Canada Finishes Fourth at WBSC Junior Women’s World Softball Championship
Published by Gilles LeBlanc
Published on August 14, 2015
(Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Junior Women’s National Team matched its highest placing ever at the WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship defeating New Zealand 6-5 before dropping an 8-0 decision to Puerto Rico to finish fourth. Team Canada placed fourth at the first ISF Youth World Softball Championship in 1981 in Edmonton, AB and had never finished higher than fifth since then.
After an hour rain delay in the first game, New Zealand put heavy pressure on Canada in the top of the first inning. The first batter reached on an infield single followed by a sacrifice bunt that could not be handled cleanly, allowing a second base runner to reach. After a walk loaded the bases, Canadian starting pitcher Elizabeth Murphy (Maple Ridge, BC) got a big strikeout, but the next batter dropped a single into left, followed by a groundout to score another run and a run-scoring single to center as New Zealand built a quick 3-0 lead.
However, Team Canada wasted no time responding in the bottom of the inning. Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, BC) led off with a single up the middle and was sacrificed to second by Callum Pilgrim (Abbotsford, BC). Emma Entzminger (Victoria, BC) was hit by a pitch, and the runners advanced to second and third on an illegal pitch before both scoring on a double to left by Holly Speers (Surrey, BC). With two outs, Taylor Lundrigan (Abbotsford, BC) singled to third base to bring Speers in to score from third, and ended up scoring on a double by Courtney Gilbert (Delhi, ON) as Canada took a 4-3 lead.
After a quick second inning, New Zealand came back to tie the game as the leadoff batter dropped a bunt that was thrown away at first down the left field line, allowing the batter to reach third, followed by a single to left to knot the game at 4-4. In the bottom of the fourth, Gilbert drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a double by Becki Monaghan (Spruce Grove, AB) before scoring on a passed ball. After a fly ball for the second out, Julianna Waldner (Altona, MB) replaced Monaghan as a courtesy runner for the catcher and scored on an infield single to third by Jenkins as Canada took a 6-4 lead. New Zealand threatened with a pair of singles in the top of the fifth but reliever Madison Clarke (Edmonton, AB) was able to get out of the inning. The Kiwis were able to cut the lead to one with a run scored on three singles in the top of the sixth, but that was as close as they would get as Clarke retired them in order in the top half of the seventh.
Box Score: Canada 6 vs. New Zealand 5
Murphy started the game for Canada, allowing four runs but only on being earned on five hits and she struck out two over three innings. Clarke gave up one run on five hits and struck out three in four innings of relief. Offensively, Gilbert had a double, a single and drove in a run while Jenkins had two singles and a run batted in. Speers added a two-run double with Monaghan also smashing a double, with single hits going to Pilgrim and Lundrigan as Canada produced eight hits.
Puerto Rico got on the board in the top of the second inning of the second game on a one-out triple followed by a run-scoring single. After Canada went down in order in each of the first two innings, Puerto Rico added three more runs in the third on a two-run triple and a run scoring single. Team Canada put two runners on base with one out on a walk and an error in the bottom half of the third, but a strikeout and a ground out left them off the board.
In the top of the fifth, Puerto Rico added a run on a solo homerun, and Canada got two more runners on base on a hit by pitch and an error but could not advance them as the three other batters struck out. After a quick sixth inning, Puerto Rico padded its lead with three more runs as the first three hitters singled to load the bases followed by a two-run double and an RBI single to take an 8-0 lead. Brielle McCullough (Saskatoon, SK) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single followed by a walk by Maude Sigouin (Laval, QC), but the next three batters were retired to end the game.
Box Score: Puerto Rico 8 vs. Canada 0
Madison Hope (Winnipeg, MB) started the game in the circle for Canada, allowing four runs on five hits with two strikeouts in two innings and a third. Clarke came on in relief in the top of the third, limiting Puerto Rico to one run on two hits and striking out three in three and two thirds innings of work. Murphy pitched the last inning, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out one. Team Canada was held to only one hit, McCullough’s single to lead off the seventh.
With the win, Puerto Rico moves on to face Japan in the tournament’s Bronze medal game at 4:00pm CDT on Saturday after Japan lost 14-2 to the United States in the game between the two undefeated teams. The winner of the Bronze medal game will move on to face the United States in the Gold medal game at 7:00pm CDT. Australia will face Chinese Taipei in the Placement Round Championship 1:00pm CDT.
Canada’s fourth place finish is the highest since also finishing fourth at the first ISF Youth World Championship in 1981, and is one spot higher than the previous three fifth place finishes in 2007, 2011 and 2013.
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