Archive for the ‘ Europe ’ Category

What Has Perth’s Dan Schmidt Been Up To In The Off Season?

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Currently living: The Netherlands

Current Team: I play for the Oosterhout Twins.

Favourite part of playing for the Oosterhout Twins: This is my first time in Europe, so everything is really new to me. I think it’s the same with any team you play on: it’s your teammates that make the experience memorable. When you like the people you hangout and play with, the results take care of themselves. My old teammate and Perth Heat roomie for years, Benn Grice, played for the Twins for 4-5 years and he told me that they’re like family to him.

What do you do in your spare time? As I was playing independent ball in the United States for the past 4 years, playing every single day for 4 months, I never had much down time. It has been refreshing to only play on weekends and take the train twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It allows me to travel to some nearby cities and towns. I’ve been able to do some sightseeing, improve my cooking skills, watch the AFL games from the weekend online, and also watch a number of movies and TV series on Netflix. When I am back home playing in the ABL, I work 5 days a week from 8-4, then I have training in the afternoon, and games on weekends. I don’t have the chance to do a lot of these relaxing things. I have also started to write my own book about my career. Everyone has their own crazy stories from over the years, but I’ve been told by a number of people that mine, at times, has been something that could be out of a movie.

Most exciting part of the off-season: It’s hard to separate these two experiences, as one was spent playing in Prague and the other was spent as the Pitching Coach for a 3 week tour of Europe for a college tournament. The week in Prague was made up of all imports from different leagues around Europe to play against the Czech National Team, the U21 Czech National Team, the Russian National Team, the Polish National Team, and an American College team. We had a full day during the week to do some sightseeing and touristy things. It had an All-Star Game feel to it and was interesting to hear about what the other leagues in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic were like. To top it all off, we ended up winning the championship against the Czech National Team, who actually beat us in our first game of the tournament.

Coaching in the CBLE was also an awesome experience. The tournament was created by one of the members of the Twins who had a vision for young players from other countries to get together and experience Europe while playing high-level baseball. It is a 3 week tournament played in 4 differnet locations, in 4 different countries, with 4 days spent in each city. We started in London before traveling to Barcelona, Spain, then onto La Rochelle in France before finishing up in Oosterhout. There were roughly 45 players who came together from Holland, America and Russia. From there we were split up into three teams. All three teams traveled together as one big group around Europe. The team I was coaching, The Admirals, won for the second year in-a-row. It was a fantastic experience for me as it allowed me to see different parts of Europe, while staying in shape during the summer break in the Dutch season.

Best part of living in the Netherlands: Holland is such a small country where you can drive 3-4 hours and almost drive from top to bottom. Our apartment is straight opposite from the bus station and the train station is in the next town over. Having so many places close by has been perfect.

Source: The Perth Heat

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Trent Oeltjen Looking To Play In The Upcoming ABL

oeltjen3_WEB_8sqhe5vr_zm683803After having been released by the D’Backs back in May Trent Oeltjen signed on with the Italian League leading Unipol Bologna Major League team in the FIBS competition last month.

We would certainly not suggest that Trent’s illustrious pro career is over by any means although it is probably fair to say that his best years are now behind him and the signing with Bologna might seem like a semi retirement move.  However, many a player has had a late resurgence in the pro ranks and for this reason it is good to hear that Trent has his eye on playing in the ABL next season.   Not only will his presence help raise the profile of the Sydney Blue Sox but he will be no slouch at the plate for them if his stats from Italy are anything to go by.

His Bologna statistics are impressive:

.387 batting average (3rd overall)
.613 slugging (2nd overall)
.487 on base percentage (3rd overall)

So let’s hope he can return to Sydney for the coming summer season.   If other sports such as the AFL, Soccer and Rugby teach us anything it is that a National League needs success in Sydney to make it on the national stage.  Whilst we understand the ABL’s desire to support teams in cities such as Canberra, Adelaide and Perth as shown in the recent draft announcement, players of the calibre of Trent playing in Sydney will be good for the game as a whole.

 

Trent Oeltjen Heads To Italy

Trent Oeltjen had some time in Mexico this year - now he's off to Italy

Trent Oeltjen had some time in Mexico this year – now he’s off to Italy

Trent Oeltjen is heading to Bologna.

Ex Big Leaguer, Trent Oeltjen, will be heading to UnipolSai Bologna for the second round of this year’s 2014 IBL.

He was released by the D’Backs in May following stints with the Dodgers.

Daniel Schmidt Q/A – Big Lefty Headed To Holland

schmidt1By Dan Vaughan/TalkingBaseballAustralia

Daniel Schmidt is the all time winning pitcher in the ABL. The “Big Lefty” sat down with Talking Baseball Australia and touched on all things baseball. From the pinnacle in both the USA and Australia Schmidt has also seen the challenges that the game brings. The consummate professional and class act had a season that almost seems like a Hollywood screen play. Yet, his story is one that has to speak loud to fans about following your dreams and knocking on every door and kicking them in when given the opportunity. The glamorous life of baseball is only glamorous to a small percentage the rest face the challenges with a love for the game that is hard to find in any line of work. “Schmidty” opens up about the wild year it was.

TBA: You had great finish to the season for you but really were solid all year. What was the key?

Daniel Schmidt: I certainly had my struggles in the first month of the season where I had those poor starts against Sydney and Brisbane. I really had to sit down and assess what I was doing differently to the successful year I had in the US. After breaking things down, I realized that I was trying too hard and not pitching within my capabilities. My ability to generate ground balls and pitch with movement is what allows me to be successful. Every pitcher wants to throw harder, it’s human nature but it doesn’t always guarantee success. You have to know what your strengths are and pitch to them, be comfortable with who you are. Once I made that conscious decision to focus on staying within myself, not trying to over throw the ball and keep it down, I was able to have more consistent starts.

TBA: You don’t throw upper 90s so what is the key? As a lefty a change is big but what is your approach?

Daniel Schmidt: These days, it’s not unusual to have a handful of guys on your pitching staff throwing 90mph. I’ve never been that guy even though I have tried to on numerous occasions. Throwing hard opens up opportunities to play at the higher levels but it doesn’t always guarantee success. Batters are accustomed to seeing pitching that hard on a regular basis now which makes it a whole lot harder to just “throw a fastball by him”. You need to set batters up with your off-speed pitches. An 88mph fastball looks like 92mph when you have thrown them a serving of offspeed pitches. My changeup is my best pitch but when I mix in my curveball and cutter after batters have been seeing sinker, changeup for a number of innings, it makes it a lot harder for them to decide what pitch is coming. I’ve been told that despite my funky delivery, I manage to hide the ball from the batter well so they don’t see it out of my hand until I release it. I believe it’s a combination of factors that helps make a successful pitcher.

TBA: With the club now notching another Claxton Shield and finals appearance is that what you expected in October?

Daniel Schmidt: Despite our early season struggles in November, we knew we have a great ball club. We still have the same core group of guys that we have had over the past half a dozen seasons and during that time, has seen us enjoy a lot of success. When you mix in a quality group of imports and some of our young stars coming up from the junior ranks, you get a well rounded unit. We have always believed that we are one of the best teams talent wise on paper but when you mix that with team chemistry, it is the primary source of our frequent success. We have been really lucky that each season, the imports have gelled with our group and team culture seamlessly. We have enough leaders on our team that everyone is held accountable for their actions and their role. We always expect to be playing in playoffs come crunch time as we know that if we do the little things right, we should be here.

TBA: When we talked to you and others (Heat players) last us summer it seemed like you boys were ready for a championship season?

Daniel Schmidt: Last season was bitterly disappointing. To not be able to bring the series to a game 3 of the championships felt like had let one slip away. You have all offseason to think about those type of series but it only makes you that much more hungry to get back there and win the whole thing the next year. We feel that last season made us that much stronger for this years championship…

TBA: Europe over the states?

Daniel Schmidt: I feel that I am finished with my Independent baseball career in the US after 5 years of slogging it out trying to get visas and compete for jobs. Teams in Indy ball don’t have the money of the MLB teams which means paying for visas and flights is difficult for them. They tend to just sign local talent these days. I also feel like the way my US season finished last year, with winning a championship, was a sign from the baseball gods above that I can now move on from Indy ball and that it’s time to see new places and experience new things. Asia would definitely be something I would look at down the track as well as they take their baseball very seriously over there.

 oOo

Click to read the rest of this outstanding interview with Dan by TBA 

Our [TBA] thanks to Daniel Schmidt and we wish him the best as he take his resume to the Netherlands. For fans who want to follow the Twins Honkbal in the Honkbal Overgangsklasse in the Netherlands here are the links to the team website. Our thanks to Daniel Schmidt for his time and we wish him the best in the coming season.

For more excellent articles from the folks at TBA click on the link in the Blogroll on the right of our page.

Wilson Lee Signed To Play In Czech League

Wilson with Pirates scout Tony Harris in April 2010 when he was first signed by Pittsburgh

Wilson with Pirates scout Tony Harris in April 2010 when he was first signed by Pittsburgh

Czech champion Draci Brno has added left-handed pitcher Wilson Lee to the roster for the 2014 season in the Czech Extraleague.

The 22-year-old Australian [originally from Darwin but recently playing in Adelaide] played two years affiliated minor league ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had an ERA of 3.64 in two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. He struck out 45 and walked 13 in 59 1/3 innings.

He arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday.

Source: mister-baseball.com

The Stuttgart Reds defeat Haar Disciples behind Richard James Olson’s 12 strikeouts, 7-0

R Olson

R Olson

Richard James Olson pitched eight shutout innings to lift the Stuttgart Reds to a 7-0 win over Haar Disciples at Haar.

Five runs in the first three innings helped the Stuttgart Reds blow out Haar Disciples. An RBI single by Sascha Lutz during the first inning and a two-run double by Chris Beck and an error in the second inning helped the Stuttgart Reds put some runs on the board early.

Chris Beck racked up two RBIs on three hits for the Stuttgart Reds.

The Stuttgart Reds added two more runs in the top of the fourth. A steal of home scored Chris Beck for the inning’s first run.

Source Gamechanger.

Europe Watch – Richard Olson leads the Stuttgart Reds to 3-2 victory

Richard Olson

Richard Olson

Saturday was a great day for Richard James Olson as he struck out 15 batters to carry the Stuttgart Reds to a 3-2 victory over Mannheim Tornados at Stuttgart.

A walk-off single by Sascha Lutz gave the Stuttgart Reds the win.

Sascha Lutz racked up two RBIs on two hits for the Stuttgart Reds. He singled in the third and ninth innings.

A bright spot for Mannheim Tornados in the defeat was Jan-Niclas Stöcklin, who allowed only two runs while striking out nine.

The bottom of the first saw the Stuttgart Reds take an early lead, 1-0. The Stuttgart Reds got things going when Chris Beck singled. Then moved Chris Beck from first to second.

The Stuttgart Reds scored one run in the fifth inning, and then followed it up with one more in the ninth. In the fifth, the Stuttgart Reds scored on a steal of home, scoring Matti Emery.

Source : Gamechanger

If you wish to read the original go to @ABDSource for link.

Richard James Olson throws no-hitter

Richard Olson

Richard Olson

Richard James Olson throws no-hitter as the Stuttgart Reds defeat Tübingen Hawks 11-0
No Tübingen Hawks batter was able to locate Richard James’ pitches during the game. Richard James threw a no-hitter, striking out 11 batters and walking one while recording his momentous feat. He got Pedro Medrano to strike out for the final out of the game.

Eight runs in the opening three innings allowed the Stuttgart Reds to easily put away Tübingen Hawks. A single by Markus Winkler, , , an RBI double by Chris Beck, and an RBI double by Sascha Lutz in the second inning supplied the early offense for the Stuttgart Reds.

Chris Beck racked up three RBIs on three hits for the Stuttgart Reds.

The Stuttgart Reds added three more runs in the bottom of the third. The inning got off to a hot start when Chris Beck doubled, plating Craig Pycock and Markus. That was followed up by Marcel Hering’s single, scoring Chris Beck.

In 75 innings pitched Richard has in 10 games a 5-3 record. having 57 hits recorded he has had 31 runscrossing the plate yet only 20 were earned striking out 101 . lowering his ERA to 2.4.

source Gamechanger

Two Aussies in Great Britain’s team

StockmanEx Major Leaguer and Brisbane resident, Phil Stockman,[pictured left] has been appointed to the coaching staff of Great Britain’s team in the 2013 European Championship and fellow Queenslander Matt Roxburgh is in the playing squad.

Although he was born in England Phil grew up in Australia and he has represented the country as a member of Team Australia.  While with the team, Phil won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. He also played in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. 

Originally signed by the Diamondbacks he signed with the Braves as a six-year minor league  free agent in 2006, and earned a midseason promotion to the majors. On 16 May 2008 he was called up to the major leagues and pitched 1 scoreless inning of relief against Oakland on 17 May.

He was released on 15 March 2009 due to injuries.

Brisbane Broncos’ Matt Roxburgh [pictured below] played for GB last year after sending the coaching staff a video of his performances.  He said at the time:-

“I was just searching on the Internet and I was looking at the WBC and I noticed that Great Britain was playing in Roxborough2athe qualifiers,” Roxburgh said. “I knew one of my old coaches played for them and coached them a couple of years ago so I just asked him what the team was like and what he thought my chances were of making the team and it went from there.”

Europe – Daniel Lamb-Hunt

daniellambhunt_2013By Ian McDonaldBaseball New Zealand

In Germany, Daniel Lamb-Hunt is back playing for hisBonn Capitals team after an ankle ligament injury kept him out for a month. The break hasn’t slowed his batting down however with the Diamondblack utility currently hitting .370 after 10 games, with 3 home runs a triple, 3 doubles and 9 RBI.

Daniel said it was good to be back after the injury. “Since being back a couple of weeks now, a couple of homeruns last week, and a timely double the week before, so the hitting is coming back good.”

In Germany, the league is broken up into a north and south division, with Daniel playing in the north. “Each league has 3-4 good solid teams and 4 not so talented but scrappy teams. The 3 main teams in the north are Soligen Alligators who are leading us by 2 games, and Paderborn Untouchables, who we play this week and Hamburg make up the top four in the north. In the south there is Regensburg, Mainz, Heidenheim haar uns Stuttgart who are all playoff contenders, as the south league is more well-rounded with the gap between the bottom and the top not as big as the north, but the teams are as good as the north at the upper end.”

He went on to say that “of course baseball is a minority sport so whilst they don’t attract the huge crowds that follow football, they may get 300-600 people to a game on a great day, and other teams will struggle to get 100.”

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