While the Junior Steelers have every reason to feel proud of their achievements so far in the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship, they will know that the road ahead is about to get much tougher.
The Australians turned on another dominant performance today in beating South Africa 17-1 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
That win left them on top of the Group A standings with five consecutive wins and no losses.
But lurking alongside them in the standings are Japan, who have an identical win-loss record and will be the Junior Steelers’ opponents tomorrow.
Game 5: Australia 17, South Africa 1
Junior Steelers shortstop Ryan King set the tone by hitting the third pitch of the game for a home run.
It was the first of four home runs by the Australians, with Michael Ludkin, Jett Wright and Blake Jackson also going deep.
Jackson, the No. 9 hitter and third baseman, was named Player of the Game as he collected a line of threes — three hits, RBIs and runs scored.
The Junior Steelers combined for 12 hits and four walks. King, Wright and Michael Ludkin each had two hits, with Wright driving in four runs.
South Africa’s lone run came in the first inning when Nathan Pletschke singled and scored on Jordan Atkin’s triple.
Australian pitching duties were shared equally between Shaun Lanaghan, who struck out five while allowing just two hits and one walk, and Brad Kilpatrick, who pitched two innings and struck out three while walking three.