Australia beat Japan 1-0 to win the WBSC Under-23 Men's Softball World Cup ©WBSC

Australia won the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Under-23 Men's Softball World Cup in the Argentinian city of Paraná, with the tournament's most valuable player (MVP) Jack Besgrove starring in their 1-0 victory over Japan in the final.

The final at Nafaldo Cargnel Stadium was a repeat of the Under-18 Softball World Cup decider won by Australia in 2018 and Japan in 2020.

Both teams topped their groups in the opening round with five wins from five to progress to the super round in top spot.

Teams faced opponents who they had not met in their group in the super round, with the results added to those achieved against the other two teams who progressed.

Australia's hopes of reaching the final were dealt a blow when they lost their first two matches in the next phase of the competition 4-1 to New Zealand and 8-1 to Japan, but they recovered with a 4-0 win against Canada to rank second coupled with their victories over Mexico and Argentina in the groups.

Japan won their opening super round match 1-0 against Mexico, and the thrashing of Australia meant they topped the standings despite a 1-0 defeat to Argentina in their final match.

The final was closely fought, but Besgrove made a decisive contribution by preventing Japan from scoring in seven innings with 11 strikeouts.

Shannon Goffer scored the winning run for Australia at the top of the seventh off Jeremy Waters' single.

Hosts Argentina had to settle for bronze at the WBSC Under-23 Men's Softball World Cup ©WBSC
Hosts Argentina had to settle for bronze at the WBSC Under-23 Men's Softball World Cup ©WBSC

Australia head coach David Metekingi expressed his delight at his players' success.

"We knew we’d have a to battle against Japan," he said.

"All I asked the boys was to hang in there and keep fighting.

"We have a battle spirit, it’s something that we looked at throughout the week, and we needed that during the last game.

"We never gave up, we constantly put pressure, and finally worked at the end."

In the bronze medal match, Argentina trashed Mexico 10-1.

Australia's victory was their eighth Men's Softball World Cup title, including their senior triumph last year.

The all-world team consisted of MVP Besgrove, his compatriots Riley James and Ryan King, Argentina’s Juan Jose Pepe, Canada’s Mitchell McKay, Japan’s Tomoki Kikukawa and Koki Sato, New Zealand’s Brock Attewell and Brock Evans, Team WBSC’s Nery Del Cid and Mexico’s Jordan Solorio.