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Softball Canada – Prague, Czech Republic – The Canadian Men’s National Team advanced to the semi-finals of the 2019 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship after defeating the host team from the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday. Sean Cleary (Harbour Main, N.L.) limited the Czechs to four hits over six innings and struck out 13 batters in the win, while an inside-the-park homerun by Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) put the game away in the bottom of the sixth.
Both teams put runners on base early, but the game remained scoreless through two innings of play. After Cleary struck out the side in the top of the third, Canada opened the scoring when Mathieu Roy (St-Gervais, Que.) hit a one-out triple and scored on a single by Derek Mayson (North Vancouver, B.C.). The following inning, Jeff Ellsworth (St. Lawrence, PEI) led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball but was left stranded on third after the three next batters were retired.
Bradley Ezekiel (Harbour Main, N.L.) hit a one-out double in the fifth but was unable to come in to score, with the Czech Republic getting a leadoff single to start the top half of the sixth but the runner was quickly erased on a great double play by Shane Boland (St. John’s, T.-N.-L.) at shortstop. In the bottom of the frame, Canada added an insurance run when Blake Hunter (Nanaimo, B.C.) was hit by a pitch, was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Shane Boland. Abrey then stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter and drove a ball over the leaping right fielder and raced around the bases for a two-run inside-the-park homerun, giving Canada a late 4-0 lead.
Devon McCullough (Saskatoon, Sask.) came in to pitch the final inning, striking out two batters followed by a lineout to shortstop to end the game.
Box Score: Canada 4 vs. Czech Republic 0
Cleary picked up his fourth win of the tournament in the pitcher’s circle. Roy had a triple and a single for Canada, with Abrey adding a homerun and Bradley Ezekiel delivered a double. Mayson and Shane Boland each hit RBI single while Ellsworth chipped in with a single.
In other quarter-final action on Friday, Japan blanked Venezuela 6-0, Argentina shut out the United States 9-0 and New Zealand used a six-run fifth inning to earn a 7-4 win over Australia.
Canada (8-0) moves on to face Argentina (7-1) at 7:30pm local time (1:30pm EDT) in a semi-final matchup on Saturday. The other semi-final will see Japan (8-0) square off with New Zealand (5-3) at 4:30pm. The winner of the two semi-finals will play in the Gold medal game at 7:30pm on Sunday, while the two losing teams will compete for Bronze at 4:30pm. 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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Gilles LeBlanc
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Softball Canada
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