13/06/2019 - 23/06/2019

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XVI Men's Softball World Championship 2019 - Official Payoff

One year ago: Argentina wins their first ever Softball World Championship

One year ago: Argentina wins their first ever Softball World Championship
The white and blue team became the first Latin American nation to clinch a flagship softball world title.

On 23 June 2019, the Argentina Men's National Softball Team shook the world by winning their first-ever WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship, coming out on top of a thrilling extra-inning final against Japan in the Czech capital, Prague.

Argentina became the fifth nation to win the top men’s softball competition, joining New Zealand (7), USA (5), Canada (4) and Australia (1) as the historic winners of the premier men's softball world title.

Argentina played the Opening Round in Group A, along with the then reigning world champions New Zealand, Japan, hosts Czech Republic, the Philippines, Mexico, Cuba and Botswana. They advanced to the playoffs as the second-place finishers, with a 6-1 record. Their only loss came on Day 3, against Japan.

"During the tournament, we focused on getting better game after game. We never focused on the rivals, but in our own performance and our strengths. I think that the win against New Zealand was the turning point for us, for the rivalry, for the way we won the match, so after that game we were convinced that we could win it all," said catcher and then captain, Bruno Motroni.

In the playoffs, Argentina faced the two North American giants, USA and Canada, in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals, registering knockout victories by the scores of 9-0 and 7-0, respectively. By way of KOs, the Argentine side advanced to the final for the first time, and secured their first-ever medal at the top men’s softball competition.

The World Championship Game was one for the ages. In one of the most exciting and memorable games in the history of the event. Argentina claimed the title of world champion defeating Japan, by a score of 3-2 in 10 innings.

"The final was a dramatic game, very difficult. We knew each other very well, Japan had scouted us, and we had scouted them, it was almost like a chess game. We were lucky to win the game," remembers Motroni. "I finished very tired mentally and physically, we had to adapt and make a lot of adjustments during the game.

"I have a lot of memories from the final. I think the double play in the ninth inning was something incredible. I remember at that moment the time stopped and I saw the play in slow motion, it's still vivid in my mind," said Huemul Mata, who pitched the complete game in the final, through a phone interview from his home. "I also remember the celebrations after the final, I remember myself saying to Bruno 'I can't believe it!'; we were exhausted, we supported each other all the way and ended up crying together."

Previously, Argentina's highest finish was fourth place in 2013 and 2017. The win in the Czech capital followed back-to-back U-19 World Championship titles in 2012 and 2014, with eight players repeating the title in youth and senior events.

"Being world champions is unbelievable, unique. It gives value to all the effort and sacrifice you made throughout the years," said Mata.

Motroni agreed with his pitcher: "To be a world champion is unique. It's the result of years and years of work. Luckily I could achieve it in my sports career, I had some doubts about it, but finally it happened and now I'm enjoying it a lot."

Hours following the conclusion of the Final in Prague, the then President of Argentina, Mr. Mauricio Macri, tweeted: “Impressive, Argentina champion of softball! The immense effort you made paid off and today you’re the best in the world. Congratulations to the whole team!!”

Sport celebrities also joined social media to congratulate the new men’s softball world champion. Argentine tennis legend and Olympic medallist Gabriela Sabatini celebrated her country’s world title: “Let’s go Argentina!!! #Softball world champions!!”.

After the historic win, social media exploded in Argentina as the team received a hero’s welcome back into the country.