Huemul Mata: Star pitcher "confident" Argentina can retain WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup title

Huemul Mata: Star pitcher "confident" Argentina can retain WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup title
03/11/2022
"We are better physically, the pitching level has increased. We improved in all aspects of the game, and now we find ourselves with more confidence and more optimism to face the other powerhouses like Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia,” Mata said.

On 23 June 2019, Huemul Mata and Argentina stunned the world with their 3-2, 10-inning victory over Japan in the final of the XVI WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup to win their first-ever world title in the flagship event. Now, they are three weeks away to open their title defence in Auckland, New Zealand.

Talking with local media in his native city of Santa Rosa, La Pampa, the right-handed pitcher said the team looks very good, solid and in good shape, eager to open the WBSC Softball World Cup 2022. “We’re confident to retain the World Championship. We know that everyone wants to beat us, because we are the World Champions. But the team is doing well, we are an established group with plenty of experience in international tournaments.”

The younger of three brothers that have represented Argentina in softball at the top level, Huemul led the 2019 World Cup in wins (4) and tied in second place in strikeouts (49), with 28.1 innings pitched. In the final, he tossed a 10-inning complete game, giving up only four hits and two runs, with 17 strikeouts.

Compared to the squad that claimed the World Cup in Prague, the 27-year-old pitcher said that Argentina has grown since 2019. “We are better physically, the pitching level has increased. We improved in all aspects of the game, and now we find ourselves with more confidence and more optimism to face the other powerhouses like Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.”

Considered one of the best pitchers in the world, Mata feels that he can get even better. “I feel that I am at a high level, but at the same time I know that I can continue growing as a player. I haven't reached my peak yet. I have many years ahead of me as a player."

Mata will be the ace of Argentina during the World Cup, but also represents a threat as an offensive weapon in the lineup. Asked if he expects to be considered to hit in the World Cup he is open to do it. “I'm here for whatever they need me to do. I can contribute pitching and, if necessary, also hitting."