Canada Finishes Preliminary Round Undefeated at WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship
Softball Canada – (Whitehorse, Y.T.) The Canadian Men’s National Softball Team wrapped up its preliminary round schedule with an 11-0 win over India at the WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship. Team Canada belted its third grand slam in as many games, with this one coming off the bat of Andy Skelton (Scarborough, Ont.) in the top of the first when the red and white scored all of its runs.
After a ground out to start the game, Mathieu Roy (St-Gervais, Que.) and Steve Mullaley (Freshwater, N.L.) each walked and advanced on a wild pitch before Roy scored on a passed ball. Skelton also drew a walk, with Mullaley crossing the plate on another passed ball. Mark Johnson (Glencoe, Ont.) got Canada’s fourth consecutive walk with Skelton advancing to third on a wild pitch before Shane Boland (St. John’s, N.L.) notched Canada’s first hit, a run-scoring single to left to make the score 4-0. Blake Hunter (Nanaimo, B.C.) hit a bunt single to load the bases, with Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) forcing a run home with a walk before an infield single by Kevin Schellenberg (Squamish, B.C.) brought another run home. Two runs scored when Kris Walushka(Victoria, B.C.) reached on a throwing error, with Roy following up with a single and Mullaley drawing another walk to set the stage for Skelton’s grand slam to right-center field as Canada took an 11-0 lead.
India was retired in order in the bottom of the first, as was Canada in the top of the second. India got two runners on base in the bottom half of the second on a two-out single up the middle and a hit by pitch, but the next batter struck out to end the inning. Roy hit a single in the third but was erased on a fielder’s choice followed by an error on a fly ball to left, but India got a strikeout to stop Canada from adding to its big lead.
Team Canada got two more singles by Boland and Hunter to start the top of the fourth, but India turned a nice double play on a ground ball to the pitcher who threw to third and over to second. India was unable to get anything going in the bottom of the fourth as the game ended on the run rule.
Box Score: Canada 11 vs. India 0
Roy, Hunter and Boland all had a pair of singles for Canada, with Skelton’s grand slam being the team’s only extra-base hit. Johnson and Schellenberg each singled as well to round out Canada’ nine hits. In the pitcher’s circle, Colin Walsh (Petty Harbour, N.L.) notched the win, allowing only one hit and striking out 10 batters in four innings of work.
The win improved Canada’s record preliminary round record to a perfect 7-0, good for first in Pool A and two lives in the Championship round. Canada’s first playoff game will be played at 4:30pm PDT against the second-place finisher in Pool B, which will be determined following the game between Japan and Denmark that is currently in progress.
All four earlier games on Thursday were shutouts, with the Czech Republic hammering Turkey 20-0, New Zealand blanking Botswana 7-0, Australia shutting out Hong Kong 10-0 and Venezuela defeating Great Britain 11-0. A key remaining game will be Argentina (4-2) taking on the Dominican Republic (3-3) at 7:00pm PDT.
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