Canada secures second place at women’s world softball

The Canadian Women’s National Team needed a big win and delivered with an exciting 2-0 victory over Australia in front of a large crowd at the ISF XIII Women’s World Championship on Wednesday (July 18).

Danielle Lawrie (Langley, BC) fired the complete game shutout, while Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) and Jennifer Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) each drove in a run to improve Team Canada’s record to 5-1, locking up second place in Group B.

After allowing a leadoff single to right field in the top of the first, Lawrie induced a pair of fielder’s choices and struck out the following batter to end the inning. Canada wasted no time to open the scoring in the bottom of the first. Melanie Matthews (Surrey, B.C.) drew a walk followed by a single by Joey Lye (Toronto). After a fielder’s choice and a fly out, Rafter drove a line drive RBI single to left-center field to give Canada the 1-0 lead.

Canada looked poised to add to that lead in the second when Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken) singled to right field and advanced on a bad throw to second base on a fielder’s choice. However, the red and white grounded into two more fielder’s choices on great plays by the Aussie defence, and the next batter struck out to end the threat. Australia put two runners on base with one out in the third, but Lawrie left them on second and third with a pair of strikeouts to keep the lead. Sheena Lawrick (Calgary) hit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, but was quickly erased on a double play.

After Lawrie retired the side in the fourth and fifth innings, Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) led off the bottom of the fifth with a drag bunt single. After advancing to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch, Lever was left stranded after a fly out to left field. The following inning, Canada was able to add an insurance run. Lawrick started the inning by lining a double to the left-center field gap, and Victoria Hayward (Toronto) came in to pinch run.

An illegal pitch advanced Hayward to third, and she later scored on a ground out to the right side of the infield by Salling. Lawrie would allow a leadoff single in the seventh, but forced a fly out, recorded a strikeout and induced a ground ball to third to end the game.

Lawrie only allowed three hits and fired 11 strikeouts in the seven inning complete game shutout. Lawrick went two-for-three at the plate for Canada, while Lye had a hit and a run scored. Rafter added an RBI single, with Thomas and Lever rounding out Canada’s six hits.

Team Canada (5-1) will conclude its preliminary round schedule against Italy (3-3).

In other scores on Wednesday, Japan (6-0) began the day by defeating Italy 6-3 in eight innings and the United States (6-0) blanked China (5-1), 13-0, in four innings in a pair of games that were rescheduled due to yesterday’s rain. South Africa (1-5) then notched their first-ever win at the ISF Women’s World Championship by defeating Puerto Rico (3-3) by a 6-5 score; Chinese Taipei (2-4) shut out Mexico (0-6) 8-0 in five innings; China blanked Argentina (1-5) 1-0 in eight innings; Japan shut down Great Britain (2-4) 7-0 in five innings; Italy edged New Zealand (2-4) by a 6-5 score; the United States shut out the Netherlands (4-2) 4-0; and the Czech Republic (2-4) defeated Venezuela (2-4) 5-2.