For its final game of the WBSC U-23 World Cup, the Austrian National Team played against Venezuela. The game started early on Sunday morning with Sascha Kotrba on the mound. He did a decent job, but Venezuela started hitting off him well and took over the lead soon. Austria could produce some runs, but not enough to turn the game around. With this, Austria´s journey to Mexico is over.
Venezuela quickly recorded two outs against the Austrian offense, but then the bats got hot. Ferdi Obed and Sammy Hackl collected two hits and Raphie Mayr drew a walk to load up the bases. Severin Schütz got a good piece of it and scored the first two runs. Kotrba started off well and could quickly record his first strike out. Two walks followed and now Venezuela started to hit. The defense tried their best on hard hit line drives, but just missed them, to allow a total of three runs in the first inning.
In the second, both offensive squads didn´t produce, although Gruber and Seiser hit hard line drives, which ended right in the glove of the defenders. In the third, Austria again made pressure with two outs after singles by Hackl and Mayr. Severin Schütz was on point once again, driving the ball to center field and cashing in the third run.
Also Venezuela had traffic on the bases. Kotrba had to give up a hand full of hits and another run, before Alex “Klexi” Lambauer was sent on the mound in relief. After a long at bat, he got a slow ground ball and another hit to left field to score all inherited runners. More hits and more runs followed and with seven runs, Venezuela pushed the score to 3:10.
Also Lukas Bickel got another chance to prove his talent. Differently than in his strong start against Chinese Taipei, Bickel had difficulties spotting his pitches. In his first inning of relieve, Venezuela scored another run. In the sixth, the opposing batters started to hit him much better, so Hiro Sakanashi sent Ferdi Obed to the mound for his first appearance on the mound in this tournament. Also Obed couldn´t stop the bleeding right away, so the inning saw four more runs, before Austria got its last chance to score.
Pinch hitting Jan Alteneder could reach base after a dropped third strike, but the offense wasn´t able to score him. The tournament for Team Austria ended with a ground out by Ferdinand Obed, the guy who had Austria´s very first hit at a Baseball World Cup ever, a home run in the opening game against Australia.
The Austrian U-23 National Team showed a lot of good baseball during the tournament. The level of play at the U-23 Baseball World Cup was certainly higher than what most of the Austrian players were used to. The games against the world´s top nations pointed out a lot of areas, Austria can and also needs to improve. Still, the players can walk away with their heads up and there is no need to hide, when comparing themselves to international players in their age group. Especially the games against world class teams, like Australia or Chinese Taipei, showed what the team can do.
For sure, the results weren´t satisfying for the whole team. The fact, that winning a game was definitely possible, isn´t easy to take on the one hand, on the other hand it shows how close Austria has already gotten.
Without a question, the 18-day journey was an unforgettable experience for the Austrian players, but also for the coaches and the staff supporting the team. This tournament allows us to widen our horizon and brings a lot of motivation to keep improving; on a playing level, but also on a coaching and management level.
We want to take a moment to thank all the players and coaches for their effort and contribution over the past weeks. A special shout out goes to Robert and Tatjana Buchelt who volunteered to support the team in all management aspects on and off the field. Without your help, the team and the coaching staff couldn´t have focused on their actual tasks. We couldn´t have done this without you!
OCT 28, Cadereyta Stadium, 10 AM, Australia vs. Austria – 8:1
OCT 29, Cadereyta Stadium, 10 AM, Austria vs. Argentina – 3:13
OCT 30, Cadereyta Stadium, 10 AM, Nicaragua vs. Austria – 15:0
OCT 31, Saltillo Stadium, 6 PM, Austria vs. Japan – 0:16
NOV 1, Monterrey Stadium, 6PM, Austria vs. Chinese Taipei - 0:3
NOV 3, Cadereyta Stadium, 10 AM, Czech Republic vs. Austria – 14:7
NOV 5, Cadereyta Stadium, 1 PM, Austria vs. South Africa – 3:9
NOV 6, Cadereyta Stadium, 9:00 AM, Venezuela vs. Austria – 16:3
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