Brampton – The Canadian Junior Women’s National Team was eliminated from the Junior Women’s World Softball Championship following a 3-0 loss to Australia. The red and white had good pitching and played spectacular defence, but was limited to only two hits by the Australian pitching tandem of Stieephan Trzcinski and Amelia Cudicio.
Canadian starting pitcher Madison Schreyer (Winnipeg) cruised through the first inning inducing three groundouts, but the Canadian bats went down just as quickly on a pair of strikeouts and a ground out. The Aussies put some pressure on in the top of the second as the leadoff batter singled over the leap of Canadian shortstop Janet Leung (Mississauga), and the next batter dropped a bunt that the Canadian defence decided to let roll into foul territory but the ball stayed just inside the line for a bunt single.
Schreyer got a big strikeout with two runners on base, followed by a line drive to Aspen Searle (Brantford) for the second out and a ground ball that was heading to the hole at second base that Searle dove for and flipped it over to first to keep the game scoreless. Canada went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
Searle, who finished her high school career at Bishop Tonnos high school this year, ended the tournament with a .379 batting average during eight games.
Australia opened the scoring with a run in the top of the third inning. After the first batter was retired, the next batter singled followed by another single to right field that was misplayed by the right fielder, allowing the lead runner to score all the way from first and giving Australia a 1-0 lead. Schreyer got two groundouts to leave a runner on base. In the bottom of the inning, Canada went down on a pair of fly outs and a strikeout.
The Aussies kept pressuring the Canadian defence, as Jordyn Christensen hit a leadoff single over Leung at shortstop, but Schreyer notched a strikeout and the following batter lined a pitch down the first base line that Miranda Castiglione (Brampton) snagged and stepped on her base for the double play. Tori Charters (Winnipeg) registered Canada’s first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, slapping a pitch over the pitcher and beating the shortstop’s throw to first for an infield single. However, the next two batters popped out on the infield to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Australia worked a leadoff walk and sacrificed the runner over to second. After another walk put runners at first and second, Team Canada made a pitching change to bring in Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC). The first batter she faced hit a weak ground ball that found a hole up the middle to score the runner from second as Australia increased its lead to 2-0. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third, and the following batter was walked to load the bases with one out. The move paid off, as the next batter lifted a fly ball into left field that was caught by Holly Speers (Surrey, BC) who fired the ball to the plate to retire the runner tagging up from third base to limit the damage. Canada put a runner on base on catcher’s interference with two outs, but the next batter struck out.
Australia kept the pressure on in the sixth, drawing a pair of one-out walks to put two runners on base. The following batter hit a shallow fly ball just out of the reach of Leung, but Speers picked the ball up and threw it to third for the force out. Another walk loaded the bases once again, but Groenewegen got the next batter to pop out to second base.
In the bottom of the frame, Charters dropped a two-out slap in front of the plate that was thrown away by the catcher allowing her to move up to second base, but the following batter popped out to the catcher.
In the top of the seventh, Australia added an insurance run. The first two batters singled and were sacrificed to second and third, followed by a fly ball to left field that Speers fired to the plate but the throw was cut off, allowing the run to score and giving Australia a 3-0 lead heading in to the bottom of the seventh. Canada showed signs of life in the bottom of the inning, as Groenewegen hit a ground ball to second base that was bobbled and overthrown to first base. Castiglione stepped up and double to the right field corner, putting runners at second and third with no outs. However, the next two batters struck out, followed by a ground ball to the pitcher to end the game.
Schreyer suffered the loss, allowing two runs – one earned – on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings and a third pitched, while Groenewegen allowed one run on three hits and four walks with one strikeout in two and two third innings of relief.