Today the World Basecall Qualifier 1 in Sydney took off. In the first game New Zealand hosted South Africa.
The final score was rather lopsided as the winner only walked away in the final inning.
The game was rather close until the ninth and the runs did not come cheap until then.
South Africa started to bring a runner to third base in the first inning, but failed to score when Brett Willemburg lined out to shortstop Scott Campbell for the final out.
In the second inning both teams did not come close to scoring.
South Africa started the third inning with a double play so they had only one out to work with. New Zealand starter Scott Cone was replaced in the top of the third inning already. Ben Cone took his place. That appeared to be a bad move as Ben Cone could not get out of the inning. With a runner on third, Kyle Botha and Brett Willemburg hit consecutive singles that drove in Jonathan Phillips for the opening run. Then Ben Cone loaded the bases as he hit Rowan Ebersohn with a pitch. Cone followed with a wild pitch that allowed Kyle Botha to score. A throwing error by catcher Connar O’Gorman allowed Brett Willemburg to score the third run for the South Africans.
New Zealand had a runner on second base in the fourth inning, when Max Brown doubled to center field, and in the fifth when Connar O’Gorman doubled to left field. But in both cases the Diamondblacks could not cash in.
South Africa dealt a decisive blow in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded, Brett Willemburg grounded out 6-3 and drove in Anthony Phillips from third. New Zealand showed some good defense when Rowan Ebersohn hit to shortstop Scott Campbell who threw right towards home plate where Jonathan Phillips was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Singles by Brandon Bouillon and Keegan Swanepoel, followed by a throwing error of center fielder Max Brown, drove in two more runs for South Africa.
New Zealand did something back in the bottom of the ninth. Moko Moanaroa led off with a single, followed by a HBP for Daniel Bradley. After Alan Schoenberger grounded into a 3-6 force out, the Diamondblacks had runners on the corners. Consecutive walks given up by reliever Garth Cahill drove in the sole run for New Zealand. Eventually Scott Campbell grounded out into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
As stated before, the score was rather lopsided as both teams had their scoring opportunities but failed to cash in earlier in the game. Eventually New Zealand was outscored 7-1 and out hit 9-3 as they committed three errors.
Dylan Unsworth lasted eight innings for South Africa and earned the win. He gave up two hits and struck out four. Scott Cone lasted only 2.2 innings and took the loss after giving up only one run.
Best hitter for South Africa was Keegan Swanepoel who went 1 for 1 with an RBI. Gift Ngoepe did not live up to the expectations yet as he went 0 for 3.