Thomas leads Canada to second fastball win

The Canadian Women`s National Fastball Team earned its second shutout in as many days, defeating Mexico, 8-0, on Day 2 at the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship in Whitehorse.

Canada’s starting pitcher Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton) was able to hold Mexico and Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken) hammered two homeruns and drove in four runs as Canada improved to 2-0.

Canada threatened in the top of the first inning when Joey Lye (Toronto) doubled to the right-center field gap, but was caught stealing at third base on a perfect throw by the catcher. After a quick second inning, Canada got on the board in the third when Thomas led off with a solo homerun. The red and white added plenty of insurance in the fourth, pushing five runs across to take control of the game with a 6-0 lead. Sheena Lawrick (Calgary) and Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph) started the inning with a pair of singles, and Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) reached base when her sacrifice bunt was dropped by the first baseman, which allowed Lawrick to score. Jenny Gilbert (Saskatoon, SK) then hit an RBI single before Thomas launched a three-run homerun to left-center field.

In the bottom of the fourth, Mexico managed to get a leadoff double that was just out of Melanie Matthews’ (Surrey, B.C.) reach in left field, and the next batter singled to center but was retired when she tried to advance to second. The throw to home plate was cut off perfectly to catch the runner going to second. Hovinga then forced a ground ball and a fly out to left field to strand the runner at third.

Each team was able to get one runner on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t push them past second base. In the top of the seventh, Lye dropped a perfect drag bunt and moved all the way to third after the throw was off the mark at first base. Jenn Yee (North Delta, BC) followed with an RBI ground out. Lawrick walked and Victoria Hayward (Toronto) singled past a diving second baseman before Lever singled to drive in Canada’s eighth run. Jocelyn Cater (Delta, B.C.) – who relieved Hovinga to start the bottom of the sixth inning – allowed two hits in the seventh but was able to shut the door to preserve the shutout victory.

Hovinga allowed only three hits in five innings of work, while Cater pitched two innings of relief with three hits allowed and three strikeouts. Lye continued to swing her hot bat with three hits, while Thomas had two homeruns and four runs batted in. Lever and Gilbert each had RBI singles, while Lawrick, Rafter and Hayward rounded out Canada’s ten hits.

In other action on day two of the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship, Venezuela (1-1) shut out South Africa (0-2) 7-0 in five innings; Australia (1-1) defeated Italy (1-1) by an 11-1 score also in five innings; China (2-0) edged Puerto Rico (1-1) 1-0; Great Britain (1-1) threw a 1-0 no-hitter against Chinese Taipei (0-2); the Netherlands (1-1) disposed of Argentina (1-1) by a score of 9-0 in five innings; the United States (2-0) blanked the Czech Republic (0-2) 10-0 in four innings; and Japan shut out New Zealand (1-1) 7-0 in five.