2008 Australian National Little League® Tournament Results
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Australian National Tournament
Major Baseball Division



2008

Toward the present

Australian National Tournament
Host - Redlands Baseball Club; Sheldon, Queensland

Participating Teams
New South Wales Hills North LL
New South Wales - Country Champions Newcastle LL
Northern Territory Alice Springs LL
Queensland Brisbane Metro LL
Queensland - Country Champions Far North Coast LL
South Australia Southern Adelaide Districts LL
South Australia - Country Champions Mount Gambier and District LL
Victoria Waverley LL
Western Australia Perth Metro East LL

NOTE: New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia advance both a metro champion and a country champion to the national tournament.

Click here to view 2008 state tournament results for Australia.

Tournament Results:

Format: This is a three-stage tournament. In the first stage, leagues are divided into three pools for round-robin competition. All teams advance to the second phase, with pool assigments determined based on placement in the first stage. The three pool winners from the first tournament stage advance to Pool 'A', while the three second-place finishers are placed in Pool 'B'. The three third-place finishers are placed in Pool 'C', which is a consolation pool.

In the second stage, teams compete in round-robin tournaments within their pool. The three Pool 'A' participants and the first place finisher from Pool 'B' advance to the semifinal round. All other teams advance to consolation games.

In the third tournament phase, the four semifinalists compete in single-elimination semifinal and championship round games to determine the Australian national champion.

Pool 1 Bracket

Day 1 (Thursday, June 5):
Hills North 3, Brisbane Metro 2
Hills North 9, Mount Gambier 5
Brisbane Metro 10, Mount Gambier 0

Pool 2 Bracket

Day 1 (Thursday, June 5):
Waverley 14, Adelaide Southern 0
Waverley 29, Alice Springs 0
Adelaide Southern 10, Alice Springs 0

Pool 3 Bracket

Day 1 (Thursday, June 5):
Perth Metro East 10, Newcastle 0
Perth Metro East 34, Far North Coast 0
Newcastle 11, Far North Coast 2


Pool 1 Standings

W

L
Hills North 2 0
Brisbane Metro 1 1
Mount Gambier 0 2


Pool 2 Standings

W

L
Waverley 2 0
Adelaide Southern 1 1
Alice Springs 0 2


Pool 3 Standings

W

L
Perth Metro East 2 0
Newcastle 1 1
Far North Coast 0 2

The three pool winners advance to Pool 'A', while the three second place teams advance to Pool 'B' and the three third place teams advance to Pool 'C'. Teams are placed into specific slots in these pools based on the number of runs scored.

Pool 'A' Bracket

Day 2 (Friday, June 6):
Perth Metro East 13, Hills North 6
Waverley 6, Perth Metro East 5
Waverley 13, Hills North 2

Pool 'B' Bracket

Day 2 (Friday, June 6):
Adelaide Southern 16, Brisbane Metro 6
Brisbane Metro 11, Newcastle 2
Adelaide Southern 11, Newcastle 2

Pool 'C' Bracket

Day 2 (Friday, June 6):
Mount Gambier 28, Far North Coast 1
Mount Gambier 13, Alice Springs 3
Far North Coast 13, Alice Springs 7


Pool 'A' Standings

W

L
Waverley 2 0
Perth Metro East 1 1
Hills North 0 2


Pool 'B' Standings

W

L
Adelaide Southern 2 0
Brisbane Metro 1 1
Newcastle 0 2


Pool 'C' Standings

W

L
Mount Gambier 2 0
Far North Coast 1 1
Alice Springs 0 2

The three Pool 'A' participants and the first place team from Pool 'B' advance to the semifinal round. All other teams advance to consolation round games. Teams are re-seeded based on their finish in the second day of pool competition.

Consolation Games (Saturday, June 7)

Far North Coast 7, Alice Springs 6 (Alice Springs finishes in ninth place)
Mount Gambier 9, Newcastle 7 (11 innings)

Semifinal Round (Saturday, June 7)

Hills North 3, Perth Metro East 1
Adelaide Southern 3, Waverley 2

Consolation Games (Sunday, June 8)

Newcastle 9, Far North Coast 0 (Newcastle finishes in seventh place / Far North Coast finishes in eighth place)
Perth Metro East 11, Waverley 1 (Perth Metro East finishes in third place / Waverley finishes in fourth place)
Game 'E' - Brisbane Metro versus Mount Gambier (11:30 a.m.) (winner finishes in fifth place / loser finishes in sixth place)

Australian National Tournament Championship Game (Sunday, June 8)

Hills North 3, Adelaide Southern 2 (TITLE)

New South Wales' Hills North Little League wins the Australian national championship and advances to the Asia-Pacific Region tournament in Hong Kong.


Summary:

Less than a year after the Australian Baseball Federation elected to affiliate many of its programs with Little League Baseball, some 30-odd Aussie leagues began competing for the right to represent the Great Southland in the Asia-Pacific Region tournament, and a chance to compete in the Little League World Series.

As many U.S.-based leagues have learned over time, the Road to Williamsport is as much endurance test as it is a sprint. Toms River East American (New Jersey) Little League, for instance, lost an average of four games per year prior to reaching South Williamsport during their three Little League World Series appearances in the 1990s. The powerful Sean Burroughs-led Long Beach (Southern California) Little League juggernaut lost one game by a head-scratching 16-1 score during its run to a second consecutive world championship in 1993. And even eventual 2008 Little League World Series champion Waipio Little League (Waipahu, Hawaii) claimed its crown only after absorbing losses in both state and region tournament play.

As a newcomer to the Little League family, Sydney's Hills North Little League may not have been fully versed in the nuances of the organization's rich history. But they did know that flat chat wasn't the only approach that would secure success in the 2008 international tournament.

In six games at the Australian national championship tournament, Hills North scored 26 runs, while allowing 36. A negative run differential would normally be cause for alarm, but Hills knew that not all games at the tournament were of equal importance, and the Sydneysiders saved their best efforts for the games that mattered most. In the first-ever Australian Little League national tournament at the Redlands Baseball Club complex in Sheldon, Queensland, four wins -- coming by a combined eight runs -- helped Hills North to claim the country's inaugural national championship crown.

"I particularly liked the way the team executed the strategy," said Hills Baseball Association president Peter Schmidt after the national tournament. "Winning when required, often by just a run or by getting one out at a critical time, and not crying over losses that meant nothing... Regardless of how good an individual bunch of kids are, nobody gets through a tournament like this without the players having the right attitude and mindset."

Hills North knew that the first day of the tournament was of paramount importance, and if all went well, the second would be essentially meaningless. That's because the three teams that won their pools with strong opening day performances would each lay claim to semifinal round berths. Those three teams would spend the tournament's second day merely jockeying with one another for seeding position, while the three pool runner-ups battled for the final semifinal slot.

Hills North took a major step toward securing first place in its pool with a win in its opening game. Brisbane Metro Little League came into the national tournament having scored no less than seven runs in any of its state tournament contests, and reached double-digits in seven of their eight games. But Hills North ace Zac Shepherd kept the Queenslanders' offense bottled up, allowing just two runs, and the New South Wales contingent rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to claim a 3-2 win.

When Hills won their second game, 9-5 over Mount Gambier Little League, they were essentially on equal footing with Waverley Little League and Perth Metro East Little League, which muscled through their pools with 43-0 and 44-0 run differentials, respectively. And when Hills North dropped games against both teams on the tournament's second day, 13-6 to Perth and 13-2 to Waverley, the only consequence was that they were slotted into the semifinal round as the number three seed rather than first or second.

Pitchers Morgan Giffen, Hayden Bray, and Scott Richards then lifted Hills into the championship game by combining to hold Perth Metro East's potent offense to a single run in a 3-1 semifinal round win. The game was tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, when Hills North struck for a pair of runs to take the lead. The game ended when, with Perth threatening, Bray reached over the center field fence to pull back a would-be game-tying home run.

Adelaide Southern Districts Little League prevailed in the second semifinal round meeting, avenging a 14-0 defeat in their tournament opener and surprising Waverley, 3-2. Adelaide carried a 2-0 lead for most of the game before the Wildcats tied it in the fifth, but the South Australians pushed across a run in the sixth to earn their fourth consecutive victory following the opening loss.

Hills North again relied on Shepherd in the championship game, and the right-hander responded by striking out nine batters and allowing just two runs in a 3-2 victory over Adelaide Southern. Hills North snapped a 2-2 tie with a run in the fifth, and reliever Cameron Power held Adelaide Southern scoreless while closing out the team's second one-run victory of the tournament.

"It's just a dream. It's not even a dream come true. When I started coaching, I never had any idea that this might happen," said Hills North manager Greg Giffen in an interview with Australia's Baseball Radio National shortly after the national tournament. "I'm out there for the kids. I love seeing the kids play. To have this opportunity (advancing to the region tournament) is just second to none."

Hills North had also registered a pair of one-run victories at the New South Wales state tournament, defeating eventual third-place finisher Hills South Little League 13-12 at a critical juncture in the tournament, and avenging a loss with a 4-3, eight inning victory over Cronulla South Little League in the tournament's final game.

"That was a very big and stressful weekend which we got through," said Greg Giffen of his team's seven-game slate at the state tournament.

"It's a lot of constant training and developing," the Hills North manager said . "And (hoping) I could bring the kids along to actually ... peak at the right time, which they did."

Hills North held their own at the Asia-Pacific Region tournament in Hong Kong, defeating Saipan, 2-1, for the nation's first-ever win at the region tournament level, and later overcoming New Zealand's reprise of the All-Black rugby team's traditional pre-game Haka to earn a 9-4 victory over their ANZAC rivals in a South Pacific derby. But Hills North faced an unfamiliar obstacle -- the curveball, which is prohibited by the Australian Baseball Federation at the major baseball age level -- and fell out of contention after dropping a 4-2 decision to Tanauan Little League (Batangas, Philippines). The Australian champions closed out their pool schedule with a 5-0 loss against eventual Little League World Series qualifier Southern Guam Little League (Yona, Guam), and finished the tourament with a 2-3 record, good for third place in the Pacific pool.


Linescores:

  Semifinal Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Hills North 1 0 0 0 2 0 3
Perth Metro East 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
  Semifinal Round
Adelaide Southern 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 7 1
Waverley 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 4 1
  Championship Game
Hills North 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Adelaide Southern 0 1 0 1 0 0 2






Toward the present

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Last revision: 02/08/2009