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Brisbane Bandits repeat as Australian Baseball League Champions

The Brisbane Bandits repeated as Australian Baseball League champions this weekend winning their second straight Claxton Shield. The Bandits swept the Melbourne Aces to claim the title.

Game 1 Brisbane 6, Melbourne 2

The Bandits blasted former Texas Ranger Mark Hamburger for 6 runs in Game 1. Hamburger tossed 8 innings in the loss. He gave up 10 hits but struck out 10. However, the Bandits used the long ball to propel themselves to victory hitting 4 home runs off of Hamburger.

Trent Oeltjen, another former big leaguer, got Brisbane off to a quick start with a 2-run homer in the top of the first inning. The Bandits would never trail. After picking up another run in the top of the 2nd, Bandits starter Justin Erasmus gave up 2, 2-out hits making the score 3-2. Erasmus would not factor into the decision going only 2.1 innings. The Bandits pitching staff, including former big leaguer Ryan Rowland-Smith, shut down the Aces bats for the final 7 innings.

David Rodriguez would add a solo shot in the 3rd inning giving Brisbane a 4-2 lead. Then in the top of the 8th, the Bandits added back-to-back solo shots from Logan Wade and Kevin Padlo to finish off the Aces in Game 1.

Game 2 Brisbane 3, Melbourne 1

In the final game of the season, Kramer Champlin pitched Brisbane to its second straight Claxton Shield. Champlin tossed 7.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 1 hit. He struck out 6 picking up the win. The lone run for the Aces off of Champlin came in the 4th inning on a solo home run by Cody Jones.

Aces starter Josh Tols pitched well too matching Champlin for 5 innings. However, after Tols was pulled in the 6th reliever Jon Kennedy gave up 2 runs in 0.1 innings to take the loss. It took 3 Aces relievers to get out of the 6th inning with no further damage. Former big leaguer Peter Moylan finished off the game throwing 3 shutout innings for Melbourne, but the bats never came alive.

Brisbane took an early 1-0 lead on a Wade Dutton RBI single to drive in Liam Bedford. But the lead was short lived as two innings later Jones would homer to tie the game at 1. In the 6th, with runners at the corners Allan de San Miguel allowed a past ball letting Kevin Padlo to score from 3rd base. A few batters later, Aaron Whitefield grounded out to 2nd baseman James Beresford driving in David Sutherland from 3rd base for the final run of the game.

Ryan Searle pitched the final 2.0 innings striking out 4 to pick up his second save of the playoffs.

Brisbane Bandits  Australian Baseball League champions

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Brisbane faced Melbourne in ABL Championship

The Brisbane Bandits and the Melbourne Aces will face off with one another next weekend in the ABL Championship in Melbourne. Brisbane is looking to repeat as champions, while Melbourne is looking for its first title in only its second trip to the finals.

After splitting the first two games with Adelaide, Brisbane’s bats came to life in Game 3. The Bandits pounded out 23 hits en route to an 18-2 stomping of the Bite. However, the game was closer than that most of the way.

Heading into the 7th inning it was only 4-1. Then the Bandits exploded for 6 in the 7th and 8 more in the 8th to run away with the game. Catcher Ryan Battaglia hit his second home run of the game in the 7th for Brisbane, a grand slam. Logan Wade added a 2-run shot of his own in the 7th.

But the biggest performance came in the 8th inning. Mitch Nilsson homered twice in the inning. The first was a solo shot to lead off the inning, which was followed by a back-to-back shot by David Rodriguez. Nilsson came up later on in the inning with 2 on and 2 out hitting his second of the night.

Lost in the shuffle of the late inning Brisbane run were Stefan Welch and Jordan McArdle home runs for Adelaide.

Rick Teasley picked up the win for Brisbane going 7.0 strong innings. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits and struck out 9.

Brisbane now travels to Melbourne to defend its title.

2017 ABL Playoffs:

Game 1: Brisbane 3, Adelaide 1
Game 2: Adelaide 8, Brisbane 4 (12)
Game 3: Adelaide 2, Brisbane 18

2017 ABL Championship Series:

Friday February 10th 7:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne

Saturday February 11th 6:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne

Sunday February 12th 2:30 AET
Game 1: Brisbane at Melbourne

ABL ChampionshipABL Championship

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Adelaide Bite Extend ABL Playoffs with Extra Inning Win

The Adelaide Bite needed 12 innings to extend its season on Saturday in the ABL Playoffs. Mitch Dening had two bit RBI in the 12th on a 2-run home run giving the Bite the lead over the Brisbane Bandits. Loek van Mil pitched 4.0 scoreless innings in relief to hold the Bandits off.

Adelaide jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning. LeDarious Clark led off the game with a walk and quickly scored on a Jordan Cowan double. After a ground out, Marcus Greene Jr. homered to left giving the Bite a quick 3-0 lead.

It was a short lived lead.

Brisbane would get a single run back in the bottom of the 1st inning on a Mitch Nilsson RBI single. An inning later they would tie the game on back-to-back homers by Wade Dutton and Minnesota Twins prospect Aaron Whitefield.

Both would score a single run before they headed to extra innings and the Mitch Dening home run. Dening finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk.

Ryan Searle (L, 0-1) took the loss giving up the four runs in the 12th. Neither started made it out of the 5th inning.

Notable Performers: Jordan Cowan finished the game with 4 hits (4-for-6) and scored twice. Marcus Greene Jr. drove in two and picked up 3 hits (3-for-6). Josh Altmann also went 3-for-6 in the game for the Bite.

The deciding Game 3 will be played Sunday afternoon in Brisbane. The winner advances to next weekends ABL Championship round against Melbourne. Brisbane is trying to repeat as champions. Neither Melbourne or Adelaide have won a title, although Adelaide has finished runner-up three times, including the past two seasons.

Gong for Brisbane in the deciding Game 3 will be former Tampa Bay Rays farmhand Rick Teasley.

Full Box Score

ABL Playoffs

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ABL Playoffs: Brisbane Takes Game 1 from Adelaide

Former Arizona Diamondback and Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Trent Oeltjen helped the Brisbane Bandits to steal Game 1 of the ABL Playoffs from the Adelaide Bite.

The Bite led 1-0 after the 6th inning on a Jordan Cowan two out triple to score Jordan McArdle. Bite starter Max MacNabb tossed 7.0 solid innings. The former draft pick of the San Diego Padres who played for the Senart Templiers in the French Division 1 League last summer didn’t allow a run while striking out 6.

But Brisbane would come back with a strong 8th inning to pull off the win.

Matthew Williams came in to start the 8th for MacNabb and he immediately gave up a lead off single to David Sutherland. Wade Dutton followed Sutherland with a bunt single of his own to put two men on with no outs. Aaron Whitefield tried to sacrifice the two runners over, but a throwing error by Bite pitcher Williams allowed the tying run to score and left two Bandits’ runners still on base. Then still with no outs, Oeltjen tripled to put the Bandits up 3-1 to secure the win.

Ryan Searle pitched the final two innings for Brisbane to pick up the save. The former Chicago Cubs farmhand pitched in both Taiwan (Lamigo Monkeys) and Italy (Unipol Bologna) in 2016.

The two teams will face off once again on Saturday with Brisbane a single win away from a return to the ABL Championship.

The two teams travel to Brisbane for Game 2. On the hill for the defending champion Bandits will be Kramer Champlin a former Toronto Blue Jays farmhand who has pitched in the Frontier League the past few summers. For Adelaide will be 16-year old Jack O’Loughlin who went 3-3 in 9 games (8 starts) with a 3.02 ERA this season.

Complete Box Score

ABL Playoffs Brisbane

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Playoffs Set for this Weekend in Australian Baseball League

The playoffs in the Australian Baseball League begin this weekend. The Brisbane Bandits will have a chance to repeat as champions, but they will have to go through the Adelaide Bite in the first round of the playoffs.

Adelaide finished in second place during the regular season going 23-17, 3 games behind first place Melbourne. Brisbane finished 4.5 games out of first, but both Brisbane and Adelaide head into the playoffs on an 8-2 clip over the past 10. Melbourne on the other hand has struggled going 3-7 to finish the season.

The playoffs of the ABL are set up with the 1st place team having a week off while the 2nd and 3rd place teams play for a spot in the championship. Melbourne will be awaiting the winner of this weekends playoffs.

Adelaide might be after a little payback this year. Last season Brisbane defeated Adelaide in the finals 2-0 to claim its first title.  However, the two teams split during this season.

Brisbane will travel to Adelaide for Game 1 on Friday night (early Friday morning US time). Then both teams will travel to Brisbane for Game 2 on Saturday and if necessary, Game 3.

Final ABL Standings:

  1. Melbourne Aces 26-14
  2. Adelaide Bite 23-17
  3. Brisbane Bandits 21-18
  4. Canberra Cavalry 20-20
  5. Sydney Blue Sox 15-24
  6. Perth Heat 14-26

ABL Playoff Schedule:

Friday February 3rd
Brisbane at Adelaide

Saturday February 4th
Adelaide at Brisbane

Sunday February 5th
*Adelaide at Brisbane
*if necessary

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Playoff Picture Wide Open Heading into Last Weekend of ABL Season

It was an exciting weekend in the Australian Baseball League with two series sweeps. The final weekend will be a wild one as three teams are fighting for the last playoff spot.

While the Melbourne Aces (24-12) have already clinched a playoff spot, but they limp into the final weekend of the regular season being swept by the current second place team Adelaide Bite (20-16). Despite the good season so far for the Aces, they definitely want to gain a little momentum heading into the playoffs. They are facing the right opponent just for that too in the final week, the last place Perth Heat (12-24).

The series between the Aces and Bite helped Adelaide jump a spot to the no. 2 seed currently heading into the final weekend of the season. The Bite played well all weekend and with the four wins passed the Canberra Cavalry who split their weekend series with the Sydney Blue Sox.

Thanks to ABL TV I was able to watch the final game of the series between the Aces and Bite. I walked away quite impressed with a few player in particular from the Bite. The first to draw my attention was Texas Rangers prospect Josh Altmann. Altmann went 2-for-4 in the game with a long 2-run home run, but I was even more impressed by his two outfield assists. He threw out James Beresford at home, and then to kill a potential rally again he nailed Austin Darby late in the game trying to stretch a single into a double.

Zach Cooper (W, 2-0) pitched well for the Bite to pick up the win, but I was most impressed by Josh Tols for the Aces. He came in and pitched four innings of near perfect relief. He walked one, gave up no hits, and struck out seven. Tols has been an impressive reliever over his time in the ABL. In his four seasons he has compiled a 16-5 record with a 1.99 ERA over 57 games. Mostly in relief, only 4 starts, and mostly with the Adelaide Bite, Tols has struck out 130 over 108.1 innings. He has pitched in different independent leagues over the past few summers, the last two for the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association.

As a fan of the game at home in the USA and abroad it was nice to see Peter Moylan still hurling the ball as he pitched a perfect inning for the Aces in relief to finish off the game.

The Brisbane Bandits got a walk-off home run from Tampa Bay Rays prospect Kevin Padlo (3-for-5) to seal the sweep. David Rodriguez (2-for-4) also homered for the Bandits in the win as they made a furious comeback in the late innings to overcome a 7-2 deficit to win 9-8.

Perth jumped out early on a Josh Kennelly three-run bomb to put the Heat up 3-0. Luke Hughes would put the Heat up 8-6 in the top of the 8th inning with a solo shot, only to see the Bandits get 3 runs in the last two innings to pull off the win.

The Bandits did not have the only walk-off win on Sunday. The Sydney Blue Sox pulled one off late as well scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to pull off the win and even the weekend series with the Canberra Cavalry at two games apiece.

Both teams score in bunches as Sydney went up early with a four run 4th inning. After a single run in the 5th by the Cavalry, they surged on top of the game with a 5 run 6th inning. But with the strong 9th inning the Blue Sox pulled off the win. You can see the final play below courtesy of the Sydney Blue Sox.

 

Weekend ABL Schedule:

Thursday January 19th
Adelaide 4 at Melbourne 1 (11)
Perth 2 at Brisbane 3

Friday January 20th
Adelaide 4 at Brisbane 3
Canberra 5 at Sydney 3
Perth 6 at Brisbane 8

Saturday January 21st
Canberra 1 at Sydney 5
Canberra 2 at Sydney 1
Adelaide 6 at Melbourne 2
Perth 7 at Brisbane 8

Sunday January 22nd
Adelaide 5 at Melbourne 1
Perth 8 at Brisbane 9
Canberra 6 at Sydney 7

Current ABL Standings:

Club W L PCT GB Home Away L10 Streak
Melbourne Aces 24 12 .667 13-7 11-5 4-6 L4
Adelaide Bite 20 16 .556 4.0 9-7 11-9 7-3 W5
Canberra Cavalry 19 17 .528 5.0 10-6 9-11 5-5 L1
Brisbane Bandits 18 17 .514 5.5 11-8 7-9 7-3 W5
Sydney Blue Sox 14 21 .400 9.5 11-9 3-12 3-7 W1
Perth Heat 12 24 .333 12.0 8-8 4-16 3-7 L5

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Team Australia Announces Pre-World Baseball Classic Tour in Korea

Team Australia announced its pre-tournament tour in South Korea in preparation for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The team will feature a number of Major League players along with some young talent from the ABL. Australia enters the WBC in Pool B in Tokyo where they will take on the host team, China, and Cuba. This will be the fourth appearance for Australia in the WBC, and they are looking for their first Round 2 appearance.

The team will travel to Seoul on February 24 before two days of workouts. On the 27th Australia will take on an unconfirmed Korean club. On the 28th Australia will take on no. 3 world ranked South Korea in Seoul. Korea defeated Australia in the 2013 WBC 6-0.

On March 1 the team will travel to Japan and take on the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes, team teams in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, Japan’s major league.

Australia’s first game in the 2017 WBC will be Wednesday March 8 7 PM JST (5 AM EST) against Japan.

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Australian Baseball League: Weekend Schedule and Standings

The Australian Baseball League is heading into the final stretch with just two weekends left before the playoffs begin. The Melbourne Aces have all but sown up the no. 1 seed in the playoffs needing just a win or a Canberra Cavalry loss. The Aces have a 6.5 game lead heading into the second to last weekend.

The bigger race at the moment is for the no. 2 and no. 3 seeds. Only two other teams after Melbourne will advance to play against each other in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of that best-of-3 series would then play the no. 1 seed in the final.

No team is quite fully out of it right now, but three teams are fighting for the last two playoff spots. Only two games separate the Canberra Cavalry, Adelaide Bite, and Brisbane Bandits. The rest of the league is just 3.5 games out of third place.

Melbourne is currently playing Adelaide this weekend with Adelaide already taking Game 1 in 11 innings last night. Perth (currently 12 games out of first) is taking on Brisbane this weekend with the Bandits taking Game 1 of the series as they try to keep pace with Adelaide and fight for one of the final two playoff spots.

Weekend ABL Schedule:

Thursday January 19th
Adelaide 4 at Melbourne 1 (11)
Perth 2 at Brisbane 3

Friday January 20th
Adelaide at Brisbane
Canberra at Sydney
Perth at Brisbane

Saturday January 21st
Canberra at Sydney (DH)
Adelaide at Melbourne
Perth at Brisbane

Sunday January 22nd
Adelaide at Melbourne
Perth at Brisbane
Canberra at Sydney

Current ABL Standings:

Club W L PCT GB Home Away L10 Streak
Melbourne Aces 24 9 .727 13-4 11-5 7-3 L1
Canberra Cavalry 17 15 .531 6.5 10-6 7-9 5-5 L1
Adelaide Bite 17 16 .515 7.0 9-7 8-9 5-5 W2
Brisbane Bandits 15 17 .469 8.5 8-8 7-9 6-4 W2
Sydney Blue Sox 12 19 .387 11.0 9-7 3-12 3-7 L1
Perth Heat 12 21 .364 12.0 8-8 4-13 5-5 L2

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Australia Wins Inaugural U-12 Oceania Baseball Championship

HAGATNA, Guam – Australia, ranked no. 11 in the world, defeated an unranked Guam 18-0 to claim the first ever U-12 Oceania Baseball Championship. The win qualified Australia for the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in 2017 to be played in Tainan, Taiwan this coming July and August.

Guam, American Samoa, and Australia battled it out in a double-elimination tournament played at Guerrero Field in the capital of Guam.

Guam opened the tournament with a surprise win over Australia 11-5. Then later on had Australia on the brink of elimination before losing 10-9 on an extra-inning, walk-off win that forced the winner-take-all final game.

Joining Australia in Taiwan will be Germany and Czech Republic from Europe. Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the United States qualified from the Americas, while Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Korea will come out of Asia to compete. The final two spots in the tournament are yet to be decided. Africa will have one representative and there will be a wild card to fill.

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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

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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, N. America, Latin America, Oceania, News0 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

Posted in N. America, Oceania, News, MLB0 Comments

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

Posted in Oceania, News0 Comments

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, N. America, Latin America, Oceania, News0 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

Posted in Oceania0 Comments

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.

Posted in N. America, Oceania, News, MLB0 Comments

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

Posted in Oceania, News0 Comments

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