22/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

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U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020 - Official Payoff

Czech Republic 2-0 Argentina: Osicka’s 13 strikeouts lead Czech Republic to first U-18 medal

Czech Republic 2-0 Argentina: Osicka’s 13 strikeouts lead Czech Republic to first U-18 medal
01/03/2020
The third-place finish follows the Czech Republic's first ever WBSC softball medal at last year's U-12 Softball World Cup where they also collected a bronze medal.

Jakub Osicka was outstanding from the circle, pitching a shutout game to help the Czech Republic win its first ever medal at the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup after beating two-time gold medallists Argentina in the bronze medal game on Sunday in Calquhoun Park in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The podium place follows the Czech Republic's first ever WBSC softball medal at last year's U-12 Softball World Cup where they also collected a bronze medal.

Osicka is only the second pitcher of the tournament to pitch a 7-inning shutout, alongside Australia's Boston Lowe (against New Zealand on Saturday) while Mexico's Humberto Valdez recorded a 4-inning shutout against Denmark on the second day of the tournament. Osicka also combined with Cedric Nzambi to shutout South Africa and Guatemala during the Opening Round and Super Round respectively.

The 17-year-old pitched the complete game, allowing just one hit in the sixth inning and threw 13 strikeouts, while his pitching rival Franco Saenz of Argentina also had 13 strikeouts but allowed two runs that gave way for the European champion’s bronze medal triumph.

It completed a superb tournament for Osicka who tops the tournament with the lowest Earned Run Average of 1.13, most number of Strike Outs (84 - ahead of Singapore's Mathew Tan on 63 and Saenz 61), the most number of wins (5), seven Games Started (equal with Saenz) and the most number of Innings Pitched (43.1) with four Complete Games (tied with Tan).

While Osicka was on fire from the pitching plate, it was Vit Koci's RBI single, which opened up opportunities for the offence-driven Czech Republic side to secure scoring positions in the only only scoring opportunity in the game.

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the Czech Republic jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second. With two outs in the scoreboard, Tadeas Kalcv singled to center field and later reached second base on a wild pitch as Jan Voracek walked. Kalcv crossed the home plate with Koci's RBI single, who connected a changeup to left centre gap to put his team in front. With runners in the corners, Voracek scored from third base a stolen base play.

Osicka was magnificent again for the European side. He started the game with four perfect innings until he gave up a walk in the fifth. Argentina's only hit came in the sixth episode. Eloy Capdebosq walked and Saenz hit an infield single between third base and the shortstop, with no outs. However, Osicka forced Lautaro Garcia to elevate his bunt for the first out, then Luciano Biondi grounded to first base putting runners in second and third. The final out of the inning was in home plate, after a wild pitch that bounced back to the catcher, to make an easy tag at home plate when Capdebosq tried to score.

It was the only dangerous situation for the Czech starter, who was in control of the game from the beginning.

This is the first medal for Czech Republic in a youth men's softball world cup, and the second overall after their bronze in the first ever U-12 Mixed Softball World Cup in Taiwan last year.

For Argentina, it's the third time they finish in fourth position in youth events, after 1997 and 2016.