Canada Drops First Two Games at US World Cup of Softball XII
Softball Canada – (Oklahoma City, Okla.) It was a tough first day for the Canadian Women’s Softball Team, as they dropped a 9-1 decision to the top-ranked team from Japan followed by a 5-4 walk-off loss to the USA Junior Women’s National Team to open the US World Cup of Softball XII. The Japanese scored in each of the four first innings in the first game, while the USA Junior Women’s National Team came back from a 4-2 deficit to score two in the bottom of the sixth and one in the bottom of the seventh.
In the opening game, Japan wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as leadoff batter Eri Yamada hit a homerun over the left field fence to start the bottom of the first inning, and Japan strung together three consecutive singles to push a second run to the plate. In the top of the second, Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) both walked to start the inning and were sacrificed to second and third. After the next batter struck out, Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but the next batter grounded out as Japan escaped the inning with the bases loaded. In the bottom of the frame, Japan loaded the bases with two singles and a walk to start the inning, but Canada was able to get fly out to shallow center and strikeout. However, Japan was able to get a two-run single and a two-run triple to open up a 6-0 lead.
Japan added a run in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly to increase its lead. Salling and Polidori got things started again in the fourth with back-to-back singles, but the next three batters were retired as Canada was kept off the scoreboard. Japan got a two-run homerun by Yu Yamamoto in the bottom of the fourth to increase its lead to 9-0, with Canada needing to score three runs to extend the game. Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) got things going with a leadoff bunt single, advanced to second on a ground out and to third on a single up the middle by Joey Lye (Toronto, Ont.). Salling then hit a soft liner over the shortstop to bring in Canada’s only run of the game, and the next batter popped out to end the game on the run rule.
Box Score: Canada 1 vs. Japan 9
Salling had a pair of singles, a run batted in and a walk for Canada at the plate, with Polidori, Franklin and Lye each contributing a single. Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.) took the loss in the pitcher’s circle, allowing four runs on six hits in one plus innings pitched. Jocelyn Cater (Delta, B.C.) came on in relief in the second and allowed five runs – four earned – on five hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings. Junior call-up Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage (Fort McMurray, Alta.) made her senior team debut, allowing one hit in one inning pitched.
Against the United States Junior Women’s National Team, Lye doubled with one out in the top of the first but the two next batters flew out. However, the red and white went on to open the scoring in the top of the second, as Polidori and Carey-Leigh Vyse (Ohsweken, Ont.) were both hit by pitches to start the inning before Polidori stole third and scored on a wild pitch. The Americans got a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning followed by a single, but Canadian starter Sara Plourde (Bake Lake, N.B.) was able to get out of the inning unscathed by inducing a fly out in foul territory, notching a key strikeout and getting the last batter to fly out to right as Canada held on to its 1-0 lead.
Lye hit another one-out double in the third but was left stranded, and the Americans were able to tie the game after a two-out rally, getting a single, a walk and a double to knot the game at 1-1. Team Canada regained the lead the next inning when Speers, Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, Ont.), Franklin and Victoria Hayward (Toronto, Ont.) all hit two-out singles to produce the go-ahead run. The USA Junior Women’s National Team responded with an RBI groundout to tie the game once again in the bottom of the fourth, but Canada pulled ahead once again with another run in the top of the fifth. Salling connected with a one-out single, later followed by a single by Courtney Gilbert (Delhi, Ont.) and a run-scoring single by Speers to give Canada the 3-2 lead. The Canadians were able to hold on to that lead despite a pair of singles to start the bottom of the inning for the Americans, with outs coming on a sacrifice bunt, a ground out and a big strikeout by Aguilar-Beaucage who came in to relieve Plourde earlier in the inning.
Canada added an insurance run in the top of the sixth, as Franklin led off with a single to left, Hayward reached on an error and both runner advanced on a ground out before Salling lined a pitch into center to score Franklin. However, USA loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the bottom of the frame, scored a run on a walk and another on a single to tie the game before the following batter flew out to center with a perfect throw to home from Franklin to retire the go-ahead run tagging up from third. However, USA was able to load the bases again to start the bottom of the seventh with two singles and a walk before ending the game on a single to right.
Box Score: Canada 4 vs. USA Junior Women’s National Team 5
Lye doubled twice, while Salling and Speers each singled twice and drove in a run. Franklin also contributed two singles, with Hayward and Gilbert chipping in with one. Plourde allowed two runs – one earned – by scattering seven hits and striking out three in four innings of work. Aguilar-Beaucage gave up two runs on four hits and struck out one in one inning, while Cater allowed a run on two hits in one inning. Hovinga allowed two hits in the last inning.
Team Canada (0-2) will look to rebound on Day 2 with games against the Philippines (1-1) at 2:30pm CDT and the United States (2-0) at 6:00pm CDT.
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