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Softball Canada – Prince Albert, Sask. – The Canadian Junior Men’s National Team took its first loss of the WBSC Junior Men’s World Softball Championship, dropping its first playoff game to Australia by a 2-0 score. Team Canada outhit the Aussies 4-3 but could not get the timely hits, while Australia took advantage of a passed ball to score the first run and added an insurance marker in the seventh.
Both pitchers got out of early jams in the early going as Canada’s David Watson (Milford Station, N.S.) issued a one-out walk in the top of the first but retired the next two hitters, with Australia’s Layton Reid striking out the side in the bottom of the frame. In the second, Watson retired Australia in order and Canada got a pair of walks by Dallas Kipfer (Kitchener, Ont.) and Rowan Sears (Brookfield, N.S.) with the runners moving up to second and third on a wild pitch, but a strikeout left both stranded.
Australia got into the hit column with a one-out single in the top of the third but was unable to bring the runner in to score, while Canada got two more runners on base with an error and a walk with two outs, but another strikeout ended the inning. Watson walked the leadoff batter in the top of the fourth which brought on a pitching change with Owen Torrie (Williamsford, Ont.) entering the game. A pair of ground outs moved the runner up to third before a passed ball allowed him to score the game’s first run. In the bottom of the inning, Canada got back-to-back two-out singles by Sears and Troy Kosmynka (Melfort, Sask.) but Reid once again got out of the inning unscathed with an inning-ending strikeout.
In the fifth, Australia got a one-out single but couldn’t add to its lead with Canada going down in order. Brendan Hagerman (Napanee, Ont.) hit a two-out infield single in the sixth but another strikeout left him stranded on first. In the top half of the seventh, Australia forced a pair of one-out walks spelling the end of Torrie’s night as Riley Manion (Napanee, Ont.) went in to pitch. The runner on second was picked off by Hagerman trying to steal third, but the next batter laced a triple to the left-center field gap to score Australia’s second run. In the bottom of the seventh, Kosmynka led off with a double to right-center but two strikeouts and a fly out ended the game.
Box Score: Australia 2 vs. Canada 0
Watson took the tough loss allowing only one run on one hit and two walks over three innings, while Torrie also allowed one run on one hit, walked three batters and struck out four in three innings and a third. Manion gave up a hit and struck out one in two thirds of an inning. Kosmynka led the way offensively for Canada with a double and a single, with the two other hits going to Sears and Hagerman.
With the win, Australia moved on to the 1 vs. 2 playoff game against Japan scheduled for 5:30pm CST on Saturday, with both teams guaranteeing themselves a medal. Canada dropped a life and will now face Argentina in an elimination game at 3:00pm CST. The other elimination game will feature New Zealand taking on Mexico at 12:30pm CST, with the winner of that game going on to play the winner of the Canada/Argentina game at 8:00pm CST for the final spot in the medal round on Sunday.


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Gilles LeBlanc
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