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GROUP STAGE RECAP / FINALS PREVIEW: South Australia impressive in Australian School Championships
05/02/2018 9:08 PM ET
 

South Australia are in the driver's seat after Group Play at the 2018 Australian School Championships. 

The host team is impressive. In their five games they have allowed only four runs and have put up a staggering 35. In most games everyone in the starting line up has reached at least once. 

"It's a total team effort," said catcher Mason Clavell after a group stage win. "Everyone has a job to do and they just go and do it."

It must be helpful to have nine players who have won either a National Senior League title, and U18 title or both. Plus, South Australia has five players who saw time with the Bite including Curtis Mead who hit .373 in the Australian Baseball League.

Mead has been off to a ridiculous start this tournament. He is third in batting average but leads the tournament in hits, stolen bases, runs scored, triples, total bases and RBIs.

But the attack goes beyond just one player. That's what makes this team so special.

"We're made up of a team of great players and everyone can produce," said coach Scott Gladstone after the game.

In fact, South Australia has four players in the top 5 in terms of batting average. Take a look:

1. Dante Caruso, Victoria - .444
2. Carey McLeod, SA - .417
3. Curtis Mead, SA - .412
4. Blake Farr, SA - .400
5. Sean Maple, SA - .385 

Players like Carey McLeod and Sean Maple have really stepped up defensively too.

"I thought I got off to a tough start to the tournament but the guys around me really picked me up," says McLeod. "It's great to be part of."

Beyond the stat leaders pretty much every player has made a contribution to the team. It's a big effort across the board. 

South Australia's defense has been fantastic too. They have the lowest team ERA, highest fielding percentage and least errors.

So what happens now? South Australia has finished in first place and will now play two games on Friday vs. the second place finishers New South Wales and third place finishers Queensland. 

Each team plays each other once on Friday.

The top two teams will play in a 12PM Grand Final on Saturday. If South Australia get to that game they will be going for their first ever Australian School Boy Championship win.

Head coach Scott Gladstone knows these games won't be easy and there is a lot of work to do.

"These are really good teams. The competition is so close. To be honest in our first games against [QLD and NSW] we had a lot of good things go our way. We're going to need to be on to win," he says. 

It's likely South Australia just needs one win to get to the Grand Final but they may need two. If South Australia fails to win a game they will be eliminated.

All in and all it should be an exciting day of baseball on Friday. Here is the schedule:

9:30AM - New South Wales vs Queensland

12PM - South Australia vs. Queensland

2:30PM - South Australia vs. New South Wales 

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GAMES SUMMARY

Game 1 - South Australia 9, Queensland 0 - Will Korteekas pitched 7 shutout inning and South Australia used a full team attack to get the tournament started with a win. Game story. 

Game 2 - South Australia 5, New South Wales 0 - In a battle of the two pre-tournament favourites pitcher Kynan Skein took a no hitter into the sixth. Game story. 

Game 3 - South Australia 5, Victoria 4 - Sean Maple was outstanding defensively while Jasper Clark had a walk-off bases loaded fielders choice in the seventh to give South Australia a gritty win. Game Story. 

Game 4 - South Australia 14, Western Australia 0 - South Australia clinched top spot with a clinical display over Western Australia. Curtis Mead had two triples and Mason Clavell had three hits. Game Story. 

Game 5 - South Australia 5, ACT 3 - Carey McLeod went 3-4 and South Australia once again used some great defense to beat a plucky ACT side. Game story. 

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