24 July 2023
By Eric Balnar
World Cup and International Baseball Silly Season is just days away. Australia’s Under-12 national team will be the ones kickstarting the party.
Australia has teams in the Under-12 World Cup, Women’s World Cup, Under-18 World Cup, Little League, Junior League, Senior League and Intermediate League World Series.
This team is a collection of elite 12 & under talent from across the great Australian lands who will head to Taiwan to battle the best kids from other countries.
There are two groups in the tournament. Australia is in Group A with Taiwan, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Venezuela. Group B features Czechia, Dominican Republic, South Korea, New Zealand, Panama and the USA.
The group stage runs from July 28 – August 1. Australia must finish in the Top 3 to qualify for the ‘Super Round’ vs the other Group’s Top 3 teams if they wish to medal at this event.
There is no doubt this tournament will be a life-changing experience for the players and their families. A trip to a ‘baseball-first’ country, new friends, competitive baseball and a lot of learning opportunities are on the horizon.
We’ll be providing coverage via our social media. Make sure you follow Team Australia Baseball on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The games will be broadcast via the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) GameTime App.
It’s an exciting experience for the kids, many of whom haven’t met each other before.
“I can’t wait until we’re at the airport,” says Australia’s U12 coach Phil Hemmer (NSW).
“You know what kids are like. They all have baseball in common, they’re all representing their country. They’ll walk up to each other and be best of mates.”
Players from around the country have been training with their high performances managers, or with coaches in their respective states. They’ve yet to play together – but they’ll be well acquainted soon.
Hemmer says wearing the Green & Gold and representing your country isn’t something you get to do every day.
“I hope and want everyone to feel the pride that I’m feeling,” he says. “I’d love to do something special. Can you imagine if we did something cool? Let’s go win some games do something nobody in this country has done before.”
The whole experience will be different. No longer will the players be battling on suburban grounds. They’re going to Taiwan – a country that is baseball mad with facilities many of these athletes haven’t seen before.
“I hope they learn a lot. I want them to experience and see things they haven’t seen before,” he says.
“I also want them to learn. I want them to succeed but I also want them to fail – I want them to see challenges and continue to learn to work things out. Baseball and life aren’t perfect. This will be great for them.”
We’re sure they’ll represent us with honour.
Here they are…
PLAYING ROSTER – 2023 U-12 WORLD CUP
Oliver Allen – VIC – 1B / Pitcher: A power guy. He’s a big Victorian hitter who has the ability to drive in some runs for his team.
Ignatius Carter – NSW – Utility: He can play all over the infield, outfield and even step on the mound. A tall, athletic kid that brings some versatility to the squad.
Chase Crew – QLD – 1B /P: Chase will be relied on to drive in some runs and play some good defense. He had a solid Little League National Championship and was serviceable across the diamond – a cool kid!
Jacob Cruz – NSW – Utility: Coach Phil Hemmer says he’s got a “heck of a swing.” He can handle any position asked and is a great athlete.
Ashton Diplock – SA – Utility: South Australia’s only representee on the squad. Ashton can play nearly everywhere – he had a stand out Little League Nationals that put him on the radar.
Bodhi Evans – VIC – Utility: Don’t be fooled by his size – he may be smaller than others on the field but he can flat out play. He moves on the infield like he’s been doing it his whole life. Anywhere Bodhi plays is slick – very sure handed.
Travis Holborrow – NSW – Catcher: One of the main catchers on the squad. He is little but has a great defender with no issues throwing guys out at second base. Travis is a good lefty bat and a refined catcher for his age who works hard at his craft.
Mark Howell – WA – OF: Mark made an impression on selectors at the Little League Championships with some standout plays in centrefield. He has a bazooka – an absolute cannon of an arm. He runs around the outfield like it’s his day job.
Hugh Kelly – NSW – P/INF: He’s already put a stamp to his name as a candidate to be a real leader of the team. He’s a big, strong, tall kid that will likely pitch some big games. He can be sent out on short notice and will just throw strikes.
Toby Kelman – NSW – P/C/INF: What can’t he do?! A power bat who hit the ball really hard at nationals. He’s the complete package who can pitch and catch as well as play infield.
Zavier Leigh – QLD – OF / P: One of Australia’s only left-handed bats on the team. From all reports, his nationals were stellar – he played so well he pushed his way on the team. He should be proud of how he played. “I can see him being a big contributor,” says coach Phil.
Max Minard – NSW – P/OF: A late addition to the team but make no mistake – he deserves to be here. He’s shown a lot of improvement and can really let things fly with the call-up. A versatile player.
Archer Peterson – QLD – P/INF: One of the main arms and could be in a leadership role with the team. He is a great competitor and won some epic duals with great players at the Little League Nationals.
Maisen Ricketts – VIC – C: One of the main catchers on the squad. He didn’t go to the Little League National championships (his charter didn’t make it) but coaches in Victoria speak highly of him. He is a solid defender with a good arm.
Harry Roberts – NSW – P/Util: He’s a very controlled guy who can throw a lot of innings and can play outfield and infield. He asks a lot of questions and is a good student of the game.
Litsu Tamura – QLD – C/INF: Didn’t go to Little League Nationals because his charter didn’t make it. But Litsu trialed after the fact and made an impression. He’s another C / INF with versatility. He will play a big role. A tall kid with a big bat.
Jacob Tayler – VIC – OF / P: A fantastic young man who is very polite and an astute student of the game. he is very disciplined at training. Jacob has a strong bat that will play – a run scoring potential guy.
Harrison Thomas McLean – NSW – P: A tall leader on the team. He is strong, throws hard and hits hard. Harrison does everything with intent.