Canada beat, 8-5, New Zealand in front of a sell out crowd and is now the only undefeated team in group be of the WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship.
The hosts made the most out a total 11 walks issued by New Zealand’s pitchers.
New Zealand took an early lead against starter David Watson. A swinging bunt by left fielder Waller and some aggressive running put Canada’s defense under pressure. A base hit by catcher Valk was enough to score 2 runs.
Canada was hitless for 2 innings, then the hosts’ bat came to life in the third against Reilly Makea. Canada trimmed the gap to one run on a base hit by right fielder Baker and tied it on a sharp roller by third baseman Lefebvre. New Zealand’s second baseman Attewell could only stop the ball with a diving catch; shortstop Rona got the force out at second but didn’t find room for the double play.
Makea loaded the bases as he hit center fielder Pomeroy. He then struck out dangerous first baseman Troy Kosmynka with a nasty changeup. With 2 outs, Makea gave up a two RBI single to second baseman Kipfer and then started struggling with command of his off speed pitches. He issued 3 consecutive walks, before New Zealand decided to give the call to reliever Joshua Kelly.
What happened in the top of the third proved to be the game.
New Zealand scored one run in the bottom of the fourth as catcher Harrison Valk homered off Watson. Reliever Torrie took over and walked himself into trouble before getting Rona for the third out on a fly to shallow left field.
Torrie struggled with control again in the sixth and Canada had to bring in Riley Manion with the bases loaded and 2 outs. The newcomer struck out pinch hitter Jared Gillard to end the threat.
Canada added a couple of insurance runs, but this didn’t stop New Zeland from trying hard until the very last pitch. In the bottom of the seventh Manion walked Makea and then, with 2 outs, gave up back to back singles to Hart and Davies. Manion hit Brad Carson, thus making next hitter the potential tying run. On a full count, Manion struck out Brad Carson to seal the win.