Australia eliminated from World Baseball Classic
13 March 2017
BASEBALL: Despite a gallant fightback against quality opposition, Australia fell 4-3 in a heartbreaking game against Cuba, and consequently, have been eliminated from the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
After a lean tournament by his standards, Trent Oeltjen once again proved he comes up big in clutch situations nailing a solo shot to bring Australia within two in the top of the seventh. However it wasn’t enough, with left fielder Alfredo Despaigne’s fifth inning grand slam the difference.
After making his debut for the Detroit Tigers in 2016, Warwick Saupold continued to show great form in early 2017, putting Australia in a great position, tossing four scoreless innings and striking out four. Lachlan Wells made two quick outs before finding himself in some trouble, and eventually, giving up the home run.
Team Australia Manager Jon Deeble was disappointed with the loss.
“I’m gutted,” Deeble said.
“I thought we outplayed them tonight. Saupold was amazing. We had more hits, but didn’t get the hits with runners in scoring position. Credit to Cuba though, you can’t make mistakes against a quality team.”
Mitch Dening swiped second in the fifth for Australia, and in his first start of the World Baseball Classic, Brisbane Bandits ABL Championship Series MVP Logan Wade made it count, driving Dening in from second and giving Australia the lead.
An RBI from Mitch Dening and Oeltjen’s home run brought Australia within one heading into the final inning, but it wasn’t to be, as veteran Brad Harman struck out to end one of the tensest ballgames in recent memory.
Japan and Cuba will progress from Pool B, they will take on Israel and The Netherlands with the top two teams advancing to the World Baseball Classic finals in Los Angeles.