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Softball Canada – Prague, Czech Republic – The Canadian Men’s National Team finished the preliminary round of the 2019 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championships undefeated after a 10-4 win against South Africa. The South Africans hit a three-run homerun to take a 3-2 lead after three innings of play before Canada responded with five runs in the top of the fourth on route to the victory.
Scott Lieph (Sooke, B.C.) started in the pitching circle for Canada and kept South Africa off the scoresheet for two innings. In the top of the second, Jeff Ellsworth (St. Lawrence, PEI) reached on an error by the shortstop, stole second and scored on a double to left by Ryan Boland (St. John’s, N.L.) to open the scoring. Canada added a run to its lead the following inning, as Mathieu Roy (St-Gervais, Que.) led off with a walk, stole second and later scored on a single through the left side of the infield by Blake Hunter (Nanaimo, B.C.). In the bottom of the frame, South Africa put two runners on base with a leadoff single and an error before hitting a three-run homerun to take a 3-2 lead.
Canada responded in a big way in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Ryan Boland hit a single and was replaced by pinch runner Kris Walushka (Victoria, B.C.) who moved up to third on a single by Kyle Ezekiel (Holyrood, N.L.). Roy singled to score Walushka, while Bradley Ezekiel (Harbour Main, N.L.) followed up with a two-run double to the left-center field gap. Hunter doubled to score Bradley Ezekiel and scored on a wild pitch to give Canada a 7-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Canada added two runs when Walushka singled and scored on a triple by Tyler Pauli (Mitchell, Ont.), who crossed the plate on an error on the play. Team Canada added another run the following inning when Derek Mayson (North Vancouver, B.C.) led off with a walk and later scored on a single by Walushka. South Africa scored on a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, but that was as close as they would get.
Box Score: Canada 10 vs. South Africa 4
Lieph started for Canada but did not factor into the decision, allowing three runs – two earned – on three hits and a walk, striking out seven batters over three innings. Devon McCullough (Saskatoon, Sask.) picked up the win by allowing one run on three hits and struck out eight in four innings of relief. Bradley Ezekiel and Hunter each had a double and two runs batted in for Canada, while Ryan Boland added a run-scoring double of his own and Pauli drove in a run with a triple. Walushka singled twice and produced a run, with Roy, Ellsworth, Hunter, Ryan Boland and Kyle Ezekiel each adding a single.
Other scores on the final day of the round robin on Thursday saw the United States beat Venezuela 7-4, Mexico defeated the Philippines 12-2, Denmark won 5-3 over Singapore, Japan shut out Botswana 3-0, Argentina surprised New Zealand 6-4, Australia beat the Netherlands 7-3, and the Czech Republic edged Cuba 5-4.
Canada (7-0) will open the quarterfinals against the host team from the Czech Republic (3-4) who finished fourth in Group A at 7:30pm local time (1:30pm EDT) in Prague on Friday. Japan (7-0) finished first in Group A and will cross over to play Venezuela (4-3) at 10:30am, followed by the United States (5-2) against Argentina (6-1) at 1:30pm and Australia (6-1) against New Zealand (4-3) at 4:30pm. The four winners will advance to the semi-finals on Saturday. Live scoring is available through the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship website, with live streaming available at (paid subscription required).


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