Botswana National Under 19 Softball team has had mixed fortunes to their campaign at the WBSC Under 19 Junior World Championships.
After a terrific start that saw them easily depose Denmark 8 ÔÇô 1 in their opening game, the local lads then got a rude awakening as they were thrashed 14ÔÇô0 by hosts United States of America (USA).
Against the Danes in their first match, it was a brilliant performance by Botswana’s pitcher Gideon Puaka which proved the difference on the day as Denmark’s batters struggled to contain the on-form youngster. The form four student at Letlhakane Senior Secondary School’s performance was unstoppable as none of the Danish batters could not locate his pitches striking out 15 batters.
In an interview with The Telegraph sport, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) Spokesperson Kelebogile Seitei said despite challenges of rainy weather, the boys performed well and they are looking towards sustaining better results in their upcoming pool matches.
“’We were controlling this match and the boys played according to the coach’s plan. The game ended in inning five due to a run ahead/mercy rule and the final score was 8-1,” said Seitei.
She said that Puaka played an integral role in assisting his side to victory.
“We played together as a team but Puaka was on top of his game as he ensured the Danish did not get a hit and had 15 strike outs and only walked one batter,” said Seitei.
Botswana’s happiness was however cut short in their second game on Monday morning as they were ruthlessly torn apart by USA. Having lost their first match 5 ÔÇô 6 to defending champions Argentina, the hosts were keen to make amends and Botswana was the sacrificial lambs.
The local lads were against it from the onset as the USA, who was batting at the top started well, scoring 2 runs in the first innings, one run in the third inning and a further two runs in the fourth innings with Botswana failing to register any run on the score board. While both teams failed to register runs in the fifth innings, things got worse for Botswana on the sixth innings as the USA read them a riot act, amassing nine more runs against Botswana’s zero to run out 14 ÔÇô 0 winners.
Botswana lads will now look to their game against the Czech Republic, before taking on Argentina and Australia in search of a spot in the knock out stages. Pool B is made up of New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, Israel and Japan. Despite Venezuela scheduled to be part of the championships, it is reported they could not make it to the extravaganza due to unstable political situation in Venezuela.