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How have our World Baseball Classic predictions been so far?


Back just before the start of the tournament, we made 2017 World Baseball Classic predictions. Today we want to take a look at how those are going and perhaps make some updates on Round 2.

Pool A

We predicted the Netherlands and South Korea would make it out of Pool A. We were half wrong. We expected South Korea to have a better showing, like most everyone else. We did say that Israel would come close to advancing, but I don’t think anyone saw them going 3-0. My feeling was they would come close to beating South Korea and be outs away from advancing. Turns out they would best South Korea and win the whole pool.

Pool B

I think this was the easiest pool to predict. We predicted this right down to the records for all teams. Japan and Cuba advanced. Australia missed out on Round 2 by a single run losing to Cuba 4-3.

Pool C

We got the top 2 right, but did not see Colombia putting up such a great fight. They nearly beat the USA in the first game, beat Canada, and then came inches away from defeating the Dominican Republic. We thought Canada would get by Colombia, but they did not. Canada was rather disappointing in the 2017 WBC and now will have to qualify for the 2021 edition.

Pool D

It almost came down to exactly how we thought it might. We predicted it would be Puerto Rico (although at 2-1 not 3-0) and Venezuela making it to Round 2. We also thought that this would be the pool that would need to play the tiebreaker game, check. This was perhaps the most exciting round, which says a lot with how exciting this tournament has been.

We are sticking to the rest of our predictions. So far we predicted 7 of the 8 in Round 2, and we are sticking to our predictions of the semifinals consisting of USA, Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands. That is going out on a limb saying that Puerto Rico will not advance since they have been one of the hottest teams.

It has been a fun WBC so far with so many exciting games and plays, and I have the feeling it will only get better from here on out.

World Baseball Classic predictions

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Australia Misses Opportunity; Japan Improves to 2-0 at WBC


Australia misses opportunity; Japan improves to 2-0

Australia jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an Allan de San Miguel homer in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Even San Miguel wasn’t sure it was out of the park as he stopped at 2nd base looking around for what happened.

Tim Atherton pitched well for Australia. After a jam in the first inning, which looked like he was in trouble with runners at 2nd and 3rd and just one out, he pitched out of it. The biggest thing he did the rest of the way was work quickly and pitch to contact. He did not waste pitches and that allowed him to go deeper in the game with the pitch count at just 65.

Japan tied the game in the top of the 5th, but the big excitement came in the bottom half of the inning. Australia loaded the bases starting with a hit by pitch of Allan de San Miguel. After a strikeout of Trent Oeltjen, Brad Harman singled which prompted Japan to pull its starter Tomoyuki Sugano. Replacing Sugano was Toshiya Okada who quickly loaded the bases with four wide against David Kandilas.

Okada continued his wildness with 2 straight wide to James Beresford, who then bailed out Japan not being patient. Okada had not come close with 6 straight pitches. His first strike wasn’t taken by Beresford, instead it was hit weakly to second base where Japan turned a double play getting out of the inning with no damage done.

After the missed opportunity for Australia, Japan took its first lead of the game in the 7th. Sho Nakata hit a hanging breaking ball from new Aussie pitcher Matt Williams into the left field stands. Japan would add 2 more runs in the top of the 8th inning on a Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh 2-run homer down the right field line scoring Norichika Aoki who had walked.

The loss does not eliminate Australia, but now they must come back strong in their next game against China early on Thursday in Tokyo. Japan now sits in the driver’s seat in the Pool.

Full Box Score

Pool B Standings in Tokyo, Japan:

  1. Japan 2-0
  2. Cuba 1-1
  3. Australia 0-1
  4. China 0-1

Japan Improves 2-0

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2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions


Predictions are usually not right, but they are fun and thus we are going to do some 2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions.

I’ve done predictions for many years, and very rarely do they come to fruition. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are fun to do and fun to talk about. So with that, I am going to go through each pool and predict what will happen. A lot of this is based on rosters, but not all of it. Some of it is just a gut feel which may help others to see why I am doing what I am doing. I do not think everyone will agree with me either. Of course, that is half the fun. So here we go.

Pool A

Pool A will consist of the following teams: South Korea (host), Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Israel.

My Standings:

  1. Netherlands 3-0 (50:1 odds)
  2. South Korea 2-1 (15:1 odds)
  3. Israel 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (120:1 odds)

I am probably following most predictions in that the two teams I see advancing are South Korea and the Netherlands. However, I am going to predict a few things that others may not like. First, I see the Netherlands winning this pool. I think this comes down to Game 3 on Tuesday March 7th between these two clubs, and I feel that the Dutch will outscore Korea in a shootout. The other “out on a limb” prediction I am going to make is that Israel beats Chinese Taipei, and I think they come within a few innings of advancing but fall to South Korea in their match up. They are one team that will be overlooked and under appreciated, and that is why I think they make a run. I think they will come out and shock South Korea by nearly beating them in Game 1 of pool play.

Pool B

Pool B consists of Japan (host), Cuba, China, and Australia.

  1. Japan 3-0 (3:1 odds)
  2. Cuba 2-1 (12:1 odds)
  3. Australia 1-2 (200:1 odds)
  4. China 0-3 (200:1 odds)

In Tokyo I feel Japan will dominate only having a contest with Cuba. They are the class of Pool B and a title contender. The rest of the field I think will be fun and interesting to watch. Japan is one of the favorites (3rd best odds according to Vegas Insider) with Cuba not being too far behind. I think 3rd place comes down to Australia vs China and fear that is really all they are playing for. Australia could make a run with a shock against Cuba, but I don’t see that happening. China is really the unknown here, but don’t look for them to finish higher than third.

Pool C 

Pool C consists of United States (host), Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Canada.

  1. Dominican Republic 3-0 (5:2 odds)
  2. United States 2-1 (11:5 odds)
  3. Canada 1-2 (60:1 odds)
  4. Colombia 0-3 (120:1 odds)

This is one pool I am really excited to see. The USA is favored by many to win the whole thing. I am not convinced. I think they struggle to make it out of pool play just getting past both Canada and Colombia. I see the Dominican to dominate the pool and win easily against all three opponents.

Pool D

Pool D consists of Mexico (host), Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Italy.

  1. Puerto Rico 2-1 (10:1 odds)
  2. Venezuela 2-1 (6:1 odds)
  3. Mexico 1-2 (40:1 odds)
  4. Italy 1-2 (120:1 odds)

This might be the most wide open pool. It is the only one where I am going to predict the host country doesn’t make it out of the round. I think it all comes down to the final game between Mexico and Venezuela, and I am going with Venezuela. I think Italy will shock a team (perhaps Mexico) and create havoc in the pool play, and don’t look for anyone here to go undefeated. It is going to be a wide open pool. This also might be the only pool where the first round tiebreaker game is needed, although I could see it possibly used in Pool C as well.

Round 2

Pool E in Tokyo, Japan will consist of Cuba, Netherlands, Japan (host), and South Korea.

This pool will be a great one to watch. I see Japan and the Netherlands coming out of it to advance to the semifinal round. This will be a hotly contested round, but I see it going down in the following fashion:

  1. Japan 2-1
  2. Netherlands 2-1
  3. Cuba 1-2
  4. South Korea 1-2

Pool F in San Diego will consist of USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

A lot of people are high on Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. However, I think this is where they fail to advance. There will be a lot of talent here and this will come down to the final games in the pool, and very well might need a tiebreaker game for a team to advance.

  1. Dominican Republic 2-1
  2. USA 2-1
  3. Puerto Rico 2-1
  4. Venezuela 0-3

Finals 

The Finals will take place in Los Angeles. And while I think we will see a new team garner a medal, I do not think we have a team win its first championship. Instead, I think we have a match up of the only two winners so far in Japan and the Dominican Republic.

Semifinals:

Dominican Republic 5,  Netherlands 2

Japan 3, USA 1

Championship

Japan 3, Dominican Republic 2 (11 Innings)

So there you have it. I am calling for an extra inning championship game where Japan reclaims its title. The Vegas favorite is the USA, but I see them coming up short in their quest for the title.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will be pulling for the USA in any game they play. At the same time I will be pulling for teams like Italy, Israel, and Australia to win since it will only help those countries going forward. I would love to see one of them advance to Round 2, but I just do not see it happening just yet. Italy advanced in 2013, but I feel their pool this go around will be stronger. But it is not out of the realm of possibility.

I’d love to hear what you think and who you think will win it all.

2017 World Baseball Classic Predictions

 

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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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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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2017 World Baseball Classic: A Look at Pool A & B


We are just seven weeks away from the first pitch in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. As teams finalize rosters, players will soon begin reporting to spring training where they will begin preparing for the  fourth installment of the tournament.

In 2013 the Dominican Republic finally dethroned the two-time champion Japanese. The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico in the championship game 3-0.

Each of the four pools have at the very least three strong teams that will compete for the two spots in the second round. So let’s go pool by pool and see how the teams have fared in the past. Today we will look at Pool’s A and B, and tomorrow we will take a look at Pool’s C and D.

Pool A:

Israel – This is Israel’s first time participating in the World Baseball Classic. They qualified through the Brooklyn Qualifier late in 2016. The team went 3-0 in the qualifier defeating Great Britain twice, including 9-1 in the championship game, and Brazil once by a 1-0 score. Israel just missed the 2013 WBC by losing to Spain 9-7 in the championship of a qualifier. They look to surprise someone, and they will need to, to move on.

South Korea – Back for a fourth time, South Korea recently moved up to no. 3 on the WBSC World Rankings which is their highest ranking ever. They look to continue moving up the ranks with some huge wins at the WBC. Korea finished runner-up in 2009 to Japan for its highest finish so far.

Chinese Taipei – This is their fourth time in the tournament as well. Their highest finish so far has been to advance to Round 2 in 2013. They will be searching for their first medal in the tournament and will be poised to move onto Round 2 if they can get passed the Netherlands.

Netherlands – They might have been the surprise of the tournament last go around finishing fourth. This is their fourth venture into the tournament and they look to improve on their high finish last time. They will have a strong showing but will have to defeat either South Korea or Chinese Taipei to move on.

Pool B

Japan – With two titles under their belt they are the most accomplished team in the tournament by far. Ranked no. 1 in the WBSC World Rankings, Japan will look to return to the top spot they lost last time out. A third place finish in 2013 would have been seen as a good thing for any team, except maybe the two-time defending champions. Look for a strong showing from them once again.

Cuba – Once the power in international tournaments, Cuba still has the power to make a run deep in this tournament. Their highest finish was a runner-up in 2006 in the inaugural event. Since then they have not advanced out of Round 2. I look for them to once again advance to Round 2, but go no further even though they are capable.

Australia – This is the wild card team in Pool B to me. If they can get passed a good Cuba team, they can advance to Round 2, which they have never done in the past. They had to get to this point by winning a qualifier, which they did quite easily. However, they just get passed Cuba or stun Japan to advance.

China – This is China’s fourth appearance in the tourney. They have never gotten out of Round 1 in the past but have made strides and have won at least one game in the past two tournaments. They might shock someone and hurt a team’s chances to advance by picking up a win like they did to Chinese Taipei in 2009.

Check back tomorrow for a quick look at the other two pools and soon we will start going over rosters as some of them are announced to see just how far they might be able to go.

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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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Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup


The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

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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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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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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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