Australia at Under 21 World Cup
Super Round Robin Game One: Aussies made to pay for errant defence
13 November 2014
CHINESE TAIPEI 9 defeated AUSTRALIA 3
Facing host nation Chinese Taipei – who entered the game as first seed after going undefeated through the Round Robin – Australian starter Sam Gibbons breezed through the first before the local team laid down the gauntlet with a couple of runs in the second, only to leave the bases juiced as the rangy Aussie produced a timely strikeout to end the innings.
While Australia landed runners on base compliments of a pair of defensive errors, sterter Sung Chia-Hao was on song for Chinese Taipei, which skipped away with another two in the bottom of the third when five-hitter Chen Pin Chieh singled up the middle for his third RBI – two of them unearned.
Facing a task against the buoyant Taipei – one of the favorites for this tournament – Australia found it tough going against the physically imposing Sung, who continued hitless after five while Gibbons was relieved by Josh Guyer in the bottom of that frame.
Terrific in middle relief, Guyer stifled the Chinese Taipei hitters despite conceding a fifth run – again unearned – while the Aussie offence remained unproductive against split-finger exponent Sung, who departed the contest after a stunning, scoreless seven innings for two hits and a solitary walk.
Not about to concede this game, Australia put it to reliever Chang Kai Lun, loading the bases when Ryan Dale hit safely, Ben Leslie legged out an infield single and Jacob Younis drew a walk to force another pitching change with none out. After Ben Lodge grounded into an infield double, Zac Shepherd stroked a two-run single to the left side and Guy Edmonds doubled for another to keep their side in the contest after eight.
Responding to the challenge, Chinese Taipei landed its first two runners on base off Todd van Steensel, advanced both on a sacrifice bunt and sealed the deal with aggressive baserunning and clean hitting that drove another four across the plate before Lachlan Madden was summoned from the pen to make the final defensive out of a disappointing game for the green and gold.
While Guyer was superb in middle relief and Shepherd was dangerous with the stick, Australia was outplayed in a contest where its usually solid defence faltered on some pivotal plays.
Australian Manager Tony Harris spoke with Australian Baseball Alumni post-game.....
Australia will meet Czech Republic in the second game of the Super Round Robin on Friday 14 November, starting at 6.30 PM local time (8.30 AEST and 9.30 AEDST).
While we inevitably focus on the onfield performance of any national sporting team, none of us should ever forget the enormous amount of planning and organisation that goes into smooth delivery of international events.
Among the key off-field figures in any sport is the Executive Officer, in this case South Australian Mark Chandler, who gave Australian Baseball Alumni Chairman Brett Ward an insight into the range of tasks that needs to be completed behind the scenes. Click the You Tube link below to listen to what Mark has to say about his background in baseball and his role as Executive Officer for this tournament.