The Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament (GFI) is pleased to announce that for the first time in tournament history Australia will be coming to Grand Forks. The Geelong Baycats will be representing the Australian Baseball Federation. Their team manager, Nathan Holmes, said, “The Geelong Baycats are extremely proud to be offered an invitation to this prestigious tournament. Our players are thrilled at the opportunity of representing Australian baseball and the Geelong community on the international stage in Grand Forks.” Australia will take its place alongside other nations who have previously participated at the GFI. Taiwan, Japan, China, Russia and Mexico have all been here. However, one tournament record will be broken even before play begins on Aug. 31 – this will be the farthest any team has travelled to attend this tournament. Geelong is a city of almost 200,000 and is in Victoria, the second most populous state in Australia. Melbourne, 75 kilometres from Geelong, is its capital. The Geelong Baseball Club has been very active in developing the sport in Australia. This season the Baycats won their first ever Division One Club Championship and made their second appearance in the Championship series, losing a hotly contested final to the Waverly Wildcats. They were selected as the Club of the Year and Nathan Holmes received Coach of the Year honours. They have arguably the best playing facility in Australia. There are about 25 baseball players from Australia who have made it to the major leagues. The Geelong Baycats organization has long been producing young baseball talent and their most recognizable export to the big leagues in the United States is Graeme Lloyd. Lloyd pitched for 10 years while playing for 7 different clubs which included helping the New York Yankees to World Series titles in 1996 and ’98. Most fittingly he also played for both the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos during his pro career. His birthplace was Geelong, Victoria, Australia. And years later the team from his home town will participate in Canada’s richest invitational baseball tournament. In the letter confirming their attendance at the GFI they wrote, “We can’t wait for the umpire to call ‘Play Ball’ on our first game in Grand Forks. City of Grand Forks, province of BC and yes, even Canada, get ready, plan to be at the GFI August 31 to September 5 for the Aussies are coming!
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2017)–French-born sensation Flavien Prat greatly expanded his glowing resume on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he swept the track’s Late Pick Four by guiding longshot Isotherm to a half length win in the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes. Run at a mile and a quarter on turf, Isotherm, who is trained by George Weaver, got the distance 2:00.23.Fourth in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) here on Dec. 26, Isotherm was dispatched today at 7-1 in a field of nine older horses and paid $17.20, $10.40 and $7.20.In a thrilling stretch drive, Isotherm who had been mid-pack early, overhauled French-bred Itsinthepost and Tyler Baze to gain the ascendency close home.“I was hoping he would break well, and he did, so I kinda used that to my advantage,” said Prat, who now leads Tyler Baze in the Winter Meet standings by a 28-21 margin through 24 racing days. “We didn’t go that fast so I was sitting just behind the pace and thought he’d have a good shot. It worked out well. Today, I knew I had some good shots. Everything worked out really well and I’m pretty lucky.”Itsinthepost, who pressed A Red Tie Day while running second to the far turn, took command approaching the sixteenth pole, but was immediately tackled by the winner and had to settle for second, finishing two lengths in front of Flamboyant.Off at 8-1, Itsinthepost paid $9.40 and $6.60.Flamboyant, who was also bred in France, closed good ground under Brice Blanc and was up by a nose over Hi Happy for third. Off at 6-1, Flamboyant paid $5.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 24.34, 49.07, 1:13.71 and 1:37.14.(The Flavien Prat-Late Pick Four paid $421.45).There is an early “Big Game Sunday” first post time at Santa Anita tomorrow of 11 a.m. for an eight-race program.