Almanac Baseball: U18 World Cup

The WBSC U18 World Cup has just wrapped up in Korea with Taiwan (officially known as Chinese Taipei) beating the USA in the gold medal match to take their third crown as world champions and end the Americans’ run after taking the last four titles. Australia lost the bronze medal game to the hosts. It was a great tournament from a fan’s perspective as we got to watch emerging talent via every game being broadcast on YouTube. If only every tournament was run in the same manner. I could watch anywhere I liked and it made it easy to tune in specifically to see my nephew, Jack Lee, on the occasions when he was pitching relief.


The tournament kicked off with 2 pools of 6 teams. Australia topped its pool and had the distinct advantage of going into the “Super 6” stage being the only side to have 2 wins on the board from their pool opponents (Canada and Korea). The 3 teams that advanced from the other pool (Taiwan, USA, Japan) shared the spoils at a win a piece. Australia suffered a heartbreaking walk-off loss to the Americans and a gritty win over the Japanese but they were thumped by the Taiwanese. It was after watching that game that I felt the boys from Taipei really were the best team there. They absolutely pumped our boys in all aspects and made a team that had previously look a contender, suddenly seem second rate. In the final, they had the measure of the USA early on and played with control and finesse to secure a tight one run win.


It is a pity that no Australian player made the World Team announced at the end of the tournament. Two of our hitters, Jaylin Rae and Chris Burke, were among the very best with Chris hitting two more doubles than any other player (a stat I always use to judge hitters). On the pitching front, Brandan Bidois got 2 wins at 1.38 ERA and one of our starters, William Sherriff, ended up with a loss and an ERA of 4.05 but was far better than those stats suggest in my opinion. The quality and depth of the pitching roster drew praise from many observers. Offensively, too, our boys racked up some great numbers. Our in-fielding let us down in this tournament. Too many times, ground balls that should have been simple outs were not converted. We allowed runners to get on base quickly in some innings that really built up the pressure on our boys on the mound. They will learn from this experience and work on issues to make them better players. We have quite a few who have already been offered places at US colleges or even with teams in the majors, so the state of Australian baseball is healthy and on the up.


One of those kids going to college is my nephew. Jack pitched a total of 5.2 innings over 4 appearances for a very respectable ERA of 1.59. He showed great control and variety – the two main attributes most look for in pitchers. He was part of a great team effort and was proud as punch to be wearing the green and gold. To him and the rest of the team, I want them to know there is a dedicated baseball fraternity in this country who are very proud of them. With the depth of talent emerging here it will only be a matter of time before we break through for our first World Cup.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

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