Australia remain perfect in the 2020 U18 Men’s Softball World Cup after defeating Argentina 6-4 today in Palmerston, New Zealand.
The Junior Steelers were on the back foot early after Argentina came out firing following their surprise loss in their first game, they wasted no time and took a 1-0 lead after a bobble in the infield for the Aussies in the first inning.
Australia’s defense was quickly sharpened up, highlighted by an outstanding diving catch from Pierce Nugent-Moss in the bottom of the second.
A stand-up triple quickly turned the tables for Australia, Caleb Van De Griendt sent two runners home to give his team a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
Pitcher Lincoln Walk was efficient in dismissing the Argentinians three up, three down with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
A leadoff single from Kynan Molander stretched to second base after he kept his wits about him to reach a scoring position on an overthrow, however was caught out quickly on a double-play on the very next play, no score added by the Aussies in the fourth.
Riley James and his experience at the international level was again brought to the fore as he drove another runner home to extend the Australian lead to 3-1 in the fifth.
Jack Besgrove was sent in to close out the game and after a couple of loose deliveries struck the Argentinian batters, Australia’s lead turned into a one run deficit as their fired-up opponents answered back.
The never say die attitude of the Steelers came through and they were able to equalise in the top of the sixth, Josh Routledge sending the runner home and putting himself on third base but they were unable to convert the go-ahead run.
Australian bats were firing in the top of the seventh and the Junior Steelers put all the pressure on Argentina by pulling ahead 6-4, for the second game in a row, Besgrove iced the game for Australia for their second win of the World Cup.
The remaining schedule for the Australians in the Opening Round are as follows, all times AEDT. All games will be livestreamed on the WBSC YouTube page.