WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC 2017

  

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Below we will present Flintoff & Dunn's overview of how we see
Australia's participation at the 2017 WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC.
Our record from this page, along with Game Scoresheets etc. will be printed in
 'Flintoff & Dunn's AUSTRALIAN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL - 2017'

 
10 MAR 2017 - AUSTRALIA TRIPPED UP BY CUBANS AGAIN!
 
 

WBC 2017 - Game 3 - 10 MAR 2013 - TOKYO DOME, JAPAN

 

Team

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

AUSTRALIA

0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 13 1

CUBA

0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 X 4 10 0

FLINTOFF'S FOCUS: 
Australia did just about everything right in this game apart from one rough half-inning and one mistake pitch in the bottom of the fifth yet, once again, our gallant World Baseball Classic ended in tears at the hands of our Cuban nemesis.
For those of us who watched chunky Cuban slugger Yosvani Peraza crush our hopes with his game-snatching two run homer in the 2009 Classic, it was like "Nightmare on Elm Street" re-visited for us in the Tokyo Dome this afternoon. Much like Peraza's heart-breaker, a rather rotund 30yo Alfredo Despaigne gave Cuba all the runs they needed today with his two out GRAND SLAM homer in the bottom of the fifth. As his long ball sailed over the left centre field fence, it really felt like Australia's chance to progress beyond the first round of the World Baseball Classic for the first time sailed off with it!
As we said, our Aussie Thunder had the game going almost perfectly to script until then with Cuba's ace starter Lazaro Blanco out of pitch count without getting past the third inning against a patient and disciplined Australian offence. Our boys has squandered a host of base runners, but we took a hard-earned lead in the top of the fifth when Mitch Dening singled, stole second base and scampered home on Logan Wade's clutch RBI single. Starting pitcher Warwick Saupold had been very solid for Australia with four scoreless frames to his immense credit. Despite the missed opportunities, the world was feeling quite rosy and optimistic for Australian baseball fans with a potent bullpen ready to take over on the bump.
Aussie manager Jon Deeble handed the ball to 20yo Minnesota Twins pro Lachlan Wells who struck out the first two Cuban hitters before a pair of singles and a walk suddenly saw the mood change with the bases loaded and veteran slugger Despaigne up to bat. It would be too easy to second guess Deeble's decision to stick by Wells in the situation with more experienced arms at his disposal, but hindsight will record that the decision went horribly pear-shaped when Despaigne cleared the bags with the "Salami" that grabbed a 4-1 advantage for Cuba.
To their credit, our Aussies refused to roll over as they tried valiantly to keep the pressure on a moderate Cuban bullpen. Major league reliever Peter Moylan had Cuba's offence under control as we whittled the lead back to 3-4, however, we could get no closer and fell agonisingly short once again. Trent Oeltjen blasted a solo homer in the top of the seventh to supply some energy before Mitch Dening drove in Luke Hughes to bring us within the single run in the eighth. The sorry tale of the tape for Australia was 15 runners left on base and seven left in scoring position with two out, but we all understand that timely hitting is so often what baseball games are all about.
'Flintoff & Dunn' certainly doesn't want to sound disrespectful or like we are choking on sour grapes at a painful moment like this, yet the sad irony for Australian baseball fans is that this Cuban team is not near the same intimidating standard that it was during the more recent Olympic era. Surely we have just seen our best opportunity to progress slip through our fingers here today and it will be a sickening feeling for a solid group of players who battled hard to bring us some baseball glory at the highest level.
In the wake of the loss it will not be much solace for brilliant Aussie catcher Allan de San Miguel that he gave everything in this game with a mighty 3-4, plus a walk, for a tournament batting average of .556. Not far behind him were today's two-hit men Jimmy Beresford (.364), and David Kandilas who batted .400 from fewer plate appearances. You could not question the effort of our players who left nothing on the table.
At times like this the only option remaining is to lick the wounds, get tougher, and come back bigger and better next time!!
That said, this gut wrenching defeat will linger in the darkest recesses of our memory for quite a while...

 

AUSTRALIA

CUBA

PITCHING:

Warwick SAUPOLD  4.0ip 4h 0r 0er 1bb 4k
Lachlan WELLS (BS)(L)  0.2ip 4h 4r 4er 1bb 2k;
Dushan RUZIC  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 0k;
Peter MOYLAN  2.0ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 3k;
Steve KENT  1.0ip 1h 0r 0er 1bb 1k

OFFENCE:
Allan de SAN MIGUEL 3-4 (D); Mitch DENING 2-4 (RBI);
David KANDILAS 2-4 (D); James BERESFORD 2-5;
Trent OELTJEN 1-4 (HR-RBI); Logan WADE 1-4(RBI);
Tim KENNELLY 1-4; Luke HUGHES 1-5 (D-RBI)
PITCHING:
Lazaro BLANCO  2.2ip 4h 0r 0er 3bb 2k;
Yoennis YERA  2.0ip 2h 1r 1er 3bb 3k;
Vladimir GARCIA (W)  3.0ip 5h 2r 2er 0bb 3k;
Livan MOINELO (H)  0.1ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 1k;
Miguel LAHERA (S)  1.0ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 2k
OFFENCE: 
Alexander AYALA 2-4 (D); Roel SANTOS 2-4; Yurisbel GRACIAL 2-4;
Alfredo DESPAIGNE 1-4 (GSHR-4RBI); Frederich CEPEDA 1-2;
Willian SAAVEDRA 1-3; Frank MOREJON 1-4;
 
9 MAR 2017 - AUSTRALIA THUMPS CHINA IN 11-0 SHUTOUT!
 
 

WBC 2017 - Game 2 - 9 MAR 2013 - TOKYO DOME, JAPAN

 

Team

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

AUSTRALIA

0 0 2 2 0 0 3 4 X 11 9 0

CHINA

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0 5 0

FLINTOFF'S FOCUS: 
Our Aussie Thunder baseball team achieved a very important victory at the 2017 World Baseball Classic tonight and they did so in most convincing style. Not only did they keep our hopes alive to progress in this competition, but they also ensured
automatic qualification for the next classic by winning at least one game. Recent major league left hander Travis Blackley simply had too much stuff for the Chinese hitters as he set the tone for a quite brilliant shutout hurled by our pitchers at the Tokyo Dome when we really needed it. Blackley cruised through four-plus innings before manager Jon Deeble took the opportunity to relieve him with plenty of petrol still in his tank. He needed only 48 pitchers to romp through 16 batters faced as a model of efficiency. Dushan Ruzic, Todd Van Steensel and Tom Bailey wiped up the dregs of the last few innings before the "Mercy Rule" was applied at the end of the eighth stanza.
With such a pitching dominance, all that remained was for our hitters to put some numbers on the board and they didn't let us down. In the top of the third Jimmy Beresford milked one of his three walks for the night to set the table for Luke Hughes to crush a two run bomb over left centre with one out in the inning. With the Chinese pitchers struggling for control, David Kandilas and Brad Harman both walked in the top of the next, allowing Trent D'Antonio to drive both of them in with his two out triple. The four run lead felt quite comfortable with Blackley in total control, yet the hungry Aussies weren't prepared to rest on those laurels. Brad Harman led off the top of the seventh with a double, Beresford walked again and Luke Hughes came through with a two RBI double to give him four big RBIs for the game. That bulging RBI tally was matched with one swing of the bat from Australia's most recent new major leaguer, James Beresford, in the top of the eighth. As we said, Beresford had seen plenty of China's pitching with some long at bats that produced three walks and he didn't spurn his opportunity with the bases loaded when he launched a booming GRAND SLAM homer over right field. Australia's 11-0 lead had taken our advantage past the ten runs that invoked the mercy killing.
It was a ruthless and meritorious victory for our Aussies who really couldn't have been much more convincing on a big occasion for us.
We should now take a degree of confidence into our big clash with Cuba tomorrow. Way to go fellas!!!

AUSTRALIA

CHINA

PITCHING:

Travis BLACKLEY (W)  4.2ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 2k;
Dushan RUZIC  1.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 1k;
Todd VAN STEENSEL  1.0ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 1k;
Tom BAILEY  1.0ip 1h 0r 0er 1bb 0k

OFFENCE:
David KANDILAS 2-3; Luke HUGHES 2-5 (HR-D-4RBI);
James BERESFORD 1-2 (GSHR-4RBI); Brad HARMAN 1-2 (D);
Trent D'ANTONIO 1-3 (T-2RBI); Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-3 (D)
PITCHING:
Kwon JU (L)  3.0ip 3h 2r 2er 2bb 0k;
Yanyong YANG 3.0ip 2h 3r 3er 3bb 2k;
Andrew CHIN  0.2ip 2h 2r 2er 1bb 0k
Chao LU  1.1ip 2h 4r 4er 2bb 1k
OFFENCE: 
Ning LI 1-1; Fugia CHU 1-2; Joey WONG 1-3; Xiaolei DU 1-3;
Ray CHANG 1-4

 
8 MAR 2017 - AUSTRALIA BOWS TO HOSTS JAPAN IN 1-4 LOSS
 
 

WBC 2017 - Game 1 - 8 MAR 2013 - TOKYO DOME, JAPAN

 

Team

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

JAPAN

0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 4 8 1

AUSTRALIA

0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0

FLINTOFF'S FOCUS: 
Obviously we'd much prefer to be writing something more positive and different but, clearly, our Australian baseball team has again punched well above its weight in another gallant losing performance. Faced with the might of the Japanese team in a very noisy and parochial Tokyo Dome, our Aussies almost dared to dream when leading 1-0 after four completed innings, yet there was to be no fairytale finish here tonight. Over 41,000 fans were left stunned when Aussie catcher Allan de San Miguel took Japan's starting pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano deep over right field for the opening run of the game in the bottom of the second. Australian starter Tim Atherton was meanwhile producing a very solid start with four scoreless innings that kept the narrow lead intact until the top of the fifth. Atherton suddenly ran into a speed hump when Hayato Sakamoto lashed a leadoff double into left field and Seiya Suzuki followed with a "seeying eye" single up the middle. Lachlan Wells took over on the hill and, although he threw very well for two frames, he could not prevent Japan tying the game when Nobuhiro Matsuda delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth. Australia briefly threatened to regain the lead in the bottom of the same inning with two runners aboard before an inning ending double play snuffed out those hopes. Unfortunately for us the ultra-tough Japanese bullpen then throttled the life out of our offence with seven strike outs over the last four innings and we had just one more base runner for the game.
With the shackles well and truly applied to our offence, it felt like waiting for the inevitable that arrived when Sho Nakata blasted one over left field as the first batter faced by Matt Williams to lead off the top of the seventh. Team Japan then added some padding to their lead in the top of the eighth when slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh clocked a two run homer over right field to sour the international debut of Australian youngster Jon Kennedy. For the record, Senga was the winning pitcher for Japan, while Miyanishi recorded a hold and Makita locked down the save. As we said, Japan's pitching was mighty tough as expected, yet their modest advantage of eight hits to five was also indicative of some decent pitching by our Aussie lads against a dangerous lineup that had already pounded Cuba in their opening game.
There cannot be much shame in making a team like Japan battle to secure a victory in their own backyard and it took them seven hard-fought innings to finally get their noses in front. If we can play like this we must be a puncher's chance to topple a less daunting opponent at this 2017 World Baseball Classic, however, nothing ever comes easy at this level.

JAPAN

AUSTRALIA

PITCHING:
Tomoyuki SUGANO  4.1ip 4h 1r 1er 0bb 4k;
Toshiya OKADA  0.2ip 0h 0r 0er 1bb 0k;
Kodai SENGA (W)  2.0ip 1h 0r 0er 0bb 4k;
Noaki MIYANISHI (H)  1.0ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 2k;
Kazuhisa MAKITA (S)  1.0ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 1k
OFFENCE: 
Seiya SUZUKI 2-3; Nobuhiro MATSUDA 1-3 (RBI); 
Yoshitomo TSUTSUGO 1-4 (HR-2RBI); Sho NAKATA 1-3 (HR-RBI);
Tetsuto YAMADA 1-4 (RBI); Hayato SAKAMOTO 1-4 (D);
Ryosuke KIKUCHI 1-5
PITCHING:

Tim ATHERTON  4.0ip 4h 1r 1er 0bb 2k;
Lachlan WELLS (BS)  2.0ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 2k;
Matt WILLIAMS (L)  1.2ip 1h 1r 1er 1bb 1k;
Jon KENNEDY  0.0ip 1h 2r 2er 2bb 0k;
Ryan SEARLE  1.0ip 2h 0r 0er 1bb 0k;
Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 1k

OFFENCE:
Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-2 (HR-RBI); Brad HARMAN 1-3;
Tim KENNELLY 1-4; James BERESFORD 1-4; Luke HUGHES 1-4