Canadian Women’s Softball Team Opens Japan Cup with Two Hard-Fought Losses
Softball Canada – Takasaki City, Japan – The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team put up a strong effort on the opening day of the Japan Cup, losing 6-4 to the United States before dropping a 5-0 decision to Japan. Against the United States, Team Canada trailed 3-1 before Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) hit a go-ahead base clearing triple in the third, but the Americans fought back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. In the evening game against Japan, Team Canada pitchers limited the Japanese to only two hits, but the red and white committed a pair of costly errors that accounted for three runs.
The first game saw Canada load up the bases with one out in the top of the first inning with an error, a walk and a single to left by Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) but the next batter popped out on the infield followed by a fielder’s choice as the United States escaped the threat. The following inning, Canada opened the scoring when Joey Lye (Toronto, Ont.) and Franklin hit back-to-back singles before Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, B.C.) hit a single of her own to center to score Lye. However, the Americans got a sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Kelsey Stewart to take a 3-1 lead.
In the third, Canada loaded the bases with two outs on an error and a pair of singles by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) and Lye before Franklin smacked a base-clearing triple to left to put Canada back on top 4-3. However, the United States responded once again in the bottom of the frame, tying the game on a leadoff homerun by Amanda Chidester later followed by a two-run single by Kasey Cooper. Team Canada was unable to get much going over the last four innings, while USA was unable to add any runs to its lead as they took the 6-4 win.
Box Score: United States 6 vs. Canada 4
Franklin led the offence with two hits including the three-run triple, with Lye adding two singles. Jenkins singled and drove in a run, with Speers and Rafter notching Canada’s other hits. Sara Plourde (Baker Lake, N.B.) took the loss in the pitcher’s circle, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in two plus innings of work. Kenzie Friesen (Saskatoon, Sask.) allowed three hits in two innings of relief, with Sierra Bertrand (Stirling, Ont.) throwing two hitless innings.
Canada put pressure on early once again in the evening game against Japan as two of the first three batters reached with walks, but the next two batter struck out to leave both runners on base. In the second, Lye hit a one-out single but was also left stranded, while Japan opened the scoring in the bottom of the inning by taking advantage of a two-out error followed by an RBI single. Jenkins led off the third with a single to center and stole second and Canada got another baserunner on a hit by pitch, but a pair of strikeouts and a fly out kept them off the board.
Japan added three runs to its lead in the bottom of the third, getting a walk followed by a run-scoring triple, and after another walk, scored two runs on an error to increase its lead to 4-0. The fifth run scored on a wild pitch the following inning with Canada going down quietly until making a late push in the top of the seventh when Sarah Chow (Victoria, B.C.) and Jenkins hit two consecutive two-out singles, but the next batter grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.
Box Score: Japan 5 vs. Canada 0
Team Canada outhit Japan 5-2, with Jenkins going three-for-three and Chow and Lye each adding singles. Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.) was saddled with the loss for Canada, allowing four runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks in two innings and two thirds. Bertrand allowed one run on two walks in two innings and one third of relief, while Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage (Fort McMurray, Alta.) pitched a hitless seventh inning, striking out two.
Team Canada will return to action against Australia at 5:00pm JST on Saturday (4:00am EDT).
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