Canada Bounces Back with Two Wins at US World Cup of Softball VIII
Published by Gilles LeBlanc
Published on July 12, 2013
(Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Women’s National Team bounced back from a first game loss to the United States on Thursday by defeating Puerto Rico 13-3 and Japan 2-1 at the General Tire World Cup of Softball VIII. Team Canada put plenty of balls in play and took advantage of several wild pitches and passed balls in the big win over Puerto Rico, and Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) hit a walk off run-scoring double in the bottom of the seventh as the red and white defeated the reigning World Champions from Japan.
In the first game, Puerto Rico loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first and opened the scoring with a run on a sacrifice fly by Charlise Castro, but the next batter popped out on the infield as they left two runners on base. In the bottom of the inning, Canada immediately put some pressure on the Puerto Rican defence as Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) singled and stole second, and Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) reached on an error and also stole second to put runners on second and third. Lye scored on a passed ball and after a walk by Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON), Lever later scored on a wild pitch with Timpf making it all the way to third. Jenny Gilbert (Saskatoon, SK) then hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Timpf. The next two batters walked before Sara Hopwood (Surrey, BC) delivered an RBI single to score Heather Ebert (Rosthern, SK) from second base, giving Canada an early 4-1 lead.
Puerto Rico quickly went down in order in the second, and Canada piled on nine runs in the bottom of the inning. Lye got things started again with a single and stole second base, followed by a walk by Lever. Both runners advanced on a passed ball before Timpf lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Lye. Gilbert then hit a ball that was misplayed by the left fielder to allow Lever to score, with Gilbert moving up to second on the play. Gilbert moved ahead to third before Ebert drew a walk, and Kelsey Haberl (Burnaby, BC), Hopwood, Brittany Hicks (Dundas, ON) and Lye all delivered RBI singles. With two runners on base, Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) hit a triple and later scored herself, giving Canada a big 13-1 lead.
Puerto Rico responded with a two-run homerun by Nicole Springer in the top of the third and put two runners on base in the fourth, but could not get any closer as the game ended on the run rule after three and a half innings.
Box score and play-by-play: Canada 13 vs. Puerto Rico 3
Marina Demore (Richmond, BC) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle for Canada, allowing three runs on three hits and one walk with one strikeout in three innings pitched. Junior Women’s National Team standout Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) pitched one inning of scoreless relief, allowing two hits and striking out one.
Joey Lye led Canada at the plate with three singles and two stolen bases, while Hopwood had a pair of hits and two runs batted in. Franklin had a two-run triple with a stolen base and a run scored, while Gilbert drove in two runs. Haberl and Hicks rounded out Canada’s hits.
Against Japan, Canada put two runners on base on errors in the bottom of the first, but a double play and a ground out ended the threat. Yukiyo Mine drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second, was sacrificed to second and later advanced to third on a single, but both runners were left stranded as the next batter grounded out. Ebert hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the second, but was quickly erased on a double play.
Team Canada opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, as Natalie Wideman led off with a single, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a single by Lever. Meanwhile, Canadian pitch Jenna Caira (Toronto, ON) kept the Japanese bats relatively silent, getting through the first four innings by only allowing two hits. However, she ran into a bit trouble in the top of the fifth, as Japan got a leadoff single by Sonoka Kuniyoshi who was sacrificed to second, followed by another single on which the right fielder made an error to allow Kuniyoshi to score from second. Sara Plourde (Fredericton, NB) came on in relief, and promptly retired the next two batters.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hopwood was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Wideman reached when her sacrifice bunt was thrown away at second base. However, the next batter hit into a double play followed by a ground out to end the inning. Japan went down in order in the sixth, and Canada got a two-out single by Gilbert but could not push her any further.
Japan was able to draw a one-out walk in the top of the seventh, but was unable to get the runner past second base. In the bottom of the frame, Haberl hit a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second, setting the stage for Wideman’s walk off double to end the game.
Box score and play-by-play: Canada 2 vs. Japan 1
Plourde earned her first win for the Canadian Women’s National Team, pitching two and two thirds innings of relief without allowing a hit with one walk and one strikeout. Caira was also stellar, allowing only one run on four hits with four strikeouts in four innings and a third. Wideman led the team offensively with a pair of hits and an RBI, while Lever had a run-scoring single. Other hits went to Gilbert, Ebert and Haberl.
Team Canada will play its final game of the preliminary round against Australia at 4:00pm EDT on Saturday.
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