Canada Opens Celebration Tour with Win over Netherlands
Guelph, Ont. – The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team opened their Tokyo 2020 Celebration Tour with a 6-2 win over the Netherlands at Exhibition Park in Guelph, Ont. last night. It was the team’s first game since winning its historic bronze medal at the Olympic Games last summer, and their first win under new head coach Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) who returned to her childhood field.
Sixteen-year-old rookie pitcher Ruby Anderson (Victoria B.C.) got the start in the circle for Team Canada and pitched three solid innings to pick up her first win, allowing one run on two hits and striking out one.
The Canadian offence as clicking throughout the game. The red and whiote opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) hit a two-out single, advanced to third on a ground-rule double by Alysen Febrey (Peachtree City, Ga.) and scored on a wild pitch. After the Netherlands tied the game with a solo homerun by Cindy Van der Zanden in the top of the second, Canada responded by putting two runners on base with a walk and a hit-by-pitch before Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) lined a two-run double to the left field corner to give Canada a 3-1 lead.
Nicola Simpson (Seattle, Wash.) made her first appearance in the pitcher’s circle for Team Canada, coming in relief of Anderson to start the fourth and retiring the Netherlands in order on three ground balls. In the bottom of the inning, 2019 Junior Women’s National Team player Kianna Jones (Surrey, B.C.) – also making her debut with the team – led off with a homerun to right, with Franklin adding a solo blast later in the inning as Canada built a 5-1 lead.
Laura Wissink led off the fifth with a homerun for the Netherlands, but Canada added another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a single up the middle by Kelsey Harshman (Delta, B.C.). Morgan Rackel (Calgary, Alta.) shut the Netherlands down over the last two innings and a third for the save without allowing a hit and striking out two.
Box Score: Canada 6 vs. Netherlands 2
Canada produced a total of nine hits, led by Franklin who hit a homerun and a double to drive in three runs. Fellow Olympians Polidori, Harshman, Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ont.) and Emma Entzminger (Victoria, B.C.) each contributed a single, with rookies Kianna Jones adding a homerun and Emma Dorval – another 2019 Junior Women’s National Team member – registering a pinch-hit single. Febrey, a member of the 2018 Canadian Development Team who also made her national team debut, added a double.
The Celebration Tour will continue with another matchup between Canada and the Netherlands at 7:00pm EDT at Durham Field in Oshawa, Ont. tonight. The two teams will square off in a doubleheader at the Old Fairgrounds in Brampton, Ont. starting at noon on Saturday.
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