Australia at Under 21 World Cup
Super Round Robin Game Three: Error-ridden Aussies do it tough against Korea
15 November 2014
SOUTH KOREA 8 defeated AUSTRALIA 7
Entering the contest with an outside chance of qualifying for the bronze medal game, Australia squandered an early lead and was nailed 8-7 by Korea in the last of the Super Round Robin games at the Under 21 World Cup.
With Japan and Chinese Taipei already qualified for the gold medal game - and with Korea appearing certain to hold third or fourth spot - the Aussies threw everything into this contest but came up short of qualifying for a medals game as Nicaragua edged ahead on the standings.
MORE IMAGES FROM THIS GAME (supplied by Helen Holland)
Australian starter Aaron Sookee had a tough first innings when two walks and a hit conspired with an error and some aggressive baserunning to give the Koreans a two-run break that was peremptorily dealt with as the Aussies replied with three in the top of the second – highlighted by a two-out, two-run scoring double off the bat of first sacker Ryan Dale.
Sookee negotiated the equaliser with aplomb while Korean starter Yundong Kim was having some control issues but still whiffed six of the first Australian nine outs before his side exploited a throwing error to draw level at 3-3 after three.
Ben Leslie singled in the top of the fourth and scored when Jacob Younis drove a double down the leftfield line, with the same players figuring among the action in the fifth when Younis – who played a blinder - welcomed Korean reliever Seunghyeon Kim into the fray by smoking a double into leftfield that cleared the bases for another three.
Walking a couple in the bottom of five after a quality outing that conceded just two hits, Sookee was relieved by rangy southpaw Jon Kennedy, who induced an infield double play to end the inning.
Not at all aided by some sloppy defensive work, Kennedy landed in strife in the bottom of six, when Korea plated four unearned runs to level the scores at 7-7 and draw Sam Holland from the Australian pen to close out an ugly half innings.
It was a remarkably flattering scoreline for both clubs when one considers that the sides overall hit safely just nine times between them, a testament to the plethora of walks issued.
The generosity of spirit had not yet waned as Holland walked the first two Korean hitters in the bottom of seven, although the favour was returned as the Koreans squandered their opportunity to gain a lead before Sam Street made short work of his opposition in the eighth.
Failing to build upon its score, Australia copped another tough loss – after holding a clear early break – when Korean centrefielder Jawook Koo doubled in the bottom of nine and scored on a sixth Australian error for the game.
With Nicaragua winning its final Super Round Robin game against Czech Republic, Australia appears destined for a fifth versus sixth playoff against the Czech side on Sunday 16 November, starting at 12.30 PM local time (2.30 PM AET and 3.30 PM AEDST).
Check the IBAF website for confirmation of all playoff details.