Defending champions New Zealand opened the World Baseball Softball Confederation Men’s Softball World Championship with a ruthless Group A win over the Czech Republic in Prague.
The Black Sox, the world’s number one-ranked side, stormed to a 9-0 success in front of a vociferous home crowd at Svoboda Ballpark.
New Zealand were helped by superb pitching from Nik Hayes, whose brilliant display saw him strike out 15 hitters for three safe hits and three walks.
And experienced campaigner Ben Enoka also contributed significantly, thumping a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
The other six teams in Group A are due to start their campaigns tomorrow at Hippos Aréna in Havlíčkův Brod.
The Philippines face Cuba, while Argentina meet Botswana and Mexico go up against the world's number three-ranked side, Japan, in the last game of the day.
The top four teams from each of the two groups will advance to the playoff round, which is due to take place on June 21 following eight days of group-stage action.
The semi-finals are scheduled for June 22 before the final and bronze medal games are held on June 23.