BTI Brawlers soared to the top of the PRCL power rankings for Week #1 of the 2018 schedule. Busan Tech’s league-leading 58 runs scored, while allowing just 19 earned runs, has absolutely dominated the first eight games to open the season, and they top the standings at 7-1.
The Brawlers swept their 2-game series with Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama, with their only loss coming against Incheon on the 19th, which snapped a 4-game win streak to open the season.
From the mound, Busan had Wen Hong deliver two solid performances, the first back on opening day against the 2017 defending PRCL champs, Tokyo College, an 8.0 inning 6-hit shutout that ended up in a no-decision, then a complete game 1-run victory in the second game against Incheon last Saturday.
On the offensive side, the Filipino left fielder Renan Barnachea has been on fire, hitting 3 homers and batting .370, while scoring 9 times and batting in 11 runs for the opening week. The early indications for the 2018 PRCL season look like Busan is the team to beat, as last year’s powerhouses Tokyo and Fiji College gave lacklustre performances in a soft start to the year.
Tokyo College sunk to 1-7, while the 2017 PRCL finalists, Fiji, went 3-5 in a messy three-way tie for the basement of their division.
KYLE, O’BRIEN NAB PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Seoul U’s Wesley O’Brien, a 20-year-old Aussie shortstop, earned POTW for the Australasia-Oceania Conference, while Manila’s Rhys Kyle got the nod for the Japan-Korea Conference.
O’Brien was superb for opening week, going 12-for-28 to craft a .429 average, while scoring 6 runs and batting in 7. His freshman year with Seoul was less exciting, finishing at .277 with just 5 home runs, but for opening week of 2018 he already has 2 taters and is hungry for more.
Meanwhile, Kyle, the Aztecs’ first baseman, and another Aussie, batted .370 with 3 homers, and 7 runs scored.
Back on Saturday, the Melbourne-Manila game featured some drama as Melbourne U hothead Christos Morrow reacted poorly over a perceived bad call by the home plate umpire. Morrow was permitted to linger for five minutes arguing with the umpire after being called out on strikes before manager Nick Velasquez finally retrieved him.
The PRCL announced Morrow would have to serve a 3-game suspension for his verbal tirade. He has so far batted .167 this year, with a homer, 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored.
Morrow is a former Bull Oceanic League player, who was a rising star in that league with the Hamilton Hammers until the league folded, and he decided to go back to school and play for the Melbourne U Admirals last June.