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Volleyball Canada – (Oklahoma City, OK) The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team fell behind early and was unable to catch up after attempting to come back in an 8-4 loss to USA Elite at the World Cup of Softball XI in Oklahoma City. The Americans built up a 5-0 lead before Canada started its comeback, but got a pair of solo homeruns in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win.
USA Elite opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. The first batter doubled and advanced to third on a single before scoring on a sacrifice fly to left, and a single to right scored another run for a 2-0 lead. Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) led off the top of the second by splitting the right-center field gap for a double and later advanced to third on an illegal pitch, but was left stranded at third after a fly out, strikeout and ground out. The Americans added three more runs in the bottom of the frame on a one-out, two-run single and a two-out single to build a 5-0 lead.
The red and white got back into the game in the top of the third when Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, BC) hit a one-out triple to left and scored on a double to center by Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON). After a single to center by Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) put runners on the corners, Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) reached on an error by the centerfielder to allow Hayward to cross the plate. Salling then ripped a line drive that was caught by the second baseman and thrown to first for the double play.
In the bottom of the third, Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) allowed a walk and a double but notched three strikeouts to keep the score at 5-2, and Canada got a leadoff single by Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON) in the top of the fourth but Canada was unable to bring her in to score after two infield popups and a strikeout. USA Elite added their sixth run on a solo blast to center in the bottom of the frame.
In the fifth, USA Elite loaded the bases with two outs on a hit by pitch, a walk and a single, but Groenewegen got a big strikeout looking to leave three runners stranded on base.  Team Canada showed its resiliency by scoring two runs and cutting the lead to 6-4 in the top of the sixth. Rafter drew a leadoff walk and was replaced on the bases by Logan White (Brantford, ON), but a fielder’s choice retired her at second. Polidori then smacked a high pitch deep to left for a two-run homerun to cut the lead to two. However, USA Elite got both those runs immediately back in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back solo homeruns for an 8-4 lead. Canada got a one-out walk by Franklin in the top of the seventh but went down on three strikeouts to end the game.
Box Score: USA Elite 8 vs. Canada 4
Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) started the game in the pitcher’s circle for Canada, going an inning and allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts before giving way to Groenewegen who allowed six runs on 11 hits with five strikeouts over four innings and a third of relief. Making her Women’s National Team debut, call-up Madison Clarke (Edmonton, AB) replaced Groenewegen in the sixth and struck out one in two thirds of an inning pitched. Polidori led Canada at the plate with a two-run homerun and a single, with Franklin hitting a triple and Salling and Hayward connecting with doubles. Lye also singled in the loss.
Team Canada dropped to 2-1 and will play a doubleheader on Friday against Mexico (2-2) at 8:30am CDT followed by Japan (3-0) at 3:00pm CDT. Live scoring and web streaming is available through USA Softball’s website.
For more information, please contact:

Gilles LeBlanc
Manager – Marketing and Communications
Softball Canada
(613) 523-3386 ext. 3105