Winter Leagues Recap: News From Australia, Award For Marte

On a light day of Winter League action from yesterday, Felix Pie was the only Pirates player to play. He went 0-for-4, as his team dropped down to 3-11 in the playoffs.

The Dominican League playoffs continue with their four team, 18 game round-robin tournament for four more days. The two best teams will continue on to meet in a nine game championship series. Beginning on February 1st, the best teams from the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan and Dominican Leagues, will all meet in the Caribbean Series. The series is a seven day round-robin tournament, ending with the championship game on February 7th.

In news out of the Dominican, Starling Marte was named the player of the week for the first week of January. During the regular season, he won back-to-back player of the week awards at the end of November. Marte was quoted in a Dominican newspaper the other day saying that he will come into Spring Training competing for the left field job, not taking his spot for granted  “It’s a strong challenge for myself, I will go to Spring Training to work hard and earn a spot.”

The Australian Baseball League is off until Thursday, but there is still news out of Australia on two young players the Pirates have signed within the last half year. In the U18 National Youth Championships today, Sam Kennelly had a huge day at the plate. Playing in a morning-night doubleheader, Kennelly went 2-for-4 in the opener, then 3-for-3 in the nightcap.

Kennelly came up empty in his first two AB’s of the day, before reeling off six straight productive plate appearances. In game one, he drove in all three of his team’s runs with a two-run double in the fifth inning, followed by an RBI single in the seventh. In game two, Kennelly had a first inning sacrifice fly, then starting in the fourth inning, he singled in three straight innings. He finished with five RBI’s and three runs scored, while playing two flawless games in the field at SS. Through five games, Kennelly is 10-for-18, with eight RBI’s.

Also out of Australia, we announced yesterday the signing of 16-year-old RHP Nick Hutchings. He didn’t pitch yesterday, but he displayed some athleticism by collecting two hits and playing a game at shortstop in the U18 tournament. In today’s action, Hutchings came on late in the game at shortstop and got one plate appearance. He came up in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and was hit by a pitch. He scored four pitches later on a bases-clearing double.

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