Softball: Black Sox beat Czech Republic to begin world title defence

Pitcher Nik Hayes in action for the Black Sox
Pitcher Nik Hayes in action for the Black Sox. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand have defeated hosts Czech Republic 9-0 to begin their title defence at the world men's softball championships in Prague.

Nik Hayes earned the win, pitching all seven innings, taking 15 strikeouts and giving up three hits in the process.

Centrefielder Ben Enoka starred with the bat, hitting the game's only home run in the sixth inning to take the score to 6-0.

New Zealand opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, when Thomas Enoka hit a triple to reach third base, Reilly Makea has hit by a pitch and Zane Van Lieshout hit another triple to score both teammates for a 2-0 lead.

Cole Evans scored in the fourth inning, when he was walked and then hit home by Tyron Bartorillo. Evans scored again in the sixth on a sacrifice fly-ball, before Enoka's two-run homer.

In the seventh, the Black Sox loaded bases, with Wayne Laulu and Jerome Raumaki scoring off a walk and hit batter. Bartorillo's single to left field scored Josh Harbrow to complete the scoring.

The Kiwis face Cuba on Sunday morning (NZT) in their next outing.