By Pierre LaBossiere
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Baseball might be well down the list of favorite sports in Australia, but Australians showed that their best young players can more than hold their own against American counterparts.
Australia Black, which has some players on the Australian U19 World Cup squad won the tournament, beating Australia Red 11-1 in the championship game Sunday night. Australia Red went 4-1 in the tournament going into that championship game.
Australia Black won the tournament with relative ease, except for one game. They had to scratch and claw to eke out a hard-fought 3-2 win over Wilder on Sunday afternoon, the only real close game Black had the whole weekend.
In that game, Wilder’s Brody Merritt pitched a masterpiece, going six innings and giving up five hits and no walks while allowing zero earned runs. Wilder was undone by three unearned runs in the first inning however. Australia Black’s Cooper Morgan allowed one earned run in six innings, on five hits and four walks.
That win vaulted Australia Black into Sunday evening’s championship game against their counterparts, who qualified by beating Centerfield 14-3 earlier in the day.
The Australia Black team won the tournament in cool, drizzly weather much of the weekend, something they are not generally used to in Australian summers. They saw even colder and wetter weather during the weekend on a quick excursion between games up to Hurricane Ridge.
“I don’t mind [the rain],” said Chase Karn, an outfielder for Australia Black. “This is lovely.”
Karn, who hails from the state of New South Wales, was impressed with the baseball he saw from the American teams — Wilder, Centerfield from Woodland and Lakeside from Bellevue/Issaquah.
“The quality of baseball here is at such a higher level,” Karn said. He also was impressed at how much baseball they play here.
“We play one or two games a week. Here, we’re playing 33 games in a month,” he said.
This is Blake Cavill’s second time playing in the U.S. with a traveling Australian team, but first trip with Australia Black. Cavill, also of
Cavill said he was impressed with how the U.S. teams just keep coming at you, even if they are way down. “The way they play … they never give up,” he said. “And they play lots of small ball.”
“They’re good at small ball. Bunts, base hits,” said Karn.
Karn, who will be playing college baseball at Albany State University in New York stayed with April and Jason Seibel, who have kids playing on both Wilder and Wilder Jr. He called them “lovely host family. You’re making friends for life. It’s a connection for life.”
Wilder went 2-3 in the tournament, losing to Australia Black 3-2 (box score included) and Australia Red 5-2. They beat Australia White 8-2, lost to Centerfield 5-2 and beat Lakeside 3-2.
Wilder is next playing this weekend at the Clackamas Tournament in Oregon on Thursday.
Aust. Black 3, Wilder 2
Wilder 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2 5 4
AB 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 x — 3 5 2
WP: Morgan LP: Merritt
Wilder — Merritt 5IP, 3H, 0ER, 5K, 0BB; Woods 1IP, 2H, 0BB.
Australia Black — Morgan 6IP, 5, ER, 2K, 4BB; Nicoletto 1IP, 0H, 0BB.
Wilder — Whitman 2-3, RBI; Wood 1-3, RBI, BB; Adams 1-3, R; Bradow 1-3; Bowen 0-1, 2HBP.