Fifteen baseballers from the Moreton Bay region have distinguished themselves representing their country at international tournaments.
A team made up of players from the Redcliffe Padres, the Narangba Demons and the Pine Rivers Rapids did Australia proud in Livermore, San Francisco at the Little League Intermediate Baseball 50/70 World Series, while two Padres players represented the nation at the Under-12 World Cup in Taiwan.
Manager David West says the 2023 Australian team held their own against the best Under-13 baseballers from around the world in San Francisco.
“The team were very aware of the playing standard expectations and were never overwhelmed,” West says.
“No Australian team had ever picked up a win in Livermore, let alone completed the full seven innings. I was very pleased that the team accomplished a full game on all three occasions.”
Representing Australia were Fletcher Adams (Rapids), Archie Baert (Padres), Mason Clem (Rapids), Alonzo Zaire Griffin (Padres), Xavier Honza (Rapids), Kauri (Cody) Hunter (Padres), Oliver Lyall (Rapids), Lachlan Richards (Rapids) Keita Tsujinaka (Demons), Tirrell Waiwai (Padres), Thomas White (Padres), Khyden Wilson (Padres) and Tyler Wilson (Rapids.
Joining West, who hails from the Padres, on the leadership team were assistant coaches Adam White (Padres) and Graham Honsa (Rapids).
World class performance
“Our topline pitchers were world-class with a high number of strikeouts and very few walks,” West says.
“On a special note, Zaire Griffin’s batting was world class, with what was the longest homerun of the tournament.”
In their first match, the Aussies took on Team Korea, representing the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite a blistering performance from Zaire Griffin, who struck out 10 batters, the Aussies fell 5-1 to Asia-Pacific, with Xavier Honsa scoring Australia’s sole run for the match.
“Our team preformed outstandingly, giving the opposition a real scare before going down,” West says.
“Korea, like many other teams in the tournament, has paid full-time coaches.
“And we selected our team of 13 from about 20 players, whereas others have about 200 to pick from.”
The Australians’ gutsy performance in its second match, against Puerto Rico, drew high praise from Baseball Australia.
Despite scoring two runs – an improvement on the previous day’s play – they were unable to stop the juggernaut that was the Puerto Ricans with a final score of 22-1.
Zaire Griffin put Australia on the batting scoreboard with a home run, backed up by another run from Baert.
Baseball Australia, in a post to Facebook, said the players should be proud of their efforts.
“Your Australian Intermediate League Champions fell out of the championship bracket of the World Series…but they represented the country so well,” Baseball Australia said.
“A team who found a way to back (its) 2022 Little League title with an undefeated run in the age group above at the Australian 2023 Intermediate League tournament.
“A team that other countries in Livermore speak so highly of on how they carry themselves.
“Big future ahead for these ones.”
The team’s final game was against Louisiana, representing the Southwest region, and West says the Aussies gave them a run for their money, with the score finishing at 3-7.
“We paid the price of a couple of fielding and base-running errors in a narrow defeat,” he says.
Waiwai put Australia on the board in the first innings, with Honsa and Zairre Griffin also claiming runs.
Taking on world in Taiwan
Two Redcliffe Padres baseballers joined the Australian team of 18 who headed to the Under 12 World Cup in Taiwan.
Archer Petersen and Chase Crew, along with Padres baseball operations manager Dan Wilson, made the journey to compete against 11 other teams from around the world.
Dan, who was the team’s assistant coach, says Moreton Bay was well represented in the team, with two of the four Queensland players.
While the Aussies fell to Mexico, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Panama, Chechia, Germany and Venezuela, they trounced New Zealand 17 runs to 2.
“It was a great experience and Chase and Archer both performed really well,” Dan says.
“We won one game - the game against New Zealand was definitely a highlight because that’s the game we won.”
Dan says the match against Chinese Taipei was also a highlight, with cheerleaders and record attendance.
“The crowds were amazing,” he says.
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