The saying “it ain’t over till it’s over’ certainly applied to this one as Canada stayed unbeaten at the IBAF Women’s World Cup with a 15-9, extra innings victory over previously unbeaten USA.
Canada found itself leading 8-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning when the U.S. put up seven runs to tie the score and silence the crowd of 3,000 at Edmonton’s TELUS Field.
“It seemed like we couldn’t finish off any batters with a third strike,” said Canadian manager André Lachance. “Once they crept back into the game, we were a little tight and next thing you know it’s a tie game.”
Most teams might fold up after blowing a lead that size, but Canada responded in a huge way in the top of the eighth scoring seven times with three of the runs coming from a Bradi Wall (Swift Current, SK) bases clearing double.
“I think we showed that we can beat anybody at this tournament,” added Lachance. “You can’t doubt the character of this team.”
In the eighth inning, Canada took advantage of four walks and scored three runs on wild-pitches to regain the lead.
The inning began with runners on first and second base courtesy of the IBAF extra innings rule.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in international baseball,” explained Lachance. “To have a big lead and then have it taken away only to get it back was just incredible.
“There were so many different emotions going on in a short period of time and I’m happy with the way our team handled it all.”
Canada received outstanding starting pitching from Vanessa Riopel (Repentigny, QC) who tossed 5 1/3 innings and only gave up one run on three hits and three walks.
Riopel pitched with the lead her entire outing as Canada scored twice in the top of the first on an RBI double to left-field from Kate Psota (Burlington) and an RBI single from Meagan Cornelssen (Grande-Prairie, AB).
In the third, Jennifer Gilroy (Mississauga) grounded-out to score Stéphanie Savoie (Québec) and the Canadians increased the lead to 3-0.
Gilroy accounted for two of Canada’s 12 hits including a double and scored a run to go along with two RBIs.
Wall, who had the big hit in the eighth inning, tripled in the sixth and came around to score on Jenna Flannigan’s (Cornwall, ON) single.
Wall continues to be an offensive force for Canada as she collected four RBI to give her eight for the tournament.
Canada added another run in the frame on a Nicole Luchanski (Edmonton) RBI single.
Flannigan also showed her value on defence as she threw-out two runners at first base from right field on what should have been singles.
Riopel gave way to Amanda Asay (Prince George, B.C.) in the sixth and she came back out for the seventh with the seven run lead. Asay then left the game in the eighth after giving up two-runs with two out and Psota came in to pitch from her position at first base.
Psota had trouble finding the strike zone and walked three which led to another U.S. run and cut the lead to four.
Jessica Bérubé (Québec) then came in after pitching yesterday against Australia and she walked in a run before another scored on a passed ball. The tying run then scored on a base-hit that brought in two runs and sent shockwaves throughout the stadium.
Bérubé managed to strikeout the final batter she faced which set the stage for her teams seven run explosion in the eighth.
Autumn Mills (London) allowed only a single run in the bottom of the eighth to send her team into an electric on-field celebration and more importantly, breathe a sigh of relief.
“We got the job done which is the bottom line,” added Lachance. “We’ll take some lessons from this game and hopefully use them to our advantage as we move along in this tournament.”
Canada’s next opponent is the Netherlands.