Enoka brothers star as Black Sox beat Australia to secure world softball medal
Thomas Enoka slammed another big home run and brother Campbell smashed a triple as the New Zealand Blacksox clinched another world softball championships medal.
The Black Sox beat Australia 6-2 in Canada on Saturday (NZ Time) to advance to Sunday's clash with champions Canada for a place in Monday's grand final.
New Zealand - chasing their seventh world title - are guaranteed at least a bronze medal, meaning they will be on the podium for the 10th consecutive world tournament since 1984.
Few New Zealand sports teams have been as consistently successful as the Black Sox and Mark Sorenson's squad is not done yet. The Black Sox still has two lives and could still make the final even if they lose to the unbeaten Canadians.
The Black Sox vice-captain batted in three runs, the first to Joel Evans in the first inning to set up the early lead coach Sorenson craved.
But Australia levelled in top of the fifth after three back-to-back safe hits.
New Zealand needed something special to break open the game and the Enoka duo lit the fuse.
Campbell, who has been in white-hot batting form in Whitehorse all week, led off with a triple to the rightfield fence.
Captain Nathan Nukunuku cracked a double down the first base-line to score.
Thomas Enoka - fresh from a bases-loaded grand slam home run against Botswana on Friday - clouted the ball well over the leftfield fence to put the game beyond Australia's reach at 4-1.
That gave Enoka three RBIs for the game. The brothers have now had eight hits between them in the last two games.
New Zealand-born Australian pinch hitter Liam O'Leary drove in a consolation score in the top of the sixth, but New Zealand added two more runs with Campbell Enoka batting in catcher Kallan Compain and Tyron Bartorillo scooting home on an Australian infield error.
Pettett won his pitching duel with Australian ace Folkard, one of the world's best pitchers of the last decade.
The 24-year-old Wellington hurler, who earned his international spurs last February after pitching the Black Sox to the Challenge Cup tournament title in New Zealand, hit his spots and oozed composure even when under severe pressure, taking eight strikeouts for six safe hits and a single walk.
He will surely be Sorenson's go-to man on the mound for the rest of the tournament.
New Zealand had eight hits with Campbell Enoka bagging three from four at-bats and Thomas two.
In other playoff games, New Zealand-born pitcher Jeremy Manley threw the United States to a 11-3 win over Venezuela, helped by Travis Dudley's three-run homer. Manley took six strikeouts. Argentina beat Botswana 5-0 and Canada edged out Japan, despite being outbatted five hits to three. Mark Johnson homered for both runs in the fifth inning.
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand Black Sox 6 Australia 2. Hits: NZ 8 (Campbell Enoka 23, Thomas Enoka 2 incl HR, Joel Evans, Nathan Nukunuku, Kallan Compain) Australia 6. Pitching: NZ: Josh Pettett 8 strikeouts, 6 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk).
Other playoffs results: Argentina 5 Botswana 0, USA 11 Venezuela 3 (5 innings), Canada 2 Japan 0.
Sunday's games: Game 1: Japan v Argentina. Game 2: Australia v USA. Game 3: NZ v Canada (winner advances to Monday's final). Game 4: Winner Game 1 v Winner Game 2.