Canada Advances to Medal Round with Win over Netherlands at WBSC World Softball Championship
Softball Canada – (Surrey, BC) The Canadian Women’s National Team advanced to the medal round of the WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship after a 9-2 win over the Netherlands in five innings. Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) stayed hot with a three-run double and Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) broke out with a three-run homerun to provide most of the offence, while Lauren Bay Regula (Trail, BC) only made one mistake but had plenty of run support to earn the win.
In the top of the first, the Netherlands got a leadoff single by Britt Vonk, sacrificed her to second and she advanced to third on a groundout but Regula got the next batter to pop out to second. In the bottom of the inning, Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) chopped an infield single and Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) reached on a bunt single. A fielder’s choice retired Lye at second and put runners on the corners, and after a pop out to shortstop, a wild pitch hit the corner of the plate and allowed Hayward to score from third. Regula got two strikeouts and a ground out to first in the top half of the second, while Canada’s bats went back to work in the bottom of the frame. Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON) drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second before Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) chopped a ground ball that the second baseman was unable to catch on the short hop. Hayward was intentionally walked before Rafter lined a double to centerfield that allowed three runs to score, including Hayward who slid around the catcher who was unable to control the throw from the outfield as Canada took a 4-0 lead.
The Netherlands cut the lead in half when Vonk hit a two-run homerun to right, but Canada opened up a big lead by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) led off with a single, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a two-out single by Lye over the first baseman to make the score 5-2. Rafter singled two put two runners on base, and Salling drove a pitch deep to centerfield for a three-run blast to give Canada a big 8-2 lead. Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) came in relief of Regula to start the fifth and allowed a pair of singles, but notched a pair of big strikeouts then got a fly out to left to leave two runners stranded on base. In the bottom of the inning, Thomas led off with a double down the third base line, and after a pair of fly outs, Hayward drilled a ball deep to center just shy of the wall for a walk-off double as Canada took the 9-2 win in five innings on the run rule.
Box Score: Canada 9 vs. Netherlands 2
Regula allowed two runs on three hits and struck out five over four innings to earn the win, while Groenewegen gave up two hits and struck out two in one inning of relief. Salling had a three-run homerun, Rafter and Hayward each had a double and a single with Lye contributing two singles. Thomas added a double with Wideman providing a single to round out Canada’s nine hits.
With the win, Canada advances to the medal round on Sunday and will face Japan – who lost 4-3 to the United States – at 1:00pm PDT. The winner of that game will move on to face the United States in the Gold medal game at 6:00pm PDT.
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