The Canadian National Softball Team continued to show improvement this past weekend, playing five exhibition games in four days at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canada opened its schedule with a hard fought 1-0 win over the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and then breezed through Friday and Saturday with a 15-0 win over the University of Wisconsin, a 14-1 win over Portland State University and an 18-1 win over Seton Hall University. The Canadians then got through a tough game against California State University – Bakersfield, earning a 5-3 win.
On Thursday against UTEP, Canada scored the only run of the game in the top of the seventh when Alison Bradley (Pinkerton, ON) came up with a clutch two-out RBI single to score Sheena Lawrick (Calgary) from second. Danielle Lawrie (Langley, BC) threw the complete game shutout for the Canadians, allowing only four hits while striking out eight batters. Erin McLean (Whitby), Jennifer Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC), Megan Timpf (Port Dover) and Caitlin Lever (Buffalo) each added singles for Canada.
Against Cal State – Bakersfield on Sunday, Canada scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth and was able to hold on for a 5-3 victory. The red and white opened the scoring in the second inning when Erin Cumpstone (Saskatoon) hit an RBI single through the left side of the infield to score Lawrick from third. The Canadians then added to that lead in the fifth when Jennifer Yee (North Delta, BC) delivered a two-run single to left field and scored on another single by Cumpstone. Lever later added an RBI single to push the lead to 5-0.
Bakersfield fought back in the sixth inning by scoring two runs (one earned) on a double to the gap in right centerfield, cutting the lead to 5-2. Bakersfield would add another run in the seventh on a passed ball, but Canadian pitcher Dione Meier (Saskatoon) settled down and stranded runners on second and third by recording two straight outs to preserve the 5-3 victory.
Meier pitched all seven innings for Canada, allowing only one earned run and five hits, retiring eight batters on strikes. Sheena Lawrick led Canada at the plate with three hits, while Jennifer Yee, Erin Cumpstone and Lever each chipped in with two singles. Erin McLean and Noemie Marin (Acton-Vale, QC) also had hits for Canada.
Team Canada will continue to train in Las Vegas this week before leaving for exhibition games against Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona next week.