Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Marissa Tiel

STAYING ALIVE – Australia's Hayden Mathews, Harrison Peters and Joshua White celebrate their 9-1 win over Argentina during the 2017 Men's World Softball Championship Wednesday evening at the Pepsi Softball Centre.

Australia still in contention for second spot in pool A

Team Australia’s coach Laing Harrow is hoping that his team is hitting its stride at the right time,

By Marissa Tiel on July 13, 2017

Team Australia’s coach Laing Harrow is hoping that his team is hitting its stride at the right time, with one game remaining in pool play before the championship round.

The Australians, currently ranked number five in the world, ground out a 9-1 win over third-place Argentina at the 2017 Men’s World Softball Championship last night.

“The boys are very pleased with the effort they put in. They always knew they could do that, it was just a matter of time and today just happened to be the day,” said Harrow. “Hopefully we’re building into playoffs.”

The team, fresh off a loss to undefeated Canada Tuesday night, refocused and went back to the basics for their match against Argentina.

It was a must-win game for Australia, which has its eye on second place in pool B.

“It’s a big win for us. It really gives us an opportunity to finish top two now,” said Brendan O’Byrne. “Beating Argentina really puts us in the frame to be in business at the end of the week.”

Leadoff batter Nick Shailes opened the game with a home run to put the Australian Steelers up 1-0 after one inning.

Argentina’s Teo Migliavacca tied everything up in the third with a solo home run.

O’Byrne then hit a solo homer to give Australia the advantage.

Shailes was walked on to base and a James Todhunter hit to centre brought Shailes in to score.

Ryan Merriman then blasted a two-run homer to bring the Steelers up 5-1 after three innings.

They continued to be strong at bat in the fourth, with O’Byrne hitting another home run to put Australia up 7-1.

Then Shailes and Todhunter followed up with back-to-back solo home runs.

The game ended in five innings.

“I think we just went back to the basics and just focused on ourselves instead of focusing on the opposition and really control what we could control,” said O’Byrne. “We knew we were going to face good pitching and so we went in with really good discipline and knew that we were going to get the pitches we wanted to hit and I think we executed that today.

“We did our homework and we knew what we were going to get coming, so we worked for that.”

Argentina utilized three pitchers: Maximiliano Montero, Roman Alejandro Godoy Herbel and Martin Ignacio Gonzalez, who combined for 12 hits.

Montero has a 3.27 ERA, while Godoy Herbel’s is 5.59 and Gonzalez’s is 0.90.

Currently in a three-way tie for second place in pool A with Argentina and the United States, Australia is gunning for another win against Hong Kong this afternoon to secure second place.

The top four teams in each pool move on to the championship round with the top two teams receiving an extra shot at the medal round if knocked out.

“It’s always nice to finish in the top two to give yourself that opportunity and we’ll take it with both hands and go with it,” said Harrow. “We gotta go and win a ball game.”

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