Canada Wins Silver Medal at VIII Pan American Championship
Published by Gilles LeBlanc
Published on August 18, 2013
(Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team won the Silver medal at the VIII Pan American Championship in Puerto Rico, defeating Cuba 2-0 to earn a spot in the Gold medal game before losing 8-1 to the United States. Fresh off her no-hitter on Saturday, Jenna Caira (Toronto, ON) limited Cuba to three hits and Canada scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a solo homerun by Jen Yee (North Delta, BC) and an RBI double Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON). In the Championship game, the Americans scored five runs on a pair of homeruns in the top of the second and added a two-run blast in the fifth for the run-rule victory.
In the first game, both teams went down in order in the first before Cuba put some pressure on in the top of the second. Caira allowed a one-out single and hit the next batter to put two runners on base, but got out of the inning with a big strikeout followed by a ground ball to second base for a fielder’s choice. Cuba got a leadoff single the following inning, but a pair of groundouts and a strikeout kept them off the scoreboard. Canada was unable to get anything going over the first three innings, putting only one runner on base on a one-out walk in the bottom of the third.
The game went into a rain delay with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, with Cuba getting a walk as soon as play resumed but the next batter popped out. In the bottom of the fifth, Kelsey Haberl (Burnaby, BC) registered Canada’s first hit of the game with a one-out single, Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON) followed with a single of her own and Meagan Baird (Ajax, ON) walked to load the bases, but the next two batters were retired on an infield fly and a fly out.
Cuba went down in order on only five pitches in the top of the sixth before Canada broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the frame. Yee hit a solo homerun on a full count with one out to open the scoring, and Jenny Gilbert (Saskatoon, SK) walked and scored on a double by Polidori. A pair of hit by pitches loaded the bases, but the following batter lifted a fly ball to centerfield for the second out and the runner on third was thrown out at the plate attempting to score by tagging up. Cuba got a leadoff single with the runner advancing all the way to third on an error, but Caira got a strikeout, a ground out and pop out on the infield to end the game.
Box Score and Play-by-Play: Canada 2 vs. Cuba 0
Caira allowed only three hits and one walk with six strikeouts in the complete game shutout. Yee had the big go-ahead homerun for Canada, with Polidori adding an RBI double. Haberl and Timpf each singled to round out Canada’s four hits.
In the Gold medal game, the United States did not waste any time to open the scoring, as the first two batters walked and Lauren Gibson singled to score the game’s first run. Canadian pitcher Sara Plourde (Fredericton, NB) bounced back with a strikeout and a fly out before the runner on third was tagged out by the catcher to end the inning. The following inning, the leadoff batter walked and Taylor Hoagland hit a two-run homerun, and the United States put two more runners on base with walks before Raven Chavanne hit a three-run shot to increase the lead to 6-0. In the bottom of the second, Canada managed to put two runners on base on a hit by pitch and a walk, but the first runner was caught stealing and the red and white was unable to make anything happen.
Team USA went down in order in the top of the third and Canada got a pair of singles by Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) and Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) to start the inning. The runners were sacrificed to second and third followed by a walk to load the bases with one out. However, Canada was unable to push anyone in to score as the next batters struck out and flew out to end the threat. Kelsey Haberl hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth, but a pair of fly outs and a strikeout left her stranded at first base.
Valerie Arioto increased the lead to 8-0 with a two-run homerun for the United States in the top of the fifth. Needing at least two runs to extend the game, Canada’s leadoff batter Caitlin Lever was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a single to left field by Jen Yee. Gilbert drew a walk and the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, but a ground out and a pop out to the pitcher ended the game.
Box Score and Play-by-Play: Canada 1 vs. United States 8
Plourde took the loss in the pitcher’s circle for Canada, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks with one strikeout in one inning and two batters. Jocelyn Cater (Delta, BC) allowed five runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three in three innings and two thirds of relief, with Marina Demore (Richmond, BC) getting the last out. At the plate, Canada produced four hits on singles by Lever, Yee, Haberl and Wideman.
The United States earned the Gold medal at the VIII Pan American Championship, with Canada taking Silver and Cuba taking Bronze. Puerto Rico finished fourth, the Dominican Republic ended up fifth and Brazil took sixth. The first five teams qualified for the 2014 ISF Women’s World Championship next August in Haarlem, Netherlands, with all six becoming the first teams of any sport to qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, ON.
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