TOKYO, After upsetting South Korea 8-7 in a four-hour marathon of a game at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on Thursday, Australia manager David Nilsson could only breathe a sigh of relief.
"A lot of relief right now, very proud of the team," Nilsson said after the opening Pool B victory at Tokyo Dome. "It was a very tough game and a very strange game. Korea threw a lot of different challenges at us, but we responded the way that we knew we could. It's very rewarding for everyone involved."
Australia's win was powered by a pair of three-run home runs, first by Robbie Glendinning and then by Robbie Perkins.
"When I hit it, I knew it was one of the best feelings I've had," Glendinning said. "I remember looking at the dugout and everyone was going crazy. It was a great feeling."
Glendinning also made what his manager called a "heads-up" play on defense at second base. With Australia nursing a 5-4 lead in the seventh, Kang Baek-ho hit what appeared to be a one-out double. But as he was celebrating the hit prematurely, Kang came off the bag momentarily. Glendinning alertly put the tag on Kang for the second out.
South Korea got a single next, but Australia escaped the inning unscathed.
"He did it all on his own," Nilsson said. "It was a big turning point in the game."
Glendinning said he wanted to take advantage of having a replay challenge in his pocket.
"I know previously, I've tagged guys out when they came off the base," he said. "In that situation, I put the tag on, and I knew for a fact that he came off the base. The replay showed it pretty clear. I was pretty happy, and I pointed to the dugout."
Australia could reach the quarterfinals if it can beat China and then the Czech Republic, two major underdogs of Pool B, in the remaining games. Nilsson, though, said he wasn't yet thinking about upcoming contests.
"I am going to enjoy tonight," he said. "The main thing tonight is to make sure the players are okay."
Source: Yonhap News Agency