Australia stay in hunt for baseball berth

Roger Vaughan
Australia's baseballers have downed Canada 3-1 in the Tokyo Olympic qualifying event in Seoul

Australia have finally broken through for a win at the Premier12 baseball tournament to keep their slim Tokyo Olympics qualifying hopes alive.

They beat Canada 3-1 on Friday at Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome after previous losses in their group games against South Korea and Cuba.

If the Koreans beat Cuba on Friday night, Australia will advance to the super-round stage next week in Japan.

Australia effectively must finish ahead of South Korea and Taiwan at the Premier12 tournament to earn a Tokyo Games berth.

If that does not happen, they will have another shot early next year at the final Games qualifying spot.

Scores were tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning when a two-out triple from short stop Logan Wade scored two runs.

Relief pitchers Jon Kennedy and Ryan Searle closed out the win in the top of the ninth.

Kennedy was awarded the win and Searle retired the last two Canadian batters to earn the save, while middle reliever Steven Kent also starred.

Kent pitched 4.1 innings, only giving up one hit and striking out seven before Kennedy took over in the eighth.

Australia's chances of qualifying at Premier12 looked gone on Thursday with their cruel 3-2 extra-inning loss to Cuba.

But the Koreans beat Canada 3-1 in the late Group C game to put the Australians back in the hunt.

South Korea have a 2-0 record and are guaranteed a spot among the top-six teams for next week's super round, while Canada will finish bottom of the group.

Canada and Australia have 1-2 records and Cuba are on a win and a loss.