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Joel Evans, Ben Enoka hit back-to-back home runs in huge six-run innings as Black Sox knock out Aussies in quarter-finals

The Black Sox are through to the Men's Softball World Championship semi-finals thanks to a game-changing fifth innings in their comeback win over old rivals Australia this morning.

The New Zealand side scored six runs in the fifth on their way to a 7-4 win as part of a high-scoring middle section of the quarter-final clash.

It was a contrast of career points on the mound for the trans-Tasman sides with young Auckland hurler Daniel Chapman on the mound for the Black Sox and former world champion Adam Folkard pitching for Australia.

Both pitchers kept the bats quiet in the first two innings and Folkard did so again in the third before getting some help from his offence.

The Aussies managed to score two runs after loading the bases but after a quick time out, Chapman bounced back with loaded bags to strike out Nick Norton and stop the bleeding at a 2-0 deficit.

The Black Sox responded straight away though with Thomas Enoka catching the defence off-guard with a leadoff bunt to reach first.

He was moved over to second when Wayne Laulu was hit by a pitch and then third when Cole Evans moved both runners with a bunt.

Reilly Makea then converted the run with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Enoka and moving the score to 2-1.

But the Aussies weren't fazed, scoring another two runs after Callum Beashel hit a two-run shot over left field to make the score to 4-1.

With two outs and a runner on one, coach Mark Sorenson opted to make a pitching change and brought in Wellington's Josh Pettett who got the Kiwis out of the innings with a ground out.

MSWC Game Day 9, New Zealand vs Australia, 20th of June, 2019.  Photo Grega Valancic / WBSC
Black Sox pitcher Josh Pettett pitches against Australia in the World Championship quarter-finals. Source: WBSC

And then the flood gates opened.

Catcher Zane van Lieshout sparked the innings when he worked a leadoff walk after reaching a full count.

He was then brought home on the next pitch when Joel Evans - who broke Aussie hearts two years ago with a grand slam in the world championship final - hit a home run to deep left centre field.

Veteran outfielder Ben Enoka tied the scores three pitches later with a home run of his own, forcing the Aussies to make a pitching change as they turned to captain Andrew Kirkpatrick to stop the scoring.

It didn't work.

After Nathan Nukunuku flew out to the shortstop, Thomas Enoka got the rally going again with a single into left field. Laulu moved Enoka to third with a single of his own.

Cole Evans then brought Enoka home with a chopped ball to third base which gave the Black Sox the lead.

Then it was youngster Makea's time to shine.

Makea singled up the middle to bring home Laulu but after the ball managed to roll under the Aussie centre fielder's glove, the 19-year-old sprinted around all the bases and slid under a tag at homeplate to score.

MSWC Game Day 9, New Zealand vs Australia, 20th of June, 2019.  Photo Grega Valancic / WBSC
Reilly Makea is called safe at home after sliding under a tag in the Black Sox's World Championship quarter-final against Australia. Source: WBSC

Makea's speed gave the Black Sox a 7-4 lead, one they'd hold on to for the rest of the game as Pettett kept the Australian offence at bay.

The win sees the Black Sox move on to the semi-finals but it doesn't get any easier with Japan - who have beaten the Black Sox four times this year including a 5-1 win in pool play at the World Champs - awaiting them.

In the other semi-final, Argentina will play the winner of the final quarter-final between hosts Czech Republic and Canada.

The Black Sox square off with Japan at 2.30am NZT tomorrow.