The Australian Youth Championships for 2023, run by Baseball Australia, were held this month.
Our four NSW teams gave it their all out on the diamonds at Blacktown International Sportspark. It was a great tournament for the teams with some big wins, close games, gut-wrenching draws and a few losses over the six days, with two showcase days held prior to the tournament commencement.
At the finalisation of the round games, our Under 16’s Metro finished in first place and NSW Country in sixth. In the Under 18’s NSW Metro held second place heading into the playoffs and Country seventh.
Our Under 18’s Metro team made it to the bronze medal match following a draw with Western Australia, seating them third overall after playoffs. They had a tough loss in the bronze medal game, with nine runs scored early in the game to give Victoria a strong lead. They worked hard to come back with Karakasis and Palmer combining for six strikeouts and Grant, Fergie and Morris driving in their four runs. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough to get the medal and they finished fourth overall.
The Under 16’s smashed it out of the park on the final day, both teams victors in their own games, sending them home on a high! NSW Country defeated South Australia 8-5, rallying to score eight runs in just the 5th and 6th innings! Riley Cooper led the hitting with 2RBI’s from four at-bats. Matthew Trainor also had four innings pitched with seven strikeouts.
Our standout match of the finals was the Gold Medal victory for the NSW Metro Under 16’s!! The boys were on fire finishing up 12 – 2 to a strong Western Australian outfit. Malkoun lead the batting with 3RBI’s closely followed by Gruppelaar and De Fiesta Clarke who also had 2RBI’s each. Matthew Trainor’s arm is what really secured the game for NSW though, pitching 5.1 innings only allowing three hits and two runs while striking out six. Matt O’Neill’s team ran Western Australia out of the game with seven total stolen bases, showing strength in their speed.
The Golden Arm awards in both divisions were granted to NSW Metro players, Damien Wilson (U16) and Jacob Palmer (U18). Congratulations to these players for their efforts during the tournament to earn these awards.
Thank you to all the players, coaching staff, officials, scorers and volunteers who gave up their time to ensure that the AYC’s could run as smoothly as possible. To all the families and supporters, thank you for showing up for the teams! The atmosphere out at Blacktown was amazing.
Lastly, a thank you to Baseball Australia for putting on the tournament for the teams so they can compete at such high levels and play great baseball! It was great to see all of the teams back out on the diamonds after a substantial break from the regular scheduled National Championships. Looking forward to next year!