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Softball Canada – Santo Domingo, D.R. – The Canadian Men’s National Team mounted another comeback in the bottom of the seventh but dropped the game 7-6 to Mexico at the X Pan American Men’s Softball Championship. Mexico got a couple of big hits and took advantage of a costly error to score six runs in the top of the first, while Canada scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and got the tying run to third but an incredible diving play in shallow center field gave Mexico the win.
In the top of the first inning, Mexico got a leadoff single and the runner was sacrificed to second before scoring on a two-run homerun. A walk put another runner on base and a double brought him in to score, followed by another walk and a sacrifice bunt attempt that was thrown away at first to allow two more runs to score. A run-scoring single pushed Mexico’s sixth run across the plate. In the bottom of the frame, Kyle Ezekiel (Holyrood, N.L.) and Jason Hill (St. John’s, N.L.) hit back-to-back double to bring one run in to score followed by an RBI single by Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) as Canada chipped away and trailed 6-2 after one inning.
Canada put its first two batters on base in the bottom of the second with a walk and a single, but the next batter grounded into a double play and a runner was caught in a rundown between third and home on a passed ball for the third out. Both teams went down quickly throughout the middle innings, and Mexico added another run in the top half of the seventh to increase its lead to 7-2.
Mexico got a pair of strikeouts to start the bottom of the seventh but Canada would not go down easily. Ty Sebastian (Brussels, Ont.) pulled a double inside the left field line followed by a single to third by Kris Walushka (Victoria, B.C.) to put runners on the corners. Ezekiel singled to left to score one, followed by a double to right-center field by Hill to score two runs and cut the lead to 7-5. A single by Abrey to left scored Hill from second, and a passed ball moved the tying run to third. Bryn Redhead (Leduc, Alta.) then hit a soft liner into shallow centerfield that the second baseman ran back for and made an incredible over the shoulder diving catch to end the game.
Box Score: Mexico 7 vs. Canada 6
Devon McCullough (Saskatoon, Sask.) took the loss for Canada after coming on in relief of Ryan French (Cambridge, Ont.) in the first inning. French allowed four runs on three hits in a third of an inning, while McCullough scattered three runs (two earned) on seven hits and struck out 10 batters in six innings and two thirds. Hill led the way for Canada at the plate with a pair of doubles and three runs batted in, with Abrey knocking in two runs with a pair of singles. Walushka had a double and two singles, Ezekiel a double and a single and Sebastian added a double.
The loss eliminated Canada from medal contention. They will now face Cuba in the fifth place game at 8:30am EDT on Sunday, with the final spot in the 2019 Pan American Games on the line.


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