26/11/2022 - 04/12/2022

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XVII Men's Softball World Cup 2022 - Official Payoff

Canada advance to World Championship Final as Sean Cleary flirts with perfect game in win over Cuba

Canada advance to World Championship Final as Sean Cleary flirts with perfect game in win over Cuba
03/12/2022
Cleary pitched 6.2 perfect innings to start the game, and was one strike away from the perfect game.

Sean Cleary flirted with the perfect game today at the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup. The right-hander retired the first 20 batters in Canada’s 2-0 win over Cuba, before walking Hector Castillo in the top of the seventh.

Cleary pitched 6.2 perfect innings to start the game, and was one strike away from the perfect game. Castillo worked a full count against Canada’s ace and then walked on a drop ball that landed outside the strike zone. 

Immediatelly after, pinch hitter Yurisandre Ramos hit a comebacker that hit Cleary on the leg for a single, putting the game-tying run on base. However, Cleary ended the game with his 15th strikeout of the game.

“Sean Cleary pitched a hell of a game and Ryan Boland played a hell of a game," said Canada Head Coach John Stuart. "They were the key to us winning. We didn’t hit the ball. That was definitely not our best game. But good teams find a way to win, and that is what we did."

Canada scored their first run of the game in the first inning, on a bases loaded walk. The red and white team put three runners on base on a fielding error, a hit by pitch and a walk, and then Cory Jones drew a full-count walk to plate Shane Boland. 

The second run was scored by Jason Hill on a long sacrifice fly by Boland. Hill had reached base on a base on balls.

Cuba’s Gluber Plutin and Eduardo Gonzalez pitched extremely well, giving up only one hit in the game, a Bryan Abrey single up the middle in the third inning. 

With this result, Canada finished the Super Round with 4-1 record and secured a spot in Sunday’s World Championship Final. “We came here with three goals in mind. We wanted to quality for the Super Round; we want to medal and the final goal is to win the Gold Medal. We are almost there and we just have to finish it off tomorrow hopefully," said Stuart.

It will be their ninth appearance in the Men’s Softball World Cup final, winning three championships (1972, 1992 and 2015) and losing five times (1968, 1980, 1984, 1996 and 2004). In 1976, Canada won the gold medal along with New Zealand and USA, since the tournament was rained out and the playoffs were not completed. 

Cuba ended their participation in the World Cup with a fifth-place finish.

Quotes - Canada Coach John Stuart

“My heart was pounding at the end. Anything can happen, especially so if you get runners on base like Cuba did.

“Sean Cleary pitched a hell of a game and Ryan Boland played a hell of a game. They were the key to us winning. We didn’t hit the ball. That was definitely not our best game. But good teams find a way to win, and that is what we did.

“We came here with three goals in mind. We wanted to quality for the Super Round; we want to medal and the final goal is to win the gold medal. We are almost there and we just have to finish it off tomorrow hopefully.

“We will wait and see what happens with the other two teams. They are both great teams. It will be interesting which one it is, but we are prepared for either. We have to worry about ourselves.

“They could go all night from my point of view – they can go 15 innings, that would be perfect.”