Australia players celebrate the team’s 8-7 victory in the World Baseball Classic Pool B game between Australia and Korea at Tokyo Dome on March 9, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization will play the Australian national team in two exhibition games at Melbourne Ballpark on Feb. 16-17, 2024, baseball.com.au announced on Tuesday.
Melbourne Ballpark is home to the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League.
The last time the Australia National Team played an exhibition series against a club team was four years ago in Geelong, Australia, at Geelong Baseball Park against the KBO’s Doosan Bears. One game was played, but the series wasn’t finished due to rain.
Australia has played on home soil for several international senior tournaments and exhibition series, including the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in Sydney at Blacktown International Sports Park, the Intercontinental Cup held in Sydney in 1999, and the 2000 Summer Olympics, also held in Sydney.
The Australian Baseball League relaunched in 2009, and the original ABL played from 1989-99 with four teams, but the league folded due to financial problems.
Australia is ranked No. 11 in the World Baseball Rankings produced by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, and will have to wait for the released of the next set of rankings on Dec. 31, 2023 to see if they qualify for the 2024 WBSC Premier 12 tournament.
The Premier 12 will be from Nov. 10-24, 2024, after the regular seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korean Baseball Organization, Major League Baseball, Liga Mexicana de Béisbol and the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan.
Australia national team co-captain and former MLB pitcher Warwich Saupold played for the Hanwha Eagles from 2019-20 and will play against his former team during the two games on home soil in February.
The Eagles finished in ninth place during the 2023 regular season at (58-80-6).
The Hanwha Eagles will begin spring training for the 2024 regular season in Melbourne, Australia, from the start of February until the end of the month to go back to
The 2024 KBO regular season will start on March 23. The league has yet to announce the regular season schedule.