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David Nilsson fields experienced Aussie roster for WBSC Premier12

19/10/2019

Australia’s manager David Nilsson has selected an experienced roster for the WBSC Premier12 2019.

The 28-man squad includes 18 players who represented Australia at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Pitchers Travis Blackley, Warwick Saupold, Peter Moylan and infielder Luke Hughes, have Major League Baseball experience. Saupold just completed his first season in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He had a 12-11 record playing for the Hanwha Eagles.

Veteran left-hander Josh Tols is a top reliever in the bullpen of the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Second baseman Robbie Glendinning, at 24, has reached the Double-A level in the Pittsburgh Pirates organisation in the USA. He was the Australian Baseball League (ABL) Rookie of the Year last season. Outfielder Aaron Whitefield, 23, has also been promoted to Double-A by the Minnesota Twins. He is a previous ABL Rookie of the Year.

The team captain is catcher and third baseman Tim Kennelly, 32. He won two Helms Awards, the MVP of the National Championship in Australia.
Liam Hendriks, Lewis Thorpe and Daniel Mc Grath couldn’t commit to the National Team. They would have been important additions to the pitching staff.

The ROSTER

Australia started to work on the concept of developing a tournament team since February.
“They’ve bought into my concept of developing a tournament team,” commented David Nilsson, a former MLB All-Star catcher.

Nilsson added: “There’s really a good mix there but absolutely on the world stage, in a tournament-style event, the more experience you have, the better. It’s completely different from a long, drawn-out schedule. Nothing can replicate playing on that do-or-die stage.”

Nilsson said on a final note: “I really like the balance of the team and the experience of the team. We have a lot of depth; everyone is going to get their opportunity.”

David Nilsson

David Nilsson (Wendy van den Akker/SMPImages/BA Australia)

Nilsson’s coaching staff includes pitching coach James Bennett and assistant coaches Michael Collins, Andrew Graham, Russell Teichmann, Shayne Watson and Chris Oxspring, the pitcher who won the semifinal against Japan at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Baseball Australia announced that Boral, the leading Australian supplier of building and construction materials, will hold presenting rights of Team Australia through to July 2021, including at the nation’s Premier12 debut.
Boral will also continue their multi-year partnership with the Emeralds, backing the women’s national team as they embark on the 2020 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup.

Cover picture: AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari