Juan Zara's swing propels Argentina’s comeback win over Cuba

Juan Zara's swing propels Argentina’s comeback win over Cuba
Argentina had a late game surge to a snatch a 3-1 comeback against Cuba.

Juan Zara’s two-run double complimented Alan Peker’s game-equalising run in the seventh inning to snatch a 3-1 comeback win over Cuba on Saturday at the XVII WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup.

The crowd on Rosedale Park’s Field 2 were brought to its feet after Reynaldo Lamote’s home run effort was wiped out by the defending champions’ three-run spectacle on top of the final inning.

After four scoreless innings, Lamote homered to deep centre field to give Cuba a 1-0 advantage, putting pressure on the defending champions on opening day.

The game had one more scoreless inning before Argentina exhibited their clutch ability to get out of tight situations, when Manuel Godoy grounded out to Federico Eder to second base, allowing Alan Peker score a run.

With the tied game at 1-1, Argentina felt the momentum on their side and Zara became their outlet as he delivered on a double to left centre, opening the path for Eder and Lucio Retamar to give the 3-1 edge.

Cuba showed no signs of conceding when it was their turn to bat, taking every opportunity to put pressure on Argentina’s Roman Godoy. The Argentine reliever struggled on the mound and reached full count before rebounding for the third strike-out to seal the victory.

Quotes - Argentina Head Coach Julio Gamarci

It was a difficult win, Cuba is a brave team. Their players play this game since they are kids, and they bring it into the field every time they play. In general, they know what they are doing.

Today we faced a very experienced pitcher. Alain Roman is a great pitcher, with a lot of international experience. They always have a solid defence, and strong bats. They are an athletic team. To face them, you need to play smart. We also have an athletic team, but what it counts is taking advantage of the opportunities, this is the difference between two elite teams. We had three opportunities in the game, and in the last inning we could take make the most of it to score three runs and take the win.

In today’s softball, thanks in part to new technology in the bats, the run average is relatively high, three runs more or less. If you can prevent your opponent to score more than two runs is exceptional. Our pitchers had a huge day, but the other team has a bat to hit the ball. And they connected a great home run in the fifth, against a good pitch from our pitcher. The good thing is that they could overcome the situation and they kept us in the game.