Canada Wins Three Games to Open
2022 Men’s International Invitational Series
Palmerston North, New Zealand – The Canadian Men’s National Softball Team won all three games of a tripleheader on Saturday after their opening game on Friday was washed out. Team Canada started the day with a 4-2 win over host New Zealand and followed that up with a 3-0 win over Argentina and a 5-1 win over the Czech Republic.
In the opening game, Canada scored three runs in the top of the second inning after loading the bases on a single by Derek Mayson (North Vancouver, B.C.) and two walks. Jason Hill (St. John’s, N.L.) scored the first run on a wild pitch with Mayson following up to score when the catcher’s toss to the plate was off target. Shane Boland (St. John’s, N.L.) then hit a sacrifice fly to right to build a three-run lead. New Zealand got one run back on a run-scoring single by Te Wera Bishop, then pulled within one on an RBI single by Ben Enoka later in the inning. The score remained the same until Bradley Ezekiel (Harbour Main, N.L.) led off the top of the fifth with a solo homerun to center, with the pitching tandem of Sean Cleary (Harbour Main, N.L.) and Justin Schofield (Grand Pre, N.S.) locking things down for the win. Cleary earned the win allowing two unearned runs on five hits and struck out three over four innings, with Schofield notching the save with three innings of hitless relief and six punchouts. Ezekiel’s homerun and singles by Mathieu Roy (St-Gervais, Que.) and Mayson were Canada’s only hits.
Against Argentina, Canada once again opened the scoring on a defensive miscue when Tyler Pauli (Mitchell, Ont.) was hit by a pitch, Justin Laskowski (Warman, Sask.) drilled a double to left and Shane Boland lifted a fly ball to center that was dropped when the right fielder attempted to call off the center fielder, allowing Pauli to score. The game remained 1-0 until Canada was able to get a key hit to add some insurance in the top of the sixth. Cory Jones (Leduc, Alta.) drew a one-out walked followed by Ty Sebastian (Brussels, Ont.) reaching on a fielder’s choice where the middle infielders were unable to make a play on a flip to second. After the runners advanced on a ground out, Laskowski delivered a two-run single to left. Zach Pierce (Saskatoon, Sask.) toed the rubber in the pitcher’s circle for Canada and was fantastic over five innings, limiting Argentina to four hits and striking out eight batters. Sebastian closed out the game for the save, allowing only one hit and striking out one in two innings of relief.
To close out the day, Canada’s offence exploded for nine runs against the Czech Republic. In the top of the third, Mayson dropped a fly ball behind shortstop and reached second on a heads up baserunning play, followed by a single by Quinten Bruce (Grand Valley, Ont.) and an error to load the bases. A ground-rule double to center by Pauli plated two runs, with Ryan Boland (St. John’s, N.L.) later hitting a two-run single to left to open a 4-0 lead for Canada. The Czech Republic scored a run in the bottom of the fourth after a leadoff double followed by a single, but Canada responded when Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) led off with a double and later scored on a single by Sebastian. Canada broke the game open in the top of the seventh, scoring a run on a single by Colin Walsh (Petty Harbour, N.L.), two more on a double by Mayson and one on a single by Bruce to make the score 9-1. The Czech Republic got a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the seventh, but the game was called due to darkness with the score reverting to the previous inning (5-1). Cleary earned the win holding the Czechs to one run on three hits and struck out six batters over five innings. Schofield struck out two in an inning of relief.
Canada and Australia sit atop the standings with 3-0 records heading into Sunday, with Canada scheduled to play Japan at 9:30am NZDT (3:30pm EST Saturday) and Australia at 5:00pm (11:00pm EST Saturday), with Japan sitting one game back at 2-1, New Zealand is at 1-2 and Argentina and the Czech Republic are 3-0. The top two teams will play each other in the championship game at 7:30pm NZDT.
In other tournament scores, Japan opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic, blanked New Zealand 6-0 and lost 5-4 to Australia. The Aussies edged Argentina 3-2 and beat Czech Republic 8-1, and New Zealand also defeated Argentina 3-2.
Games on Diamond 1 are being livestreamed through the Tradestaff WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup Facebook page and the Softball New Zealand YouTube page.
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