“I know we can continue to improve and play on the big stage. There is a lot of hope for the future of all the kids who play baseball in Australia.”
Australia ended its miraculous journey by losing 3-4 to Cuba in the quarterfinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on the 15th. However, the 2023 WBC left much to Australia, which was called ‘baseball periphery’.
Australia defeated South Korea, China and the Czech Republic in the first round of the Group B group stage and recorded 3 wins and 1 loss while losing to Japan. This was also Australia’s best first round result, and it was also the first time in Australian history to advance to the WBC quarterfinals.스포츠토토
As is well known, the Australian national team had only one player, Aaron Whitefield (27), who played as a major leaguer last year, and there were no active major leaguers. Most of them were minor leaguers or players belonging to the Australian professional baseball ABL. The ABL, held in Australia for only 10 weeks, is classified as a semi-professional.
Because of that, Australia was initially considered the weakest among the 20 participating countries. In fact, Australia ranked 20th in the power rankings before the competition by ESPN, an American media, and ranked 16th overall, ranking 4th out of 4 groups, and was classified as a ‘just happy to be here’ team. In fact, it was classified as the weakest along with Panama, Nicaragua, England, China, and the Czech Republic.
On the other hand, in Group B, Japan, ranked 3rd in the overall power ranking, was considered a strong candidate for the championship along with the Dominican Republic (1st) and the United States (2nd). Korea also ranked 6th in the overall rankings and was not among the candidates for the championship, but was considered a strong team among all teams as the 2nd group, “They’ll be competitive.”
However, after defeating Korea in the first game against expectations, Australia took China as a cold game victory and accumulated two wins smoothly. Although he lost to Japan in the third game, he performed well, and in the fourth game, he defeated the Czech Republic and advanced to the WBC quarterfinals for the first time in Australian baseball history. Even the Japanese audience poured out applause at Australia’s propaganda.
In fact, a record crowd of 35,013 people gathered at the Tokyo Dome for the game between Australia and Cuba on the 15th. Except for some Australian and Cuban fans, most of them were neutral. Even though they watched the play of both teams neutrally, Australia, a relatively weak team, applauded generously as they caught up with the game, which was trailing 1-4. After the actual match, not only the cheering Cuban players, but also the losing Australian team received a standing ovation.
How did coach Dave Nilsson, who led the Australian miracle and is also a sports hero in Australia, evaluate the journey of this miracle? “I think we now have a lot of faith as a team in a country called Australia,” Nielsen said. We know what we can do ourselves. “I know we can continue to improve and play on the big stage, so I think there’s a lot of hope for the future for this team and everyone in Australia and all the kids who play baseball in Australia.” He said he hoped for the future of Australian baseball.
Australia, which ranked 10th in the WBSC World Baseball Rankings announced before the tournament, performed a miracle despite the poor environment. Even though the voyage ended in the quarterfinals, I think they deserve to be called true winners who sincerely enjoyed the baseball festival, challenged and bumped into it, and brought about historic achievements.