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Team Australia bows out of WBC
Sox boys do us proud at World Baseball Classic
03/13/2017 6:35 AM ET
 

Team Australia's run at the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) may have come to an end, but the elimination didn't come without a fight. In their pool against Japan, China and Cuba Australia finished third having won one game and lost two. Sydney Blue Sox's own Todd Van Steensel, Trent D'Antonio and Lachlan Wells all had their World Baseball Classic debuts.

Pre-Tournament Tour

In the lead up to the first round, Southern Thunder had a pre-tournament tour in both Korea and Osaka, Japan. They first visited Korea in which they enjoyed an 8-0 win against Hongik University. Midway through the Korean leg Blue Sox's very own Trent D'Antonio and Perth Heat's Tom Bailey were added to the 28-man roster to replace Liam Hendricks and Mike Walker. The final leg of the Korean tour saw Australia go down 8-3 to Korea. From there, Team Australia moved on to do a tour of Osaka. Game One saw the boys go down 0-3 against the Hanshin Tigers. The team then reassembled to take on Orix Buffaloes in which they wrapped up the pre-tournament tour with a tie.

WBC Game One vs. Japan

Australia's first opponent at the WBC was World #1 Japan at the Tokyo Dome. Southern Thunder started off the game with Allan de San Miguel getting a solo home run with two out to put Australia in a 1-0 lead heading into the third inning.

Left handed pitcher Lachlan Wells took over from former New South Welshman Tim Atherton. Wells entered the game in the top of fifth keeping Japan's run count to zero. Wells pitched an outstanding two innings for no runs, no walks and two strike outs - a perfect two innings of not giving up base runners.

Japan started their run count in the fifth scoring off a deep fly ball to left field, a solo home run in the seventh and an RBI home run in the eighth. Australia were unable to get any more runs on the board in front of a crowd of over 41,000, respectfully losing the first game 4-1.

WBC Game Two vs. China

Game Two against China saw Australia walk off in the eighth with a 11-0 win by mercy. Illawarra born and raised D'Antonio was the lead batter of the night having one hit and two RBI's in his three at bats. Rooty Hill's Van Steensel entered the game during the seventh, he pitched one inning with two hits and one strikeout, keeping China to no runs despite having runners on third and second.

First baseman Luke Hughes started off the on-fire batting of the night with an into the stands, two-run home run to start off our lead 2-0 heading into the fourth. The designated hitter D'Antonio stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second during the fourth, hitting a two RBI triple to centre field, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Hughes backed up again to get a two-run double in the seventh to get six on the board for Australia. Back to back walks to have the bases loaded for Australia, second baseman James Beresford stepped up to the plate to hit the first pitch he saw down to right field, getting a home run. This grand slam got Australia the eleven runs to none mercy win.

WBC Game Three vs. Cuba 

The close final game of the first round was against World #5 Cuba. Both teams were scoreless until the fifth inning until Australian third baseman Logan Wade got a one run single with two out. Lachlan Wells came into the game during the fifth starting off with two consecutive strike outs before giving up a grand slam to have Cuba take the lead 1-4 in a gut-wrenching turn of events.

Former New South Welshman's Trent Oeltjen and Mitch Dening kept the ball rolling with Oeltjen getting a solo home run in the seventh and Dening with an RBI single to get Australia into a competitive 3-4 score. A few beautiful double plays were added to the long list throughout the tournament but Australia fell just short of the win they needed to move on to the second round of the Classic.

Classic wrap

We're incredibly proud of Team Australia's efforts from their defence, pitching staff and the power behind the bats. We extend special congratulations to our own Blue Sox players Van Steensel, D'Antonio and Wells on their impressive WBC debuts.

Despite the heartbreak of what has been a good run, this is not the end of Australia's history with the World Baseball Classic. The victory against China secured our automatic qualification for the 2021 World Baseball Classic - so the Southern Thunder will be back!

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