US World Cup - Game 1
Thursday, July 21, 2011(Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Senior Women’s National team kicked off their US World Cup of Softball VI schedule with a tough loss this afternoon, losing by a score of 9-6 in eight innings against Japan.
Team Canada got thing going in the bottom of the first inning. Second batter Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) hit a single down the third base line, and scored on a double to the right center field gap by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON). Rafter advanced to third after a walk and a fielder’s choice, and scored when Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) dropped a weak line drive just over the third baseman as Canada the 2-0 lead.
Japan then chipped away with a run in the top of the second on an RBI single by Yukiyo Mine, and added three more in the third to take a 4-2 lead. With runners on second and third, Yu Yamamoto singled to left field and the ball was misplayed, allowing Yamamoto to race around the bases to score along with both runners.
After Japan added another run in the fourth on a passed ball to extend the lead to 5-2, Canada responded in the bottom of the inning. Meagan Baird (Ajax, ON) led off with a single, followed by a walk by Lye. Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON) then sacrificed the runners to second and third, and after a strikeout, Jill Russell (London, ON) stroked a two-out, two-run double to left field and later scored on an RBI single by Hayward to tie the game at 5-5.
After a quick fifth inning, Japan threatened to score again in the top of the sixth, getting runners on second and third with only one out. After a pitching change, the Japanese hitter attempted a safety squeeze play, but first baseman Kelsey Haberl (Burnaby, BC) made a nice play to toss the ball to home to cut down the run, and Canada got out of the inning on a fly out.
Japan kept the pressure on in the seventh, with the first batter getting on base on a single and the second batter reaching on an error on a sacrifice bunt. After the runners advanced on another sacrifice bunt, Kazuki Watanabe hit an RBI ground out to second base as Japan took a 6-5 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. However, Canada came back to tie the game 6-6 when Meagan Baird hit a towering homerun to right field with one out, sending the game to extra innings.
With a runner starting on second base due to the international tie-breaker rule, Japan sacrificed her over to third before Eri Yamada cracked a two-run homerun over the right center field wall. Japan was not done there, as the next hitter doubled to left field and scored on a single up the middle to increase the lead to 9-6. Canada would not go down easily in the bottom of the inning. Jenn Yee (North Delta, BC) started on second and advanced to third on a single by Russell. After two fielder’s choices, Rafter was walked to load the bases with two outs. However, the next batter grounded out to end the game.
Three pitchers shared the pitching duties for Canada. Sarah Phillips (Mississauga, ON) started the game and threw two and a third innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on five hits with two strikeouts. She was relieved by 16-year old Jocelyn Cater (Delta, BC), who pitched three solid innings of relief allowing one run while scattering five hits with two strikeouts. Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) then came in and suffered the difficult loss, allowing four runs – two earned – on four hits with one strikeout.
Victoria Hayward led Canada with three hits, while Meagan Baird, Joey Lye and Jill Russell each had two. Melanie Matthews (Surrey, BC) and Megan Timpf each chipped in with one.
Canada will be back in action when they take on Great Britain at 11:00am EDT on Friday. Live scoring and video streaming for all games will be available through USA Softball’s website (http://www.usasoftball.com/events.asp?uid=6375), which will be available shortly before each game. Team Canada game reports and a link to the live scoring will also be available on the Softball Canada website at www.softball.ca.
Canada 6 vs. Japan 9 (8 innings) – Box Score and Play by Play
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