Canada Finishes Fifth at World Cup of Softball XI
Softball Canada – (Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team finished fifth at the World Cup of Softball XI after shutting out Puerto Rico 5-0 on Sunday. Team Canada got a pair of two-run homeruns by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) and Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) while the pitching duo of Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) and Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) was able to keep the Puerto Rican bats in check.
Groenewegen sat Puerto Rico down in order in the top of the first before Hayward hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame and scored on a two-run blast to left by Rafter to give Canada a quick 2-0 lead. In the second, Puerto Rico got a leadoff single but Groenewegen bounced back by striking out the next three batters, and Puerto Rico got another leadoff single in the third but couldn’t advance the runner past second. The red and white added a run to its lead in the bottom of the third as Hayward led off with a double to left and was sacrificed to third before scoring on an error on a ground ball to shortstop by Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC).
Puerto Rico’s best chance to score came in the fourth, managing to load the bases with a one-out single and a walk and infield single with two outs but Groenewegen induced a pop-out to shortstop to keep them off the board. They put the pressure on again the following inning after a one-out single and a two-out double, but Hovinga came on in relief of Groenewegen and forced a groundout to shortstop to once again keep them from scoring. In the bottom of the fifth, Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) reached on a one-out bunt single and advanced to third on a single by Rafter which was later followed by a walk to Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON) to load the bases with two outs, but a lineout to third ended the threat.
After Hovinga retired the side in order in the top of the sixth, Megan Gurski (Dalmeny, SK) led off the bottom of the inning with a double and was sacrificed to third but was cut down at the plate on a fielder’s choice to first. However, Hayward smashed a two-run homerun to center to put Canada up 5-0. Puerto Rico was able to get one runner on base on an error in the seventh but Hovinga induced three ground balls to end the game.
Box Score: Canada 5 vs. Puerto Rico 0
Groenewegen scattered six hits and struck out six in four innings and two thirds to earn the win, while Hovinga pitched two and a third hitless innings and struck out two. Hayward finished a triple away from hitting for the cycle, smashing a two-run homerun, a double and a single while Rafter went two-for-two with a two-run blast of her own. Gurski doubled and Lye singled to round out Canada’s offence.
Japan defeated the United States 2-1 to win the gold medal at the tournament, while Australia edged the USA Elite team 4-3 to capture bronze.
Team Canada will now travel back to home soil in Surrey, BC for their final preparations before the WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship begins on Friday. Canada will open the event with a game against Great Britain at 8:15pm PDT on Friday.
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