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Talking Championships with Warwick Saupold
10/02/2012 2:02 PM ET
Warwick Saupold, Lakeland Flying Tigers.
Warwick Saupold, Lakeland Flying Tigers. (MLB.com)

Perth's Warwick "Wazza" Saupold recently completed a fantastic debut season in the Detroit Tigers organisation, pitching for the Lakeland Flying Tigers. The icing on the cake was his performance in Game 5 of the Florida State League championship series against the Jupiter Hammerheads, in which Saupold pitched his team to a 2-0 victory. The 3-2 series win was Lakeland's first since 1992.

ABLBUZZ wanted to know how the whole US experience went for Wazza, so we fired a few questions his way. "Fresh" from his long flight back to Perth, Warwick was kind enough to fight off the jet lag and crawl out from under his doona to help us out. Read on and learn!

ABLBUZZ: Wazza, how did you find your first taste of playing in the Detroit Organisation?

Warwick Saupold: I enjoyed the whole experience. It took a lot of getting used to, from long roadtrips to getting the body feeling healthy every outing. I think I did a bit too much at the start of the year and kind of wore myself out. Now I know that it is such a long year and I have to keep my body as fresh as possible. The Detroit organisation has been great to me in my first year.

AB: What was your biggest surprise?

WS: It would have to be just how good some of the players are. There are some very talented players in the minors, from guys that throw 100mph to guys that hit towering homeruns.

AB: A championship in your first season - as a Perth player, I guess it is just par for the course to win everything??

WS: Haha. I can tell you one thing that being part of the Perth team the last few years really helped me, because I knew how to win but also how to lose. I spoke to a lot of the boys over there and they gave me great advice. They would always remind me to be myself and not to try and do too much. I really must thank MK,TK,Hughesy and Wisey for their advice.

AB: Did your experience in pitching big games with the Heat help you in the championship games??

WS: It sure did, it put me in a good frame of mind. The first championship game was just one that didn't go my way. I just didn't put myself in a good position to be successful. In game five of the series I thought back to what made me successful in Oz, getting ahead and trusting my stuff. Take every pitch as if it is your last. Keep the ball down and change speeds. (Ed - it worked pretty well as Wazza worked seven innings, giving up just 3 hits, striking out 5 and giving up no runs in a 2-0 win.)

AB: I read that you are being shut down until sometime around Christmas - was that a decision made by the Tigers, and if so is that a frustration with the ABL season coming up?

WS: The Tigers haven't officially shut me down. I am going to take a couple months off. My body felt pretty average at the start of August, so I spoke to my pitching coach in Lakeland (Mike Maroth) who played in the big leagues with the Tigers. I also spoke to Dave Owen the Minor league coordinator. They gave me great feedback, so it was a mutual decision to not pitch competitively for a couple of months.

AB: What will you get up to until Christmas baseball wise?

WS: I'll stay away from baseball activities for a couple weeks, then start getting in the gym again and running. The Tigers have a great offseason program they have given to me to work through. Throwing wise, I will aim for mid -December to get back on the mound in games for the Heat.

AB: What did you miss most, being away from home??

WS: Definitely my family and friends. My parents really helped me throughout the year. When I had a bad outing, they would always help me forget about it and move on. I also missed AFL footy. It was good to see the Fremantle Dockers make finals this year. (Ed - if you follow Wazza on Twitter you will know his passion for the Dockers. He was rightly upset at Matty Pavlich's ridiculous omission from the All-Australian squad!)

AB: Did you get any casting calls for "Dancing with the Stars" in the US, given your mad skillz on the dance floor?

WS: Haha - I didn't unfortunately, but there was another guy on my team in Lakeland - Alex Burgos - who would also love to bust some dance moves in the clubhouse, so I wasn't alone!

AB: Cheers for the chat mate, best of luck for the upcoming season and congrats on a magnificent start to your US career.

WS: Thanks to the ABLBUZZ for the support this year.

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