Canada fourth at women’s softball championship

The Canadian Women`s National Team gave a valiant effort but lost to Australia by a 3-1 score to finish fourth at the International Softball Federation’s XIII Women’s World Championship. Stacey Porter had two solo homeruns to send the Aussies to the Bronze medal game, while Canada missed out on a few opportunities to score as they were eliminated from the tournament.

Australia wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as Porter connected with a deep homerun to centerfield on the third pitch of the game. The next batter singled, and after a fly out, two consecutive singles would have loaded the bases, but the second runner rounded second base too far and was caught out on the cut. Canadian starting pitcher Danielle Lawrie (Langley, BC) struck out the next batter to get out of the inning and limit the damage.

The Aussies went back to work in the second inning, scoring a run on a single by Leigh Godfrey, giving Australia an early 2-0 lead. Canada cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth when Joey Lye (Toronto) led off by lining a triple into the first base line corner and immediately scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Jenn Yee (North Delta, B.C.).

Team Canada got something going again in the fifth, as Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) reached on a one-out drag bunt single and advanced to second on a single by Megan Timpf (Port Dover). However, a fielder`s choice retired Timpf at second, and the next batter flew out to end the threat. The red and white also threatened in the sixth after Lye led off with a single, but was retired at second on a fielder`s choice. After a walk put runners on first and second with one out, the following batter struck out and Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph) smashed a hard line drive deep to right field that was just snared by the outfielder, as Australia kept the 2-1 lead heading into the seventh.

In the top of the inning, Stacey Porter lined a one-out solo homerun over the right field fence to add an insurance run for Australia. In the bottom of the seventh, Lever singled over the shortstop`s head to lead off the inning, moved up to second on a groundout to second base and to third on a groundout to short, but the next batter grounded out to first base to end the game
Lawrie allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts in two innings pitched for Canada, while Jenna Caira (Toronto) pitched five innings of relief, allowing a run on three hits with four strikeouts. Both Lye and Lever went two-for-three at the plate for Canada, while Timpf had Canada`s fifth hit.

Earlier, the Canadian Women`s National Team limited the Dutch offence to only three hits as they beat the Netherlands, 4-0. Jenna Caira (Toronto) had another fantastic outing before Danielle Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) closed the game out in the pitcher’s circle, while the Canadian offence put plenty of pressure on the Netherlands to score four runs.

The Netherlands went down in order in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the inning, Melanie Matthews (Surrey, B.C.) drove a double over the centerfielder’s head that bounced over the fence. Matthews would advance to third by tagging up on a fly ball to right, but would be left stranded on third. The Dutch were able to produce a leadoff single in the second, but that runner was called out for leaving early on a stolen base attempt. Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, NY) connected with a two-out single in the bottom of the frame, but could not advance any further as the game remained scoreless after two innings of play.

Canada would open the scoring in the bottom of the third with fantastic base running. Erin Cumpstone (Saskatoon) started the inning with a line drive single to right field, and was replaced by pinch runner Victoria Hayward (Toronto). Matthews also reached with a single, and after a pop out, Jenn Yee (North Delta, B.C.) hit a single up the middle to score Hayward from second and advanced Matthews over to third. Sheena Lawrick (Calgary) then hit a hard ground ball to second base with the fielder trying to tag the runner heading to second, but Yee did a great job of avoiding the tag just long enough to allow Lawrick to reach base, allowing Matthews to score. After a two-out walk put runners on first and second, Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph) hit a ground ball to shortstop that Lawrick did a great job to avoid the shortstop while heading to third, and the shortstop made a bad throw to third which allowed Lawrick to race around to score, giving Canada the 3-0 lead.

The following inning, the Netherlands got a break as Britt Vonk dropped a drag bunt with one out that was thrown away at first, allowing Vonk to advance to second. The next batter drove a sinking line drive to right field and Joey Lye (Toronto) made a tremendous diving catch to rob a base hit and a run, and got up and threw the ball to second to double off the runner, ending the inning. The following inning, the Netherlands was able to get two runners on base on a hit by pitch and a single, but Caira induced a ground ball to first base to leave both runners stranded.

Team Canada would add another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jen Salling (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) led off the inning with a solid single to right field, and advanced to second by tagging up on a fly out to right field. Lever then hit an RBI single to score Salling. Lawrie would retire all six batters she faced in two innings of relief as Canada eliminated the Netherlands with a 4-0 win.

Caira allowed three hits to go along with four strikeouts in five innings of work to earn the win, while Lawrie got the six-out save while striking out two. At the plate, Matthews and Lever each had a pair of hits, while Yee, Lawrick, Salling and Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken) each chipped in with one.