Winter Leagues Recap: Australian League News and Notes

In Australian League Baseball action from today, Stefan Welch went 1-for-3, with a walk, as Adelaide took a one-sided 12-2 loss. The defeat came just one day after they were eliminated from playoffs. On Friday night, Adelaide lost 8-7 to Canberra. In that contest, Welch went 1-for-4, with a run scored.

Welch went 2-for-7 over the last two games
Welch went 2-for-7 over the last two games

Also from today’s Adelaide game, Nick Hutchings came in to relieve during the seventh inning and ended up pitching 1.2 innings. The 16-year-old right-hander, signed by the Pirates in November, gave up one run on one hit and two walks. Hutchings threw 37 pitches, 23 for strikes. He also struck out two batters. Hutchings pitched poorly last week during the U18 National Youth Championships in Australia, but has pitched well during his brief time in the ABL against the much tougher competition. In six innings over five appearances, he has allowed one run on two hits, while striking out ten hitters.

The Australian League wraps up their regular season schedule tomorrow afternoon. Sam Kennelly is still with the Perth team as they try to clinch a playoff spot on the last day of the season. Tomorrow, we will recap the Pirates players who participated in the ABL.

In Colombia last night, the Caimanes defeated the Tigres 5-3. Tito Polo played his first playoff game last night, getting into the game as a pinch-runner. He ended up scoring his team’s third run. Harold Ramirez did not play. Their Tigres team trails 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, with game four scheduled for tonight.

The Caribbean Series starts next weekend, featuring the winning teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in a round-robin tournament. Due to the fact that teams regularly add reinforcements for the Caribbean Series, the rosters may be different than they were during the regular season and playoffs. The only news on Pirates players for the Caribbean Series so far, is word that Starling Marte won’t play and Ivan DeJesus Jr is suspended from postseason play.

There is also word from yesterday, that the leagues in Colombia and Panama will hold a tournament of their own during the same time, similar to the Caribbean Series. Also in that tournament will be teams representing the Nicaraguan League and the Veracruz Winter League out of Mexico. The latter two leagues haven’t been mentioned here at all this off-season, but a quick look at the rosters and stats turned up just one Pirates player, pitcher Jovany Lopez. He pitched to just three batters in the Veracruz League, allowing two walks. Lopez spent most of the off-season in the Mexican League, where he was used as a situational lefty out of the pen, throwing a total of 6.1 innings over 14 appearances.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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