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Showcase | Story | 5/20/2019

PG welcomes Australian team

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Baseball Australia (Perfect Game)

Traveling halfway around the globe is a tough trip in and of itself, and that is especially so when you have to come out and compete on the diamond less than 48 hours after arriving. That's just what the Australian National Team will be doing over the next week, taking in the sights of sunny Fort Myers while also looking to impress scouts and coaches alike as these young men take another step on their lifelong baseball journey. 

Team Australia General Manager Glen Williams is a former Major Leaguer and now is an instrumental force in molding the minds and abilities of the players for their 18u Australian National Team. They got off to a good start on Sunday as they won their first exhibition match over at the Lee County Player Development Complex and will be looking to impress over the next week. 

This will be the first time to Florida, let alone the United States, for most of these players who, at least geographically, are closer than ever to professional clubs. Williams was proud of the way his kids competed in their first game in Florida and knows that some of the conditions regarding travel can be tough obstacles to overcome.

“A lot of the guys have been to the states before," Williams said, "but this is their first time in Florida for the majority of them. It’s still warm in Australia but definitely not as humid as this. The kids are excited to get going and it’s tough to come out and play a game two days after getting here. We’re trying to make the most of it, I think our pitchers were a little bit gassed towards the end there. The boys played really well.”

July is quickly approaching and with that the July 2nd International Signing Period opens up where a good amount of the players on the roster will be eligible to sign professional contracts. Besides the J2 period, a lot of Team Australia players will be looking to find a spot on college rosters as playing at the next level, whether that be with a pro team or college, is the next step for these players to realize their dreams of playing on a big league field.

“We’ve got a good group of kids at different levels," Williams said, "with some players getting interest from professional clubs with the July 2 International signing period coming up. There’s a lot of players pushing for opportunities with that and a lot of kids keen on going to college and we just want to provide a really good playing experience for them against a premier group of athletes outside the country. We want to challenge them a bit and expose them to people who might be able to give them an opportunity down the line.”

Getting players outside of their comfort levels and looking to challenge themselves is something that Williams is keen on trying to create during this trip. He wants his kids to know that they will be challenged by players they aren't familiar with of similar age groups, some of which are going to push them on the field. This competition was evident during their first win on Sunday afternoon and Williams hopes his team is able to keep up the pressure.

“It provides a lot of context for them, you know, we’re a long ways away in Australia and our kids love baseball, they have aspirations and dreams like every US kid who want to play in the big leagues," Williams said. "Every kid has a different path to that journey and they’re all going to try hard to be able to do it. To be able to give them context at an International Showcase with other international players in their age group they can match up and see where they’re at.

"Competing against some of the best kids on the east coast will be a challenge and an eye-opener but we had the opportunity last year to play against pro clubs in Arizona and the kids matched up well and competed. That’s what we’ve been stressing to them is to go out and compete with their best stuff and that’s the best you can do. I’m proud of them and they went out there and matched up and competed well.”

Florida Operations Director Ben Ford is also thrilled for Williams and his team to be here and to be partnering with Perfect Game. The Australian team will be competing throughout the week in Fort Myers with their participation in the International Showcase on Tuesday as well as the 18u WWBA Memorial Day Classic going on in the greater Fort Myers area next weekend.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Glen Williams and the Australian National Team to Fort Myers and are really excited about this partnership now and moving forward. Perfect Game has always looked to be the gold standard for amateur baseball and that includes on an international scale as well. The Australian National Team will be playing a full week of baseball in Florida with scrimmages and practices throughout the week, our inaugural International Showcase on Tuesday, and our Memorial Day Classic this coming weekend."
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