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March 8, 2009

Jon Deeble

Andrew Graham

Paul Mildren

Trent Oeltjen


THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us here after the big win by Australia, 17-7 over Mexico in eight innings. To my left here, first is Trent Oeltjen. Had a terrific day at the plate, 4-for-5, was on base five times with an RBI; manager Jon Deeble; catcher Andy Graham who had a good day today himself at the plate, three hits, also our catcher; and finally, to the right is Mr. Mildren. Big win here, came in, stopped the bleeding, two innings of one-run, one-hit ball. I will open up the questions to anybody.

Q. Is this the biggest game in Australia baseball history?
JON DEEBLE: Is it? No.

Q. Which would be the biggest?
JON DEEBLE: No, this is not the biggest game. We won a silver medal in Athens, and we beat the Japanese Olympic team twice in Athens. It's another game. It's another game today.

Q. A big possibility is that you have to face Mexico again to try to reach the next round. I know everything went okay today, but what did you learn to face Mexico again?
JON DEEBLE: I'll answer your question in two parts. There's a possibility we'll play Mexico. You guys say that all the time. There's always been a script written that we're going to play South Africa tomorrow, so let's not get the horse in front of the cart, okay?
But we respect Mexico. They've got a great baseball team, there's no doubt about it. We respect them, and tonight we got our heads in front. But we do respect their ballclub. They've got a good ballclub, there's no doubt about that. We've just got to play the same as we played tonight if we face them again, if we face Cuba, who knows. The fact that you guys keep writing scripts of where we're going to play astounds me.

Q. For the manager: Obviously the altitude was a big factor today when you have 22 hits. What do you think the key for the quality of your batting during the whole game?
JON DEEBLE: Well, we weren't looking to be perfect; we were looking to have quality swings. We didn't go out there to hit home runs. That wasn't our game plan. It was to go out there and have quality at-bats. I thought our batters were very patient, the hitters were very patient, and we were lucky enough to get some pitches out in the zone, and our guys drove them. 22 hits was a pretty good effort.

Q. Australia has beaten Cuba twice. How do you see this upcoming game Tuesday?
JON DEEBLE: Look, they're a tough team. We know that. Last year we played them twice and beat us 5-0, they beat us 1-0. We had a one-run lead in the ninth and they beat us in extra innings. But they're the current world champions, and we've got a lot of respect for them, too.
We're not afraid of them, and I know their manager says that they weren't worried about Mexico, they were worried about us, and rightly so. Everybody keeps underestimating this team, and we keep knocking off the big boys.

Q. You've had some big successes before, as you've said, but you're clearly off on a better foot in this tournament than the last time around in this tournament. What have you been doing right to improve the team in the last few years, and what's changed about Australian baseball?
JON DEEBLE: Look, I think two things. I think the first World Baseball Classic we went there to gain respect from the world, and I think we did that. I think we got beaten by Venezuela 5-2 and the Dominicans 6-4, something similar to that. So I think we gained a lot of respect. That's over now; we're coming here to win.
Why have our guys got better? I would put it down to we have a Major League Baseball academy in Australia, Major League Baseball in the Australian Baseball Federation and our sports commission have got together, and we have a two-month baseball camp where the kids live in, and we've got 12 kids on the team that have come through the Major League Baseball academy. Richard Thompson, the pitcher out there tonight, was an academy guy, and the first one to get to the Major Leagues.
Our second baseman was from the academy, Liam Hendriks was from the academy. We've got 12 players on this team from the Major League Baseball academy. Without that, baseball in our country would be dead, there's no doubt in my mind about that. We're trying to get better.
It's not the No. 1 sport in our country, it's the No. 10 sport in our country. What these guys achieved day in and day out, the respect shouldn't go unnoticed. These guys are great ball players.

Q. Can we get a comment from each of the players on their view of the game?
PAUL MILDREN: I thought it was just an all-around good game for the start of baseball we've played. Like Jon said, we don't go out to hit home runs. We have guys that can hit home runs, but we just went out there and moved guys around and got them in, and that's what eventuated with the scoreboard, and then all of a sudden the pitching came in and stopped the bleeding. And also to shut out some of Major League's best hitters, and I thought it was a good job.
ANDREW GRAHAM: The game plan that we were given from Deebs here is go out and execute, throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball, don't make any errors. We made a couple errors today but we kept executing. We kept moving the runners over and scoring. Pitchers made good pitches, kept the ball down in the zone. There was a couple mistakes but we came back and made some good pitches. Take care of the execution and the score it take care of itself, and that's what we did today.
TRENT OELTJEN: I think tonight the lineup executed as everyone said. Before we knew it we had 22 hits and every inning we kept pushing and finally we won the game.

Q. Is Australia ready to win the World Baseball Classic now?
ANDREW GRAHAM: Of course we are. We always have been. We came into this tournament knowing that we can win this. It's not back ten years ago where we were just trying to gain respect. We're a force, a team that's going to bring some force. We're going to try to win every game we play. We're going to come out like we did today. People didn't think we were going to come out today and we came out today and won. We're going to try to do the same against Cuba. We're going to come out and execute, and whatever happens, happens.

Q. To the players, did you happen to hear the party that was going on in Mexico's dugout before the game? And if so was that a motivation to get this win?
PAUL MILDREN: I heard it. It was at the end of our BP session, and I was shagging balls and they had a little mariachi band or something in there, and I just felt like it was -- that was almost a turning point for me where I started concentrating, saying, look, I want to get this more because we're on their turf, and something inside of me wanted that more. That was a big one.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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