WBSC announces groups for 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup in Japan

Future stars and Olympic hopefuls to be in Japan for 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup

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LAUSANNE (Switzerland) — The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the 2015 WBSC U18 Baseball World Cup, which will be staged from 28 August – 06 September in Osaka, Japan.

The twelve qualified nations (alongside their current world ranking) of the XXVII U18 Baseball World Cup have been placed into two groups by the WBSC International Baseball Tournaments Commission:

A group round robin will open action of the 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup. The top three finishers from each group will meet in the Super Round Robin, with the two nations with the best total records qualifying for the U18 World Championship finale at Japan’s “Baseball Mecca”, historic Koshien Stadium, which was built in 1924.

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), a WBSC Member, is adjusting the Hanshin Tigers’ home schedule at the legendary 47,000-seat Koshien Stadium to accommodate the 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup.

The 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup will feature six out of the Top 10 nations in the world, and eleven out of the Top 20, setting the stage for the most competitive U18 World Cup on record.

The 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup will represent a global footprint that spans across the entire western hemisphere from North-, South-, and Central America and the Caribbean — and Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

The last U18 Baseball World Cup in 2013 had a potential broadcast reach of 144 million homes and potential online/mobile reach of 20 million, based on reports furnished by leading media rights agency and WBSC partner MP & Silva.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said:

“The baseball and softball world is hopeful that the young stars at the 2015 U18 Baseball World Cup in Japan, as well as other players around the world, will have the opportunity to represent their countries and our sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Baseball and softball have surpassed a number of historical benchmarks in recent years in terms of youth platforms, gender equality, globalisation, building National Team brands and expanding the broadcast reach of international competitions, which could potentially help serve the mission of the IOC and Olympic Movement.”

The World Baseball Softball family is anxiously awaiting the process to next year’s IOC session just prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, that will decide which new sporting events will be included at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Baseball and Softball — top sports in Japan — as well as other sports have been in discussions with Tokyo 2020 Games organisers and the IOC on the new process to include extra sporting events as part of the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reforms.

U18 Global Launching Pad for Stars of the Future

The WBSC U18 Baseball World Cup, along with its continental qualifiers, have featured some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Canada’s Brett Lawrie, Japan’s Yu Darvish, South Korea’s Shin-soo Choo, Cuba’s Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman, and USA’s Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Buster Posey, among countless others. The most recent generation of rising stars include Cuba’s Yoan Moncada, Jorge Soler, USA’s Francisco Lindor, Canada’s Dalton Pompey and Japan’s Shohei Ohtani and Shintaro Fujinami.

World No. 2 USA will be entering the U18 Baseball World Cup — the highest competition platform that features baseball’s most elite players in this age group — as the two-time defending U18 World Champions.

In addition to the U18 Baseball World Cup, the 2015 WBSC official international calendar includes the Men’s Softball World Championship and Pan American Games, both in Canada; the U12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Chinese Taipei; the U19 Women’s Softball World Championship in Oklahoma City, USA; the inaugural Premier 12™ Pro Championship, co-hosted by Japan and Chinese Taipei; and the historic Europe vs Japan Series that took place last month at the Tokyo Dome.

Source: www.ibaf.org

Chris Lane trial: Chancey Luna found guilty of murder

Guilty of murder: Chancey Luna. Photo: AP

Guilty of murder: Chancey Luna. Photo: AP

An Oklahoma jury has found 17-year-old Chancey Luna guilty of the first-degree murder of Australian baseball player Chris Lane.

The jury also decided Luna should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Luna shot Mr Lane in the back with a .22 calibre revolver as the Melbourne-raised athlete was jogging along a street in Duncan, Oklahoma, on August 16, 2013.

A jury took just one hour to find the teenager guilty of the first-degree murder and agreed he should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mr Lane’s devastated parents Peter and Donna and sisters Erin, Andrea and Jennifer had court staff in the Stephens County Courthouse in tears after they took turns reading gut-wrenching victim impact statements from the witness box after the verdict.

Luna showed no emotion at the jury’s verdict or the Lane family’s pain.

However, as he left the court and was led to the adjacent jail, Luna told reporters he was “sorry”.

“This naughty boy is never going to do this to any other family,” Donna Lane said after the verdict.

As well as deciding if Luna was guilty of first-degree murder, the jury of seven men and five woman were asked to decide if the teenager should ever have the chance at parole.

He could have been eligible for parole in 38 years.

They swiftly decided he should live the rest of his life behind bars.

District Court Judge Ken Graham is expected to confirm the sentence in his Duncan courtroom on June 16.

Luna was 16 years old and riding in the back seat of a Ford Focus with two teenage friends on August 16, 2013 when he pointed a .22 calibre revolver out the window and fired a bullet into 22-year-old Mr Lane’s back.

Mr Lane had been jogging along the side of the road. He gasped for breath and died minutes later.

Mr Lane had a scholarship to play baseball at an Oklahoma university.

AAP

Liam Hendriks finds role in relief for Blue Jays

Off to a good start with Toronto

Off to a good start with Toronto (KIM KLEMENT/USA TODAY Sports files)

By Mike Rutsey/Toronto Sun

TORONTO – Liam Hendriks appears to have found a new lease on life in the Blue Jays bullpen.

The former starter, who posted terrific numbers in the minor leagues, had been pounded after being elevated to the major leagues. A strike-throwing machine, Hendriks’ stuff didn’t play well at the big league level. In a combined 39 big league appearances with three teams, 34 of them starts, Hendriks had gone 3-15 with a bloated 5.92 ERA.

In the bullpen, though, Hendriks has found a new home. In three games (4.2 IP) this season entering play Wednesday, Hendriks has allowed just two hits and zero runs. He is also producing a number of swings and misses and has seven strikeouts against one walk.

As a starter, Hendriks would sit 90-91 while his off-speed stuff lacked movement and bite. He got ripped.

Since moving to the bullpen, Hendriks is humping it in 93-94 and touching 96 on occasion. The biggest difference is with his slider, which has some nasty downward movement.

“I’ve added a couple of miles to both my fastball and my slider,” Hendriks said. “The bullpen is more, let it rip, go as hard as you can as long as you can and it plays into my mindset pretty well.

“The biggest difference is my slider’s been a little harder, has a little bit more depth.”

Often when a pitcher tries to add miles to his fastball he loses command and it goes all over the place. Hendriks has been able to amp it up and keep it in the strike zone.

“It seems to be getting on some guys, they’re not making solid contact. It’s either weak contact into the ground or pop ups,” the right-hander said.

He has impressed manager John Gibbons.

“I love it, everything’s just a little bit better,” Gibbons said of his stuff. “As a starter he wasn’t really overpowering. Now he’s coming out of the bullpen, and he’s always been a strike thrower, and turns it up a little bit. I think he likes it and it’s a good role for him. I like the way it looks, yeah. The results have been there.”

Adelaide’s Troy Weinert joins Stuttgart Reds as 2nd Import

weinert4The Stuttgart Reds have signed former college player Troy Weinert as second import player for the 2015 season. He joins starting pitcher Eric Massingham as second new player on the roster. Weinert is from Australia and is supposed to strengthen the offense.

Source:mister-baseball.com

AAA & AA – Beresford, Holdzkom, Kennelly, Saupold

Off to strong start

James Beresford is off to an encouraging season’s first week

Twins’ James Beresford has started the 2015 season strongly with the Rochester Red Wings and again has claimed the right to be seriously considered for promotion to the Majors during the 2015 season.   In his first week the 26yr old has appeared in 4 games and is hitting .400 after 10ABs.

Coming out of the bullpen the Pirates’ John Holdzkom has thrown a scoreless inning in each of 3 games this first week allowing only 1H whilst striking out 3 for the Indianapolis Indians.

After 3 games with the Gwinnett Braves catcher Matt Kennelly is hitting .333.

Tigers’ Warwick Saupold would no doubt like to forget his first game of the 2015 season when he gave up 6 runs in 4 innings in his return to the AA Erie SeaWolves.   Fortunately for Warwick his team mates slowly clawed back the runs needed to save Warwick from having to wear a loss.   No doubt hoping to improve on his 5.01ERA from last season with the SeaWolves he won’t want too many outings like this one this week.

Allan de San Miguel is on the 7day DL.

Chris Lane: accused admits shooting baseball player, but says it was accident

Lawyer for 17-year-old Chancey Luna tells court that defendant fired gun in order to scare jogger, but did not plan the act

LaneThe Australian baseball player Chris Lane was shot accidentally, the defence lawyer for 17-year-old Chancey Luna has told an Oklahoma jury.

“He shot the gun to scare the jogger,” Luna’s lawyer Jim Berry said in his opening statement in Duncan district court on Tuesday. “I believe that will be the evidence.”

Luna is charged with the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Lane. Berry said there was no plan or premeditation from Luna to shoot the Australian.

The assistant district attorney Cortnie Siess told the jury Luna deliberately pointed a .22-calibre revolver and shot Lane in the back as he jogged along a street in Duncan in August 2013.

“He intentionally pulled that trigger,” Siess said. “He hit Christopher Lane in the back.”

Lane’s Oklahoma girlfriend, Sarah Harper, was the first witness called and wept when she told the court how she heard there had been a “drive-by” shooting nearby but did not think Lane was involved until police came to her work.

“They said he was shot and he did not make it,” Harper, whose parents live in Duncan, said.
The trial continues.

Source: The Guardian

Balfour, Hendriks both steady in opening week

There's no "C" in Hendriks Sportsnet

There’s no “C” in Hendriks Sportsnet

With the 2015 season now 1 week old the two Aussie major leaguers saw some limited action with Grant Balfour appearing in 3 games, 2 against Baltimore and another against the Marlins for a total of 1.2 innings for 0R,  2H, 1BB.   Grant was of course lacking some Spring Training match practice having travelled to Sydney to be with his ailing father who died last month.

Liam Hendriks moved to the bullpen this year and appeared in 2 games against Baltimore throwing a scoreless inning in his first outing and 2 scoreless innings in the 2nd.   Encouragingly he struck out 4 in his 2nd outing with 0H, 0BB.

There is a small issue of the correct spelling of Liam’s surname when not just once, but twice an embarrassing error was made by Canadian broadcaster, Sportsnet. The first time he headed to the mound this year, the broadcaster put up a stats graphic that had a misspelling of his surname.  They did it again on his 2nd outing.   Here’s hoping 3rd time lucky for Liam.

Maybe next time they will get it right

Maybe next time they will get it right

College Watch – Brennen’s Last-Inning Heroics Leads Buffs to 10-8 Victory at Eastern New Mexico

Max Brennen

Max Brennen

PORTALES, N.M. – With a 3-2 count in the top of the seventh and two out, West Texas A&M senior Max Brennen came up with a two triple to left field and senior Johnny Gaines belted a RBI single for a 10-8 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Eastern New Mexico. With the win, WT improved to 25-13 on the year and 16-9 in Lone Star Conference play, while ENMU fell to 11-22 and 7-15 in league play.brennan12

For the game, the Buffs were led by junior Josh Day who went 3 for 3 with four runs scored and one RBI. Brennen was 2 for 3 with a run scored and three RBI including the go ahead RBI triple which was the first triple of the season for him and the first three-bagger of his career.

Box Score

Read Article WTA@M

The death of Australian baseball player Chris Lane has had such an impact on locals it could take four days to select a jury

Killed ... Chris Lane was out jogging when shot in the back. Picture: AP Photo/East Central University Source: AP

Killed … Chris Lane was out jogging when shot in the back. Picture: AP Photo/East Central University Source: AP

THE death of Australian baseball player Chris Lane has had such an impact on locals it could take four days to select a jury.

About 400 potential jurors have been summoned for jury duty.

Lane’s death shocked locals so much that the lawyer for Chancey Luna, the boy prosecutors allege pulled the trigger, fears he will not get an impartial jury.

It was just before 3pm on a scorching August day in 2013 when Lane set off for a jog along Country Club Road in the southern Oklahoma city of Duncan.

Chancey Luna pictured left and Michael Jones right ... Luna allegedly pulled the trigger. Picture: AP/Sue Ogrocki Source: AP

Chancey Luna pictured left and Michael Jones right … Luna allegedly pulled the trigger. Picture: AP/Sue Ogrocki Source: AP

Lane, 22, had a baseball scholarship at Oklahoma’s East Central University and was visiting girlfriend Sarah Harper at her home in the rural city of 23,000.

As Lane approached an intersection in an affluent area of Duncan a bullet from a .22 calibre revolver was fired into the Australian’s back.

The bullet collapsed both lungs, fractured two ribs and tore through his aorta and pulmonary artery.

Lane collapsed on the side of the road.

A 911 phone call made by a frightened Duncan local, Joyce Smith, who saw Lane covered in blood gives insight into the terrible last seven minutes of Lane’s life.

On Monday Luna will be escorted by sheriffs into Duncan’s Stephens County courthouse for his first-degree murder trial.

Locals devastated ... A memorial to Christopher Lane was erected in 2013 along the road where he was shot and killed. Picture: AP/Sue Ogrocki Source: Supplied

Locals devastated … A memorial to Christopher Lane was erected in 2013 along the road where he was shot and killed. Picture: AP/Sue Ogrocki Source: Supplied

Luna was 16 when he allegedly murdered Lane.

If found guilty he faces life in prison without the prospect of parole.

There are many theories in Duncan why Lane was shot.

“They wanted to be Billy Bob Badasses,” Duncan police chief Danny Ford told AAP in the days after the shooting.

“They” are Luna and his two teenage mates, James Edwards who was 15 at the time of Lane’s death, and Michael Jones, then 17.

Chief Ford said one of the boys admitted, “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody”.

Edwards has become a prosecution witness and is expected to testify at the trial, which could last 10 days.

Edwards had a murder charge replaced by an accessory count.

In evidence at a preliminary hearing last year Edwards said Jones was driving a Ford Focus, he was in the front passenger seat rolling a joint and Luna was in the back seat.

Edwards said they saw a man jogging on the side of the road, the car accelerated and veered near the jogger and to his surprise a gun was fired from the back seat.

“Who shot the gun?” assistant district attorney Leah Edwards asked.

“Mr Luna,” Edwards replied.

St Therese’s Church, Essendon ... The Funeral for Lane in 2013. Picture: Coppel Alex Source: News Limited

St Therese’s Church, Essendon … The Funeral for Lane in 2013. Picture: Coppel Alex Source: News Limited

Edwards testified Luna later handed Jones the gun and said, “I thought there were supposed to be blanks in the gun,” and Jones replied, “Me, too”.

Luna’s lawyers, cousins Jim and Howard Berry, told reporters Edwards’ evidence pointed to an accidental shooting.

Last month Jones entered a guilty plea to second degree murder and was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 38 years.

A fourth defendant, Oddesse Barnes, 23, who was given the handgun after the shooting, pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and is eligible for release in 12 years.

Edwards hasn’t been sentenced.

Source: News.com.au

Perth Metro Central take out the Inaugural AJLC

perthcentralSURFERS PARADISE, QLD — After becoming the first Australian Little League team to participate in the Little League World Series, Perth Metro Central made history again as the first Junior team to win the inaugural Australian Junior League Championships, presented by Rawlings.

“We’ve got six players from that World Series team that went … and so yeah it’s been a pleasure to work with them,” Head Coach Wayne Sheldon said. “They’re getting stronger, they’re getting faster, they’re getting fitter.”

Despite trailing early, the Firebirds battled back in the late innings and defeated Perth Metro North 8-4 in the event’s grand final. The win earned them the right to represent Australia at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Junior Championships in Saipan in June.

“It wasn’t just today that we played well, it was all the other games that got us to this game,” winning pitcher Maverick Hamilton said. Perth Metro Central went 6-0 overall in the tournament and began the day with a dominant 12-3 win over Manly in the morning semifinals.

In the afternoon grand final, the Northern Metros, history-makers in their own right as the first Australian team to win a game at the Little League World Series, scored one run apiece in the first three innings while holding Metro Central scoreless. The Firebirds got on the board in the top of the fourth inning, scoring two runs to pull within one of their inner-city rival.

Metro North added another run in the bottom of the same frame and the score stood at 4-2 heading into the fateful fifth inning, when the Firebirds ignited for four runs to take a 6-4 lead. Evan Perera and Jake Sheldon drove in two runs apiece for Metro Central, which added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh frame to secure the 8-4 win.

Hamilton, a member of the Firebirds 2013 Little League team, earned the win after tossing 4-2/3 inning of strong relief, striking out six batters and allowing just one run on three hits.

“I was hoping that I could get a win, and I wasn’t nervous towards the end because I got the last out at the 2012 Little League championships, so I was just relaxed,” Hamilton said.

While preparing to face off against the rest of Asia in June will be a challenge, Sheldon knows his team is ready to once again represent Australia on a global stage.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work,” Sheldon said. “[But it’s] going to be fun, it’s going to be a good experience. I’m looking forward to it and I know these guys will be too.”

“I don’t even know where this Saipan place is but I know I’m looking forward to it,” Hamilton said. “Being to the World Series, that was fun. … I’m hoping it will be just as good if not better.”

Source: Baseball Australia Media

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