Related News

Home » Sports » Baseball

Underdog Aussies expect WBC surprise

AUSTRALIA can cause a huge upset and win the World Baseball Classic, catcher Andrew Graham said after the tournament underdogs trounced Mexico in their opening game.

"We came into this tournament knowing we can win this," Graham said after his team crushed Mexico 17-7 on Sunday. "It's not back 10 years ago where we were just trying to gain respect."

Australia, long regarded a baseball backwater, outhit Mexico 22-12 and registered four home runs to leave manager Jon Deeble in no doubt it had made great strides since the WBC tournament three years ago when it crashed out with a 0-3 record.

Deeble said much of the team's improvement was due to a partnership with Major League Baseball to improve youth development where big league instructors tutor Australians aged 16-18 in a two-month, live-in baseball camp every year.

"Without that, baseball in our country would be dead," Deeble said.

Twelve players on the national team graduated from the program, Deeble said, including Richard Thompson, who played as a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels in 2007 and 2008.

Although baseball remains on the margins well behind cricket, rugby and Australian rules football, many big league teams now have scouts in Australia where American gold miners introduced the game in the 1850s.

"It's not the No. 1 sport in our country. It's the No. 10 sport," Deeble said.

The Aussies next test in the WBC tournament will be against the highly rated Cuba. "We're not afraid of them," Deeble added. "Everybody keeps underestimating this team, and we keep knocking off the big boys."

On Monday, Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs and a double as Mexico eliminated South Africa 14-3.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yadier Molina's go-ahead double keyed a three-run rally in the eighth inning as Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 3-1 to advance to the second round on Monday.

The Netherlands pulled off a major upset in its tournament opener Saturday, beating the Dominican Republic 3-2.

In Toronto, some hitting tips from batting coach Mike Piazza helped Chris Denorfia and Italy to a big 6-2 win over Canada.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend