Junior Black Sox can deliver unique double
New Zealand could be on the brink of their first world senior and junior men's softball double success for almost 30 years.
The Junior Black Sox softball team have won straight through to the grand final of the ISF Junior Men's (under-19) world championships title in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.
If they win the title it will be the first time New Zealand have been world champions at the senior and junior level at the same time since 1985.
Having lost to Argentina earlier in the tournament the Kiwi team beat defending champs and the previously undefeated Argentines 3-1 to proceed directly to the grand final. Argentina now have to face Japan with the winner to then play the Junior Black Sox for the title. No matter what the New Zealand side is guaranteed either a gold or silver medal.
In today's game, pitcher Ethan Johnston from Canterbury kept the Argentines at bay by only giving up four hits and taking 11 strikeouts.
Junior Black Sox coach Thomas Makea believes his team was prepared for whoever they would face in the final.
"We came out ready to play against Argentina and turned up good. I'm very proud of the guys. It was solid pitching against some very strong Argentine batting. It's up to those two teams [Argentina and Japan] to fight it out, the pressure is on them. We're in the final and we'll be ready for whoever we play," Makea said.
Assistant coach Jarrad Martin was in the last New Zealand team to win the junior world championships. Martin pitched the team to victory in the 1989 world championships in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The final will be held at 4pm local time (11am New Zealand time).