Photo used with permission from Mr. Norman Macasaet
The Philippine National Baseball Team had little time to prepare for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier. It was quite evident in the team’s debut at the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifier
The lack of familiarity between the homegrown talent and their Filipino-Americans counterparts showed in their opening day game against hosts Australia as the Aussies dominated the Nationals 11-1 in an abbreviated seventh inning win Thursday evening at the Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia.
The National Team had a promising start as lead-off batter Eric Farris connected with a base hit to the second base. After a strikeout by Matthew Vance, Chris Aguila was walked to give the RP team two bases. With Aussie pitcher Steven Kent striking out another batter, Brady Conlan hit a linedrive single to bring home Farris and put the Philippine team on the board.
The Aussies though were quickly able to get the run back at the bottom end of the inning. With one out, an error by Filipino-American shortstop Matthew Vance moved Brad Harman to prime real estate. A Stefan Welch single brought Harman home to knot the scoreboard up at 1-all. A passed ball after moved two Australian runners into scoring position but Filipino pitcher JR Bunda was able to strikeout Like Hughes for second out while a grind out of the next batter left the runners stranded.
During the bottom of the second inning, the hosts were able to double their lead in a two-out scenario. Lead-off Australian batter James Beresford was able to connect on a single that paved the way for a Logan Wade run.
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Clay Rapada subbed in for Bunda at the bottom of the third inning. Rapada and the Filipino defense found success in the third and fourth innings. However, the floodgates started to open in the fifth inning.
With one out to open the bottom of the fifth, Australia immediately gained the corners. Trent Oeltjen then popped a double to left field that brought in the two runners. Rapada was subbed out for Austin Haynal during the rally.
The offense of the hosts then crushed whatever remained of the Philippine bullpen in the seventh inning. The fourth pitcher of the game Vladimir Eguia was immediately subbed out after an accidental hit on Oeltjen. Eguia’s replacement, Leslie Cabling, was torched by the power of the Australian offense. Cabling, who had little time to warm-up in the bullpen, gave up five runs while the Philippine fielding could not secure the third out to at least halt the rally.
With Ernesto Binarao taking the mound, a throwing error by third baseman Brady Conlan led to two more runs before the game mercifully ended at 11-1.
Beresford was the leading instigator for the Aussie team in going 4 of 5 at-bat. He was able to bring in 3 runners and score a run of his own. Wade and Welch were also able to bring in two RBIs as well.
For the Philippines, the offense was only able to connect on four hits. Moreover, the three costly errors committed by the outfield all were converted to runs.
The Philippines will look to bounce back as they face New Zealand tomorrow, February 12.