New Zealand vs Mexico | XVI Men's Softball World Championship | Hippos Arena
Mexico clinched today a historic come back to upset the defending world champions, New Zealand, by a score of 5-4 in eight innings. Trailing by three runs entering the bottom of the seventh, Mexico scored three runs off Black Sox’s reliever Nick Hayes to tie the game and send it to extras. One inning later, an RBI single by Marco Antonio Gonzalez completed the come-from-behind win.
New Zealand had a four-run lead at the top of the fifth. Ben Enoka singled to plate the first run of the game in the top of the second. In the fourth, the Blacks Sox added two more, with a wild pitch and an RBI single by Reilly Makea, and one inning later Cole Evans scored the 4-0 on a sac fly by Kallan Compain.
However, in the bottom of the fifth Lenny Villalvazo produced the first run for Mexico with a single to right field off starter Josh Pettett, who exited the game after 4.2 innings with 7 strikeouts and 1 hit.
Nikki Hayes came in in relief and retired the first four batters he faced, heading to the seventh with a 4-1 lead.
Mexico started the inning with two singles in a row, by Ismael Peña and Ivan Garcia, and then Gonzalez hit a soft grounder to the third base line, Hayes went out of the circle and fielded the ball but made a bad throw to first, allowing Peña score the second run for Mexico and leaving two runners in scoring position with no outs. One out later Villalvazo connected his second hit of the game to left center field to tie the game.
With Josh Harbrow on second in the top of the eight, Ben Enoka walked and Mexican head coach Jesus Lerma sent Jose Hernandez to the circle, who fanned Makea for the first out. Four pitches later, the runners advanced on a wild pitch, and then Joel Evans hit a grounder to third base. Villalvazo deflected the ball but landed in shortstop’s hand, who grabbed it and made the play at first. Habrow tried to score from third with the throw to first but Edgar Lopez assisted catcher Ivan Garcia for an easy tag to end the inning.
In Mexico’s eighth Delgadillo advanced to third on a wild pitch, so head coach Mark Sorenson loaded the bases with a pair of intentional walks. Hayes struck out Garcia, and then Gonzalez failed a squeeze play bunt and Delgadillo was called out, leaving two runners on and two outs.
However, in spite of the missing bunt, Gonzalez connected the next pitch he saw to center field for the walk-off win.
With this score, Mexico grabbed its first win of the tournament, while New Zealand drops to 2-1.