Manager Jon Deeble said of Team Australia offensive output, "From top to bottom we were very good offensively". Although most of this team has not played together before, there seems to be a great connection amongst the players as they practiced the last few days. Maybe it is the pride of donning the 'green and gold', or not being known for playing baseball and having something to prove considering baseball lags dramatically in popularity at home behind the likes of Australian Rules Football and cricket. Perhaps it is just the fact that these guys just really like each other, have a lot respect between one another, and really take it seriously and work at it. Deeble added "Australian’s always play good as a team, the team chemistry is great and that is something we really work on. We work a lot off the field on that sort of stuff and I don’t think you will ever have a problem with our team chemistry; that is always going to be fine.'
Australia faced off against Seattle in Ken Griffey Junior's first game back with the M's, who just recently signed him. Lefty Travis Blackely of Team Australia, who spent all of 2008 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the Phillies organization, went to work against fellow southpaw Garrett Olson for the M's who split time between Triple-A Norfolk and the Baltimore Orioles last year. The Mariners may have had Jr. in their corner, but the Aussies had two special strong supporters of their own in the dugout, in former big leaguers Chili Davis and Hall of Famer George Brett. With this support, the boys from down under were ready to 'have at it'.
The Mariner's, in front of their home crowd, got on the board first. After Yuniesky Betancourt singled with one out, Ken Griffey Jr. walked in his debut at bat and Adrian Beltre followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0 after one.
In the top of the third Team Australia batted around scoring four runs as former Mariner Chris Snelling, who spent time with the Phillies in 2008, had an RBI groundout to get his team on the board. Brett Roneberg began his big night with a clutch two out single that drove home two to tie it, and Justin Huber's (Triple-A Portland and the Padres in 2008) RBI single gave the Aussies their first lead of the game at 4-3. The lead did not last long as Adrian Beltre lead off the bottom of the inning with a solo homer, Franklin Gutierrez hit a three run shot, and Ronny Cedeno hit a high blast to center for the M's third homerun of the inning, and the M's led 8-4.
In the fourth, Team Australia scored four times for the second straight dig, when Justin Huber got it going with an RBI single for the first run of the inning. Ben Risinger was at it again hitting his third double of the night which drove home the second run. Risinger said after the game, 'Our team's hitting was awesome, to come out there and hit big league pitching like that, and for the boys to swing the bat like they did was a big effort". Brett Roneberg drove in two more giving him four RBIs, and was still not done on for the night, tying it again at 8-8.
In the bottom of the fifth with runners on the corners, Yuniesky Betancourt hit into a double-play, but a run scored as the see-saw battle continued, giving the Mariners back the lead, 9-8. The Aussies would take the lead for good in the top of the sixth when both Ben Risinger and Brett Roneberg each had their fourth hit of the night, it was also Brett's fifth RBI of the evening, and Australia was out in front once again at 10-9.
Brett Roneberg, who has not played in the states since spending time with Double-A Altoona in 2007, made it five for five and posted his sixth RBI of the night in the seventh to make it 11-9, which would be the final score. It was also the 30th hit of the game between the two squads. Roneberg said "We played well; it was good to get a win under our belt, especially against the Mariners".
Team Australia has two more exhibition games left before heading to Mexico City for round one of the World Baseball Classic, and will take on the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday before finishing their exhibition games on Friday against the Chicago Whitesox. The Brewers will send out right-hander Seth McClung, who was 6-6 with a 4.02 ERA last season, against Damian Moss for Team Australia who spent last year with at Triple-A with Richmond.