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Softball Canada – Surrey, B.C. – The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team defeated Triple Crown Colorado 3-0 to earn its first Canada Cup title since 1996 and second overall since the tournament began in 1993. Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.) threw the complete game shutout and got plenty of help from the strong Canadian defence, who turned a pair of double plays and made several great plays.
Triple Crown Colorado was retired in order on three ground balls in the top of the first, while Team Canada opened the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ont.) reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and moved up to second when the ball went into the dugout. After Leung moved up to third on a ground ball to second, Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, B.C.) hit another ground ball to second that was bobbled and beat the throw to first, with Leung crossing the plate for the game’s first run. Hovinga sat Triple Crown Colorado down in order again in the second, while Canada got a one-out double on a line shot off the third baseman by Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) but was unable to bring her in to score.
In the top of the third, Triple Crown Colorado got into the hit column with a double to the left field corner with one out, and the next batter reached on an error to put two runners on base. Hovinga fielded a ground ball by the next batter and threw out the lead runner at third before getting an inning-ending ground out to second. In the bottom of the frame, Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.), Jenkins and Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) hit three consecutive one-out singles as Salling crossed the plate, and Nicole Schroeder (Yorba Linda, Calif.) later dropped a fly ball into short centerfield to score Jenkins as Canada took a 3-0 lead.
Triple Crown got a one-out single in the top of the fourth but a pair of ground balls to third kept them off the scoreboard, and Canada went down in order. In the fifth, Triple Crown Colorado got a leadoff single but a line out to second and a double play ended any chance of getting the offence going. Jenkins hit a one-out double in the bottom of the inning but that was all Canada got. Another leadoff single gave Triple Crown Colorado another base runner in the sixth but yet another double play by Canada shifted the momentum. For the third consecutive inning, Triple Crown got a leadoff single to start the seventh, but Canada got a fielder’s choice, a pickoff at first by catcher Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, Ont.) and a strikeout by Hovinga to seal the win.
Box Score: Canada 3 vs. Triple Crown Colorado 0
Hovinga scattered five hits, struck out two batters and didn’t allow a walk in her seven innings of work in the pitcher’s circle. At the plate, Jenkins, Speers and Franklin all went two-for-three with a double and a single, with Jenkins and Speers each driving in a run. Schroeder contributed a run-scoring single and Salling added a single of her own to complete Canada’s eight-hit attack.
Team Canada will look to build off this result as they travel to Chiba, Japan to compete at the 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship August 2-12.


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Gilles LeBlanc
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Softball Canada
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