Australia at Under 21 World Cup
Super Round Robin Game Two: Aussie offence trumps Czech Republic
14 November 2014
AUSTRALIA 9 defeated CZECH REPUBLIC 4
Australia remains a strong chance of challenging for an Under 21 World Cup medal after comfortably dispensing with Czech Republic in the second of its Super Round Robin contests that was decided in Taiwan this evening.
Riding a solid four-innings start by teenager Lachlan Wells, a belligerent Australian offence plated one in the first and two in the third before putting up a game-breaking five-spot in the fourth and cruising to a 9-4 win.
Looking to atone for a disappointing loss to benchmark team Chinese Taipei, Australia was out of the blocks early against Czech Republic when number two hitter Ryan Dale tripled to left centre and ambled home on a Guy Edmonds single in the top of the first.
Aussie starter Lachlan Wells walked a couple early on but was able to get out of a jam in the second, with runners at the corners and one out.
Jacob Younis drew a pass after an eight pitch at-bat in the third, stole second, advanced on a grounder and scored on a fielder’s choice before Edmonds launched a solo shot over the leftfield wall for a three zip lead.
Relishing the offensive buffer, teenager Wells breezed through the Czech top order in the third and would have been on pretty good terms with himself as his side applied the blow torch to a rattled opponent that conceded another three early in the fourth as Australia strode to a 6-0 lead in chasing Czech starter Satoria Onddrej from the hill.
While it was not quite checkmate – in a manner of speaking - Robbie Perkins singled to drive in another two runs that had the Europeans reeling.
Replacing Wells after four innings of scoreless work, Wilson Lee induced an immediate double play before reliever Josh Silvi landed in a spot of bother in the bottom of six, when successive base hits and a walk loaded the bases with none out – though the scoring damage was limited to one.
The response was emphatic, as Robbie Perkins singled, Adam Silva walked and Connor Macdonald hit safely to load the bases with none out – setting the table for a Jared Cruz sacrifice flyball that again stretched the lead to eight and raised the spectre of an early finish.
An infield throwing error and a wild pitch gave the gutsy Czechs a glimmer of hope – with a three run seventh – although it was a bridge too far against an Aussie side that was not about to let this game slip.
While Jared Cruz (three hits and an RBI), Edmonds (two hits, two RBIs, including a home run) and Perkins (two and two) carded the bulk of the Australian hitting numbers, it was a sustained effort throughout the order which kept Czech Republic under constant pressure that proved a decisive factor - notwithstanding the superb relief effort by Czech hurler Lukas Ercoli over 4.1 innings of work for a solitary run.
Australian Manager Tony Harris spoke briefly after the game......
Australia will meet South Korea in the last of the Super Round Robin games on Saturday 15 November, starting at 6.30 PM local (8.30 PM AET and 9.30 PM AEDST). A win over the Koreans may secure a top four placing and a shot at a bronze medal when the playoffs are decided on Sunday, although the Czech Republic versus Nicaragua game will have a bearing on this.
Image: Helen Holland
Image: Helen Holland