July 21, 2014 (Whitehorse, YT) – They didn’t do it the easy way, but Argentina will return home as two-time ISF Junior Men’s World Softball Champions.
After losing to New Zealand 3-1 in the semifinals, Argentina had to face Japan in the bronze medal game Sunday afternoon in order to advance. In what might have been the most exciting game of the tournament, the two teams went to extra innings to decide who would face the Black Sox for gold.
Phenomenal pitching from Huemul Mata and Kento Okazaki had Argentina and Japan knotted at 1-1 after seven. Roman Godoy subbed in for Mata in the top of the 8th and shut down the side, then struck out two in the 9th to set his team up for the win.
Gonzalo Masmu cranked a two-run homer to give Argentina the 3-1 victory and a shot at gold. They had less than an hour of turn-around time before facing New Zealand.
The Black Sox started Ethan Johnston on the mound while Argentina countered with Godoy. Argentina got off to a quick start, when Alan Peker scored on an error by the right fielder, and then Lighuen Angiolillo came home on a sacrifice fly.
New Zealand couldn’t get their offence going through five, and in the top of the 6th, Argentina closed the door with four more runs on singles by Gonzalo Masmu, Matias Zapata and Teo Migliavacca. Masmu added a three-run homer to make it a 9-0 final.
The 2012 champions would officially repeat.
“Twice world champions…best thing that can happen in life,” said Godoy after the game. “For the second one, you work harder because you know how hard it is to win.”
As his ecstatic team members sprayed water on each other, singing and chanting, Head Coach Julio Gamarci said the feeling of winning gold “cannot compare to anything.”
“We played better today because we were relaxed a little bit more. (the Black Sox) are a tough team always, we have a lot of respect for them. But we played how we know to play. Especially our pitcher, he was nearly untouchable.”
The Black Sox take home the silver medal and Japan grabs bronze, after 10 days of world-class softball. It was the first time New Zealand had made the final game since 1997.
Meanwhile, in the consolation final, the USA took on Mexico for the right to fifth place. Colton Nielson had one run and four RBIs on three hits for the Americans as they defeated Mexico 11-5.
Jimbo Pernetti and Tyler Stoffel each added two runs and two RBIs while Phillip Zimmerman picked up the win, allowing just one run and striking out five over 4.1 innings.
Full stats, photos and archived webcasts of all games, are available through www.worldfastpitch2014.com.
For more information, contact:
2014 Junior Men’s World Softball Championship
echo [at] outsidethecube.ca