After eight total games today, six national teams would remain in medal contention, while four would be eliminated from the championship at the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship.
Canada and Australia finished Pool A in the top two spots, while in Pool B New Zealand and Japan earned those same spots. This is important as each would have the ability the loss one game without being eliminated.
Argentina v Botswana
The first game of the Championship Round was an elimination game – win or go home.
Argentina scored all the runs they needed to continue in the first inning as Manuel Godoy hit a RBI double to score Teo Migliavacca. Godoy then made his way to third on a passed ball and came home on a wild pitch to go ahead 2-0.
Roman Godoy retired the first nine batters in an impressive pitching performance by Argentina, allowing only one hit with 15 strike-outs.
In the third inning, Argentina scored another run as Matias Minigutti beat the throw to first on an infield hit, only to later steal home on a wild pitch. Motroni hit into a fielder’s choice scoring Migliavacca to make it 4-0.
In the fifth inning, Alan Peker scored the fifth run for Argentina on an error by Moses Kgosimore.
Botswana broke up the perfect game in the sixth when Gomolemo Tshelametse hit a single up the middle. But they could not capitalize and remained down 5-0.
In the bottom of the inning, Zara lined one right to Kagiso Mogale who showed off his quick reflexes for the catch. Migliavacca then took a walk to load the bases. But Morulaganyi Moalosi got the force at third on a ground ball.
Botswana was down to their last opportunity to come back in the seventh down five. But nothing came of it.
Argentina eliminated Botswana, leaving them in 8th place. This marks the highest finish ever for Botswana in any WBSC world championship.
Win: Roman Godoy
Loss: Kagiso Mogale
Argentina will play tomorrow at 11:00am against Japan
Botswana has exited the Men’s Softball World Championship in 8th place.
USA v Venezuela
11-3 (5 innings)
In the second playoff game of the day, USA quickly got the game rolling after a double to right field by Derrick Zechman in the top of the first inning. After Erick Ochoa was issued a walk, Tyler Dudley hit a RBI double to left field. Jumping out to an early 1-0 lead, Kevin Castillo drew a walk to load the bases but a strike out and ground out ended their chances of scoring additional runs.
Venezuela responded in the bottom half of the frame when Herwins Querales singled to center field. Rafael Flores then sent the ball deep into left field to take the lead, 2-1. Jeremy Manley entered the circle and issued a strike out to end the inning.
USA took back the lead for good in the second. With runners on the corners, Erick Ochoa tied up the game after reaching first on an error by Venezuela pitcher Carlos Ucero, plating Christopher Heinlein. With two runners on base, Dudley sent a three-run shot over the center field fence to extend the U.S. lead, 5-2.
The Americans tacked on another run in the top of the third after Matt Ratliff walked, advanced to second on a passed ball, and was brought home on a single by Nick Mullins.
Venezuela would cut the lead in the fifth on a solo shot to center field by Carlos Carreno.
But USA wasn’t finished and loaded the bases in the fifth. A pitching change by Venezuela wouldn’t matter as Heinlein came up and hit a two-RBI double. Jeff Nowaczyk then hit a two-run single up the middle to score Mullins and Heinlein. The U.S. capped off the inning after Kay scored, which ended the game 11-3.
Win: Jeremy Manley
Loss: Carlos Ucero
USA plays tomorrow at 1:30pm against Australia
Venezuela has exited the Men’s Softball World Championship in 7th place.
Canada v Japan
Canada opened the playoffs with a 2-0 win over Japan securing a spot in the medal round.
In the top of the first inning, Japan got a one-out single by Masaki Sawada but Sean Cleary settled in and struck out the next two batters.
Japan led off the third with a single with Ryo Koshikiya advancing to second on a wild pitch. Cleary was able to get out of the jam, striking out the next batter followed by a foul out to first and a ground out to shortstop. The following inning, Japan got a runner on base on an error, but Cleary once again left the runner stranded with a pair of strikeouts.
Canada got its first base runner of the game when Bradley Ezekiel drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth, but after a strikeout, Ezekiel was caught stealing at second to end the inning.
Canada scored all the runs in the game in the fifth with a leadoff single by Derek Mayson before Johnson pulled the ball down the left field line for a two-run blast to give Canada a 2-0 lead. Blake Hunter followed that up with a single, but after a pitching change the next batter lined out to third with Hunter being double up at first.
Japan went down in order in the top of the sixth, but threatened in the seventh by getting Tsukasa Oishi and Naoaki Kawada on base with a pair of singles. However, the next batter flew out to right and Mathieu Roy fired a perfect throw to second to catch Kawada trying to tag up from first. With a runner on third, Cleary got the last batter to strike out to end the game.
Win: Sean Cleary
Loss: Hayami Takahashi
Canada will play tomorrow at 4:00pm against New Zealand
Japan will play tomorrow at 11:00am against Argentina
New Zealand v Australia
The final playoff game of the night was worth the wait. The two Oceania teams came into the game with their bats hot after scoring numerous home runs in the Pool Round.
Australia reached base first with a James Todhunter’s double to no man’s land. But the Aussies couldn’t do anything with it. In the bottom of the inning, Joel Evans hit a single to right field and Brad Rona drew a walk, allowing Thomas Enoka to hit a RBI-single and to take the early 1-0 lead.
Nick Norton reached base for Australia in the second after getting hit by a pitch but was stranded. In the bottom of the frame, Campbell Enoka got on with a single down the third base line to move Kallan Compain up to third. But Joel Evans struck out and the Black Sox left two runners on.
The Black Sox got on base again in the bottom of the fourth as Todhunter bobbled the ball allowing Cole Evans to get on. Australia recovered to get the lead runner at second but couldn’t turn the double play. However, back-to-back strike outs for Adam Folkard closed out the fourth.
Another inning and more base runners as Ryan Sinclair hit up the middle with two outs. A single for Brenden O’Byrne and Australia had runners on the corners for Nick Shailes to smack a RBI double to left field to tie the game up.
After a lead-off triple for Campbell Enoka, he raced home on what he thought was a wild pitch. But the ball hit the handle of the bat and Enoka had to go back to third. The next batter later, Nathan Nukunuku swung at the first pitch for a double down the first base line to score Enoka. Brother Thomas followed with a two-run bomb to left to make it 2-1 Black Sox.
Andrew Kirkpatrick led off the 6th reaching base on the throwing error by Cole Evans. Liam O’Leary then cut the deficit to two with an RBI double for Australia. But Pettett struck out Ryan Sinclair to end the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Wayne Laulu led off with a walk only for Compain to lay down a bunt. Campbell Enoka then sliced a RBI single. But another error by Australia let Joel Evans on and score Tyron Bartorillo to make it 6-2.
Never a team to give up, the Aussies continued to fight down four in the seventh. O’Byrne hit a lead-off single with no outs. But New Zealand shut them down to win 6-2.
Win: Josh Pettett
Loss: Adam Folkard
New Zealand will play tomorrow at 4:00pm against Canada
Australia will play tomorrow at 1:30pm against USA
Hong Kong v Turkey
15-0 (3 innings)
In the 1st Placement Round game of the day, Hong Kong defeated Turkey scoring five runs in each of the three innings.
In the first, three singles and a double scored Po Hei Fung, Tak Hei Trevor Cheung, Chun Kin Chan, O Man Kam and Hon Man Lau. Turkey tried to get on the board in the bottom of the frame with two runners in scoring position but a strike out ended any threat.
Hong Kong struck for five more in the second. Chan Chun Kin, Tak Hei Trevor Cheung, Che Fan Tong, and Chi Leung Wu each earned RBIs.
In the third inning, Cheung recorded his second hit of the game – a RBI double. But like many times this week, Turkey showed their potential defensively as Ismail Can made a diving catch in right field. With one out, Tong landed the ball to right to score Cheung and Den Oshima. Ling Kwan Ng would score on a fielder’s choice before Wu would single to bring in their final run of the game.
Win: Ho Hoi Ming
Loss: Ahmet Pehlivanoglu
Hong Kong plays tomorrow at 11:30am against Czech Republic
Turkey has exited the Men’s Softball World Championship in 16th place.
Great Britain v India
8-1 (5 innings)
Great Britain got on the board first scoring three in the bottom of the first inning. James Darby and Kevin Stockford singled as O’Neill then drove them in with a double, before scoring himself on a wild pitch.
India was seeing success in Kumar Deepak, who threw five straight strike-outs in the second, before Stockford hit a two-run home run for the 5-0 lead.
In the third, India got runners on the corners, allowing Sehgal Singh to score on a wild pitch. But Great Britain struck out the next three to remain ahead 5-1.
Darby sent it down the left field line for a double to score Tom Priscott in the fourth. And Regan O’Neill hit a single to bring Darby in to bringing the game to 7-1.
Great Britain closed the game out in the 5th inning. With two outs, Priscott lifted it into the gap to send Neil Davies home and give them the 8-1 win.
Win: James Darby
Loss: Kumar Deepak
Great Britain plays tomorrow at 2:00pm against Denmark
India has exited the Men’s Softball World Championship in 15th place
South Africa v Czech Republic
The third Placement Round game was a close one between South Africa and Czech Republic. South Africa had a monster 2nd inning, only for Czech Republic to come within one run before they ran out of outs.
Czech Republic opened up the game putting one on the board as Patrik Kolkus hit a one-out triple to score David Mertl. Václav Svoboda hit a triple of his own triple and the Europeans were up 2-0.
Two bases-loaded walks tied it up in the second. Czech Republic brought in Ondrej Malecek but Sehlabi Molokoane sent it bouncing up the middle to bring in two more runs. With two on, Brandon Bouillion singled to right to score two bringing the game to 6-2.
South Africa padded their lead the following inning on a Phomolo Phaladi single to go up by five.
Czech Republic tried to claw their way back into the game in the fifth as Mertl scored on an interference call. Svoboda then tripled to drive in Kolkus and Vacha, down by only two.
In the seventh, South Africa did not get complacent as Bouillon led off the inning with a solo shot to make it 8-5.
But Czech Republic did not want to give up. Vacha reached base safely on a bunt only for Kolkus to nail it over the fence for an 8-7 game with no outs. After Svoboda singled, South Africa struck out two. With their backs to the wall, Michal Koluch hit a grounder to end the game.
Win: Francois Steyn
Loss: Marek Maly
Save: Tidima Kekana
South Africa will play tomorrow at 4:30pm against Dominican Republic
Czech Republic will play tomorrow at 11:30am against Hong Kong
Dominican Republic v Denmark
Dominican Republic and Denmark were so close to making the playoffs at this year’s world championship. But they had to settle for the Placement Round, playing in the last game of the day.
Dominican Republic struck first in the bottom of the 1st inning. Kim Hansen walked Francis Medina, who moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. With one out, Sergio La Hoz hit it up the middle and Marc Nihoj kicked the ball while trying to grab it giving Dominican Republic their first run.
In the third inning Elias Valerio and La Hoz each hit home runs to make it 3-0.
Dominican Republic would add to their lead in the fifth as a hard hit up the middle by Josuel Chalas scored Joel DeMota.
The final two runs in the game came in the bottom of the 6th. Valerio and La Hoz would record the RBIs as the game ended 8-0.
Win: Yan Carlos Gonzalez
Loss: Kim Hansen
Dominican Republic will play tomorrow at 4:30pm against South Africa
Denmark will play tomorrow at 2:00pm against Great Britain