Archive for the 'Australia' Category

Asian Dream Team

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

Because one of the requirements is you have to have played in the major leagues it limits the talent level of the Japanese players. Some of the all time greats from Japan are not eligible. Limiting it to Japanese players who played in the major leagues would not create a full roster of quality players. In some cases, like with catcher you only have one player born in Japan that played catcher in the major leagues. This is a team filled with Asian players from Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, thought Australia and Taiwan only had one player each.

Starting Lineup

Ichiro Suzuki RF (Japan)
Kosuke Fukudome CF (Japan)
Shohei Ohtani DH (Japan)
Hideki Matsui LF (Japan)
Ji-Man Choi 1B (Korea)
Kang Jung-Ho 3B (Korea)
Tadahito Iguchi 2B (Japan)
Kenji Johjima C (Japan)
Kazuo Matsui SS (Japan)

Bench

Dave Nilsson (C) (Australia), Rob Refsnyder (UTL) (Korea), Nori Aoki (OF) (Japan), Shin-Soo Choo (OF) (Korea), Dave Roberts (OF) (Japan), Tsuyoshi Shinjo (OF) (Japan)

Starting Pitching

Hideo Nomo (Japan), Masahiro Tanaka (Japan), Daisuke Matsuzaka (Japan), Yu Darvish (Japan), Park Chan-Ho (Korea)

Bullpen

Koji Uehara (Japan), Kazuhiro Sasaki (Japan), Hideki Okajima (Japan), Shohei Ohtani (Japan), Seung-Hwan Oh (Korea), Chien-Ming Wang (Taiwan)

This team lacks a true shortstop. Matsui and Kang played a lot of shortstop in Japan and Korea but were not considered major league shortstops. This is a big hole. Behind the plate you can rotate Nilsson and Johjima. Choi was even considered a catcher when he played in Korea and briefly in the minor leagues. So Taguchi was left off the roster but he and Shinjo are interchangeable. Refsnyder was included because of his ability to play infield. There are a number of quality starting pitchers to choose from. Kenta Maeda was left off this roster in favor of Park. The bullpen can have seven relievers because of the dual ability of Ohtani. Wang is the one player from Taiwan who I could not squeeze in the rotation but I did put him in the bullpen. He could make an occasional emergency start. That knocked off Australian lefty Graeme Lloyd.

Women’s Baseball World Cup Scheduled for November

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

It was originally scheduled for September 11-20 but had to be cancelled because of the corona virus. It has now been scheduled for November 12-21 in Tijuana, Mexico. Twelve teams will be competing in this event. They are:

Americas: United States, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela
Asia: Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines
Europe: France
Oceania: Australia
Wild Card: Cuba, Dominican Republic and Netherlands

Japan is the defending champion and has won the last six events. They have not lost a game in their last 30 contests. Taiwan lost in the finals to Japan. Canada defeated the United States for the bronze medal. The 2018 games were played in Vierra, Florida.

Melbourne Sweeps Adelaide to Win Australian Championship

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

There would be no walkoff victories for Melbourne in game two, since the games were being held in Adelaide. The Aces scored all six of their runs in innings 3 through 5 to down the Giants 6-2.

Shane Robinson, the walk off hero in game one got things started for the Aces in game two with his two run homer in the third. Delmon Young, the ABL homerun champion made it 3-0 with his solo shot in the third.

Mikey Reynolds drove in the Giants first run with his solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to cancel out the Young shot and keep the game close. The top of the fifth saw Robinson and Young continue their assault. After a ground ball double play scored one run, Delmon Young singled to drive in Shane Robinson for run number six.

The Giants were able to tack on their second run in the seventh on a Jeremy Hazelbaker solo shot, but that was the extent of their scoring.

Wes Helsaback got the win, working 6.2 innings, giving up just three hits, but two of them solo shots. David Holmberg gave up five runs in 4.2 innings to take the loss. The attendance was listed at 1,907. Catcher Allan de San Miguel will retire as a champion, always a cool way to end your career.

Aces Win in Walkoff in Australian Playoff Opener

Friday, February 7th, 2020

The Adelaide Giants had just scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead. In the inning the Giants failed to hit the ball out of the infield, but two walks, a hit by pitch, a bunt single and an infield single put them ahead 3-2.

The Melbourne Aces tied the score in the bottom of the ninth on a Allen de San Migeul (ex-Bowie Bay Sox) single into centerfield, which Aaron Whitefield booted, allowing Quincy Latimore (another Bowie star) to score and San Miguel to advance to second. With two outs Shane Robinson singled down the third base line into the left field corner and San Miguel found the legs to carry him home for the go ahead score.

The Aces scored their first two runs in the sixth inning on an errant throw by the third baseman that allowed two runs to score to give the Aces a 2-1 lead. Shane Robinson finished the day with three hits and the only RBI of the game for the Aces. Errors by the Giants allowed the other three runs to score.

Australian Baseball Championship

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Australia will play their baseball championship this weekend. The Melbourne Aces will play the Adelaide Giants (ex-Bites) in a best two out of three format. The Brisbane Bandits had won the championship the last four years, but this year did not even get to the semi-finals.

The Aces beat the New Zealand team, the Auckland Tuatara to get into the finals. The Giants downed the Canberra Cavalry. The league reported a 21 percent increase in attendance with the Brisbane Bandits leading the attendance at 1,507 spectators per game.

Delmon Young of the Melbourne Aces leads the ABL in homeruns with 13 and RBIs 42. This is his second season in the ABL. He also played in 2017 for the Aces.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

United States Makes it to Bronze Medal Game Versus Mexico

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

The winner of the bronze medal game between the United States and Mexico will qualify for the Olympics. Mexico has beaten the United States in a game earlier in the tournament. Korea has qualified because they are in the gold medal match and Japan has already qualified for being the host. Because the top two teams from the Premier 12 qualify and Japan has already qualified, the winner of the bronze medal game becomes the second team to qualify for the Olympics.

The United States has to thank Taiwan for getting them to the bronze medal game. They beat Australia yesterday. If Australia had won they would have played in the bronze medal game versus Mexico.

Taiwan 5 Australia 1

In international competition Australia has always had trouble scoring runs. That came back to haunt them again as Taiwan pitchers held their hitters to five hits. The only run Australia scored was on a solo shot in the sixth by Logan Wade that tied the game 1-1.

Taiwan put the game away in the eighth when they scored four runs. The first was driven in on a Wei-Chen Wang single. The last three scored when Che-Hsuan Lin deposited a ball into the left field bleachers for a three run homer. For Lin it was his first homer and first three runs driven in for the tournament.

Chih-Wei Hu pitched well for Taiwan, hurling five shutout innings and allowing just three hits. Stephen Kent shut down the Taiwan bats after they scored a run in the third, throwing four shutout innings and allowing just two hits. Hu did not allow a run in his two appearances, working 8.2 innings. Kent has the most innings pitched of any reliever, four appearances with 11.1 innings and a 1.59 ERA.

Australia did get opportunities to score, advancing a runner to second in four of the nine innings they batted.

Japan 10 Korea 8

This game did not really count for anything except bragging rights. Today they play again for the gold medal. Japan erupted for six in the third to win this game. Korea bounced back for five in the fifth but they never could capture the lead.

Neither team felt a need to use their starters, or if they did they were replaced after a couple innings. Seiya Suzuki did get one RBI to increase his tournament RBI lead by five (12 RBIs). Korea’s young superstar Baek-Ho Kang got his first start in the tournament and drove in three runs.

Australia Shocks United States in WBC

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Australia had not won a game in the Super Round and were virtually eliminated from qualifying for the Olympics in the Premier 12. They really had nothing to play for in their game against the United States. They rose to the occasion and shocked the United States team, sending them down the path of elimination. Japan also sent Mexico down to defeat for the first time, leaving no team undefeated in this Premier 12.

Australia 2 United States 1

Australia scored all their runs in the first when they started the inning with a double sandwiched between two walks. Aaron Whitfield drove in both runs with a one out single up the middle, Logan Wade getting thrown out at third on the play.

Australia turned to Timothy Atherton to silence the United States bats. He limited them to one hit and did not allow a runner to reach second in his 5.1 innings of work. In the sixth inning the United States team finally put two runners on base thanks to two walks issued by Peter Moylan. Andrew Vaughn grounded out to short to end the threat.

Mark Payton hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth to close the gap to 2-1. But without the homerun the United States bats could not get a rally going, only once getting a runner to second base. Jon Kennedy retired the final two hitters to secure the victory.

The United States must hope that either Taiwan and Australia fail to win a game to get into the bronze medal match and hope for a third place win to qualify for the Olympics. The United States won the head to head battle against Taiwan, but were losers against Australia and Korea. A three way tie would go to a complicated tie breaker.

Japan 3 Mexico 1

Japan pitchers allowed just one hit in the game, a Jonathan Jones solo blast in the fourth inning to defeat Mexico. Shota Imanaga struck out eight hitters in his six innings of work. The Japanese bullpen struck out seven of the ten hitters they faced to raise that strikeout total for the game to 15.

Japan scored early off Mexican pitcher Horacio Ramirez, netting all three runs in the first two innings. Seiya Suzuki and Kensuke Kondo contributed RBI singles in the first inning. Hayato Sakamoto added an RBI single in the second.

Suzuki leads all players in RBIs with 11. The closest player to him is Robert Dalbec with seven. He is also hitting .476 and his eight runs scored is more than any other player. He also leads all players in homeruns (3) and triples (2) and added two doubles. Seven of his ten hits have gone for extra bases. Major league scouts are salivating at what he could do in their outfield.

The Topsy Turvey World of the Premier 12

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Just when there appears to be consistency in the Premier 12 they have a day where they throw you for a loop. Mexico defeated Australia to remain the lone undefeated team in the Premier 12. This should put them in the Top three and qualify for the Olympics. The other two undefeated teams lost, with the United States beating Japan and Taiwan pulling off the big upset with their win over Korea. It just goes to show you that no country can claim superiority in this game of baseball.

Mexico 3 Australia 0

The pitching for Mexico has been excellent. Another shutout, this one started by Eduardo Vera for the first five innings, with three different bullpen mates finishing the shutout. Vera gave up four hits with one walk, while his bullpen was perfect, retiring all 12 hitters they faced. In five games the Mexican pitching staff has not given up more than two runs, beating all five teams they have faced.

Mexico got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Jonathan Jones leadoff homer. In the fourth Mexico added two more runs, one on a solo homerun from Matthew Clark. Jones doubled in the second run of the inning for his second RBI of the game.

The closest Australia got to scoring was in the third. Daryl George singled and Robert Perkins hit a double to left field. George tried to score from first but was gunned down at the plate. Once the bullpen came on in the sixth it was 12 up and 12 down. Australia no longer has a shot to finish in the top three, which will eliminate them from qualifying for an Olympic berth in the Premier 12. They have two more tournaments to accomplish that.

Taiwan 7 Korea 0

Perhaps the biggest upset of the day. The professional bats of Korea could get only four hits off Chang Li in his 6.2 innings of work. The bullpen closed out the final 2.1 innings to complete the shutout. An embarrassing day for the Korean professional hitters.

The Taiwan bats had no problem battering the KBO pitchers, lashing out 11 hits. The big hit was the Chun-Hsui Chen three run homer in the seventh that put the game out of reach, extending the lead to 6-0. Kwang-hyun Kim, who attempted to play in the major leagues but failed to get a high enough offer to leave the KBO, got the start for Korea and was not effective. He gave up three runs on 8 hits in his 3.1 innings of work.

Korea failed to get the big hits early, leaving two men on base in the first two innings. Taiwan scored two in the second and Korea failed to erase that deficit.

United States 4 Japan 3

The United States kept their slim hopes alive for finishing in the top three with a win over Japan. Jacob Cronenworth, after striking out four times yesterday and stranding eight runners on base came through on this day, driving in the first run in the second with a ground out, scoring Alec Bohm, who had led the inning off with a double. The United States never trailed after that.

Robert Dalbec continued his productive hitting with an RBI double in the third. Alec Bohm, another player who struggled yesterday, leaving a number of runners on base, drove in a run with a single in the fifth. Jordon Adell closed out the scoring for the United States with a solo shot in the seventh.

It was the Suzuki/Asamura show for Japan. The duo was good for Japan in the fourth when they scored their first run with the hot hitting Seiya Suzuki tripling and scoring on a Hideto Asamura single. Asamura drove in Suzuki again with a double in the sixth after Suzuki reached on an error. That combination proved fruitful a third time in the eighth when Asamura drove in Suzuki with a single, after Suzuki had doubled to lead off the inning.

Brandon Dickson pitched a perfect ninth to close out the victory for the United States. Japan was limited to seven hits, five of them by Suzuki and Asamura.