Australia at Under 21 World Cup
Taichung, Chinese Taipei
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Round One Game Four: Australia stays alive by smashing wayward Venezuela
11 November 2014
AUSTRALIA 14 defeated VENEZUELA 1
Needing a win against Venezuela to be sure of a second-round World Cup berth – and a chance to improve our national ranking with the Premier Twelve series to be introduced in 2015 – the Australian squad did it in style against an opponent that faltered seriously on the hill and in defence.
The Australian win – its second for the tournament – assured the green and gold of second round action, opening up the serious possibility of improving our national IBAF ranking to potentially qualify the men’s national side for a spot in the inaugural international Premier Twelve series in November of next year.
Australia will meet Chinese Taipei when the Second Round starts on Thursday (time to be confirmed).
Starting for Australia, Aaron Thompson breezed through the first two innings before paying for a HPB and a successful sacrifice bunt when Venezuela second baseman Perez slapped an RBI single in the third to open the scoring.
The response was decisive, however, as Australia took toll of a fielding error, wild pitches and hits to Jacob Younis and Ben Lodge in forging to a 2-1 lead after three, a lead that was quickly built upon when the Venezuela defence was placed under the pump for another couple in the bottom of four.
Even a Venezuelan pitching change could not halt momentum for the Aussies, who may have had their opponents already thinking of home when Adam Silva capped a three-run fifth with a booming triple that forced a further pitching change with our boys in command holding an 8-1 break.
Superb in going deep into the contest for Australia, Thompson struck out the side in the top of six before his side added to the carnage - compliments of Guy Edmonds (two RBI double), Robbie Perkins (RBI single), a Connor Macdonald single and back to back triples to Silva (his second for the innings) and Younis – with a game breaking six spot in the bottom of the frame.
It was a powerful offensive display by the Australians, who had stand-out performers in Silva (two hits for three RBIs), Younis (three and one), Edmonds (two and two) and Perkins (two and one).
Scattering three hits over six innings of work (no walks), Thompson was outstanding for Australia before Lachlan Madden closed out the last in a game mercifully called early.
Clearly pleased with the outing, Manager Tony Harris mentioned his side’s aggression and the fine Aaron Thompson pitching outing as highlights of the win.
Click here for Tony’s post-game comments.
The win improved the Australian record to 2-2 in the First Round, clearly enough for us to advance to the Super Round Robin that starts on Thursday. Taiwan will be our immediate opponent, followed by South Korea and Italy or New Zealand (pending other results).
“Our goal was to get to the Second Round,” Tony Harris said. “All in all it’s starting to come together.”
While the focus will understandably be on our next immediate opponent, supporters in the Australian camp have been considering the scenarios that might need to apply if Australia is to qualify for the Premier Twelve. It is clear that if we finish third overall, then we will move into the top twelve IBAF ranked nations. However, under circumstances yet to be confirmed, it appears that a fifth-placed finish overall may be enough for us to move ahead of Brazil, Mexico and Panama - although that will depend on results of the Central American and Caribbean Games starting on Saturday.
Watch this space.
AUSTRALIA vs VENEZUELA: PLAY BY PLAY
BASEBALL AUSTRALIA WORLD CUP HOME PAGE
GAME THREE: Failure to convert costs Aussies dearly
GAME TWO: Aussies rebound to crush Netherlands
GAME ONE: Deflating Aussie loss in topsy-turvy World Cup opener
ALUMNI STORY: AUSTRALIA TUNES UP FOR WORLD CUP OPENER
Image: 21U World Cup Twitter feed