This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Before the semi-finals of the Claxton Shield between South Australia and New South Wales began, the two teams had split their head-to-head matchups with three wins apiece. Four of the six games were decided by three runs or less. The trend continued in the playoffs, as game 1 of the semi-finals featured a pitching duel between Tim Cox and Paul Mildren for seven innings before the NSW Patriots squeaked across a single run that proved to be the game winner. I recapped game 1, which you can read by clicking here. Game 2 had another pitching duel between , for the first four innings anyway, and included a bases-loaded walk that proved to be the difference maker. You can read the full recap of the game by clicking here.
Much like the first game, game 2 featured a number of players with some minor league experience. For example, the starter for New South Wales, Wayne Lundgren, began his professional baseball career with the Boston Red Sox. He played among future every day MLB players like Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon as a member of their minor league teams between 2001-2003 teams. He bounced around St. Louis and Cincinnati’s organizations for several seasons before last being seen playing with the Brockton Rox in 2008. Another player is the closer for South Australia, Hayden Beard, who closed out the game 2 win. He was last seen in the minor leagues as a member of the rookie ball St. Lucie Mets.
The semi-finals have so far included some players who last played in college, like South Australia’s Scott Gladstone who led the University of Tennessee-Martin with a .420 average. There are also players in the tournament who are currently on the rise. New South Wales’ roster includes Mitch Dening, a prospect within the Red Sox organization, who had two hits in game 2.
With the semi-finals between South Australia and New South Wales coming to a head tomorrow, it will be interesting to see which players rise to the occasion and push their team to the championship series where they will face the Victoria Aces. Game 3 takes place on Sunday at 3:30AM Eastern Standard Time, which is 7PM in Adelaide, Australia. You can catch live coverage via South Australia’s live feed(click here).