Canada Splits Two Games at World Cup of Softball XI
Softball Canada – (Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team split a pair of games on Saturday, losing 7-2 to Japan to complete a game that was suspended yesterday before bouncing back with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic. Canada finished third in its pool in the preliminary round with a 4-2 record and will play a placement game at 2:00pm CDT on Sunday to determine fifth place against an opponent to be determined later tonight.
The game against Japan began about an hour later than scheduled on Friday following a rain delay earlier in the day. Japan began the top of the first by loading the bases with a pair of walks and a single, but was unable to open the scoring. Canada got on the board first in the bottom of the inning when Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) reached on an error to start the inning, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a groundout before Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) hammered a pitch over the right-field fence for a two-run homerun.
Japan got two more runners on base in the second with a walk and a single but Canada was able to get out of it unscathed. Canada got one runner on in the second and third innings but couldn’t get anything more going either before Japan tied the game in the top half of the fourth on a two-run homerun by Natsuko Sugama. After Canada was retired in order in the bottom of the fourth, Japan was able to load the bases on an error, a single and a hit-by-pitch before Nozomi Nagasaki hit a grand slam to center. After another single by Japan, the game was stopped due to inclement weather and picked up from that point early this morning. Japan got two walks to load the bases but the next batter flew out to finish the inning with the score 6-2.
Canada got going offensively in the bottom of the fifth when Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) hit a slap single to shortstop followed by a bunt single by Hayward. However, the next batter grounded into a double play followed by a fly out to end the inning. The red and white managed two more single by Salling and Sara Riske (Richmond, BC) in the sixth but was unable to push anyone to the plate. Japan added a run on a leadoff homerun to start the seventh, while Canada went down in order to end the game.
Box Score: Japan 7 vs. Canada 2
Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) took the loss in the pitcher’s circle, surrendering six runs (five earned) on six hits and four walks in four innings and a third. Madison Clarke (Edmonton, AB) gave up a run on two hits and two walks with a strikeout in an inning and two thirds of relief, while Sara Plourde (Fredericton, NB) walked one batter in an inning pitched. Salling went 2-for-2 with a homerun, with Hayward, Riske and Franklin each registering a single.
Against the Czech Republic, Franklin led off the bottom of the first with a single and advanced to third on a passed ball but was left stranded there on a strikeout, popout and fly out. Riske also led off the bottom of the second with a single and advanced to second on an error, but a pair of strikeouts and a groundout kept the game scoreless. Meanwhile, Plourde retired the Czech Republic in order in the first and third, and allowed a pair of walks in the second but one was called out on a leadoff with the other being erased by a double play.
Canada got another leadoff single in the bottom of the third from Emma Entzminger (Victoria, BC) who went on to score on an error later in the inning. Logan White (Brantford, ON) reached on an error and was driven in to score on a double by Salling to right to give Canada a 2-0 lead. Entzminger hit a two-out single the following inning and stole second to get into scoring position, but the next batter popped out to the pitcher. Plourde allowed a leadoff single in the top of the fifth for the Czech Republic’s only hit of the game, and retired the three next hitters on a pair of ground out and a fly out to center. Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON) and Salling singled in the bottom of the frame but Canada was unable to add to its lead. Megan Gurski (Dalmeny, SK) hit a solo homerun to start the bottom of the sixth for Canada’s third run, and Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON) and Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) each singled later in the inning but were left stranded. Groenewegen pitched the sixth and seventh innings, closing the door with five strikeouts.
Box Score: Canada 3 vs. Czech Republic 0
Plourde only allowed the one hit and walked two while striking out four in five innings of work to earn the win before Groenewegen fired five strikeouts in two innings of relief for the save. Canada produced 10 hits, including a double and a single by Salling, a pair of singles by Entzminger, a solo homerun by Gurski and singles by Franklin, Polidori, Riske, Thomas and Groenewegen.
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