Sincelejo, Colombia – The U18 Men’s National Team captured the bronze medal in an exciting pitcher’s duel in extra innings against Argentina at the 2023 WBSC Americas Pan American Championship on Saturday. Canada was looking for redemption after falling 7-5 to Argentina earlier in the week.
Cohen Christner (New Hamburg, Ont.) got the start in the circle for Canada and looked solid from the beginning when Argentina was pressing with a single to centre and then a walk. The Argentina runner then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Christner delivered two strikeouts to keep the game scoreless.
Both teams were going back and forth on the offense, with both pitchers looking strong in the pitcher’s circle.
Scoreless through seven innings, Canada took the lead in the top of the eighth inning when Riley Good (Wingham, Ont.) hit a sacrifice, with Joseph Weiler (Hepworth, Ont.) getting placed on second, then advanced to third. Owen Bilinsky (Port Dover, Ont.) then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Weiler to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the eighth, Christner looked confident in the circle, getting one runner out via strikeout. Argentina then grounded into a fielder’s choice, moving a runner to second and another runner who was placed on second now advancing to third. Christner then intentionally walked a batter. Canada then showed their defensive skill when Good made a smooth play to Nolan Bultena (Arthur, Ont.) for the double play, securing the bronze medal for Canada. Christner would get the win, only giving up two hits with no runs and eight strikeouts in eight innings of work.
Canada will now qualify for the 2023 WBSC U18 Men’s Softball World Cup being held November 11-19, in Hermosillo, Mexico.