Australia v USA press conference, Tim Atherton: “It’s a great feeling for us”

Australia v USA press conference, Tim Atherton: “It’s a great feeling for us”
13/11/2019
This is the first time Australia beat USA in a flagship World Cup or the Olympic Games.

Australia defeated USA today at the Tokyo Dome, and earned its first win of the Premier12 Super Round. A great performance by Aussie starter Tim Atherton led the way for an exciting win. This is the first time Australia beat USA in a flagship World Cup or the Olympic Games.

“It’s a great feeling for us, but is also an expected feeling,” said Atherton at the post-game press conference. “We came to this tournament with this expectation in mind and now we’re just executing what we did during the last six months.

“It took great performances in every aspect: pitching, defence and offence. I wouldn’t have the confidence to throw the pitches I wanted unless I have the defence picking me up, and the offence doing the job at the start of the game scoring two runs.”

Australian skipper David Nilsson agreed with his player. “I think it was a very good game. We’ve been playing good baseball and pitching very well as a team. It was just about getting some runs. Those early runs in the first inning put some extra pressure on this talented USA team. We played sensational defence, some great plays at third base, some good plays in the outfield, and then our pitching did an incredible job.”

USA manager Scott Brosius wasn’t surprised by the development of the game. “We knew Australia was going to be a tough game, they’ve been very competitive every game they’ve played in this Premier12, so we knew that it would be a very tight, close game today. It was just a bit disappointing that we couldn’t score enough runs to win.”

Atherton also explained his game plan for today: “My catcher and I worked well together. We established the fastball on both sides of the plate, I didn’t want the USA team swinging on it, so when we knew they were swinging, we went with the off-speed pitches. It was just staying aggressive, I gave up a couple of walks but stayed aggressive with the fastball, especially with the back of a great defence behind me.”

After being scratched from the lineup for last night’s game against Japan, USA starter Tanner Houck had a good outing, but was charged with the loss. “Tanner was ready to throw today, and I think he threw a good game,” analysed Brosius. “Both in opening round and today he had a bit of slow start. In the first inning, a couple of walks, and with two outs they connected the big hit, a ground ball that just found the hole. But once the first inning was over, Tanner settled in an pitched four really good innings for us.”

This win keeps Australia in the hunt for the Olympic spot. “For every team here, except for Japan, the Olympics is in the back of our mind,” recognized Nilsson. “But on a daily basis in the Premier12 you must think in the next team you’re playing. So my plan moving forward is to prepare our coaching staff and our players for the game against Chinese Taipei.”

Asked about the short rest of his team, after last night’s win over Japan, Brosius didn’t make any excuses. “I think we showed up ready to play today. Our preparation this morning was good, our batting practice, fielding practice, everything that we did, was sharp. The guys were excited, ready to play. It wasn’t lack of energy or overlooking the game. We had an emotional game last night, until late at night. But our guys showed up ready to play, and just didn’t happen for us today.”

Th US left fielder Mark Payton agreed with his skipper. “Probably for most of the players in this team, last night’s game against Japan was the coolest we’ve ever played. That’s the beauty of this game, and especially in an international tournament, where every game counts. But we showed up ready to play today.”