Timpf, Canadians improve to 2-0 at Olympics softball

The Canadian Women’s softball team improved its record to 2-0 at the 2008 Olympic Games this morning, earning a 9-2 win over the Netherlands in six innings. Danielle Lawrie (Langley, BC) provided four solid innings in the pitcher’s circle, while Melanie Matthews (Surrey, BC) and Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph) each blasted a homerun to propel the offence.

Dutch starting pitcher Kristi de Vries made quick work of the Canadians in the first two innings, but the red and white put their bats in line in the third to open the scoring. With one out, Erin Cumpstone (Saskatoon, SK) hit an infield single followed by a single to left field by Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, New York). Melanie Matthews then hit a shallow fly ball to the left side that was misplayed by the shortstop, loading the bases with only one out. After the next batter popped out, Jennifer Yee (North Delta, BC) stepped up with a booming triple that sailed over the head of the right fielder, clearing the bases and giving Canada a 3-0 lead.

Canada added four more runs in the fourth on a pair of two-run homeruns, one by Kaleigh Rafter that pushed Megan Timpf (Port Dover) in to score and the other by Matthews who also drove in Lever from first base.

The Netherlands got on the board in the bottom half of the fourth inning, as Marloes Fellinger led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right field. After Canada responded with a single run on an RBI single by Alison Bradley (Pinkerton, ON) in the fifth, Sandra Gouverneur hit a solo homerun for the Dutch to cut the lead to 8-2. However, Melanie Matthews drove in Rafter from third with a double in the sixth to increase the lead to seven runs, putting the run-ahead rule in effect. The Netherlands were not able to score in their half of the sixth, putting an end to the game.

Lawrie had a very strong outing for Canada, striking out four batters in four innings of work. She gave up one run on two hits with no walks. Dione Meier (Saskatoon, SK) pitched two innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit with three strikeouts. At the plate, Canada managed to produce 11 hits in the win. Melanie Matthews, Kaleigh Rafter, Jennifer Yee and Caitlin Lever all collected two hits, while Timpf, Alison Bradley and Erin Cumpstone each added a single.

Canada (2-0) will play the United States next.