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Aussie connections abound in WBC qualifiers
Eleven players with roots Down Under playing now
09/21/2012 10:44 AM ET
Brisbane's Matt Roxburgh is manning first base for Great Britain in WBC qualifiers.
Brisbane's Matt Roxburgh is manning first base for Great Britain in WBC qualifiers. (SMP Images)
SYDNEY, 21 September - Though the finals are still six months away, the third World Baseball Classic has kicked off across the globe. With qualifiers underway in Germany and the United States, 11 players with Aussie connections are taking part.

If you're looking for a team to barrack for in these first rounds of the WBC qualifiers you might be surprised to find five players on the Czech Republic team are products of the MLB Australian Academy: catcher Martin Cervenka attended in 2010, 2B Jakub Hajtmar in 2007, OF Matej Hejma in 2008, RHP Marek Minarik in 2010 and 1B/DH Jakub Sladek in 2008.

French outfielder Frederic Hanvi attended the MLBAAP in 2008 and South African infielder Brett Willemburg in 2001.

Two Australians are playing for their ancestral homes with the Blue Sox' Alessio Angelucci roaming the outfield for South Africa and the Bandits Matt Roxburgh holding down the same position for Great Britain.

Two Australian Baseball League players have suited up in this round with the Cavalry's Donald Lutz at 1B/OF for Germany and Robbie Widlansky, who played for the Perth Heat in 2010, in the outfield for Israel.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.