Right fielder Ren Hashimoto was Japan’s hero as the defending champions beat Mexico, 7-4, in the last game of the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup Super Round on Saturday to set up a rematch against the host team in the final on Sunday.
The World Championship game will take place on Sunday, 19 November, at 17.00 local time. USA and Canada, winners of Saturday’s games against Australia and Venezuela respectively, will meet in the Bronze Medal Game at 14.00.
|Singapore vs New Zealand (PR)||5 – 18||Box score|
|Australia vs USA (SR)||3 – 4||Box score|
|Colombia vs Argentina (PR)||1 – 7||Box score|
|Venezuela vs Canada (SR)||5 – 6||Box score|
|Japan vs Mexico (SR)||7 – 4||Box score|
In a continuation of the great excitement and drama of this tournament, it took the last play of the last inning of the Super Round to determine the qualified teams for the Final and the Bronze Medal Game with Saturday featuring three close games in a five-team battle for the last three berths in Sunday’s medal games.
With Japan and Mexico tied at 4-4 in the top of the 7th, Player of the Day Hashimoto hit a line drive into the left centre gap for a two-RBI triple that gave Japan a two-run lead. He then scored on a grounder to make it 7-4.
The result saw Japan clinch first place in the Super Round with a 4-1 win-loss record and will be the home team in Sunday’s World Championship Final.
Their rivals will be Mexico, who had already booked a place in the final on Friday. The host team, Canada and USA are tied with a 3-2 record in the standings, but Mexico earned second place because they won both head-to-head matchups against USA and Canada. The latter two teams will face off in the Bronze Medal Game.
Saturday’s results saw Australia finishing in fifth place and Venezuela in sixth in the final standings.
Japan, the defending World Champions, will play their eighth final in the history of the event. They won it three times – 1981, 2016 and 2020 – and collected the silver medal in 2001, 2005, 2012 and 2018. They have also own four bronze medals totalling 11, the most for any national team programme in the world.
For Mexico this will be their first-ever final. They earned the bronze medal in the first edition of this event in 1981. This will be their second final in Men’s Softball World Cups, since they lost the World Championship Game of the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup 1966, the only previous Men’s Softball World Cup hosted by Mexico.
Canada is the programme with the second most medals in the event with eight, five of which are bronze. They are looking to win a medal again after seven years, since their last podium was in Midland 2016. Canada’s only World Title was in 1993.
USA, Canada’s rivals in the Bronze Medal Game, has collected two medals in the history of the event, both silver medals in the first two editions of the tournament in 1981 and 1985. Now, 38 years later, the team is aiming to be back on the podium.
All games of the tournament are streamed live on GameTime, the WBSC OTT platform.
Meanwhile, the results for the Placement Round decided the final standings from seventh to 11th place. Czechia had secured on Friday seventh place; while Argentina and New Zealand clinched the eighth and ninth positions, respectively, with their victories on Saturday. The final standings are closed by Colombia (10th) and Singapore (11th).