Canada Opens 2017 Junior Women’s Softball World Championship with Walk-Off Win
Softball Canada – (Clearwater, Fla.) The Canadian Junior Women’s National Softball Team opened the WBSC Junior Women’s World Softball Championship with a walk-off 2-1 win over Mexico. Canadian starting pitcher Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage (Fort McMurray, Alta.) and Mexico’s starter Alyssa Loza went toe-to-toe in a fantastic pitching matchup on the first day of competition, with Canada pulling out the win on a walk-off single by Grace Messmer (Surrey, B.C.) in the bottom of the seventh inning after Rebecca Jones (Toronto, Ont.) hit a two-out triple.
After both teams went down in order in the first, Becki Monaghan (Spruce Grove, Alta.) reached on an error in the bottom of the second by hitting a hard ground ball off the third baseman’s glove and the throw was dropped at first. Alexis Huggart (Treherne, Man.) pinch-ran for her and advanced to second on a ground out, but the next batter grounded out to end the inning. The following inning, Emma Adams (Rockwood, Ont.) hit a one-out single to center followed by a walk to Allyse Volpe (Toronto, Ont.), but a pair of fly outs left two runners on base.
In the bottom of the fourth, Monaghan reach on a hit by pitch with one out and after a strikeout, she advanced to third when Hannah Finkelstein (Richmond, B.C.) hit a shallow fly ball that was dropped by the sliding right fielder with the ball kicking away from her to put runners on second and third. However, the next batter flew out to center to keep the game scoreless. Canada was able to open the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when Messmer led off with a single up the middle and moved up to third when Maria Palmegiani (Surrey, B.C.) laid a sacrifice bunt with no one covering the base at third before scoring on a single past the outstretched glove of the shortstop by Monaghan. Team Canada proceeded to load the bases on an error followed by a single to center by Finkelstein, forcing a pitching change for Mexico. The next batter popped out in foul territory near third, with the runner being tagged out just off the bag for a double play.
Aguilar-Beaucage mowed Mexico down without allowing a baserunner over the first six innings, but ran into trouble in the top of the seventh. Mexico got a leadoff single on a line drive off the third baseman’s glove, with the runner stealing second and advancing to third on a single to put runner on the corners. Kara Bilodeau (Cumming, Ga.) came on in relief of Aguilar-Beaucage and got a ground ball to shortstop, but the batter reached on a fielder’s choice as Canada attempted to catch the runner on third at home, but she retreated to the base safely to load the bases with no outs. A wild pitch allowed the tying run to score, but Bilodeau settled things down and retired the next three batters, two of them on strikeouts.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jones drilled a two-out triple over the centerfielder and scored on a walk-off single down the third base line by Messmer to give Canada the 2-1 win.
Box Score: Canada 2 vs. Mexico 1
Adams and Messmer each singled twice for Canada, with Messmer driving in the winning run and scoring the other. Jones tripled and scored the winning run, while Monaghan and Finkelstein each singled to round out Canada’s seven hits. Aguilar-Beaucage was perfect through six, but allowed a run on two hits and struck out five in six plus innings before Bilodeau came in and struck out two to pick up the win.
Team Canada (1-0) will be back in action at 11:00m EDT on Tuesday against Ireland (0-1).
For full tournament standings and results, visit the 2017 WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship website. Webstreaming of all games is also available.
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