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PLAYOFF: New Zealand steals the lead and the Semi-final Berth. Argentina and Canada finish with the W.

21.06.2019 | Sam Gilman, Denisa Józsová

Japan extended their win streak to 8 after shutting down Venezuela 6-0. Argentina made quick work of team USA. In the 2nd shutout of playoff action, the North fell to the South 9-0 in 5 innings. The title defenders pulled out a 7-4 victory over Australia to advance. Canada defeated the hometown favorites 4-0.

Venezuela vs Japan 0:6 (0:2, 0:0, 0:0, 0:2, 0:2 0:0, 0:X)

Hikaru Matsuda is undoubtedly Japan’s go-to guy from the pen. Future opposition should keep that in mind, no matter what the lineup card says.

Through the tournament Matsuda has a .27 ERA and a 4-0 record. Over 25.2 innings he’s given up just a single run off 6 hits while striking out 43. His batting average against is .072.

With the consistency of his numbers you have to wonder how bored his friends get playing defense. Maybe that’s why they stay busy at the plate.

The team batting average is .295 with a .484 slugging percentage. They’ve been walked 33 times showing incredible patience, likely learned waiting behind Matsuda to get a chance to field the ball!

They’ve accumulated 40 runs off 56 hits including 17 for extra bases. Matsuda is personally responsible for 6 of those too including a double, 2 triples and 3 homeruns.

USA vs Argentina 0:9 (0:3, 0:5, 0:0, 0:1, 0:X)

Juan Potolicchio started for Argentina, giving Godoy’s arm a day of rest. Juan gave up 3 hits and struck out 8 in 4.0 innings of work.

All of the Argentine scoring took place in the first 3 innings. Aside from a triple by Santiago Carril, and a 2-run homer by Mariano Montero, the South Americans relied on small ball to get the job done.

The US fielders and pitchers were fairly solid. While two runs scored on problems created by pitches going wild, Argentina failed to benefit from the team’s only error on the day. With or without the helping hand, they played to win, and win they did. Handily.

New Zealand vs Australia 7:4 (0:0, 0:0, 0:2, 1:2, 6:0, 0:0, 0:0)

Both pens made quick work of their sides through two. Aussie bats struck first when they put 2 on the board in the 3rd.

With two out, Daniel Chapman’s control began to wane. He hit a guy, threw 2 wild and coach twice opted for the intentional walk. After a quick chat, Daniel finished the inning and started the 4th. With two away and 2 more across, coach took the ball. They finished the inning with New Zealand down 4-1.

Around that time Adam Folkard’s arm started throwing pitches to the Kiwis’ liking. Joel Evans took one deep to bring around 2. Ben Enoka followed his lead but, with the bases already emptied, it was a lonely jog. Just like that the game was tied and Adam’s night was over.

The Black Sox though, were far from done. They would put up 3 more runs before the inning, and the game, were over.

Czech Republic vs Canada 0:4 (0:0, 0:0, 0:1, 0:0, 0:0, 0:3, 0:X)

Canada and Japan both entered the first round of inter-pool games undefeated. They left the same way, each shutting out the competition. Canada defeated the hometown favorites 4-0.

Both starters threw outstanding games. Sean Cleary pitched a 4-hit game for the Cunucks flagging 13 Czechs along the way.

In the bottom of the 3rd Mathieu Roy hit a triple to start Canada’s offensive run. Derek Mayson hit him in on with single. In the 6th Blake Hunter was hit by the pitch and took his base. Tyler Pauli went in as his pinch runner. Jeffery Ellsworth bunted Pauli over before Shane Boland singled with distance to give Tyler time to touch home.

Czech softball will open the day tomorrow against Venezuela in the semi-final round.