The Junior Steelers took home Silver in the 2020 WBSC U18 Men’s World Cup and their strong play over the course of the week has been recognised with four starters from Australia making the tournament’s All-World Team.
After going through the Opening Round undefeated, Australias only losses came at the hands of eventual World Champions Japan who were clinical in claiming the title played in Palmerston North, New Zealand on Sunday.
In a sign of just how impressive the Australians were collectively, four Junior Steelers were named in the World Cup’s All-World Team, double the amount of any other country included in the team based on performance.
Third baseman: Riley James (AUS)
The Australian captain lead from the front all week, and finished with eight hits, including four doubles and a triple. James also was fantastic at third base, making no errors and consistently sensational plays.
Shortstop: Jeremy Garland (AUS)
Garland put together an outstanding tournament on both sides of the ball, going 12-for-25 with bat, and finishing with a 3.71ERA. Garland homered twice, nailed three triples and finished with seven RBI. Garland’s best outing in the circle came against Guatemala, where he struck out 12 in four no-hit innings.
Outfielder: Joshua Banks (AUS)
Banks’ breakout game was against South Africa, as the right-hander went 4-for-4. Banks finished the tournament with a .500 batting average, and drove in four runs.
Outfielder: Joshua Routledge (AUS)
Routledge was one of Australia’s most consistent hitters throughout, beginning the tournament on a six game hit streak. Routledge homered against Singapore, and was defensively solid in centre-field.
The remainder of the All-World Team is as follows:
Outfielder: Kai Yamamoto (JPN)
Yamamoto had a fantastic tournament, and was one of Japan’s best in the championship game, going 2-for-2 with a stolen base. The right-fielder hit .500 for the tournament, finishing strongly with seven hits in his last five games.
Second Baseman and Tournament MVP: Hitto Nagayoshi (JPN)
Nagayoshi was near-unstoppable during the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, putting pressure on opposition defences all week. Five of Nagayoshi’s seven hits went for extra bases, as he lead the competition in triples and made zero defensive errors.
Nagayoshi’s best game came against host nation New Zealand on opening night, as he went 3-for-3 with two triples and six RBI.
Catcher: Luciano Biondi (ARG)
Biondi formed one of the most effective partnerships of the tournament with starting pitcher Franco Saenz, and played an important role in the Argentinean offence too. Biondi’s best game came against host nation New Zealand, going 4-for-4. Biondi finished the tournament with nine hits and five RBI.
First baseman: Adam Buchner (CZE)
Buchner made history during the U-18 Men’s World Cup, as the only player to homer in three consecutive games. The Czech first baseman finished with 10 RBI in eight games, and was consistently an option in his team’s historic run to the bronze medal.
Designated Player: Dylan Jackson (NZ)
New Zealand’s go-to player pitched and hit exceptionally well during his U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup campaign. Jackson went 7-for-13 with three RBI, and dominated tough lineups including Mexico and Australia from the circle.
Starting pitcher: Jakub Osička (CZE)
Osička dominated hitters all week at the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, and deservedly made the final out as the Czech Republic claimed a historic bronze medal. Osička finished with a 1.13ERA, allowing just seven runs and striking out 84 in 43.1 innings of work.