Thomas comes through again for Canada

The Canadian Women`s National Team took a little while to get going, but used plenty of drag bunts in wet field conditions to defeat Great Britain, 8-1, in six innings at the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship on Monday (July 16).

After Great Britain took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the rain started to fall in the bottom of the second just before Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken) hit a two-run homerun. Canada scored one in the third and added five in the bottom of the sixth for the run-rule victory.

Great Britain got off to a good start in the top of the first, as the leadoff batter walked, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a single. The following batter hit a ground ball that Canada was not able to turn into a double play as the run scored.

Canada got on the board in the bottom of the second when the rain started to fall. Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) led off with a single, and advanced to third on a single by Jenny Gilbert (Saskatoon). Gilbert then took second base on the first and third play, but the catcher made a snap throw to third to retire the runner. Thomas then hit a towering fly ball over the fence a few feet inside the third base line for a two-run homerun to give Canada a 2-1 lead.

Great Britain looked poised to tie the game in the third, starting the inning with a leadoff double, but Canadian starting pitcher Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton) notched a big strikeout, induced a pop out on the infield, and after a walk, forced a ground out to leave two runners on base. In the bottom of the inning, Sheena Lawrick (Calgary) doubled and scored on an RBI single to left field by Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON), giving Canada a 3-1 lead.

After a quick fifth inning, Canada put the game away in the bottom of the sixth. Natalie Wideman (Mississauga) turned an 0-2 count into a leadoff walk and was replaced by pinch runner Victoria Hayward (Toronto). Melanie Matthews (Surrey, B.C.) then dropped a perfect bunt single that was thrown away at first to allow Hayward to move up to third, and Joey Lye (Toronto) followed with a great drag bunt to load the bases with nobody out. Jenn Yee (North Delta, B.C.) then lined a pitch through the left side of the infield for an RBI single, and Lawrick followed suit with a two-run single through the same hole. After Rafter walked to load the bases again, Lever hit a two-run single up the middle to end the game on the run-ahead rule.

Hovinga pitched five solid innings for Canada, allowing a run while scattering four hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts in five innings. Jocelyn Cater (Delta, B.C.) pitched the sixth inning, allowing a hit and notching a strikeout. At the plate, Lawrick and Lever each had three hits for Canada, while Lye added a pair. Matthews, Yee, Rafter, Thomas and Gilbert all added a hit apiece.

Elsewhere on the fourth day of competition at the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship, Italy (2-2) blanked Mexico (0-4) by a 6-0 score; the Netherlands (3-1) defeated Venezuela (2-2) 5-1; China (4-0) doubled the Czech Republic (0-4) 6-3; the United States (4-0) was all over South Africa (0-4) 17-0 in three innings; Australia (3-1) beat New Zealand (2-2) 5-1; Puerto Rico (2-2) defeated Argentina (1-3) 10-2; and Japan’s Yukiko Ueno pitched a 10-inning perfect game to defeat Chinese Taipei (1-3) 1-0.