A pair of former Beloit Snappers powered Australia to an 11-0 rout over China in the World Baseball Classic on Thursday at Tokyo Dome.
Luke Hughes gave Australia the lead with a two-run homer in the 3rd inning, and added a two-run double in the top of the 7th inning. James Beresford hit a grand slam in the top of the 8th inning, making the score 11-0 and putting into effect the “mercy rule” that ended the game after China failed to pull within 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Beresford walked three times earlier in the game.
Former Florida Marlins farmhand Trent D’Antonio also drove in a pair of runs for the Aussies.
Hughes played for the Snappers in 2005. He batted .257 with 7 HR and 42 RBI in 72 games. He last played in the majors in 2012.
Beresford spent two seasons with the Snappers. In 2009, he batted .289 with 38 RBI and 15 SB in 114 games. In 2010, he batted .297 with 59 RBI and 14 SB in 126 games. He made his MLB debut for the Minnesota Twins last year, but spent most of the season in Triple-A.
The Midwest League had two Australia-born managers in 2014. At that time, I wrote a post about them and the 13 former Midwest League players who reached the major leagues. (Beresford is not among them because he hadn’t made his MLB debut yet.) You can read that post here.
Puk could pitch for Beloit
The Oakland Athletics assigned their top pitching prospect, left-hander A.J. Puk, to minor-league camp earlier this week. I anticipate him starting the season with the Snappers after he posted a 3.03 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 32.2 innings (10 starts) for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters last year.
Puk was drafted No. 6 overall last year. In its recent issue about top American League West prospects, Baseball America said this about Puk’s future: “When he throws online to the plate, Puk is difficult to square up and shows a ceiling of a front-end starter, but he must become more efficient with his pitches and more consistent with his command. At worst, he could become a dominating high-leverage reliever.”