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South Australia open School Championships with 9-0 win
04/30/2018 2:55 AM ET
 (Laura Bond)

It was close until it wasn't.

South Australia raced to a 9-0 win over Queensland in the opening game of the 2018 Australian School Championships at West Beach on Monday afternoon. 

But it wasn't as easy as the scoreline may suggest.

Queensland was only down 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning and were threating to score some runs. They had back-to-back singles with one out to put a runner on first and second. 

Pressure may have been mounting for South Aussie starter Will Kortekaas but you would never know it. A relaxed Kortekaas induced a shallow fly ball and a strike out to get the hosts of a jam.

That was indicative of Korkekaas all afternoon - stable, solid, steady, calm, cool and collected. Use any adjective you want. Will was wonderous on Monday afternoon.

"I try to stay as relaxed as I can out there," said Kortekaas after the game. "I get frustrated when I give up those hits as I think any pitcher does so for me it's about refocusing and moving on to the next batter."

Kortekaas turned in 7-innings-pitched with six strike outs, six hits and no walks. He kept Queensland at bay and waited for the South Aussie bats to explode. 

And boy did those bats go boom.

South Australia put up seven runs in the sixth inning to push the score to 9-0 and it was all over from there. Sean Maple and Blake Farr each had a pair of hits and RBIs and Mason Clavell cashed in two runs on his only hit of the day. Harry Knuckey also had two hits in the lead-off spot. 

In total South Australia had nine hits across six batters while every single player in the starting line up was on base at some point.

"We've got a really good mix of players on the team. A lot of players on the team have won a national championships so we've been here before," says Kortekaas.

It was just the start to the tournament the home team needed. South Australia are title contenders in this tournament featuring the best school boy players across the country. Their line up has nine players from the Under 18 gold medal team and five members of the Adelaide Bite. 

South Australia came out of the gate guns-a-blazing. A steady first inning from Kortekaas on the mound set the stage for the South Aussies to string together a pair of runs in the first inning.

Bite players Harry Knuckey and Curtis Mead reached and U-18 star Blake Farr doubled both of them home. 

Kortekaas hit the first batter he faced but went in cruise control the rest of the way before being replaced by Aussie McClure in the eighth. 

On the other side of the coin, Max Watson was excellent in limiting a very talented SA line up. He allowed two runs in just five innings of play while striking out four.

However, it all unraveled for Watson in the sixth. A walk and an error put two South Aussies aboard and Mason Clavell up to bat. The strong Bite catcher clubbed one to the outfield that scored the pair and gave South Australia all the insurance they needed.

Then they just piled it on. Maple and Knuckey each drove home runs and South Australia benefited from a few hit batters and errors from Queensland. 

"It feels good to get the first one of the way," said Kortekaas. "We expect to be able to compete with anyone so this one feels good."

With one win in as many games, South Australia turns their attention to their double header tomorrow vs. New South Wales (2-0) and Victoria (1-1). 

Defending champion New South Wales are pegged as the team to beat this competition so South Australia will be looking to make a statement. The Top 3 teams make the finals so every game is important. 

STANDINGS - AFTER DAY 1

1. New South Wales 2-0
2. South Australia 1-0
3. Victoria 1-1
4. Western Australia 1-1
5. Queensland 0-1
6. ACT 0-2

MONDAY SCHEDULE

New South Wales vs. South Australia, 8:30AM - West Beach
Victoria vs. South Australia, 12PM - Glenelg. 

OTHER SCORES

Western Australia 2, Victoria 0
New South Wales 6, ACT 1
Victoria def. ACT
New South Wales 17, Western Australia 3

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