson HPB, a Jaime Fox walk and a wild pitch set the table for Blake Holding – who scored both with a booming one-out double before Japan was able to close out the game with the tying run at the plate.
Holding (double for two RBIs), Solomon Maguire (hit and walk), Johnson (hit and HPB) and Fox (hit and walk) were best of an Australian offence that overall stranded seven runners on base.
Although the final result was not what Aussie team management would have wanted, it was an outstanding opening effort against a world baseball powerhouse that is strongly fancied in this tournament. BOX SCORES
Australia will be looking for another strong performance against South Africa in Game Two (starting at 5.00 AM Sunday AEST).
2 August 2018
The Australian Under 15 team leaves on Friday 3 August to travel to Panama for the World Cup which begins there on 10 August.
The squad will first be going to Atlanta, where they'll have a five day training camp that will include a couple of warm-up games against some older opposition.
The team has come through quite an extensive selection process to get to this stage. That process began last September - in Lismore - where a large number of Under 14 players from around the country attended a Major League development camp, after which a pool of eligible players was identified.
Then last January, following the National Under 16 Championship, a squad was selected to play in the Oceania World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand. The squad was successful in winning this tournament - and in so doing qualified for the World Cup.
Finally, last month in Sydney, 34 players attended the final selection camp and a roster (see below) was named for the World Cup.
"We are in a tough pool at the World Cup with our opponents for the Opening Round being Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Netherlands and South Africa," team Executive Officer Neil Barrowcliff told Australian Baseball Alumni this week. "While we are confident of our prospects against South Africa and Netherlands, we know that Japan and Cuba are always especially tough clubs to beat. This is the first time that the Dominican has qualified for the World Cup, so they will be a totally unknown quantity."
"The format of the competition has a Round Robin format being played, with the top three teams then progressing to the Super Round, where they then go up against the top three teams from the other pool," he explained. "To make the Super Round, we expect to have to win at least three of our Opening Round games."
"All of our games are being played in the city of Chitre at the Estadio Rico Cedeño."
AUSTRALIAN OPENING ROUND DRAW:
Friday 10 August: 10.00 AM start (local time) versus Japan
Saturday 11 August: 2.00 PM start versus South Africa
Sunday 12 August: 2.00 PM start vs Dominican Republic
Monday 13 August: 10.00 AM start vs Netherlands
Tuesday 14 August: 10.00 AM start vs Cuba
While we expect both World Baseball and Softball Confederation and Baseball Australia to provide comprehensive coverage of the Under 15 World Cup, Australian Baseball Alumni will aim to provide regular updates and match reports before and during the tournament.
We wish our national team all the best in its quest to become world champions.
Jacob BALD (Victoria)
Jake BURNS (New South Wales)
Nick CHAPPELL (New South Wales)
Max CHIPPER (Western Australia)
Charlie COLLINS (Victoria)
Bailey-Jay COOKE (Western Australia)
Jaime FOX (Queensland)
Matthew GEORGE (South Australia)
Blake HOLDING (Victoria)
Quinn JOHNSON (New South Wales)
Tye KAZMIEROWSKI (Western Australia)
Ian LEE (Queensland)
Solomon MAGUIRE (New South Wales)
James NATI (New South Wales)
Nikau POUAKA-GREGO (Victoria)
Alex RANIERI (New South Wales)
Parker ROBINSON (New South Wales)
Maddux STIVEY (Western Australia)
Matthew WEST (Victoria)
Riley YEATMAN (South Australia)
Andy KYLE (Western Australia)
Grant WEIR (Victoria)
Brian MURPHY (New South Wales)
Mark PETTIT (Western Australia)
Neil BARROWCLIFF (New South Wales)
Sophia KENNEDY (Victoria)