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Softball Canada – Chiba, Japan – The Canadian Women’s National Team dropped its first game of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship with a 2-0 loss to Australia. Team Canada left nine runners on base in a tight game that could have gone either way if they would have cashed in on their opportunities.
Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) tried to get Canada going in the top of the first by lacing a two-out triple, but the next batter struck out to stop her from coming in to score. In the bottom of the inning, the Aussies got a leadoff single but Canadian starting pitcher Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.) induced a fielder’s choice followed by a double play to end the inning. Australia opened the scoring in the bottom of the second by getting a pair of one-out singles to put runners on the corners and scoring on a fielder’s choice with the lead runner just avoiding the tag at the plate.
In the third inning, Victoria Hayward (Toronto, Ont.) hit a one-out single to center but was retired at second on a fielder’s choice to second by Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.). Polidori stole second and advanced to third on an error followed by a walk by Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, B.C.) to load the bases, but the next batter lined out to a high leaping shortstop as the Aussies escaped the inning. Jenna Caira (Toronto, Ont.) came in relief for Hovinga to start the bottom of the third and retired Australia in order, while Canada put two more runners on base with two outs on a single by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) and a hit by pitch but the next batter grounded out.
Australia added an important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. After a leadoff single and an error put two runners on base, Caira got a ground ball to retire the lead runner on a force play at third and a fly out to center, but the next batter hit a two-out single to right to bring a run in to score. Rafter led off the top of the seventh with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Emma Entzminger (Victoria, B.C.) on the base paths. Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) worked a walk to put the tying run on base, but two ground outs and a fly out to right ended the game.
Box Score: Australia 2 vs. Canada 0
Hovinga took the loss in the pitcher’s circle by only allowing one run on three hits to go along with one strikeout in two innings. Caira allowed one unearned run on three hits and struck out two in four innings of relief. Rafter led Canada at the plate with a pair of singles with Salling adding a triple. Hayward contributed Canada’s other hit with a single.
The loss dropped Canada’s record to 3-1 and into a three-way tie with Australia and China for second place in Group B. The Canadians will face China at 12:30pm JST on Monday (11:30pm EDT on Sunday) in an important matchup for playoff positioning. Live scoring is available through the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship website, with live streaming available at (paid subscription required).
Other scores on the third day of competition saw the United States blank the Netherlands 11-0 and New Zealand 7-0, Puerto Rico got by Chinese Taipei 12-11, Italy shut out Botswana 8-0, the Philippines edged the Netherlands 5-4, Mexico blanked South Africa 8-0, China defeated Venezuela 6-0 and Japan shut down Great Britain 6-0.


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Gilles LeBlanc
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Softball Canada
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