Venezuela holds off Canada in ISF World Softball Championship playoffs

Written by Bob on March 8th, 2013

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – The Canadian Men’s National Fastball Team came into the 13th International Softball Federation World Championship with one of the strongest hitting lineups.

In claiming the top spot in Pool B, with a 6-1 mark, Canada outscored its opponents 43-12.

So going into the first playoff game against Venezuela, it stood to reason that the Canadians would score a few runs.

HURLERS SHUT DOWN CANADA
But Erick Urbaneja and Ramon Jones had other ideas. The two Venezuelan pitchers combined to hold Canada to just two hits and one earned run in hurling Venezuela to a 3-1 victory on Friday in the opening day of playoffs.

The win gives Venezuela a 6-2 record overall, and 1-0 in the playoffs.

Urbaneja went 4 2/3 innings, allowing the one run and the two hits, while striking out five. Jones finished up with a walk and a strikeout over the final two and a third frames.

Canada’s two hits and lone run all happened in the bottom of the fourth inning.

MULLALEY BLAST
Stephen Mullaley belted a one-out triple scoring Brad Ezekiel, who singled to open the inning. But that was it as Urbaneja retired Ian Fehrman on a strikeout and Ryan Boland on a fly ball.

Venezuela managed just four hits off three Canadian hurlers, but they made them count with a solo run in the top of the first and two in the fourth.

FREE PASSES HURT
In the first inning, Canadian starter Sean Cleary issued back-to-back walks to Iran Paez and Arturo Acacio. Then Edwin Linares belted a run-scoring single, plating Perez. But Cleary toughened by striking out Rafael Flores and John Zambrano to end the threat.

Rafael Flores home run in the fourth with Edwin Linares aboard gave the Venezuelans the lead for good, and sets up a meeting with New Zealand (6-1, 1-0) in Saturday’s final game at Rosedale Park.

Canada must work its way back into contention with a confrontation with Argentina, in the middle game of Saturday’s schedule. Argentina (5-2 pool play, 1-0 playoffs) proved they should be a challenge as they bashed the United States 9-2 on Friday.

For Canada, Cleary pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 3 hits, while striking out 7. Paul Koert followed in relief, with 1 2/3 innings, 1 walk and a strikeout. Don Scott closed with 2 innings and 5 strikeouts.

Venezuela’s Linares, 1-2, RBI, run; Flores 1-3, 2 RBI, run; Carlos Ojeda 1-3, and Herwins Querales 1-3, led the South American’s offense.

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