Saturday, November 17, 2007

Team USA progresses to Semi-Final Round

Aussies Fall to Japan, play consolation game on Friday

Trent Oeltjen
Trent Oeltjen

Korea 1 at USA 3

WP: Karstens (2-0) LP: Chang (1-1) SAVE:Stevens (1)
HR: USA: LaRoche

Team USA took an early lead and hung on to it to defeat Team Korea 3-1 in the first round of Semi Finals Friday.

Jayson Nix (Colorado)singled to lead off in the bottom of the first inning. Andy LaRoche (LA Dodgers) then went yard over the left field seats for his 3rd home run of the tournament.

Nix would lead off for USA in the 3rd as well, this time with a double. Following a walk to LaRoche, Nix would be plated by Steve Pearce's (Pittsburgh) single to left field.

Jeff Karstens (NY Yankees) would throw 7 innings for Team USA, striking out 7 and allowing 5 hits. Two of those hits came back-to-back in the 6th inning with Joo Chan Kim and Seaung Hwa Lee helping Korea to their sole run of the game.

Lee Gronkiewicz (Toronto) pitched the 8th while Jeff Stevens (Cleveland) mopped up in the 9th for the save.

Team USA will face the Netherlands in Tien-Mou Stadium on Saturday. Team Netherlands took a 6-3 win over Chinese Taipei, which may silence some of the doubters who felt that Cuba dumped their last game against the team to let the Dutchmen into the Semi-finals over Canada.

The game would go to through 11 innings, with Team Netherlands getting 4 runs in the final stanza to secure the win. Minnesota prospect Loek Van Mil pitched 3.2 innings for the Dutch, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2.

USA Baseball

Japan 3 at Australia 0

WP: Settsu (3-0) LP: T. Blackley (0-1)
HR: JPN: Chono

Things did not go so well for the Aussies, who were blanked by Team Japan, 3-0, in Friday's Quarterfinal Round.

Minnesota prospects Trent Oeltjen and Glenn Williams were both 1-for-4 in the game, while Luke Hughes was 0-for-3.

Williams and Brett Roneberg (Pittsburgh) hit back-to-back singles with 2 outs in the 3rd, but Hughes flew out to strand the men.

Team Japan would get their first run in the 3rd inning with 2 outs when Hisayoshi Chono went yard over the left field fence off Travis Blackley (San Francisco). Blackley would go on to pitch a total of 5.2 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4.

Another pair of back-to-back hits, this time by Tom Brice (Independent) and Williams in the bottom of the fourth with 1 out gave the Boys from Down Under a chance to tie the game, but Roneberg and Andrew Graham (Detroit) both flew out to finish the stanza. Brice last played state-side in 2006 for the St. Paul Saints.

Oeltjen's single came in the bottom of the 5th, but he went nowhere with it, as he was caught stealing.

Former Lakeland Flying Tiger Brendan Wise (Detroit) replaced Blackley with 2 outs and 2 men on base in the 6th, but got Kanichi Yokoyama to ground out to keep Japan at bay.

In the top of the 7th, Kenji Suzuki singled then advanced to 2nd on Tsutomo Sasaki's ground out. Kanya Suzuki would plate Kenji Suzuki with a single, but would then be taken down at 2nd base.

Michael Collins (LA Angels) came in as a pinch hitter for Team Australia in the bottom of the inning and singled with 1 out, but Hughes and Oeltjen both struck out to end the frame.

Adam Bright (Colorado) would replace Wise with one out in the top of the 7th and allowed a single to Toshiyaki Hayashi after getting Yasuyuki Saigo to ground out. Tristan Crawford (Minnesota) would then step on the mound to get the final out.

Crawford would stay on the mound for the start of the 9th, allowing a single to Sasaki, who would then advance to second when the umpires called a balk on Crawford. Takashi Yoshiura would be issued an intentional walk, and Kanya Suzuki would single to load the bases. Dushan Ruzic (Cincinnati) was called into the game to replace Crawford, and got Hisayoshi Chono to strik out, but then walked Yasuyaki Saigo to force in Japan's 3rd run of the game.

The Aussies will play a consolation match on Saturday against Team Mexico, which replaced Panama in the semi-final round after it was determined that 5 players on Team Panama did not have insurance coverage during 2 of the games, and were therefore ineligible to play. Team Cuba thumped the Mexican's 6-0 during their Quarter-final game.

Aussie Play-by-play
Australian Baseball

Tigres hang on to early lead for win

Oswaldo Sosa
Ozzie Sosa

Aragua 5 at Caribes 4

W: O. Sosa (2-0, 6.43); L: A. Herrera (4-1, 5.01); SV: F. Butto (7)
HR: ARA: L. Rodriguez (1). ORI: E. Alfonzo (4), J. Gerut (4), R. Washington (4).

Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) picked up his 2nd win for the Aragua Tigres, pitching 2 innings and allowing 1 run on 1 hit while striking out 1. Eliezer Alfonzo (San Francisco) homered to right center field off Sosa in the 6th inning, one of 3 home runs the Caribes put on the board. But Aragua took an early lead and manged to hang on to pick up the win.

All of the Tigres run came off Caribe's starter Alexander Herrera (F/A) who only lasted 2 innings. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) took a walk in the first with 1 out, then moved to 2nd on Mike Aviles' (Kansas City) ground ball single. Ruben Salazar's (F/A) line drive would score Rodriguez and a throwing error by Gorkys Hernandez (Atlanta) saw Salazar and Aviles pick up extra bases on the play. Martin Prada (Atlanta) would ground out, but that served to plate Aviles, giving the Cats 2.

Hernandez was part of the West Michigan Whitecaps team that captured the MWL title in 2007. He was traded from Detroit to the Braves at the end of the season.

Francisco Carabollo (Houston) doubled in the top of the 2nd then came in on an Alex Delgado (F/A) single. Following a Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) fly out, Rodriguez would homer to bring in 2 more.

Anzoategui started chipping way at the Cats lead in the bottom of the inning when Jody Gerut (F/A) drew a walk off Aragua starter Kyle Middleton (Houston) and came home on Alfonzo's double.

Gerut would hommer in the 4th off Middleton as well, while Rico Washington (St Louis) put one over the right field fence following Alfonzo's strike out, to add 2 to Caribe's total.

The 6th inning run off Sosa would be the last the Anzoategui squad would manage however. Jose Guanchez (F/A), Jason Karnuth (Detroit), Kevin Tolar (F/A) and Frank Butto (F/A) all combined to shut down home team.

The two teams play a twin bill on Saturday starting at 5:30 PM AST.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Phoenix stuns Surprise, 8-0

Craig Tatum

Phoenix 8 at Surprise 0

W: H. Penn (1-0, 6.45); L: A. Miller (0-2, 9.00)
HR: None.

The Phoenix Desert Dogs took a surprise shut out win over the Surprise Rafters Thursday afternoon, finishing off the regular AFL season. Both teams will play each other again on Saturday for the Championship.

Nyjer Morgan's (Pittsburgh) single was followed up by a walk to Cliff Pennington (Oakland). Nolan Reimold (Baltimore) hit his 4th double of the AFL season to score the pair, then came home when Ryan Sweeney (Chicago White Sox) doubled off Cleveland's Adam Miller to give the Dogs a 3 run lead to start the game.

They added to it in the 2nd inning when Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) reached on a throwing error by Sean Rodriguez (LA Angels). After Reimold was taken out on strikes, Sweeney hit his second double of the game to plate Getz.

Phoenix's Hayden Penn (Baltimore) allowed 5 hits and walked 1 while striking out 5 over 5 innings to pick up the win, his first of the season. Miller lasted only .1 of the first inning, giving way to Devon Lowery and Nate Hoelscher, both from the Kansas City Royals organization.

Pennington took a walk off Van Stertzbach (LA Angels) to start the sixth, then stole 2nd. Raul Padron (Oakland) would double to bring him in, making it 5-0 for Phoenix.

David Haehnel (Baltimore), James Simmons (Oakland) and Brad Kirby (Oakland) kept the Rafters off the board for the next 3 innings.

Reimold singled to start the top of the ninth. With one out Jason Delaney (Pittsburgh) singled and then Reimold came home when Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) doubled. Following a ground out by Matt Macri (Minnesota), Pennington would single to bring in Delaney and McCutchen. Baltimore's Jake Arrieta would mop up the bottom of the inning for Phoenix.

The big victory celebration though will have to wait until Saturday, as the Rafters are still full of surprises. Nick Blackburn (Minnesota) is expected to get the start for the Dogs in the championship game.

Scottsdale took an 11-4 win over the Peoria Javelinas to finish off the season for those two, and the Peoria Saguaros fell to the Mesa Solar Sox, 6-5.

I asked La Velle E. Neal III if he'd heard anything concrete about Trevor Plouffe's injury to which he responded "Plouffe strained a shoulder but is back playing." Well, you couldn't prove that by my boxscore. Perhaps he's at home, playing with his X-Box?

Plouffe finished off the season with 7 runs on 14 hits in 15 games (50 at bats) for a .280 average (.379 OPB/.360 SLG/.697 OPS), Macri had 13 runs on 26 hits in 28 games (101 at bats) for a .257 average (.315 OBP/.406 SLG/.721 OPS), and Drew Butera ended up with 4 runs on 8 hits in 12 games (32 at bats) for a .250 Average (.314 OPB/.313 SLG/.627 OPS).

Pitching wise, Blackburn finished up with 1.64 average and a .68 Whip, picking up a 4-0 record in 22 innings pitched, Edward Morlan had no earned runs charged to him, a 1-0 record, and a 1.11 whip in 12.2 innings. Ryan Mullins posted a 1-0 record with a 2.84 average, and a 1.11 whip in 19.0 innings, and Anthony Swarak finished up with a 1-1 record, a 2.05 ERA and a 1.09 whip in 22 innings pitched.

With the regular season ended, I'd like to thank Miracle blogger Ed Pelegrino for the Southern and Midwest League top prospect sets which provided much of the image material for the these game recaps. I hope I've managed to keep these reports at least somewhat entertaining for you.

One of these years I must really take a week off in November and go watch this league play.


Tigres take another win from los Bravos

vs los Bravos
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 3 at Margarita 2

W: C. Bailey (2-4, 3.82); L: M. Connolly (2-4, 3.64); SV: F. Butto (6)
HR: MAR: J. Thurston (1).

Los Tigres de Aragua kept rolling against the Bravos de Margarita, finishing up the 3 games series with 2 wins. The Cats took a 4th inning lead and managed hang on for the remainder of the game.

Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) and Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) would both draw walks off Michael Connolly (Kansas City) to start off the top of the 4th. Mike Aviles (Kansas City) hit a sac-bunt to move the pair. Connolly would then intentionall walk Ruben Salazar (F/A) to load the bases. A wild pitch would bring Cedeno home, and a ground out by Martin Pardo (Atlanta) would bring in Maza. Hector Gimenez (Houston) singled to bring in Salazar for a 3-0 lead.

Margarita took a run back in the bottom of the inning, with Rene Reyes (F/A) singling, and moving to 2nd on a wild pitch by Tigers starter Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs). A Frank Diaz (Washington) single would plate Reyes, while Diaz was taken out at 2nd trying to stretch the hit into a double. Margarita would threaten with walks to Miguel Monero (Arizona) and Julio Cordido (San Francisco) and a single by Alberto Gonzalez (NY Yankees) to load up the bases, but J.C. Boscan (Cincinnati) would fly out to end the inning.

Bailey would last for 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. He'd be replaced by Frank Mata (Minnesota) who pitched through the sixth, but ran into trouble in the 7th when Justin Thurston (F/A) homered out to left. Mata would have given up 2 hits in 1.2 innings on the mound.

The Tigres then turned to Bobby Korecky (Minnesota), who worked 1.1 inning, allowing only 1 hit.

Jose Mijares (Minnesota) would be brought in for the 9th getting Dennys Abreau (F/A) to ground out before giving way to Frank Butto (F/A), who ended the contest.

Ricky Barrett (Minnesota) pitched the 9th inning for the Braves, striking out 1.

Former Miracle Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) was 0-for-2, while Maza finished up 1-for-3 with 1 walk and 1 run. Alex Romero (Arizona) entered the game late as a pinch hitter, and then stayed in to play left field. He was 0-for-2 at the plate.

Los Tigres will now play 4 games over the next three days, all against the Caribes de Anzoategui, which leads the Venezuelan League standings. Aragua is in 3rd place, 6 games back from Caribes.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

USA places 1st, Aussies 2nd in respective divisions

Josh Hill
Josh Hill

USA 10 at Chinese Taipei 7

WP: Gronkiewicz (1-0) LP: Shen (0-1) SAVE:Booker (3)
HR: USA: Nix, (2) Ruggiano

Josh Outman (Philadelphia) struck out 8 over 5 innings, limiting hosts Chinese Taipei to 1 earned run on 3 hits to help Team USA to first place in the Group A Division standings.

Both teams played well, and the game was not determined until Team USA used a 3-run 7th inning to take the lead for good.

Jayson Nix (Colorado) cruashed a 0-2 fastball over the left field wall in to top of the 1st for the early lead. But Chinese Taipei answered back, with Chh-Sheing Lin singling his way onto base and then coming home on Chin-Feng Chen's double to center.

Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay) and Delwin Young (LA Dodgers) hit back-to-back doubles in the 4th and Justin Ruggiano (Tampa Bay) followed up with a single give Team USA a 2 point lead. They'd not hold it long though as a throwing error by Longoria combined with 2 singles and a double brought one, with a second runner coming in off Chai-Hsien Hsieh's sac fly.

Colby Rasmus (St Louis) lead off walk in the fifth was following up by Nix's single. The pair then pulled off a double steal before Andy LaRoche (LA Dodgers) knocked a ball into the right-center field gap to score the pair. Longoria would plate LaRoche to give Team USa a 3 run lead.

Chinese Taipei would not answer back until the bottom of the 6th, when Steve Shell (LA Angels) took over and got into trouble, hitting a batter and then giving up a single before issuing a walk to load the bases. Shell would be lifted in favor of Jerry Blevins (Oakland) to get Chai-Shien Hsieh to work to a full count before he ripped a double into left-centerfield to clear the bases and tie up the game again. Lee Gronkiewicz (Toronto) would come into shut down Chinese Taipei before they could do more damage.

Longoria kicked off what would be the decisve 7th inning with a line drive, and Young walked to follow him one bases. Ruggiano then hit a home run to bring in 3.

The teams would exchange 9th inning runs with Ruggiano hitting his second home run of the night for Team USA.

The tournament heads into elmination rounds on Friday. There is a note up that fourth ranked Panama is being reviewed for eligibilty issues.

Panama defeated South Africa 13-3, Mexico would defeat Italy 11-2 and Japan downed Spain, 4-3 to pick up 3rd place in Group A.

Team USA

Australia 7 at Canada 6

WP: Bright (2-0) LP: Richmond, S. (0-2)

Team Australia captured 2nd place in Group B with a 7-6 win over Team Canada.

Trent Oeltjen (Minnesota) reached on Matt Rogelstad's (Washington) fielding error, then stole 2nd to open up a back-and-forth game between the two teams. Brad Harman (Philadelphia) then ground out but moved Oeltjen to 3rd. Justin Huber (Kansas City) singed Oeltjen in, then came home on Ben Risinger's (San Diego) double to give the Aussies a 2-0 lead.

Team Canada took one run back in the bottom of the 2nd when Jimmy Vanorstrad singled and Jamie Romak (Pittsburgh) walked. A Chris Robinson (Chicago Cubs) double brought in Vanorstrand with 1 out, but starter Adrian Burnside (San Diego) got Sebastian Boucher (Baltimore) to ground out and Rogelstad to strike out to end the inning.

Burnside found trouble in the bottom of the 3rd though when he hit Kevin Nicholson (Independant) by a pitch. Jeremy Ware (Independant) gound into a fielder's choice that took out Nicholson, then advanced to 2nd on Mike Saunders (Seattle) bunt single. The pair then stole 3rd and 2nd respectively. Vanorstrand would single to bring in Ware, tying up the score. Romak would single to bring in Saudners, giving Canada a 3-2 lead before Taylor Green (Milwaukee) would ground into a double play.

Josh Hill (Minnesota) came into the game for the bottom of the 5th, striking out Ware. Saunders would double and advance to 3rd on Vanorstrand's right field fly out, but Romak ground out to end the scoring threat.

Harman lead off the top of the 6th when he reached on a throwing error, advancing to 2nd on the play. Huber's fly out moved him to 3rd. Risinger would get hit by a pitch. Glenn Williams (Minnesota) ground into a fielder's choice which brought in Harman to tie the score up. Team Canada would switch pitchers, bringing in Mike Kusiewiecz with 2 outs on the board. A fielding error allowed Brett Roneberg (Pittsburgh) to reach for Team Australia, moving williams to 2nd. Tom Brice singled to load the bases, but Scott Richmond would come into the game for Team Canada, getting Andrew Graham (Detroit) to ground out to retire the side.

Bourcher would reach on a throwing error by Harman in the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs and would come home on Rogelstad's follow up single to give the lead back to team Canada.

Oeltjen doubled in the top of the 7th, then came home on Huber's line drive with 2 outs to tie the score up again. Greg Wiltshire replaced Hill on the mound for the bottom of the inning, getting three quick outs.

The 8th would see Adam Bright (Colorado) coming in to pitch for Team Australia, but no change in the scoring.

With one out in the 9th, Luke Hughes (Minnesota) doubled and then Oeltjen walked. Harman doubled in Hughes and Huber was issued an intentional walk as well to load the bags. Mike Johnson (Independant) would come into the game for Team Canada to try to hold the Aussie's at bay, but Risinger would single off him to score Oeltjen and Harman, making it 7-4 for the Boys from Down Under.

Bright would walk Rogelstad before Brendan Wise (Detroit) would take over the mound for the the Aussies. Emerson Forstaad would walk and Nick Werglaz singled to bring in Rogelstad as the Canadians began a rally. Brad Thomas (Seattle) was brought into shut down Canada, but would give up a single to Sanders that scored Frostaad. But after a sac-bunt by Vanorstrand and a walk to Romak, Emmanuel Garcia (NY Mets) would hit into a double play, ending the game with the Canadians still down by 1.

The win means that Team Australia will face off with 3rd placed Japan for the initial round of cross over play. Australia has won 2 of the last 3 games between these 2 countries in international play and will manage to avoid both USA and Chinese Taipei for the first of the elmination rounds.

In other Group B play 4th ranked Korea downed Team Germany 8-1. Fomer Miracle Tim Henkenjohann took the loss, giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 9 hits and 3 balls while striking out 5 over 6 innings. Current Minnesota prospect Rodney Gessmann allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and 2 walks in 1 inning worth of play.

Team Netherlands would hand 1st place Team Cuba it's first loss of the tournament, defeating them 2-1 and earning 3rd place in Group B, and Venezuela would knock off Thailand 17-3.

Aussie play-by-play
Australian Baseball

Offensive Desert Dogs shred Woerman, Javelinas 13-4

Ryan Mullins
Ryan Mullins

Peo Javelinas 4 at Phoenix 13

W: R. Mullins (1-0, 2.84); L: J. Woerman (2-2, 6.86)
HR: PEJ: M. Tuiasosopo (1). PDD: R. Sweeney (1).

The Phoenix Desert Dogs turned into an offensive machine Wednesday afternoon at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium, pounding the Peoria Javelinas 13-4. Peoria's loss, coupled with the Rafters win, means that the Dogs will face Surprise in the Championship Game on Saturday (which is probably not much of a surprise to anyone).

Peoria got onto the board first when Brett Gardner (NY Yankees) singled to start out the game and moved to 2nd on Dexter Fowler's (Colorado) sac-bunt. Following Jordan Schafer's (Atlanta) strike out and a walk to Justin Maxwell (Washington), Kory Castro (Washington) would reach on a fielding error by Minnesota's Matt Macri which would also bring Gardner home. Starter Ryan Mullins (Minnesota) would get Devan Ivany (Washington) out on strikes to end the inning.

The Dogs then surprised Peoria. With one out, Cliff Pennington (Oakland) singled and Nolan Reimold (Baltimore) and Ryan Sweeney (Chicago White Sox) both drew walks. Jason Delaney's (Oakland) line drive would plate Pennington. Macri would strike out swinging, but a Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) walk forcing in Reimold. Drew Butera's (Minnesota) fly ball single then brough in Sweeney and Delaney to make it 4-1 Dogs.

In the top of the 3rd, Gardner walked and moved to 3rd on Schafer's single to 2nd. After Maxwell took a walk off Mullins to load the bags, Castro ground into a force out to score Gardner. Ivany would again end the inning for the Javelinas, this time on a fly out.

Delaney walked to start the bottom of the 3rd, but he was taken out at 2nd on Macri's force out. Getz and Butera both took walks off Seattle's Joe Woerman to fill up the bases again. Blake Davis' (Baltimore) sngle to right brought in Macri and Gets. Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh) would get plunked by a pitch. Pennington would hit a sac-fly to bring in Butera, but the Dog's were not yet done. A wild pitch by Woerman moved David and Morgan, and the pair would score on Reimold's grounder to left field, making the score 9-2.

Matt Tulasosopo (Seattle) would homer off Mullins in the top of the 4th as the Javelina's chipped away at the Dogs' lead.

Adam Russell (Chicago White Sox) would relieve Mullins in the top of the 5th, getting Fowler out on strikes before giving up back-to-back singles to Schafer and Maxwell. Castro would take a walk to load the bags and Ivany would single to bring in Schafter. But Tulasosopo ground into a double play to end the inning and the Javelina's scoring threat.

A pair of singled by Morgan and Pennington and a Reimold double saw the Dogs take another point at the bottom of the 6th.

Phoenix was not through though, as Morgan reached on a fielding error in the 8th and Pennington would walk, before Sweeney hit a Darren Clarke (Colorado) pitch over the right center-field fence to finish off the Dog's definative statement.

Mullins final line score would be be 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3 in 4 innings, picking up his first win of the AFL season. Eddie Morlan (Minnesota) worked the sixth inning, allowing only 1 hit during his 1 frame on the mound.

Macri would go 1-for-5 at the plate with 1 run, while the scrappy Butera was 1-for-3 with a walk, a run, and 2 RBIs.

The Rafters would edge out the Saguaros 6-5 with Michael Aubrey (Cleveland) and John Mayberry (Texas) each picking up their 5th home run of the AFL season for Surprise. That win gives them a 2 game lead over the Javelinas with one left to play, locking up their playoff berth. Scottsdale would edge Mesa, 1-0, with Milwaukee's Steve Hammond taking the hard luck loss in the game.

The AFL regular season concludes on Thursday with Surpise hosting the Desert Dogs in a preview of Saturday's Championship game at 12:35 pm.


Tigres down Bravos, 3-1

Oswaldo Sosa
Oswaldo Sosa

Aragua 3 at Margarita 1

W: O. Sosa (1-0, 7.20); L: L. Ramirez (1-2, 4.08); SV: F. Butto (5)
HR: None.

Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) worked 1.2 innings of relief for los Tigres de Aragua Wednesday, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 1 for his first win of the Venezuelan Winter League season. Aragua held los Bravos de Margaritta to 5 hits total in the game, their only run coming in the 9th inning.

Both teams would be kept off the board until the 6th inning, although Aragua looked at scoring chances in the 2nd and 4th innings, they could not convert.

With 1 out in the 6th, Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) tripled out to center, and then Margaritta's Luis Ramirez (Oakland) walked Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets). Raul Chevez (NY Yankees) singled in Maza, and then Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) would double to plate Feliciano. Julio Salazar (F/A) would be brought to the mound for los Bravos, issuing a walk to Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) to start off. Hector Gimenez (Houston) hit a sac-fly to bring in Chavez. Los Bravos would call for another pitching change, this time bringing in Kasey Olenberger (LA Angels), who got Ruben Salazar to ground out to end the inning.

Frank Diaz (Washington) would walk in the 9th for Margaritta, then move to 2nd on a defensive indifference call. Alberto Gonzalez (NY Yankees) would reach on a fielding error by Cedeno, and Diaz came home on the play with 2 outs for the Bravos lone run. Gonzalez would steal 2nd, but Frank Butto (F/A) got J.C. Boscan (Cincinnati) to strike out to end the game.

Minnsota's Jose Mijares pitched .1 inning of relief, getting Dennys Abreau (F/A) to fly out in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Former Miracle Alex Romero (Arizona) and Rodrigez were both 1-for-4 in the game, while Maza was 2-for-4 with a run.

The two teams rematch on Thursday for a 7:30 PM EST game. Aragua then faces Caribes, a team they have yet to beat this season, for four games, including a twin bill on Saturday to finish off the week feline.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wins boost USA, Team Australia into Quarterfinals

Trisan Crawford

South Africa 2 at USA 4

WP: Stevens (1-0) LP: Eckermans (0-2)

Team USA remained in first place in Group A play, tied with host Chinese Taipei, each with a 5-1 record.

Andy LaRoche (LA Dodgers) went 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs to lead the USA offense over South Africa.

Colby Rasmus (St Louis) lead off in the bottom of the first inning with a single, then stole 2nd base. Michael Hollimon's (Detroit) grounder to short moved Rasmus to 3rd, and LaRoche doubled him in. Delwyn Young (LA Dodgers) walked to put LaRoche on second. Steve Pierce (Pittsburgh) would eventually plate him.

Rasmus and Brian Bixler (Pittsburgh) hit back-to-back singles to sent the stage in the bottom of the 2nd. LaRoche would bring Rasmus in on a sac fly. South Africa had put a run across the plate in the top of the 2nd though, making it 3-1 Team USA.

Rasmus walked in the fourth, moved to 2nd on a Holliman fly out and to 3rd after South Africa's Ian Butcher threw the ball into the first base dugout. LaRoche then hit a bloop single to center to bring him in, making it 4-1.

South Africa would try to rally in the 8th, but only managed one run on 3 hits.

Cleveland's Jeff Stevens picked up the win, striking out 2 in 1 innings worth of work. Chris Booker (Washington) took home the save for the States.

The victory clinched a spot in the Quarter finals for Team USA, with Chinese Taipei picking up another berth, by blanking Panama 10-0. Japan shut out Italy 10-0 as well, and Spain fell to Mexico 19-1 in other Group A action.

USA Baseball

Australia 4 at Germany 2

WP: Mitchinson (1-0) LP: Marquez (0-2)

The Aussie's also picked up a berth in the Quarter Finals along with undefeated Team Cuba, after the downed Germany 4-2.

Trent Oeltjen (Minnesota) opened the game with a line drive and advanced to second on a wild pitch off Ramirez Marquez. Brad Harman (Philadelphia) would draw a walk and Justin Huber (Kansas City) singled to load the bases. Glenn Williams (Minnesota) would strike out, but a Michael Collins (LA Angels) sac-fly would plate Oeltjen. Harman would adance to 3rd and Huber to 2nd on a throwing error, but Mathew Kent (Independent) ground out to end the inning.

Still it was a good start as pitchers Dushan Ruzic (Cincinnati) and Scott Mitchinson (Philadelphia) kept the Germans off the board for 7 innings.

The Aussies would add to their lead in the 4th when Williams singled, and Collins walked. Kent ground into a fielders choice that took Collins out at 2nd, followed by Gavin Fingleson's (Independent) pop out. Tom Brice (Independent) then singled to bring in Williams and Luke Hughes (Minnesota) followed that up with a line drive to plate Kent. Oeltjen hit a line drive as well, but Brice would be taken out at home to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 7th, Oeltjen singled to lead off, and advanced to 3rd on Huber's line drive to left. Williams ground ball single brought in Oeljen to make it 4-0 for the Boys from Down Under.

Mitchinson would get into trouble in the 8th when Jendrick Speer (Independent) singled his way onto base. Jens Heymer (Independent) would draw a walk before Mitchinson was replaced on the mound by Tristan Crawford (Minnesota). Crawford would allow a double to Kai Gronauer (Independent) to score the pair, but got Simon Guring (Independent) to fly out and Dominik Wulf (Independent) to ground out to end the inning and the German threat. Brad Thomas (Seattle) finished off the game to pick up the save.

In other Group B play, Cuba tamed Thailand 11-1, Canada defeated Canada 6-3, and the Netherlands downed Korea 5-1. Minnesota's Loek Van Mil picked up the save for the Dutch team, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1 in 3 innings worth of work.

Aussie Recap
Australian Baseball

Scottsdale blanks Phoenix

Anthony Swarzak
Anthony Swarzak

Phoenix 0 at Scottsdale 5

W: M. Prochaska (3-2, 6.55); L: A. Swarzak (1-1, 2.05)
HR: SCO: S. Santos (5), J. Jaso (3).

For a team that's going to the playoffs, Phoenix certainly didn't play like it on Tuesday. Despite 7 hits, the Desert Dogs could not get on the board, getting blanked 5-0 by the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Minnesota's Anthony Swarzak gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 1 walk, striking out 3 over 5 innings.

The unearned run came in the 3rd, when Mike Carp (NY Mets) singled and moved to 2nd on Manny Burriss' (San Francisco) sac-bunt. A throwing error by catcher Raul Padron (Oakland) on a pick off attempt saw Carp to 3rd. He'd come in on Reid Brignac's (Tampa Bay) ground ball single.

In the 4th, with 2 outs, Nate Schierholtz (San Francisco) would single, then Swarzak would hang a pitch over the plate that Sergio Santos (Toronto) took deep over the left center field wall for his 5th home run of the AFL season. Swarzak would walk John Jaso (Tampa Bay) before getting Carp to fly out to end the inning.

Jaso would hit a single shot home run in the 7th off Jeff Gray (Oakland). Burris then drew a walk, and moved to second on Brignac's ground out before being plated by Wilkin Castillo's (Arizona) double to right.

The only time the Dogs really threatened was in the top of the 9th, when Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) found his way to 3rd with 2 outs. But Matt Macri (Minnesota) would ground out, ending the game.

For Swarzak, it was his first loss of the AFL season. Macri, who has hit .275 on the season, was 0-for-4 at the plate.

Phoenix returns home to face the Peoria Javelinas on Wednesday for a 12:35 PM game.

The Javelina's crushed the Saguaros 17-5 Tuesday, picking up 6 runs in the 4th inning off triples by Kory Castro (Washington) and Dexter Fowler (Colorado) and 8 in the 5th with the same pair hitting doubles. Surprise again failed to lock up their playoff spot, falling 4-3 to the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Rafters lead the Javelina's by 1 with 2 regular AFL season games left to play.


Twins trade: Minnesota made a deal with the Chicago Cubs to send a Player-to-be-named later to the Cubs in exchange for major league left fielder Craig Monroe. The 30-year-old Monroe hit 28 home runs for the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and five more in the post season as they reached the World Series. But the Tigers designated him for assignment in August after he batted .222 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI. After being traded to the Cubs, Monroe batted .204 with one home run in 23 games.

Cats start off new week with a loss

Vs. Bravos
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 2 at Margarita 5

W: J. Silva (4-1, 1.69); L: B. Korecky (0-1, 2.19); SV: A. Serrano (6)
HR: None.

Sadly, los Tigres de Aragua started off the new week feline with another loss Tuesday, this time, falling 5-2 to los Bravos de Margarita.

The Braves got on the board in the bottom of the second, after Rene Reyes (F/A) struck out and Miguel Montero (Arizona) ground into a force out that took Frank Diez (Washington) out at 2nd base. Back-to-back singles by William Bergolla (San Francisco) and Alberto Gonzalez (NY Yankees) served to bring him home.

Tigers starter Brian Bass (Minnesota) kept Margarita quiet until the bottom of the sixth. Meanwhile, Aragua took a brief lead when Alex Romero (Arizona) doubled and Jose Martinez (St Louis) reached on a fielder's choice. Evidently, Margarita shortstop Alberto Gonzalez (NY Yankees) chose to make an error, and Romero found his way to 3rd. Alex Delgado (F/A) would get plunked by a pitch to load the bases, and Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) would walk, forcing in Romero for the Tiger's first run. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) ground into a double play, but Martinez cross the plate to give Aragua a 1 run lead.

They wouldn't keep it long though. With one out, Diez singled in the bottom of the sixth. Bass was lifed from the mound in exchange for Jose Guanchez (F/A). Diaz then stole 2nd, and moved to 3rd when Guanchez unleashed a wild pitch. Bobby Korecky (Minnesota) would come into the game at that point and allowed a single to Bergolla that plated Diez and tied up the game.

With one out and one man on, Ray Olmedo (Toronto) would hit into a force out for the Braves which took out Joe Thurston (F/A). A throwing error by Cedeno moved Olmedo to 2nd, and he came home off a Victor Rodriguez (F/A) single to give the Braves the lead.

With that play, Korecky suffered his first loss of the season, being charged for 1 run on 3 hits, while striking out 1 in 1.2 innings worth of work.

Frank Diaz would ground out to start the bottom of the 8th after Aragua mades several defensive changes. They would make one more, putting Jesus Delgado (Florida) on the mound to relieve Korecky. Montero would ground out, but Bergolla and Gonzalez both singled their way onto base, then came home when J.C. Boscan (Cincinnati) cracked a double out to center field. Jose Mijares (Minnesota) would come into replace Delgado, with Thurston reaching on a fielding error by Aragua's Rodriguez before Boscan was caught stealing home to end the inning.

Aragua could find nothing in the 9th, with Mike Aviles (Kansas City) grounding into a double play to end the game.

Bass would work 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on six hits and 1 walk while striking out 3. He has a 2.41 ERA thus far in the Venezuelan Winter League Season. Bass, who was expected to make Wednesday's start, took Tuesday's game instead when Horacio Estrada (F/A) came down with the flu. Estrada did not make the trip with the team, but is expected to be available to Saturday's twin bill against the Caribs.

Former Miracle Luis Rodriguez would finish up 1-for-4 at the plate, while Romero was 1-for-2.

Ricky Barrett (Minnesota) pitched .1 inning for the Braves allowing 1 hit, he has a 1.93 ERA so far this season.

The two teams rematch Wednesday and Thursday for a pair of 7:30 PM EST games.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blackburn sinks Solar Sox, 8-1

Nick Blackburn
Nick Blackburn

Phoenix 8 at Mesa 1

W: N. Blackburn (4-0, 1.64); L: M. Boggs (0-2, 5.21)
HR: PDD: N. Reimold (6). MSS: M. LaPorta (6).

Nick Blackburn (Minnesota) worked through 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 4. Mesa's Matt LaPorta (Milwaukee) hit a single shot home run off Blackburn, a candidate for the AFL's Pitcher of the Year Award, over the left field fence in the 5th inning for the Solar Sox lone run.

It would hardly matter to the Phoenix Desert Dogs though. Phoenix got onto the board in the 2nd, when Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) and Matt Macri (Minnesota) both singled. Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) would hit into a force out that took McCutchen out at 3rd, and Donny Lucy (Chicago White Sox) would strike out. Cliff Pennington (Oakland) hit a line drive to bring in Macri, starting off the scoring.

Nolan Reimold (Baltimore) homered off Mesa's Mitch Boggs (St Louis) to start off the 3rd inning. Ryan Sweeney (Chicgo White Sox) then singled and stole 2nd. Jason Delaney (Pittsburgh) would take a walk before McCutchen delivered a line drive to double in Sweeney. Matt Averey (Chicago Cubs) would be called onto the mound for Mesa at that point. After getting Macri out on strikes, Getz singled to bring in Delaney. Donny Lucey (Chicago White Sox) would be called out on strikes and following a wild pitch, Pennington would walk to load the bags. But Blake Davis (Baltimore) would line out to end the inning.

McCutchen and Macri hit a pair of ground outs to start the top of the 5th, but Getz and Lucy followed that up with back-to-back singles and Pennington walked to load the bases. Luke Gregerson (St Louis) would be called in to get the final out, but instead gave up a single to Davis, which scored Getz. Reimold walked to fill up the bags again before Sweeney's ground ball pushed Pennington over the plate. Unfortunately, Delaney would hit into a ground out to strand the runners.

Still, to a 7-0 lead was a good position to be in when LaPorta saved the Solar Sox from a shut out.

Getz would score in the ninth after the reached base on a catching error by Mesa hurler Dave Johnson (Milwaukee). Pennington would single to move Getz to 3rd before he would cross the plate on Davis' ground out.

Macri would finish up 1 for 5 with 1 run. Mesa would find only 4 more hits in the game - 2 off Jesse Chavez (Pittsburgh), one of Jake Arrieta (Baltimore) and the last off Fernando Hernandez (Chicago White Sox).

Phoenix takes on Scottsdale Tuesday for a 12:35 PM contest.

In other AFL action, the Scorpions shot down the Peoria Saguaros, 11-7. Three different Scottsdale players had home runs in the game, the Met's Caleb Stewart and Mike Nicheas, and Toronto's Ryan Patterson. The Peoria Javelinas blanked the Surprise Rafters 4-0. Former SaraReds pitcher Ben Jukich (Cincinnati) suffered the loss for Surprise. Javelina's win puts them 2 games back from Surprise with three left to play as the Dog's continue to wait for a partner for Saturday's playoff game.

It appears the Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota) will miss the remainder of the AFL season with a relatively minor injury sustained while he attempted to run out a ground ball. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training though, when it opens in March.

The AFL Pitcher of the Year ballot is up. Voting ends Saturday, November 17th at 11:59 PM MST. Click HERE to vote for Nick Blackburn as AFL Pitcher of the Year.


Ugueto released: The Twins released Luis Ugueto who split time in the 2007 season between the Fort Myers Miracle and Rochester Red Wings. When Ugueto first played in the Florida State League in 2001, he was considered one of the Florida Marlins top prospects. His fortunes changed following a suspension for performance enchancing drugs.

Signed as a free agent by the Twins Ugueto had a .228 batting average in 76 games with the Miracle in 2007. He record 27 runs on 61 hits, had 2 home runs, and 16 RBIs. In triple-A Rochester, Ugueto hit .167, recording only 1 run on 4 hits in 7 games.

Ugueto is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League with los Cardenales de Lara.

In other news, former Miracle Jacque Jones (1997 season) was traded to the Detroit Tigers by the Chicago Cubs in exchange for utility infielder Omar Infante. Jones has spent the last two seasons with the Cubs, hitting .285, but had only 5 home runs in 135 games last year as opposed to 27 the season before. The 32-year-old outfielder also saw his run and RBI production fall off last season.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Team USA pounds Spain, Aussies double up Korea

Colby Rasmus

USA 12 at Spain 2

WP: Trahern (1-0) LP: Rizo (0-1)
HR: USA: LaRoche (2), Anderson, Pearce, Longoria, Rasmus

A seven run 7th inning by Team USA finished off Spain early under the International Baseball Federation's mercy win rule.

Jayson Nix's (Colorado) triple was followed by an Andy LaRoche (LA Dodgers) home run gave Team USA 2 runs in the first. Brian Bixler's (Pittsburgh) error in the bottom of the inning allowed Spain to get on the board, cutting the lead in half.

But Justin Ruggiano (Tampa Bay) lead off with a single in the 2nd inning before catcher Brian Anderson (St Louis), who was 4-for-4 in the game, crushed one over the wall. That was followed up in the 3rd by a solo shot over the left field wall by Steve Pearce (Pittsburgh).

Spain starter Miguel Rizo came off the mound after the 3rd, and the game remained scoreless for the next three innings.

Delwyn Young (LA Dodgers) led off the 7th with a walk that was followed by Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay) putting one over the left field bleachers. Ruggiano walked and Anderson followed him onto base with a single before Colby Rasmus (St Louis) sent one deep into left for an in-the-park home run. Pinch hitter Michael Holliman (Detroit) would draw a walk before LaRoche hit his second home run of the game.

Starter Dallas Trahern (Detroit) was solid, scattering six hits and giving up only one unearned run through four innings of work before giving way to Jerry Blevins (Oakland) in the fifth. Blevins pitched two perfect innings while striking out two.

The win gives the Team USA a 4-1 record and 1st place in Group A, with Chinese Taipei and Italy both .5 games back. One or the other will draw even with Team USA following Monday's game between the two.

The Americans take Monday off before facing South Africa on Tuesday and Chinese Taipei on Wednesday.

In other Group A play, Mexico defeated Chinese Taipei 9-5, Italy shut out South Africa 8-0, and Japan downed Panama, 6-2.

Game Notes

Korea 1 at Australia 2

WP: Bright (1-0) LP: Hwang (0-1)
HR: AUS: Hughes

Benjamin Risinger (Independant) was 2-for-3 with 1 RBI for Team Australia and Justin Huber (Kansas City) went 2-for-4 as the Boys from Down Under defeated the Korea, 2-1.

Luke Hughes (Minnesota) went yard in the bottom of the sixth to give the Aussies an earlier lead.

Korea took it back in the bottom of the 7th when Si Hyun Son singled, then came home on San Song's double.

It appeared that the game might go into extra innings through when Brad Harman (Philadelphia) struck out to start the bottom of the 9th. Huber doubled out to right field however. After Glenn Williams (Minnesota) struck out, Risinger singled out to center and Huber came home to give Team Australia the win.

Williams and Trent Oeltjen (Minnesota) were both 0-for-4 in the game. Harman was 1-for-4, but did not factor into the scoring.

The amazing Aussies take Monday off as well.

In other Group B play, Canada downed the Netherlands 7-1, Cuba blanked Venezuela 10-0, and Germany shut out Thailand, 2-0.

Australian Baseball
Aussie Play-by-play

Tigres back in win column

Martin Prado
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 4 at Magallanes 2

W: J. Mijares (1-0, 4.26); L: R. Cova (1-1, 4.26); SV: F. Butto (4)
HR: None.

I like doing game reports better when the Tigres win. If I wanted to write about victory challenged felines, I'd cover Florida Panthers games.

That being said, los Tigres de Aragua got back into the win column against los Navegantes del Magallenes on Sunday.

Agagua got onto the board first, when Raul Chavez (NY Yankees) singled in the second inning, then scored on Luis Maza's (LA Dodgers) follow up single to right. Richard Hidalgo (F/A) could not get a hold of Maza's ball, giving Chavez plenty of time to get to the plate for the first run of the game.

Magellanes came back in the bottom of stanza though, with Edgardo Alfonzo (F/A) taking a walk. Tomas Perez (Chicago White Sox) and Hidalgo followed that up with back-to-back singles to load the bases. A wild pitch by Kyle Middleton (Houston) brought in Alfonzo, and Perez would come home on Luis Ordaz's (Pittsburgh) ground out. Gustavo Molina (Baltimore) would walk before former Miracle outfielder Erold Andrus (Tampa Bay) hit into a double play to end the inning.

The Cats tied the game up in the fourth. Hector Gimenez (Houston) would double and Willie Romero's (F/A) single moved him to 3rd. Chavez walked to load the bags. Maza would ground into a force out that took Gimenez down at the plate, but Martin Prado (Atlanta) followed it up with a single that pushed Romero over the plate. With the bags still full, Jose Martinez (St Louis) would ground into a double play to end inning.

Middleton would work 5 innings, allowing the 2 runs (earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks while stirking out 3. Jose Guanchez (F/A), Bobby Korecky (Minnesota) and Jose Mijares (Minnesota) would combine to work the 6th and 7th.

Aragua's offense got to work in the 8th with Gimenez singling and Willie Romero walking. Alex Romero (Arizona) would come into the game as a pinch runner for Gimenez, and Alex Nunez (F/A) would be inserted as a pintch hitter for Chavez. Nunez would single to load the bases. A sac-fly by Maza brought in Alex Romero, and Prada's follow up single brought in Willie. Rafale Cova (F/A) would be charged with the loss, while Mijares, who again worked just .1 inning, picked up his first win of the Venezuelan Winter League season.

Victor Morina (Baltimore) worked 1 inning, while Kevin Tolar (F/A) and Francisco Butto (F/A) mopped up.

Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) was 1-for-2 at the plate, Alex Romero was 0-for-1 but had the one run for Gimenez, and Maza was 1-for-3 with 1 RBI.

Los Tigres nap on Monday, then face Margarita on Tuesday and Wednesday for 7:30 PM EST games. Brian Bass (Minnesota) is scheduled to pitch Wednesday's game. Former Twins prospect Henry Bonilla (LA Angels) is likely to take a start on Saturday as part of a double-header against the Caribes.

Free agent Willie Romero was named the Tigres Player of the Week. Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets) received honorable mention, as did Moreno as Pitcher of the Week.


Over in the Dominican League, Alexi Casilla his hitting .320 (16 hits, 50 at bats, 12 games) with 9 runs and 1 RBI. Julio Depaula has a 3.38 ERA, a 0-1 record, and has pitched 5.1 innings in 5 games, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Teams USA, Australia both post wins

Luke Hughes
Luke Hughes

Team Japan 1 at Team USA 5

WP: Duensing (1-0) LP: Kawawaki (0-1)
HR: USA: Young

Team USA got back into the win column Saturday with Minnesota's Brian Duensing pitching 5 innings, surrendering 1 earned run on 3 hits and 1 walks while striking out 2.

Jason Jaramillo (Philadelphia) caught Tsutomu Sasaki trying to steal 2nd base, helping Duensing escape from a two-hit first inning.

Jayson Nix (Colorado) and Andy LaRoche (LA Dodgers) drew walks to get on base in the bottom the inning, before Delwyn Young (LA Dodgers) crushed one over the centerfield fence to give the Team USA a 3-0 lead.

Duensing would walk Ken Suzuki in the top of the 6th before Neal Musser (Kansas City) came into the game with no outs. Takashi Yoshimura would bring him home on a sac-fly, with the inherrited run being charged to Duensing.

Nix doubled to lead off the 8th, and LaRoche walked. They moved around on Young's pop up to center, then a double by Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay) brought the pair home.

Team Usa takes on Team Spain on Sunday.

In other Group A action, Chinese Taipei took a 8-4 win over Spain, Mexico posted a 13-3 mercy rule win over South Africa, and Panama shut out Italy, 6-0.

Chinese Taipei, Panama, Team USA and Italy all have 3-1 records in the the Group A Division for a 4-way tie for first place.


Team Australia 26 at Team Thailand 1

WP: Fingleson (1-0) LP: Tongthong (0-1)
HR: Aus: Williams

The IBaF mercy rule states that if a team is leading by 10 or more runs after 7 innings, the game is final. Seven innings was a just a little too long to suffer for Team Thailand.

Thailand's lone run came in the 4th inning when Apichat Nganying and Wataphob Sampahangsit hit back to back singles. Following a line out to center, Somsake Sarnwit doubled to to right to plate Nganying.

It was the height of Thailand's day however. Team Australia actually waited until the 2nd inning to get going, leading off with Glenn Williams (Minnesota) single. Michael Collins (LA Angeles) reached on a fielder's choice that took Williams out at 2nd, but Collins replaced him there when Wachira Thongthong uncorked a wild pitch. Tom Brice (Independant) would ground out, but Collins advanced to 3rd on the play. Philadelphia's Brad Harman was then hit by pitch before Mathew Kent (Independant) doubled the pair in.

Oeltjen singled and advanced to second an another wild pitch by Tongthong. Gavin Fingleson (Independant) doubled, but Oeltjen only moved to 3rd. Justin Huber (Kansas City) hit a second double off Tongthong bring Oeltjen in. Williams single to right scored Fingleson and Huber. Williams advance to home on Michael Collins' (LA Angels) ground ball single, then came home on Tom Brice's (Indepentant) grounder to 3rd. Harman and Kent would both single before Hughes poped out to shallow right field to get the first out of the inning.

The offensive onslaught however, continued. Oeltjen Walked followed by Fingelson, who was hit by a pitch. Thailand replaced Thonthong on the mound by Nattapong Meeboonrod, who gave up a single to Huber and a 2-run homer to Williams, making the score 14-0 Australia. Collins and Brice then both flew out to end the inning.

The Boys from Down Under picked up another run in 4th, 5 in the 5th and 6 in the 6th before the game was finally completed. They record a total of 30 hits in contest.

Oeltjen finished up 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs, Williams was 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs, and Luke Hughes (Minnesota) was 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs. Harman, a former Clearwater Thresher, was 4-for-5 with 2 RBIs.

The Aussies take on Korea on Sunday. A win would virtually guarantee Australia's progression to the next stage of the tournament. Undefeated Cuba is expected to finish first in Pool B play, with the Aussies looking to lock up 2nd place in the Division.

Cuba defeated Korea 7-2, while Canada defeated Germany 10-0, and the Netherlands downed Venezuela, 7-4 in rest of the Group B competition. Canada, Korea and the Netherlands all trail the Aussies by 1 game with a 3-2 record so far in the tournament.

Australian Baseball
Aussie play-by-play

Tigres fall to Caribes

vs. Caribes
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Caribes 5 at Aragua 3

W: A. Herrera (4-0, 4.15); L: J. Romero (0-1, 9.00); SV: T. Hughes (10)
HR: None.

The Caribes have been the team to beat in the Venezuelan League, boasting an 18-7 record with the nearest team 4 games back.

They more or less continued that domination Saturday over los Tigres de Aragua despite the largely Twins oriented pitching staff.

Josmir Romero (F/A) took the start for the Tigres and gave up a double to Andres Torres (Detroit). He'd move to 3rd on a sac bunt by Jonthan Herrera (Colorado), then was plated by Omar Infante (Detroit).

Torres hit out to left to get things started in 3rd, then moved to 2nd when Herrera walked. Infante's infield hit loaded the bags. Jody Gerut (F/A) hit out into left field, scoring Torres and Herrera and mvoing Infante to 3rd. The Tigres pulled Romero at this point, bringing in Frank Mata (Minnesota). A sac-fly brought in Infante, while Eliezer Alfanso (San Francisco) brought in Gerut for the fourth run.

Romero's final like would be 5 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2 in 2 innings. Mata would work 3, allowing 2 hits and walking 4, allowing both inherited runners to score.

Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota), Victor Moreno (Baltimore) and Kevin Tolar (F/A) held the Caribes to only 2 hits for the remainder of the game.

The Cats responded in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back doubles by Hector Gimenez (Houston) and Ruben Salazar (F/A). Willie Romero (F/A) hit out to left to move Salazar to 3rd. Jose Martinez's (St Louis) sac fly off Jose Rojas (Cincinnati) brought in Salazar, Romero would come in on a wild pitch, but that was all the Tigres could muster in the game.

Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) was 2-for-4 for the Aragua but did not factor into the scoring, and former Miracle Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) as 0-for-3.

The Tigers face los Navegantes del Magallanes to finish off the week feline on Sunday at 5:30 PM, EST.


Phoenix win locks up AFL East Division

Cliff Pennington

Peo Saguaros 2 at Phoenix 5

W: A. Russell (2-0, 2.40); L: J. Ellis (0-1, 6.10); SV: E. Morlan (1)
HR: None.

The Phoenix Desert Dogs held the Saguaros to 2 runs on 5 hits Saturday, taking a 5 game lead in the AFL East Division with four games left to play, securing their playoff berth.

The Saguaros got on the board first, taking a run off Jack Egbert (Chicago White Sox) in the 3rd inning. Nick Hundley (San Diego) walked with 1 out, moved to 3rd on Steve Sollmann's (Milwaukee) double and scored on a Greg Golson (Philadelphia) sac-fly.

Phoenix would wait until the 5th to get their offense rolling with Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) and Cliff Pennington (Oakland) hitting back-to-back doubles off Zachary Hammes (LA Dodgers). Nyjer Morgan's single moved Pennington to 3rd, and he crossed the plate on Matt Macri's (Minnesota) ground out to give the Dogs a 2-1 lead.

The Saguaros would tie it up in the top of the 6th, with Xavier Paul (LA Dodgers) taking a walk off reliever David Haehnel (Baltimore) with 2 outs, then stealing 2nd. Scott Sizemore (Detroit) then drew a walk as well. Jeff Larish's (Detroit) line drive would put Paul over the plate, but Mike Costanzo (Philadelphia) would strike out to retire the side.

In the bottom of the seventh, Pennington drew a walk from Jonathan Ellis (San Diego), then stoled 2nd. Morgan then tripled to plate Pennington, then came home on Nolan Reimold's (Baltimore) sac-fly, to make it 4-2 Dogs.

They would add some extra insurance in the bottom of the 8th with Drew Butera (Minnesota) doubling, moving to 3rd on a Getz single and crossing the plate on Morgan's ground out.

Butera would finish the game 1-for-4. Macri would not record a hit in 4 at bats, but picked up 1 RBI on the ground out in the 5th.

Eddie Morlan picked up the save, working .1 inning, striking out Jai Miller (Florida) to end the contest.

The Dogs face Mesa and Scottsdale on the road Monday and Tuesday, host the Javelinas on Wednesday and finish up the regular season at Surprise on Thursday. All games are 12:35 PM MST.