World No. 4 Australia claimed the inaugural WBSC U-23 Men’s Softball World Cup title behind ace Jack Besgrove’s masterful pitching performance against World No. 3 Japan in their 1-0 win in the World Championship Final on Sunday. Besgrove led his team with another masterpiece, pitching a complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts.
Besgrove has spoken about the team’s tight bond and teamwork that led the way for their success at the U-23 World Cup.
“We’re pretty close, we’re also pals – good mates – with no animosity between each other. We are just doing it for each other. It’s awesome because it’s one of the best teams I’ve ever played in,” Besgrove said.
This matchup at the U-23 World Cup was the third consecutive face-off in the final between Australia and Japan in the age-group Softball World Cups. They played for the title in the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship 2018 and the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup 2020.
“We knew we’d have a to battle against Japan. All I asked the boys was to hang in there and keep fighting. We have a battle spirit, it’s something that we looked at throughout the week, and we needed that during the last game. We never gave up, we constantly put pressure, and finally worked at the end,” Australia head coach David Metekingi said.
Australia, the reigning champions of the senior Men’s Softball World Cup, claimed their eighth Men’s Softball World Cup title in history and their 13th overall medal.
For Japan, it was their 15th overall medal in men’s softball World Cups. They have collected three world titles, four silvers and four bronzes in junior events, as well as two silver medals and a bronze in senior World Cups.
Earlier, World No. 1 Argentina claimed the bronze medal following their 10-1 win over World No. 10 Mexico. Canada and New Zealand placed fifth and sixth after the Super Round. Czechia topped the Placement Round to finish in seventh, followed by Venezuela, Singapore, Israel, Team WBSC and South Africa in eighth to 12th positions, respectively.
Shannon Goffer put Australia in the lead 1-0 in the top of the seventh, as he scored the winning run off Jeremy Waters’ single to left field.
After six complete innings, the score is still tied at 0-0. Jack Besgrove has struck out 10 in six innings of work, allowing only two hits. Umibe has not allowed hits in two innings of relief work.
An exciting pitching duel ensued at the World Championship Final, led by Australia’s Jack Besgrove who has been magnificent throughout the tournament and Japan’s Koki Yagi and Kazuya Umibe. In the fifth inning, Umibe relieved Yagi, who had a two-hit ball with a walk and two strikeouts.
The game was scoreless after three innings of play. Australia’s starter Jack Besgrove has allowed two hits, while Japan’s Kaki Yagi only received a leadoff hit by Jeremy Garland.