Canada Moves On with Win over Mexico at WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship
Softball Canada – (Surrey, BC) The Canadian Women’s National Team stayed alive at the WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship with a 5-0 win over Mexico. Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) fired the complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and striking out 11 while Canada got a pair of solo homeruns by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) and Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) to fuel the offence.
Rafter did not waste any time opening the scoring by hitting a two-out solo homerun over the left field fence. After Groenewegen retired Mexico in order in the bottom of the first, Jen Yee (North Delta, BC) led off the second with a single, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a fly out to the centerfield fence by Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON) but was left stranded on third when the next batter flew out to left. Groenewegen sat Mexico down in order again in the second, and led off the top of the third at the plate by getting hit by a pitch later followed by a walk by Rafter but Canada was unable to add to its lead.
Mexico had its best chance to score in the bottom of the third inning, when Sashel Palacios hit a one-out double just inside the right field line followed by a fly ball that hit the sliding left fielder’s glove for another double to put runners at second and third. Groenewegen notched a big strikeout for the second out, and got the next batter to fly out to left to keep Mexico off the board. Yee led off the fourth with another single but was retired at second on a fielder’s choice on a bunt by Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON), who moved up to second when the throw to first was off target. After the next batter grounded out, Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) hit a clutch run-scoring single to center to give Canada a 2-0 lead. Groenewegen issued a leadoff walk in the bottom of the frame, but bounced back with three strikeouts.
Hayward led off the top of the fifth by blasting a homerun just over the right field fence to increase Canada’s lead to 3-0, and Groenewegen allowed a one-out double to the right field corner but the batter was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple on a great relay. Yee led off the sixth with another single and was replaced on the base paths by Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) who stole second, but two strikeouts and a fly out kept Franklin from scoring.
In the top of the seventh, Hayward and Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) each worked one-out walks that led to a pitching change before Rafter singled to score Hayward and Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) hit a sacrifice fly deep to right-center to push Lye to the plate and increase the lead to 5-0. Groenewegen closed out the complete game shutout by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh.
Box Score: Canada 5 vs. Mexico 0
Groenewegen was sensational in the pitcher’s circle, allowing only three hits and a walk to go along with 11 strikeouts. Rafter had a homerun, a single and two runs batted in, with Hayward adding a solo blast and Yee collecting three singles. Wideman also drove in a run with a single.
Team Canada advances to face the Netherlands – who defeated Venezuela 8-1 earlier today – at 7:30pm PDT. The winner of the game will move on to the medal round and face the losing team of the 5:00pm PDT game between Japan and the United States at 1:00pm PDT on Sunday. The Gold medal game will take place at 6:00pm PDT.
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