SAYONARA GOLD…Australia eliminated from medal contention
Shock loss to
JAPAN 3 def.
The Australian’s entered the game as red-hot favourites, but the Japanese pitching staff came to the fore, shutting out the Aussies over nine innings, a feat no other country can attest to during the 2007 World Cup.
Head Coach Jon Deeble could not hide his disappointment after the game, but remained adamant that his side is still one of the best in the world.
“If you look at our record since we landed in
“It just so happens, that after winning six in a row, we ran into some pretty decent pitching today and got beaten…but to be honest I couldn’t be prouder of the way this team has played.”
The Australians had every reason to feel confident entering the sudden death playoff - sending Major Leaguer Travis Blackley to the mound to face a Japanese side devoid of many of their biggest stars.
Blackley, who at times struggled with control, was still able to limit the opposition to a lone run in his 5.2 innings of work that came courtesy of a solo homer by Japanese centerfielder, Hisayoahi Chono.
Normally his strong performance would have been more than enough to assure the Aussies of victory, but Blackley was out-duelled by his Japanese counterpart, Tadashi Settsu who gave his country a dream start to the game.
Offensively the Australian sluggers never fired against either Settsu or left handed reliever Kohhei Hasebe, managing just seven, scattered hits and only advanced a runner past second base on one occasion.
The Aussies, who had made a name for themselves in to 2007 World Cup for consistently coming through in clutch situations, were unable to convert any of their limited chances - with the ‘big hit’ noticeably absent in today’s contest.
The tough loss now relegates the Australian side to the bottom half of the draw – meaning they can finish no higher than fifth place, a result that would still give the Aussies their best ever placing at the World Cup.