Six players to follow at WBSC Men's Softball World Cup Group A in Hermosillo
09/06/2024 3 Minute Read

Six players to follow at WBSC Men's Softball World Cup Group A in Hermosillo

With the XVIII WBSC Men's Softball World Cup Group A starting on 12 June, a mix of experienced players, newcomers and superstars will take the field in Hermosillo, Mexico. Let’s look at the six players you should watch out in Group A.

The XVIII WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup, the most prestigious international men's softball competition in the world, will feature some of the greatest and most talented players in the game across three groups to be played in Mexico, Canada and USA.

Let’s take a look at six players you should watch out during the Group A tournament in Hermosillo, from 12 to 16 June, with experienced players, newcomers and superstars in the mix.

Jack Besgrove (AUS) - @jbesgrove_

Jack Besgrove led Australia to a second world title in 2022 and dominated the inaugural U-23 Men's Softball World Cup last year on his way to becoming one of the most impressive players in the game. The left handed pitcher is the star of Australia's roster, which is aiming for back-to-back titles for the first time and third title overall. During the Men's Softball World Cup 2022, the 20-year-old posted a 4-1 record with a 2.02 ERA, striking out 71 in 34.2 innings pitched, including a complete-game win in the final against Canada, where Australia clinched their second title. Besgrove is a pure WBSC athlete, playing three World Cups, one in each of the age brackets. He played the final all three times: silver medal in the U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020, and World Champion in the Men's Softball World Cup 2022 and U-23 Men's Softball World Cup 2023.

Michal Holobradek (CZE) - @maik.48

Michal Holobradek will be playing his fourth WBSC Men's Softball World Championship in Hermosillo, Mexico, aiming to bring Czechia back to the top-eight in the world stage after failing to advance to the playoffs in 2022 before finishing ninth. The 26-year old right-hander has a career ERA of 3.02 in three Men's Softball World Cups, with 109 strikeouts in 81 innings of work. He was the ace of the 2019 team that finished in eighth place in the World Cup, as the host team. This season, for the second World Cup in a row, he will join Jakub Osicka in an explosive 1-2 pitching combination.

Yan Carlos Gonzalez (DOM) - @elpintord

The veteran right hander was part of the 2017 Dominican Republic team that played in the World Cup in Whitehorse that year, finishing 11th. It was the last appearance in a World Cup for the Caribbean team. The right-hander didn't have a good tournament, finishing with a 1-3 losing record and a 7.00 ERA. However, Gonzalez had a terrific tournament at this year's Pan American Championship in Venezuela, leading his team to a bronze medal and being the most decisive player in the roster. He tossed 23.3 innings, striking out 43 and posting a 1.48 ERA with a 4-0 record. Last year, he led the Dominican Republic to a gold medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023. 

Ruben Delgadillo (MEX) - @rubendelher12

Ruben Delgadillo is the captain of the Mexican National Softball Team and the most experienced player in the roster, making his fifth appearance in a Men's Softball World Cup with the Mexican jersey at 37. He made his debut in Saskatoon 2009, where he hit .300 with one home run and five RBIs, and four years later played in New Zealand, where he finished with a .273 batting average. After helping Mexico to a 10th-place finish at Saskatoon 2015, he played his last World Cup in Prague five years ago, with a .200 average and one homer. He returns to the premiere men's softball competition on home soil, trying to lead Mexico's offense from the middle of the order.

Julius Dela Cruz (PHI)

With Leo Barredo out of the 2024 Philippines roster, 21-year-old pitcher Julius Dela Cruz arrives in Hermosillo as the strongest arm in the Philippines pitching staff. After tossing 8.1 innings in Auckland 2022 with little success, Dela Cruz led the staff at the Men's Softball Asia Cup 2023, pitching 15.2 scoreless innings while striking out 19 to give his team a ticket to the World Cup. The Philippines will need a superb performance from Dela Cruz to advance to the Finals from a very tough Group A. 

Maiker Pimentel (VEN) - @maikerpimentel

After missing the 2022 World Cup, Maiker Pimentel returns to the biggest men's softball tournament as the ace of the Venezuelan staff. Pimentel, 26, played the 2017 and 2019 World Cups, posting a 3.33 career ERA. In April, Pimentel carried Venezuela to a silver-medal finish at the Pan American Championship, earning their ticket to the World Cup. The pitcher handled most of the workload with 25 innings pitched, striking out 36. He posted a 2.52 ERA.