This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
As I posted earlier this week, the Claxton Shield tournament championship semi-finals kicked off today in Adelaide, Australia.
Despite living in an era of HD TV, multiple camera angles and even replay, a single camera via an online web feed was the only way viewers outside of Australia were able to watch the beginning of the Claxton Shield semi-finals. The 3:30AM EST start for most games may also be to blame for a general lack of interest from baseball fans in the United States. Though the Claxton Shield is flying under the radar, there is great baseball being played down under.
The South Australian baseball team hosted the New South Wales Patriots at Norwood Oval for game 1 of a 3 game set to determine who will go on to face the Victoria Aces in the championship finals. As the teams faced off with identical 14-10 season records, it’s not a surprise that game 1 featured a pitching duel. For the South Australians, Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer Paul Mildren took to the mound opposite former Boston Red Sox minor leaguer Tim Cox for New South Wales. The two lefties battled for much of the game, neither allowing a run going into the 7th inning. The Patriots got to Mildren in the 7th when Tim Auty knocked in Pat Maat with an RBI double.
Like Cox and Mildren, Auty and Maat are also players who have put time in with Major League Baseball affiliates. In fact, many players that comprise the teams of the Claxton Shield have at some point played with major league organizations. In game 1 alone, there were at least 8 MLB teams represented by players who played(or currently play) for a team within their organization. The hottest hitter of the tournament, Michael Collins, received an invite to the San Diego Padres Spring Training camp.
The 7th inning RBI by Tim Auty proved to be the only run of the entire game. The only real threat by the South Australians came in the bottom of the 8th with David Washington on first and Jeremy Cresswell at the plate. Cresswell hit a double into shallow center, and Washington slipped rounding second base on his way to third. Washington is known for his speed, and potentially could have made the turn for home if he hadn’t slipped. They were unable to build on having two men in scoring position, as Tim Cox shut out the home team for 8 innings before giving way to Lee Ingram to close out the 9th inning and give the Patriots a 1-0 victory.
The two teams face off again tomorrow morning(or night, if you’re in Australia), with the first pitch around 3:30AM. The South Australian baseball team website is providing the online stream for fans. You can find that stream by clicking here.