Despite a spirited comeback attempt, the Junior Black Sox have suffered their first loss at the Junior Men's World Softball Championships this afternoon after a costly third innings against hosts Canada.
The NZ under 19 side got off to flying start thanks to a two-RBI single from catcher Harrison Valk to score Sheldon Waller and Ryschan Ropata in their first at-bat, but the side suffered a setback two innings later when Canada produced a six-run rally.
Nelson pitcher Josh Kelly did well to enter the game with two runners on and stop the scoring, striking out Dawson Sellick to leave the score at 6-2 after three innings.
Kelly had another admirable performance on the mound after relieving Makea, taking seven strikeouts for two earned runs in four innings of work - he gave up two hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch in his time on the bump.
The Kiwis picked up another run in the fourth thanks to a solo home run by Valk to deep left field, but Canada replied twice in the following two innings to set the score at 8-3 going into the Junior Black Sox's final bat.
After Reilly Makea and AJ Hart reached base, Huw Davies added another single to his tournament tally to score the pair and move the score to 8-5.
However, the Canadians settled back into their defence and shut the rally down there to earn the round robin win and sit alone at the top of Group B.
The Junior Black Sox have a day off tomorrow before they return for their final pool play game against Guatemala on Friday at 11am NZT.
A win there would see them place second in the pool and face either Australia or Japan to start their playoffs run.
"Maybe this has galvanised them, hearing each other's stories and knowing they are not alone," say the nurses behind the Facebook group, New Zealand, please hear our voice.