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Softball Canada – Prince Albert, Sask. – Team Canada secured first place in Pool B at the WBSC Junior Men’s World Softball Championship with an 8-5 win over No. 1 New Zealand in front of a large Canadian crowd of over 5,000 in Prince Albert. After falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first, Canada strung a series of hits together and drew a few key walks to score six runs in the third, dodging several New Zealand threats with timely defensive plays and strikeouts.
New Zealand didn’t waste any time getting on the board as the first two batters singled and moved up to second and third before both scoring on a solid single to left. Canada went down in order in each of the first two innings, but their offence got going in the third as Brady Hogg (Thamesville, Ont.) led off with a single followed by a walk to put two runners on base. Noah Baker (Kitchener, Ont.) and Isaac Lefebvre (St-Leonard-d’Aston, Que.) each hit RBI singles up the middle to even the score. After a hit by pitch loaded the bases, Dallas Kipfer (Kitchener, Ont.) drilled a two-run single to left, followed by three consecutive walks as Canada used its patience at the late to build a 6-2 lead.
After giving up two runs in the first, Canadian starting pitcher David Watson (Milford Station, N.S.) settled in and held New Zealand in the second and third innings but allowed a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the fourth which led to a pitching change in favour of Owen Torrie (Williamsford, Ont.). Torrie retired the first two batters he faced but issued two walks before getting the next batter to fly out to left. Team Canada added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Jordan Pomeroy (Placentia, N.L.) and New Zealand loaded the bases with three walks in the bottom of the frame but Riley Manion (Napanee, Ont.) entered the game and got a big strikeout to hold New Zealand from scoring.
Kipfer led off the top of the seventh with a single and rounded the bases to score on three wild pitches as Canada increased its lead to 8-3. Down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh, New Zealand made things interesting by putting runners on second and third on a walk and a single before getting a two-run single to cut the lead to 8-5. A hit by pitch brought the tying run to the plate, but Manion once again closed the door with a huge strikeout to register the win.
Box Score: Canada 8 vs. New Zealand 5
The win improved Canada’s record to 4-0 while New Zealand dropped to 3-1, guaranteeing a first-place finish in Pool B for Team Canada. The red and white will have a day off on Wednesday before completing the preliminary round portion of its schedule against Hong Kong (0-4) at 8:00pm CST on Thursday.
In other action on Day 4 of the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship, Argentina beat Denmark 3-1, the Czech Republic blanked Hong Kong 13-0, Japan defeated South Africa 15-6, the United States shut out Guatemala 3-0 and Australia got past Mexico 8-1.


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