Canada Powers Past Hong Kong at WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship
Softball Canada – (Whitehorse, Y.T.) The Canadian Men’s National Softball Team improved its record to 4-0 with a big 14-1 win over Hong Kong at the WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship. Canada built an early lead, but it took until the sixth inning to blow the game open as they scored nine runs to earn the run-rule victory. Justin Schofield (Grand Pre, N.S.) fired 16 strikeouts in the six-inning win.
Canada got on the board in the top of the first inning. Mathieu Roy (St-Gervais, Que.) led off by lining a pitch to center that got by the centerfielder for a triple, followed by a walk to Brandon Horn (Waterloo, Ont.) who stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error as Roy crossed the plate. Horn went on to score on a wild pitch as Canada took a 2-0 lead. Schofield walked a batter and hit another, but struck out the other three in the bottom of the frame. Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) led off the second with a single to left and advanced to second on a one-out single by Roy, but a pair of fly outs kept Canada from adding to its lead. Schofield hit another batter and allowed a bunt single but struck out three in the bottom of the second.
Team Canada added two runs to its lead in the third, as Blake Hunter (Nanaimo, B.C.) reached on an error on a hard ground ball that fooled the shortstop, and scored on a two-run blast to center by Andy Skelton (Scarborough, Ont.). In the bottom of the inning, Hong Kong got a one-out walk but Schofield followed up with a strikeout before Abrey threw out the baserunner trying to steal second. Canada looked poised to add to its lead in fourth by loading the bases with one out on three walks, but a pop up to shortstop and a ground ball to third for an unassisted out got Hong Kong out of the inning. Schofield issued a one-out walk and struck out three more in the bottom of the inning.
In the fifth, Shane Boland (St. John’s, N.L.) hit a one-out single to left, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single up the middle by Kris Walushka (Victoria, B.C.) as Canada increased its lead to 5-0. Hong Kong got another bunt single with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and after the runner stole second, he scored on a single up the middle to cut the lead to 5-1. Canada put the game away by putting up nine runs in the top of the sixth. Horn led off with a walk and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by the catcher before Ezekiel also walked and stole second. Hunter hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Horn while Mark Johnson (Glencoe, Ont.) singled to left to score Ezekiel before Skelton smashed his second homerun of the game deep to center as Canada built a 9-1 lead. The red and white was not done there, as Boland walked and Abrey hit a two-run shot of his own to right, followed by a hit by pitch to Walushka and a double by Roy. Horn and Ezekiel each singled in a run, with Johnson producing another run on a ground ball to shortstop that was thrown away at first as Canada took a 14-1 lead. Schofield ended the game with three strikeouts in the bottom of the frame.
Box Score: Canada 14 vs. Hong Kong 1
Skelton led Canada offensively with two homeruns, a single and four runs batted in, while Roy was a catalyst at the top of the lineup with three hits including a double and a triple and two runs scored. Horn and Ezekiel each reached base four times with a single and three walks, while Abrey cracked a homerun and a single and drove in two. Johnson had a single and two RBIs, with other hits going to Johnson, Boland and Walushka.
Elsewhere on a rainy day on the fourth day of competition, Venezuela doubled up on Denmark 6-3, the United States blanked India 11-0, Botswana defeated Turkey 21-0, Argentina beat South Africa 6-1 and the Czech Republic shut out Great Britain 9-0. Night games included a showdown between undefeated teams from Japan and New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic taking on Australia, with both games being pushed to tomorrow morning due to rain.
Team Canada (4-0) will face Australia (2-1) at 7:00pm PDT on Tuesday night.
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