Author: Kerryn Costello/ABF
The National Under 25 Championships began yesterday at Trinity Beach in Cairns. Mr. Michael Trout MP for Barron River officially opened the Championships as well as the Geoff Roneberg Field, which was recently upgraded through a state government ‘Get Playing’ grant.
The Championship will run until the 4th of October and features teams from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. All teams will play double round robin playing each opponent twice in 4 and a half days. After both round robins the first place team will automatically qualify for the championship game, the other four teams will play for positions in both the championship and bronze medal games.
Although the day saw rain, the first five games were completed with New South Wales and Western Australia winning both of their games.
Bats were hot with a grandslam and a three run home run, as well as a triple and countless doubles. James Vergos from the New South Wales Blue Sox sent one flying to left field scoring four runs against the South Australia Bite team in the top of the 3rd inning. Jake Webster also hit a triple with two RBI’s during the same game. In the Western Australia Heat vs South Australia game Adam Millson also homered to left field, scoring three runs in the second.
Author: Kerryn Costello/BaseballAustralia
The 2014 Baseball National Under 25 Championships commence today in Cairns, Queensland, bringing together the countries best talent from each State to battle out to be crowned Australia’s best.
The tournament, previously called the National Under 23 Championships, has extended the age group from Under 23 to Under 25 to provide further opportunity for players to represent their state, in particular to players returning from College and professional tenures in the US.
This is the fourth year this championship has been held with New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia all holding titles.
The event is held in conjunction with host partner Cairns Baseball League and is the first National Championship to be held in North Queensland.
By Sam Finn / Adelaide Bite
Corey Lyon has taken a unique and sometimes challenging route to playing in the ABL, but the right handed outfielder is jumping at the chance to test himself against the best Australian baseball has to offer.
Lyon was the inaugural Adelaide Bite draftee in the new ABL Draft, which took place in early August. Lyon was taken with the third pick, and is relishing the chance to represent the Bite in the 2014/15 season.
Corey reflected about his journey to professional baseball as just “a young kid that loved the game watching my oldest brother play for the state and country at a young age. Seeing him do those sorts of things gave me a pathway and inspired me to one day do great things with baseball.”
At only 19, Lyon has been making a significant impact in the Czech Republic over winter, with his last five at bats for Technika Brno yielding three doubles and two home runs, helping Technika Brno to a record of 22-13 in the European Extraliga. Lyon was also a Phase II attendee during the 2013 Major League Baseball Australian Academy Program.
But at one stage, Corey didn’t think pro-baseball was for him, giving up on the game for a year, “I did
walk away from the game for a year because I had forgotten how to have fun, which was taking the love away from the game.”
However Lyon has re-kindled his love of baseball after his time in the Czech Republic, and he expressed his happiness to sign with the Bite, “to be given the opportunity to play in the ABL is another goal and dream come true, I’m thrilled to be a part of the Adelaide Bite and can’t wait to play with the ball club, hopefully get our hands on the shield.”
Adelaide Bite coach Brooke Knight spoke of the enthusiasm he has to work with such a talent, “Corey is an exciting young guy, he brings great form after his season in the Czech Republic, and after being named in the MLB Academy Program in 2013, he has come on in leaps and bounds. We couldn’t be happier picking him up in the draft.”
One late season change has been the news that Jared Cruz has been traded from the Braves to the Astros. He was the player to be named for RHP Andrew Robinson
Lewis Thorpe has been placed on the DL. He has a sprained UCL in his throwing elbow. Will be rehabbing at instructional league,
Rookie: Jack Barrie [Twins], Jared Cruz (Astros), Ryan Dale (Royals), Sam Gibbons [Twins], Josh Guyer (Twins), Nathan Hass (Braves), Nick Hutchings (Pirates), Sam Kennelly (Pirates), Ben Leslie [Giants], Todd McDonald (Rangers), James Philibossian (Tigers), Pita Rona (Orioles), Aaron Sayers [Tigers], Zac Shepherd (Tigers),
Independent Leagues: Allan de San Miguel [Blue Crabs], Justin Erasmus [Boomers], Cameron Lamb [Frontier Greys], Connar O’Gorman [Amarillo], Ryan Searle [Grand Prairie], Josh Spence [Windy City], Clayton Tanner [Amarillo]
MLBAAP: Brandon Stenhouse (Yankees)
The Adelaide Bite has announced the retention of three of its core players leading up to the 2014/15 ABL Season.
Pitcher Matt Williams, infielder Stef Welch and outfielder Ben Lodge have all committed to the team for the upcoming season and lead a talented and exciting group of players that will represent the Bite in season 2014/15.
Since crossing over from the Sydney Blue Sox to the Bite last season, Matt Williams has been a fan favourite and a consistent performer for the Bite. In his final year with the Blue Sox, Williams won the ABL’s ‘Reliever of the Year’ award after making an ABL record 15 saves. He pitched 21 innings only giving up 15 hits, while striking out 28 and walking only five as he broke fellow Blue Sox pitcher Dae-Sung Koo’s ABL record for saves. Williams’ role in season 2014/15 changed as he was required by the Bite to start in four games, and picking up three wins along the way. Williams is a tenacious competitor and will be an asset for the Bite in season 2014/15
Stef Welch picked up 25 hits and 16 RBIs for the Bite in 2013/14 after missing the early part of the season. A model of consistency, Welch represented the AA-Portland Sea Dogs during the 2014 Eastern League season, helping them to a playoff berth, and in turn, the best record in franchise history for the Sea Dogs (88-54). Welch is a fan favourite and will no doubt be an integral part for the Bite in their quest for ABL Championship glory.
Ben Lodge was named in the 2013/14 ABL All Star Team after his best season with bat in hand to date, with his average (.291) a team high and in turn earning him the Bite’s batting award in season 2013/14. Lodge, a former ABL Rookie of the Year, has the combination of blistering speed and a bullet arm, making him a real threat in the outfield. The 23-year old has plenty of untapped potential and he is looking to take the next step in season 2014/15.
Bite coach Brooke Knight said of the returning trio, “It’s fantastic to retain such a talented core group of guys. All three of these young men represent the team values the Bite stands for, and we’re lucky to have such quality on our roster leading up to the season.”
All three men represented Team Australia against the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks during MLB Opening Weekend during March 2014 in Sydney.
The Bite will name a marquee new signing in the coming days we are told.
Source: Adelaide Bite
By Roger Mooney | Tribune Staff
BOSTON — If only Grant Balfour could hit a reset button and send the season back to the early part when he struggled with his fastball and his command and getting batters out. Maybe things would have turned out differently for him and the Rays.
Maybe they wouldn’t have slogged through Thursday night’s 11-1 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Maybe a chance at a postseason spot would have hung in the balance, instead of Balfour pitching a perfect eighth inning with his team down 10 runs.
Much went wrong with the Rays this season, and one of those things was Balfour, who signed a two-year, $14 million contract in late January to be the closer and the final piece of what was supposed to be a championship season.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. Balfour lost his job as the closer in June and the Rays are saddled with their first losing season since 2007.
“I’m definitely disappointed,” Balfour said. “Look at my numbers at the end of the year, the fact the team’s not going to the playoffs, yeah I’m disappointed. I wish I could have done better.”
Actually, Balfour wishes he could have done better sooner.
Balfour ironed out a few glitches in his delivery last month. He found a niche, he said, which enables him to throw his fastball down in the strike zone. With that came the return of his confidence. With confidence came 10 scoreless outings in his last 11 appearances.
“That’s kind of the regret that I have, that I wish I could have felt the way I do or found this niche I found months ago and contributed in a better way,” Balfour said. “Obviously, you don’t want to lose your role. I wish I could have racked up 40 saves. I have goals and I didn’t reach a lot of those goals this year, and it’s disappointing.
“I’m not going to dwell on it. I’m going to try to get better and I felt this last month or so it’s been that way and I’m going to carry into the offseason, work real hard and come back next year and pick up where I am now.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon was critical of Balfour early in the season because Balfour didn’t throw his fastball enough. Balfour said that was warranted, but said he went away from the pitch because he lost confidence in it.
“Next year maybe I need to start throwing it a little earlier so it comes around earlier,” Balfour said. “But there was a mindset there, too, that affected it. Where I am now, I feel good about it. I’m kind of at the point where I don’t want the season to end. I want it to keep going because I feel so good.”
Maddon said he likes the changes in Balfour’s game during the latter part of the season. He said the changes coupled with a poor season could mean a better Balfour in 2015.
“He may have had to suffer through a real difficult year to get one of his premium years next year,” Maddon said. “I’m liking what I’m seeing now. This is what we expected from the beginning.”
Maddon said it’s too early to think about the back of next year’s bullpen, but he likes the options afforded by the rise of Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger and the improved Balfour.
“The whole thing gets really interesting,” Maddon said.
Maddon did mention a closer-by-committe.
“Whatever they want to do, it’s all going to sort itself out, I think,” Balfour said. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’d love to close again, no doubt. I feel confident. If I can keep doing what I’m doing, things are going to work out.”
Bandits receive four Major League Baseball prospects for 2014/2015 ABL season
As Major League Baseball (MLB) closes the books on another season, players from MLB farm systems begin their work towards the 2015 campaign. To help them prepare at a high level, the Australian Baseball League is welcoming multiple prospects to the league in order to advance their skills.
The Tampa Bay Rays, members of the American League East, are sending four of their minor league prospects to Brisbane to play with the Bandits for the 2014/2015 season. All four players come with strong backgrounds that will help the Bandits fight for their first Claxton Shield.
A product of Toronto, Ontario Canada, Tissenbaum has played 86 games for the Advanced A Charlotte Stone Crabs in Charlotte, North Carolina. He held an average of .288 and belted six home runs.
- Position: Catcher
- Bats/Throws: L/R
- Height: 177.8 cm / Weight: 83 kg
- Drafted: 11th Round
The appropriately named Johnny Field spent 82 games patrolling Center Field for the Advanced A Charlotte Stone Crabs. The Las Vegas, Nevada native’s average was .290 with seven home runs.
- Position: Center Field
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Height: 177.8 cm / Weight: 86 kg
- Drafted: 5th Round
The twenty-three year old, Sellersville, Pennsylvania born Tommy Coyle played 117 games up the middle for the Advanced A Charlotte Stone Crabs, holding an average of .249 with 5 home runs.
- Position: 2nd Base
- Bats/Throws: L/R
- Height: 170.2 cm / Weight: 77 kg
- Drafted: 16th Round
Granden Goetzman, from Palmetto, Florida, locked down left field for the Advanced A Charlotte Stone Crabs for fifty games, belting 12 home runs, helping him to a .240 average.
- Position: Left Field
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Height: 193 cm / Weight: 90 kg
- Drafted: 2nd Round
By Sam Worthington/stuff.co.nz
New Zealand Diamondblacks pitcher John Holdzkom was doused in champagne by his teammates today as the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrated clinching a Major League Baseball playoff berth for the second successive year.
Pirates star Andrew McCutchen hit the winning run in a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves to seal one of the National League wildcard spots.
The 86-71 Pirates have five regular season games remaining before the playoffs, starting with another match-up against the Braves tomorrow at Atlanta’s Turner Field.
Holdzkom, 26, is shaping as an unlikely playoff weapon for Pittsburgh after a string of impressive performances since making his MLB debut this month.
The towering, hard-throwing right-hander was toiling away for an obscure independent league team in central Texas before being acquired by the Pirates in July.
”Life’s a trip dude, I don’t know what you can say, life’s a trip,” a disbelieving Holdzkom said today as he was soaked in bubbly and beer by his jubilant teammates.
”I don’t know man. I’m enjoying it, it’s fun. You can’t describe it, I’m just riding the wave. It’s been a blast. They’re [teammates] awesome, they’ve welcomed me with open arms since day one. We’ve been vibing good. Maybe as a kid you prepare yourself for it [pitching in the MLB playoffs] but I don’t know. What can you say right now, this is a blast.”
Holdzkom went as far as to describe the whirlwind experience as the best moment of his life.
”Probably No 1, for sure.”
Holdzkom, who has a Kiwi father, will become the first New Zealand representative to play in the MLB playoffs.
The move of star players from Sydney to Adelaide has continued with the reported signing of Blue Sox outfielder Mitch Dening to the Bite for the forthcoming season, according to ABLBuzz. Dening follows in the footsteps of catcher Chris Adamson and pitchers Richard Olson and Matt Williams. Previously infielder Matt Smith, who played all his junior baseball for NSW Country, had crossed the border.
In an article posted yesterday the ABLBuzz has reported on recent off season signings by the Bite:-
Looking for more help with the sticks, Adelaide went out and signed ex- Sydney Blue Sox outfielder Mitch Dening. This could turn out to be their most important add for the off-season, as Dening is a solid contact hitter with handy power. Last season he hit 0.301 in 28 games, with an excellent 7/13 K/BB ratio and 12 RBI. In 2012/13 Dening had a sensational season, knocking in 32 RBI, good for equal second in the league, and amassing 92 total bases, good for third in the league behind Canberra’s Adam Buschini and Jeremy Barnes.