Canada Advances to Playoff Round with Win over Italy at WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship

Canada Advances to Playoff Round with Win over Italy at WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship

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Canada Advances to Playoff Round with Win over Italy at WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship

Softball Canada – (Surrey, BC) The Canadian Women’s National Team advanced to the championship playoff round of the WBSC Women’s World Softball Championship with a 3-1 win over Italy on Thursday night. Megan Gurski (Dalmeny, SK) had a double and two singles with Sara Riske (Richmond, BC), Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) and Jenn Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) each driving in a run, while Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) held Italy to one unearned run over four innings in a third to earn the win.

Both teams were retired in order in the first before Canada opened the scoring with two runs in the second. Gurski got things started with a two-out single followed by a walk to Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON) before Riske singled through the left side of the infield to score Gurski from second. Wideman followed up with a single through the same hole to score Thomas and give Canada an early 2-0 lead. Italy registered its first hit with a one-out single in the bottom of the third, but Hovinga notched a big strikeout followed by a ground out to third to end the inning.

In the fourth, Gurski hit a one-out single later followed by a single by Riske and a hit-by-pitch to Wideman to load the bases with two outs, but a fly ball to right left three runners on base. Italy looked to get back in the game in the bottom of the inning, getting a one-out single followed by a ground ball to third that was dropped after the throw to second and a single to load the bases with one out. The following batter hit a high chopper to shortstop that was thrown over to first for the out, allowing the runner on third to score. The next batter grounded out as Canada got out of the inning with a 2-1 lead.

The red and white did not waste any time getting that run back, as Jen Yee (North Delta, BC) hit a one-out double just out of the reach of the diving centerfielder. Kyla Benz (Surrey, BC) pinch ran for her and advanced to third on a passed ball before scoring on a ground out to second by Salling. Italy got a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth, and the runner stole third after a groundout to shortstop, but a fly out in foul territory in shallow left and a groundout kept the runner from scoring.

Canada loaded the bases with no outs in the top half of the sixth when Gurski led off with a double followed by a single by Thomas and a fielder’s choice by Riske when Gurski reached third base before the throw from the first baseman. However, Canada was unable to score as the next batter flew out to right with the runner from third running on contact, forcing her to retreat to third. The following batter grounded out to the pitcher who got the force play at the plate, followed by a fly out to shortstop as Canada came out empty. Yee led off the seventh with a single followed by a walk by Salling and a sacrifice bunt by Erika Polidori (Brantford, ON) to put runners on second and third. Gurski was issued an intentional walk to load the bases, but the next batter grounded into a 1-2-3 double play as Canada was not able to add to its lead. Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, BC) came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh and got a pair of fly outs and a strikeout to register the save.

Box Score: Canada 3 vs. Italy 1

Hovinga earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing one unearned run on four hits and three strikeouts in four innings and a third. Sara Plourde (Baker Lake, NB) pitched an inning and two thirds of hitless relief with one strikeout, while Groenewegen notched the save with a perfect inning.

Team Canada finished second in Section 4 and will have single life in the championship playoff round. They will square off against China at 12:30pm PDT on Friday after China shocked Australia with a 2-0 win to knock them out of the championship playoff round.

In other Championship Round Robin scores on Thursday, Mexico came from behind to defeat Brazil 5-3, the Netherlands defeated Cuba 9-1, the United States blanked the Philippines 11-0, Puerto Rico shut out Venezuela 3-0, and Japan beat New Zealand 9-2.

 

Championship Round Robin Standings

Section 1

 

Section 2

 

W

L

   

W

L

Japan

3

0

  United States

3

0

New Zealand

2

1

  China

2

1

Chinese Taipei

1

2

  Australia

1

2

Great Britain

0

3

  Philippines

0

3

 

Section 3

 

Section 4

 

W

L

   

W

L

Mexico

3

0

  Venezuela

2

1

Netherlands

2

1

  Canada

2

1

Brazil

1

2

  Puerto Rico

2

1

Cuba

0

3

  Italy

0

3

*Venezuela finishes first in Section 4 with four runs against in the games between the three tied teams. Canada finished second with six runs against while Puerto Rico finished third with ten.

Japan, the United States, Mexico and Venezuela earned double life in the Page playoff system, while New Zealand, China, the Netherlands and Canada will have single life.

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