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Softball Canada – (Oklahoma City, Okla.) The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team kept rolling with a 5-4 win over Australia in eight innings for its third straight win at the US World Cup of Softball XII. With the win, Canada secured third place in the preliminary round and will face Australia once again in the Bronze medal game at 2:30pm CDT on Sunday.
Both teams got a walk in their half of the first inning but were unable to move the runner forward before Australia opened the scoring with two runs in the second following three walks to load the bases, an RBI groundout and an RBI single. Team Canada put two runners on with a hit by a pitch and a single by Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, B.C.) but two fielder’s choices left both runners stranded on base. In the third, Australia got a leadoff double and sacrificed the runner to third, but a safety squeeze was unsuccessful as the base runner was tagged out at home. Sarah Chow (Victoria, B.C.) led off the bottom of the inning with single to right later followed by a two-out single by Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), but a ground out ended the threat.
Trailing 2-0, Canada scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Jenkins was hit by a pitch with one out followed by a single to left by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) with Jenkins advancing to third. Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) then hit a hard ground ball that was misplayed by the second baseman, allowing Jenkins to score and courtesy runner Courtney Gilbert (Delhi, Ont.) to advance to third. Gilbert scored on a passed ball to tie the game before Chow singled to second with Franklin scoring on an errant throw by the second baseman. A single by Joey Lye (Toronto, Ont.) and a walk loaded the bases before Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) also worked a walk as Canada scored its fourth run of the inning.
Australia got a leadoff single in the fifth but the next batter grounded into a double play, while Canada got a runner on base with an error but was not able to take advantage of it. Australia chipped away at the lead with a run in the top of the sixth after three singles, and added another to tie the game in the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Canada got a two-out single by Franklin followed by a walk to Chow to put the winning run at second, but the next batter flew out to send the game to extra innings.
With a runner starting on second in the top of the eight due to the international tie-breaker rule, the runner advanced to third on a ground out, and the next batter grounded into a fielder’s choice catching the runner heading to home, but ended up retiring the hitter following a pair of rundown plays. A ground out to the pitcher left Australia off the scoreboard, giving Team Canada a chance to win the game in the bottom of the frame and they did just that. Lye started on second, and Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) laid down a sacrifice bunt with the pitcher and first baseman running into each other, forcing the throw off target at first and allowing Lye to score the winning run.
Box Score: Canada 5 vs. Australia 4
Team Canada produced nine hits – all singles – led by Chow and Salling who each had two. Other hits went Lye, Speers, Jenkins, Rafter and Franklin. Sara Plourde (Baker Lake, N.B.) picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle, starting the game and going five innings before being replaced by Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage (Fort McMurray, Alta.) who allowed a run on three hits with a strikeout in two third of an inning before Plourde re-entered the game. In total, Plourde scattered three runs on six hits and five walks to go along with two strikeouts in seven innings and a third.
The win improved Canada’s preliminary round record to 4-3, good for third place. The Canadian squad will now face Australia once again in the Bronze medal game at 2:30pm CDT on Sunday, with Japan and the United States taking each other on for Gold.


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Gilles LeBlanc
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