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WBSC Announces Groups for 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup

The World Baseball Softball Confederation recently announced the groups for the upcoming 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup. The tournament will take place in Osaka, Japan from August 28 to September 06.

Twelve teams will compete for the title. Each group will play a round robin with the top three from each group moving on to the second round. During that second round a super round robin will be played with the two teams with the best overall records competing for the championship.

The championship will be played in historic Koshien Stadium which was built in 1924. The USA heads into the tournament as the two-time defending champs.

Group A (with current world ranking):

No. 1 Japan
No. 2 USA
No. 12 Mexico
No. 14 Australia
No. 15 Brazil
No. 20 Czech Republic

Group B:
No. 3 Cuba
No. 4 Chinese Taipei
No. 7 Canada
No. 8 South Korea
No. 11 Italy
No. 29 South Africa

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania, Tournaments1 Comment

Australia: Perth Heat Claim Second Straight Title; Fourth in Five Years

After a thrilling three game series the Perth Heat win its second consecutive ABL Championship. In winning another Claxton Shield, Perth did so in big fashion over the Adelaide Bite.

Adelaide won the first game in the most dramatic fashion. Perth took a 2-0 lead after single runs in the first and fourth, the Bite came back in huge fashion.

Leading off the bottom of the seventh was Stefan Welch. And here is what happened.

With the back-to-back-to-back home runs from Welch, Tom Brice, and Mitch Dening Adelaide took Game 1.

Game 1 Full Box Score

Game 3 was another thriller as Perth won in extra innings for force a final Game 3. Adelaide tied the game up in bottom of the seventh where the score would stay until Perth scored two in the top of the tenth to even the series. Matt Kennelly (1-for-3) and Brian Pointer (1-for-1) hit back-to-back home runs in the third for Perth giving the Heat a 2-1 lead.

Stefan Welch (2-for-4) homered for a second straight day in the first inning giving Adelaide a short lived 1-0 lead. Chris Adamson (1-for-4) homered to lead off the seventh.

With the score tied and one on in the top of the tenth, Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch putting two runners on for Allan de San Miguel (1-for-5) who doubled in both Tosoni and Luke Hughes.

Game 2 Full Box Score

The Perth Heat jumped out on top of Adelaide in Game 3 by scoring two runs in the first and four more in the second. That was all they would need in a 12-5 win to claim their second straight Claxton Shield.

Tim Kennelly (2-for-6), Tim Smith (2-for-4), and Luke Hughes (3-for-6) all homered for Perth in the win. Both Kennelly and Hughes drove in three runs in the win. Mike McCarthy picked up the win in relief going 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out seven.

Mitch Dening had a huge day at the plate for the Bite. He went 4-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs and scored three runs. Craig Maddox (2-for-4) also homered hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Wilson Lee only lasted 1.2 innings taking the loss for the Bite giving up five runs on four hits.

This was Perth’s fourth title in the five year existence of the newly formed ABL.

Photo Courtesy ABL/Perth Heat

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Australia: Grant Balfour to be Inducted into Hall of Fame

Baseball Australia has announced that Grant Balfour will be inducted into the Australia Baseball Hall of Fame.

Balfour has spent ten years in the major leagues with four different teams most notably the Oakland A’s where he racked up 38 saves in 2013. He will be inducted under the category of Outstanding International Career, and his induction is being moved up due to special circumstances.

To read more about his induction, Trish Quayle wrote a nice article for Baseball Australia that you can read by clicking here.

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Australia: Perth Back in Championship Series to face Adelaide

The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat blew by the Sydney Blue Sox on Saturday by a score of 9-2 to win the 2015 ABL Preliminary Final series advancing to the championship series for the fifth year. The Heat swept the series 2-0 after winning 5-4 Friday night.

Warwick Saupold pitched well for Perth going 4.1 innings allowing no runs on five hits while striking out seven. He did not pitch enough to pick up the win but he led the way. Scott Mitchinson picked up the win in relief giving up two runs in 1.2 innings of work. Daniel Schmidt, Ben Shorto, and Mike McCarthy finished off the game all going a scoreless inning.

Offensively Luke Hughes scored twice, Tim Smith went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI, and Rene Tosoni led the way with three hits driving in a pair.

The series win sets up a Perth Heat versus Adelaide Bite championship series set to start February 6. The series will take place at Norwood Oval in Adelaide after the Bite became just the second team in league history to win 30 or more games during the regular season finishing up at 32-16.

The two teams split their first series against one another way back in November in Adelaide. They faced off again in January with Perth winning three of four finishing the season series with a 5-3 record against Adelaide.

The Championship Series will be carried live on ESPN Australia/NZ and worldwide on MLB Network and Fox Sports Asia.

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Australia: Adelaide Leading League Standings

Halfway through Week 11 of the Australian Baseball League season the Adelaide Bite have a strong five game lead over the Perth Heat. These two teams are facing each other this weekend in Perth with the Heat taking the first two games so far.

There is only two more weeks left after this weekend in the schedule before the playoffs start. The good thing for Adelaide is they finish the final two weeks with two series against the last place Melbourne Aces. The rest of the league is fighting for playoff positioning. Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, and Sydney are all within two games of each other.

Aaron Miller is having a great season for Adelaide. He leads the league in several offensive categories including average (.389), hits (56), total bases (101), runs (37), on base (.444), slugging (.701), and is second in home runs (12). Another player having a nice season is former MLB outfielder Trent Oeltjen who is hitting .309 with 6 home runs, and 29 RBI for the Sydney Blue Sox.

On the hill, Tim Atherton is having a great season for Canberra. Through ten starts he is 6-0 with an ERA of just 2.21. For Adelaide Morgan Coombs is having a nice season on the mound. Through eleven games (nine starts) he is 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA and has one save.

Current ABL Standings:

1. Adelaide Bite 25-13
2. Perth Heat 20-18
3. Brisbane Bandits 19-19
4. Canberra Cavalry 19-19
5. Sydney Blue Sox 18-20
6. Melbourne Aces 13-25

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Australia: Justin Huber Announces Retirement and Last Game

Justin Huber has decided to call it quits on the playing field. In an email sent to Melbourne Ace members, the 14-year professional stressed the importance of telling the Aces most loyal fans. He announced that his last game on the field will be Saturday January 24th.

Huber has played five seasons in the ABL hitting a total of 21 home runs over that time and helped the Aces make the 2011-2012 ABL Championship Series. Along with playing in his home country, Huber played in the two highest professional leagues playing in the MLB for parts of every season from 2005-2009 before leaving for Japan and the NPB in 2010.

So far this season in the ABL Huber is hitting .289 with 2 home runs. Huber’s best season in the ABL came in the 2011-2012 campaign when he hit .348 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI.

Huber is not done with baseball altogether. He will take over as the Melbourne Aces general manager, a role that has been vacant since Windsor Knox stepped down before the season.

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Australia: A Fan’s Trip to See Every ABL Stadium

I am a huge fan of road trips. When you add in sports it makes it even better. A lifelong dream of mine is to visit every MLB stadium in a summer. A few years back I got to go to every KBO stadium in a season (they have since added a new one and another is on the way). I am not sure how I ran across the story (I think it was the BallparkChasers Facebook page), but it is one I am definitely following.

Kirsten Richards is a native Australian who is embarking on a huge road trip across the great nation to visit all of the Australian Baseball League teams. It’s a good 3,300 mile trip (5,300 km) and remember it is summer there too so its not like she is traveling in cool fall weather.

I’m a bit jealous. After the ABL was reborn a few years ago I have been wanting to get down there and see a game, or two, or three, or six. I don’t know why but I’ve found myself following the Sydney Blue Sox (mainly because of their pitching) but they have yet to win a title. The league intrigues me and I have often listened and watched via the internet.

If you want to follow along with her trip (its in its early stages) check out her blog at Wishing for Boston. She just posted about the first game she saw recently and has been posting about the other sites she is seeing across Australia.

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Australia: Brisbane Leads League Early in ABL Season

Through the first five weeks of the Australian Baseball League season, the Brisbane Bandits are leading the league with a 12-8 record. The Adelaide Bite are just a half game back at 10-7 with Sydney being the only other team with a winning record at 11-9.

Some of the hottest hitters so far early in the season are Craig Maddox who leads the league in hitting at a .425 clip. The Bite catcher is second in the league in doubles with seven while leading the league in both on base percentage (.511) and OPS at 1.336. Mitch Denning has found his power swing in Adelaide as well hitting seven home runs to tie for the early lead in the league. This matches his total for the past three seasons in the ABL (0, 5, and 2). Denning is tied with Kellin Deglan. This is Deglan’s first year in the league. Canberra’s Jack Murphy is also having a good season early on hitting .411 (2nd in the league).

On the pitching side of things Tim Atherton is back with Canberra and having a great season so far. Already 4-0, Atherton is leading the league in ERA at a 1.23 clip through twenty-two innings. Sydney’s Markus Solbach has also been strong on the mound. After a lackluster shortened season with Melbourne a year ago, Solbach has positioned himself as one of the top starters in the league. Through 34.1 innings, Solbach is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

Australian Baseball League Standings:

1. Brisbane Bandits 12-8
2. Adelaide Bite 10-7
3. Sydney Blue Sox 11-9
4. Canberra Cavalry 8-9
5. Perth Heat 8-9
6. Melbourne Aces 5-12

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Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings: Japan Takes No. 1 Spot

With the conclusion of the 21U Baseball World Cup and the Central American and Caribbean Games, the final world standings have been released. There were only a few movers in the top 10 including Japan taking the No. 1 spot from the USA after making it to the finals of the 21 U BWC. The Netherlands also over took the Dominican Republic for No. 5 on the list.

The biggest mover in the top 30 was the Czech Republic moving up seven spots to No. 20. Argentina fell the furthest falling six spots to No. 28. The top 12 teams will be allowed to compete in the inaugural Premier 12 tournament to be held in Chinese Taipei in November 2015.

Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings:

Rank Nation  Points
2013 Trending
1  Japan 785.18 2 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
2  USA 766.02 1 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
3  Cuba 662.98 3
4  Chinese Taipei 605.48 4
5  Netherlands 433.50 6 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
6  Dominican Republic 379.18 5 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
7  Canada 353.52 7  –
8  South Korea 340.90 8
9  Puerto Rico 291.50 9
10  Venezuela 269.00 10
11  Italy 196.18 11
12  Mexico 136.78 12
13  Panama 132.92 13  –
14  Australia 127.82 14
15  Brazil 116.61 15
16  Nicaragua 110.77 18 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
17  Spain 105.52 17
18  Germany 78.90 19 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
19  Colombia 69.00 16 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
20  Czech Republic 68.93 27 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized7
21  China 68.25 20 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
22  Israel 55.47 26 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized4
23  Philippines 52.40 23
24  Pakistan 51.00 21 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
25  Great Britain 50.56 24 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
26  New Zealand 50.00 28 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
27  France 46.75 32 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5
28  Argentina 42.91 22 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized6
29  South Africa 33.00 31 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
30  Thailand 30.50 25 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5

Complete Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania0 Comments

Australia Releases Final Roster to Face Diamondbacks and Dodgers

Baseball Australia has announced the final roster for the team that will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 20 and March 21. The team, newly named Southern Thunder, is led by MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (Arizona Diamondbacks) and former MLB outfielder Trent Oeltjen (Sydney Blue Sox).

Joining Oeltjen in the lineup will be power hitting Stefan Welch (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Walker (Milwaukee Brewers). The team features several other players with MLB experience including Luke Hughes and Justin Huber.

The Southern Thunder will take on the Dodgers on Thursday March 20th before taking on the Diamondbacks on Friday March 21st.

1-top-roster
1-bottom-roster

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Baseball Australia Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

There will be three new inductees into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Baseball Australia Hall of Fame started in 2005 and recognizes players and coaches who have had an impact on the game of baseball at the highest level. The inductees must be of good character and have never brought the game into disrepute.

The Hall has seven eras of classification starting with Pre 1900. It continues with 1900 to 1918, 1919 to 1946 (start of American influence and the Claxton Shield), 1947 to 1967 (post war), 1968 to 1988 (Asia influence), 1989 to 1999 (first ABL), and 2000 to the present.

2014 Baseball Australia Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Phil Alexander, South Australia.  Category:  Playing 1968 – 1988
  • Kaye Greenham, Western Australia.  Category:  Playing 1947 – 1967
  • Brendan Kingman, New South Wales.  Category: Playing 1989 – 1999 & 2000 onwards

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New Baseball World Rankings – USA Ends Cuba’s Four Year Reign

USA Baseball has ended Cuba’s 4-year reign at the top of the World Baseball Rankings after a productive year in 2013.

The International Baseball Federation has used the World Baseball Ranking system since 2009, and each year Cuba has been at the top.

Team USA had a disappointing second round exit at the World Baseball Classic, but then picked up gold medals at the 12U Baseball World Cup and the 18U Baseball World Cup. Also giving Team USA points this summer was its “Friendship” series with Cuba where the USA’s National Collegiate Team won all five games.

Also jumping up in the standings was Japan who went from the third ranked country to the second also surpassing Cuba in the process. In the big tournaments of the year, Japan placed third at the World Baseball Classic, second at the 18U World Baseball Cup, and third again at the 12U Baseball World Cup.

The Dominican Republic made one of the bigger jumps in the standings after its win at the World Baseball Classic going from 13th a year ago to 5th.

The Netherlands remain the top European country in the standings as they swapped places with Canada moving up to 6th place.

The Americas continue to be the strongest in the polls collecting eleven of the top twenty spots. Asia and Europe combined take up 40% of the top twenty with both continents placing four teams. The last top twenty team comes from Oceania with Australia coming in at 14th.

Africa’s top representative is South Africa in at number 31.

Men’s Baseball World Rankings Top 10:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Cuba
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Dominican Republic
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. South Korea
9. Puerto Rico
10. Venezuela

Complete World Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania0 Comments

Australia: ABL to Hold First Supplemental Draft

The Australian Baseball League holds its first supplemental draft for the 2013/14 season on Thursday. The six clubs will have a pool of players from Australia, the US, and other places to choose from.

The new season begins on Thursday October 31st as the Canberra Cavalry start the defense of their title against the Melbourne Aces.

For more information visit TheABL.com where you can read Tyle Maun’s article detailing the draft.

2012/13 Australian Baseball League Standings:

1. *Canberra Cavalry 27-19
2. Sydney Blue Sox 26-19
3. Perth Heat 25-21
4. Brisbane Bandits 23-22
5. Adelaide Bite 21-25
6. Melbourne Aces 15-31

*Won ABL Title after defeating the Perth Heat in the championship

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Texas Rangers to Hold Fundraiser for Christopher Lane Memorial Fund

Nearly a month has passed since the tragic death of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane was maliciously murdered by “bored” teens.

There have been numerous benefits set up to honor the teen who was playing college ball in Oklahoma. And now another is being set up by the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Wives Club are going to hold a special fundraiser during a game with the Angels on September 28th. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund.

The fund was set up by friends and the Essendon Baseball Club of Australia to help pay for funeral and travel costs to repatriate Christopher. However, the fund raised over $150,000 and will now create an ongoing legacy using the raised funds.

During the Rangers fundraiser fans will be able to purchase grab bags for $50, $100, or $200 that will contain autographed items from Rangers players. In addition to the grab bags, a silent auction is being set up for autographed jerseys of Australian born players Travis Blackley and the A’s Grant Balfour.

For more information you can visit TexasRangers.com.

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Memorial Fund for Slain Australian Baseball Player Chris Lane Set Up

Recently we wrote about an Australian baseball player shot at random , Chris Lane, by three teens in a small town in Oklahoma.

Lane, a 22-year old student, was here in the USA to earn his college degree and play baseball. He was in Duncan, Oklahoma visiting his girlfriend and her family before returning to school to start the new semester when he was shot at random by three teenagers.

It was first reported that the three teenagers did it because they were bored. There is another story coming out speculating that it might have been a gang initiation for the three teens who will now be tried in an adult court. It is still not clear why they decided to shot Lee in the back while he was jogging.

A friend of the family set up a fund to help support the parents travel to the US to bring their son home. The goal of that fund already has been overwhelmingly surpassed. The fund now sits at $130,000 and had an original goal of just $15,000.

The story has obviously touched the heart of so many and the support has been great even though I’d love to see more in the media.

You can also donate to the cause. The money will go toward paying for funeral expenses with all leftover money put into a foundation that will make donations to organizations in need. You can find the donation page below. Every little bit helps and will go to those in need.

Chris Lane was only chasing his dream of playing baseball and getting his college degree. Now we can only hope that this story and the foundation that is created will help others make the correct decision and chase their dreams.

A reminder too that the Essendon Baseball Club is also holding a memorial game this Sunday. As well, Australian baseball player Glenn Williams and Baseball NSW have set up an online auction to raise funds as well to be donated to the Chris Lane memorial fund. Items include signed hats and baseballs and are being auctioned off on eBay (Australia) for the next 10 days. Links to the items are below.

Johan Santana Signed Hat

David Nilsson Signed Ball

Graeme Lloyd Signed Ball

Justin Huber Signed Ball

Glenn Williams Signed Ball

Glenn Williams Signed Helmet

Hideki Okajima Signed Glove

If you can, please donate to the Chris Lane Memorial Fund. All money will go toward paying for the funeral expenses and anything over those cost will be donated to charity in his name. Every little bit helps.

Chris Lane Memorial Fund Donation Page

 Photo by Reuters

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Australian Baseball Player Chris Lane Killed by “Bored” Teens

In what was a senseless and uncalled for incident, three young men shot and killed Australian baseball player Chris Lane. Lane was just 22.

Lane was in Duncan, Oklahoma last Friday afternoon visiting his girlfriend and her family. He was out for a run on the streets of Duncan when he passed a house with three boys sitting on the porch. The boys then decided Lane would be their target and followed him in a car in order to shot him.

Why did they do it? They said they were bored.

The kids, and I do mean kids as the oldest was only 17, were in what was called a “wanna be gang”. Earlier they had killed an animal and stepped up their murder to people when they saw Lane jogging by.

Lane, a student from Melbourne, was attending college in the US on a scholarship at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Lane was entering his senior year at the university where he started at catcher for 14 games last season.

Lane’s former club team in Australia is holding a memorial game this Sunday August 25th.

For more information on the Chris Lane Memorial Game or if you would like to donate to the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund, please visit the Essendon Baseball Club Website.

Photo: Essendon Baseball Club

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Australia: Brisbane Bandits Move to Holloway Field for Upcoming Season

The Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League are moving to a new home for the 2013/2014 season. They will now call Holloway Field home after spending the first three years at RNA Showgrounds.

Holloway Field offers many upgrades for Bandits fans. They will now be closer to the action, have better catering options, and the location might be the best part. Fans will now be able to easily access the stadium via car, train, bicycle, bus, or even on foot.

Plus Holloway Field is historic in Queensland, Australia. Over the years the field has seen Claxton Shield contests and gives the team a baseball only facility.

The field opened in 1964 and has long been the home to the Windsor Royals Sports Club. It was refurbished in 1982 and again in 1986.

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Major League Baseball Opens 2014 Season in Sydney, Australia

For the first time in MLB history, the season will open up in Australia come 2014 when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks open the season in Sydney.

The two-game series will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23.

Both teams will open the doors to their training schedule as they will be in Australia for six days but play only two games.

This is a huge deal for Australia where baseball is slowly growing. There have been 31 Australian Major Leaguers over the years, and one currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peter Moylan.

The Australian Baseball League was reborn during the 2010-2011 season. The league consists of six teams spread out around the country with one in Sydney.

The Major League games will take place after the 2013-2014 ABL season which runs from November to February. This will only hope to keep the baseball game growing both helping the ABL and the Australian National Team.

What it is guaranteed to help is the economy in Sydney. Bringing in money and improvements to the Sydney Cricket Ground which will be renovated to meed Major League standings prior to the opening series.

The games will also take place during the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants that took place at the same venue.

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Baseball and Softball South Australia Receives $2 Million Grant

Baseball and softball in South Australia secured a grant of $2 million to use toward facility development.

The grant will help with the expansion and refurbishment of the Softball SA West Beach facility. Baseball South Australia will work with the Australian Baseball League and the Adelaide Bite to help provide a facility that can meet the needs of using the facility for professional games.

Complete Press Release from the Australian Baseball Federation

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Australian Signs with Japanese Pro Women’s Baseball League

Press Release by Australian Baseball Federation

Shae Lillywhite has signed with the Japanese Women’s Baseball League, becoming the first International player to do so.

Lillywhite, from Victoria, is a five time Team Australia representative and one of a group of Australian players who are taking Women’s Baseball to the next level.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Shae said; “I am very lucky. I am going to be the first international player to get a contract.  A lot of people don’t realise women play. They think it is softball but there are huge opportunities for women now. I just love the game. You always keep learning every time you play and the best part is being in a team.”

Shae will now move to Tokyo for her six month contract and play infront of sell-out crowds in Japan.

Baseball Australia congratulates Shae on paving the way, not only for Australia’s female players, but for the International women’s baseball community.

Posted in Asia, News, Oceania, Women0 Comments

New World Baseball Softball Body Born at Historic Tokyo Congress

Marks Milestone toward Olympic Games Inclusion

New Olympic Campaign Logo, Theme, Social Media Platforms “PlayBall2020.com” and Vision to Give Every Boy & Girl Chance to Play Ball also Launched.

Join the PlayBall2020 Lineup on Facebook and show your support!

Press Release from World Baseball Softball Confederation

TOKYO — Baseball and softball players, supporters, and fans worldwide – from professional leagues to local clubs and junior teams – have come out ‘Swinging For The Fences’ and pitching for the Olympic Games, following the launch of a global campaign to get baseball and softball back into the Games

The campaign was launched in Tokyo, one of the global power centres for the two sports. It followed an historic vote by international baseball and softball federation leaders and delegates worldwide  – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including China, India, Iraq, Russia, Brunei, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Fiji, South Africa and many other nations – to ratify a landmark constitution that unites the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) as a single new international sporting federation, known as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

NEW WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL BODY BORN

The birth of the world’s newest international sporting federation is a milestone in the campaign to rejoin the Olympic Games sports program after being delisted in 2005.

“This is an historic day”, said IBAF president and WBSC co-president, Riccardo Fraccari. “We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games.  The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind.”

President Fraccari said the international baseball community was “honoured and humbled” to have the opportunity to rejoin the Olympic Games in 2020,  and thanked the IOC for guidance and trust provided in forming the new federation, which he said would “provide greater support and resources for the athletes and help to develop the sports”.

Fraccari continued: “We are on a great journey to return our global sport to the Olympic stage. We’ve been listening and learning from the Olympic Family and the IOC to understand what it takes to be included as a sport at the Olympic Games.”

“This is in the best interests of the athletes and putting the welfare of the athletes and the future of sport first, and inspiring young athletes to stand on the highest podium that an athlete can aspire to—the Olympic Games,” he said.

“We have reached a milestone in our journey to put baseball and softball back in the Olympic Games, and today I am proud to announce that the full membership of the International Baseball Federation voted to ratify the new Constitution of the World Baseball Softball Confederation.”

WBSC SHARED VISION TO REACH YOUTH

The WBSC also outlined its unique vision for the campaign. “Our vision is to give every boy and girl in the world a chance to play baseball and softball and to inspire them to take up the sport through the Olympic Games,” said ISF President and WBSC co-President, Don Porter.

“Baseball-softball is a game that anyone, anywhere can play.  There are no barriers to participation.  If you’ve got a bat and ball you can play, regardless of age, gender, social, cultural or economic stature.

“Baseball and softball help to empower women and provide pathways for women and young girls to experience and participate in sport in all cultures,” said Porter.

NEW CAMPAIGN SLOGAN, WEBSITE AND LOGO

The WBSC also revealed the theme for its Olympic Games campaign, “Swing for the Fences,” heralding a global call-to-action for baseball and softball players, supporters and teams to rally behind the Olympic Games bid.

A new website for the campaign was revealed: PlayBall2020.com. Social media platforms to engage and enable baseball and softball communities worldwide were also unveiled to highlight the massive following the sports have and to share the passion to rejoin the Olympic Games.

The WBSC’s new logo for the campaign was also unveiled. It symbolizes the unique appeal that has made baseball and softball among the world’s most watched, followed and commercially successful sporting brands and experiences.

The new federation and Olympic Games inclusion campaign, has the support of players worldwide, and was launched by two of Japans softball stars, Yukiko Ueno, who pitched the Japanese team to the Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, and Nana Okamura, a new rising star who pitched Japan to victory in U16 ISF Softball World Cup and became the youngest player ever on Japan’s national team.

ATHLETE AND PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE SUPPORT OF 2020 OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN

The WBSC’s Olympic Games campaign is also supported by professional baseball and softball leagues around the word, including Nippon Professional Baseball, Major League Baseball in the United States, Korean Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball Leagues, and numerous league partners in Latin America, Australia and Europe, who are united in their desire to participate in the Olympic Games.

“I am sure that all of my counterparts in the professional leagues share our enthusiasm for Olympic baseball and softball,“ said Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner and former Japan US Ambassador, Ryozo Kato, who said in an emotional address to the Congress, telling delegates that baseball had helped Japan to recover and grow after the devastation of the second world war, and was a catalyst for peace, uniting nations and people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Worldwide respected Japan baseball legend, Sadaharu Oh, also made a strong personal appeal for support to get baseball back into the Olympic Games, while the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and IOC member, Tsunekazu Takeda, said he would like to see the excitement and joy of baseball experienced by people all over the world, especially among young people.

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, MLB, N. America, News, Oceania, Tournaments0 Comments

Australia: Canberra Wins ABL Championship on Late Home Run

CANBERRA, Australia – The Canberra Cavalry took advantage of two Perth Heat errors and a late inning home run to win the 2013 Australian Baseball League Championship.

The Cavalry got down early as Perth jumped out in the top of the first with a pair of runs. In its half of the inning, Kody Hightower (1-for-5) cut the lead to one with a lead off solo home run.

An inning later, Canberra would take the lead with a four run second. The big play came with one out and a runner at first. Antonio Callaway (0-for-4/2 runs) reached on a fielding error by Perth second baseman Luke Hughes who mishandled a throw on a force play. That error opened the door for Canberra, and they walked right through. After a passed ball that allowed the runners to move up, Ryan Stovall (2-for-4/3 RBI) came up with a big single to drive in a pair of runs. His at bat was followed up by a walk and two more singles and before Perth could get out of the inning it had given up four unearned runs and the lead.

An inning later, Canberra would get a fifth unearned run after a throwing error by Heat third baseman Carter Bell allowed the inning to continue. Once again it was Stovall who came through with the hit after the error driving in another run.

Down 6-2 heading into the fifth inning, Perth battled back to tie it. With one out, Heat designated hitter Aaron Bonomi (1-for-4) got the rally going with a single. The next hitter, Ryan Khoury (1-for-3) followed suit with a single of his won. After a ground out put runners at the corners, Tim Kennelly (2-for-3) singled to cut the lead to three.

The next hitter atoned for his earlier error as Luke Hughes (1-for-4) tripled driving in a pair of runs. Allan de San Miguel (1-for-4) singled to knock in Hughes and the game was once again tied.

Canberra took the lead for good on a seventh inning solo home run by Michael Wells (1-for-4).

Perth would just manage one more hit over the game as the Cavalry bullpen shut them down. Brodie Downs (W, 1-0) picked up the win pitching 1.1 innings of relief, and Sean Toler (S, 2) got the save pitching the ninth.

Neither starter fared too well. Perth starter Warwick Saupold lasted just three innings giving up nine hits and six runs (one earned). Canberra starter John Holdzkom lasted a little longer but didn’t do much better. He pitched 4.2 innings giving up seven hits allowing six runs.

Jack Murphy (3-for-4 / 1 RBI) and Aaron Sloan (3-for-4) led the Cavalry offense with three hits apiece.

Michael Ohlman (2-for-3) drove in a pair of runs in the loss for Perth.

The win is Canberra’s first ever ABL Championship and ends Perth’s two year run as champion.

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Australia: Canberra Wins Game One; Goes for Championship Title Saturday

CANBERRA, Australia – The Canberra Cavalry won the first game of the Australian Baseball League Championship Series on Friday against the Perth Heat 6-4. The win puts Canberra just a win away from their first ABL title.

Canberra starter Brian Grening (W, 1-0) pitched well to earn the victory tossing 7.2 innings allowing just two runs on six hits. He kept the Heat off the scoreboard until the eighth inning. Sean Toler (S, 1) tossed 1.1 innings of relief to earn the save, but gave up two home runs in the process.

The Cavalry got off to a quick start scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. Jack Murphy (1-for-3) singled up the middle to drive in the first run of the game.

Canberra would pick up three more runs in the second inning. Michael Wells (1-for-3) and Aaron Sloan (2-for-4) started off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice moved runners to second and third, Kody Hightower (3-for-5) singled up the middle scoring Wells and Sloan. The single went right through the legs of center fielder Corey Adamson for a three base error that allowed Hightower to come all the way around to score making it 4-0 Canberra.

Two innings later Canberra showed their power with a pair of home runs. Sloan led off the inning with a home run to center field. Three batters later Ryan Stovall (2-for-4) followed up with another long ball to make the score 6-0.

Perth battled back late in the game picking up a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings but fell just short. Tim Kennelly (1-for-4) and Luke Hughes (1-for-4) hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to close the gap to two. And that is where it would end.

Heat starter Anthony Claggett (L, 1-1) didn’t pitch great going six innings allowing six runs (five earned) giving up 12 hits including two home runs.

Game 2 is Saturday at 7:00 pm local time as Canberra looks to win its first championship and Perth looks to rebound and force a final winner-take-all game on Sunday.

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Australia: ABL Championship Preview

CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian Baseball League Championship Series kicks off this weekend as the Canberra Cavalry host the two-time defending champion Perth Heat.

Canberra finished first in the standings with a record of 27-19. This is the first time they are making the playoffs. Heading into the finals after having last week off, the Cavalry are riding a three-game winning streak. They owned the season series against Perth going 6-2 on the year. However, the two teams haven’t played since early January.

Canberra has the best offense in the league. They led the league in home runs (56), batting average (.295), slugging percentage (.465), doubles (94), and total bases (759 – more than 150 more than 2nd place).

Adam Buschini won the league’s triple crown leading the league in hitting (.363), home runs (15), and RBI (50). Also with big seasons were third baseman Jeremy Barnes (.343/7/32), shortstop Kody Hightower (.325/2/22), and Ryan Stovall (.320/7/24).

Canberra ranked in the middle of the pack in pitching. The pitching staff posted an ERA of 4.04, finished second in saves with 12, but ranked second in the league in strikeouts.

Leading the pitching staff is Brian Grening (4-2) who finished 8th in the league in ERA at 2.87. Sean Toler (2-0/2.84) led the team in saves with 11

Perth finished the season in third place, but they are riding a six-game winning streak after sweeping Sydney in the first round of the playoffs.

Perth finished second in the league in batting average behind Canberra at .267. They led the league in triples (11) and finished in the middle of the field in home runs (31).

The offense is led by outfielders David Amberson (.380/1/7), Corey Adamson (.321/1/18), first baseman Michael Ohlman (.317/6/27), and catcher Allan de San Miguel (.294/5/30).

Perth may be lacking in the big numbers of the Canberra hitters, but they have experience on their side.

On the hill, Perth is led by Anthony Claggett (4-5/3.31), Daniel Schmidt (7-3/3.72), and Warwick Saupold (1-1/2.79). Brendan Wise (2-1/2.14/3 saves) has done well closing out games.

Game 1 will feature Brian Grening against Anthony Claggett on Friday February 8. Game 2 is slated to feature John Holdzkom (4-3/4.10) against Warwick Saupold. If necessary, Game 3 will feature Chris Motta (3-3/5.93) against Daniel Schmidt.

Fans in the USA can watch the games on the MLB Network. Fox Sports 2 will be showing the games in Australia.

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