Monday, July 09, 2012 9:28 AM
July 9, 2012
(Surrey, BC) The Canadian Women`s National Team concluded the round-robin portion of their Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship schedule on Sunday with a 7-1 win over Puerto Rico, giving them a third place finish in the preliminary round. As a result, Canada took on second place Japan Sunday night in their first playoff game, with the winner moving on to the Gold medal game. In a very close contest, Japan scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to win the game by a 3-1 score, and Canada will now play Australia for the Bronze medal at 5:00pm PDT Monday.
In the last preliminary round game, Puerto Rico opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning, as the leadoff hitter singled, stole second and third and scored on a groundout. Team Canada got that run back in the bottom of the inning. Victoria Hayward (Toronto, ON) doubled with one out and advanced to third on an overthrow, Jenn Yee (North Delta, BC) walked and Sheena Lawrick (Calgary, AB) hit into a fielder's choice, which retired Hayward at the plate. Kaleigh Rafter (Guelph, ON) then stepped up and singled to score Yee from third base.
After a quick second inning, Canada took the lead in the bottom half of the third. Hayward led off with a single and stole second, advanced to third by tagging up on a fly ball to centerfield by Yee and scored on a single by Lawrick. Rafter then drew a walk and Carey-Leigh Thomas (Ohsweken, ON) hit into a fielder's choice with Lawrick out at third. Jenny Gilbert (Saskatoon, SK) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Rafter scored on a fielder's choice hit by Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, ON) with everyone ending up safe on the play, giving Canada the 3-1 lead.
The red and white would go on to add four more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Rafter led off with a single, followed by a walk to Thomas and a single by Gilbert to quickly load the bases. Wideman then hit a two-run single, and Hayward later connected with a two-out, two-run double. Puerto Rico was able to get one runner on base in each of the sixth and seventh innings, but was unable to push either of those runners any further as Canada took the 7-1 win.
Jenna Caira (Toronto, ON) earned the complete game win for Canada, allowing a run on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. Hayward led the way at the plate with two doubles, two singles and two runs batted in, while Rafter added three singles and an RBI. Wideman had a hit and three runs batted in, and Lawrick and Gilbert each had a single.
Box score and play by play: Canada 7 vs. Puerto Rico 1
Later in the evening, Japan opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, using their speed and quickness to induce three errors that led to the first run of the game. After the leadoff batter singled, the next batter chopped a ball in front of the plate and the ball was thrown away at first, allowing the lead runner to move up to third. Canadian pitcher Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, AB) struck out the following batter, and Rafter caught the runner too far off third base and the runner on first was ultimately caught in a rundown for the second out. However, the next batter hit a slow roller to shortstop that was thrown away to allow the runner to score from third.
In the top of the second, Lawrick and Rafter both singled to start the inning, but Canada was not able to push either of them in to score. After quick third and fourth innings, Canada was able to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second by Hayward. After a ground out advanced Timpf to third, Joey Lye (Toronto, ON) delivered a single to bring her in to score.
However, Japan was able to regain the lead in the bottom half of the inning. After a leadoff single, the following batter struck out and the next one attempted a sacrifice that was dropped at first to put runners on first and second. Misato Kawano then hit an RBI single, and after another sacrifice, Misa Okubo also singled in a run to give Japan a 3-1 lead. Canada went down in order in the sixth, but had a good chance to tie the game in the seventh with a one-out walk forced by Timpf and a single by Hayward. The next two batters were retired to end the game.
Hovinga pitched effectively but was charged with the loss, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with four strikeouts in four and two thirds innings pitched. Madison Schreyer (Winnipeg, MB) pitched an inning and a third in relief and did not allow any hits, with only one walk. At the plate, Matthews, Lye, Lawrick, Rafter and Hayward each had a hit.
Box score and play by play: Canada 1 vs. Japan 3
In the other semi-final game, first place Team USA (6-0) defeated fourth place Australia (3-3) by a score of 2-0 to advance to the Gold medal game, which will be played at 7:30pm PDT on Monday. The fifth versus sixth placement game between Venezuela and New Zealand will take place at 2:30pm PDT.
Web streaming for all Women's International games can be purchased at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship website: http://www.canadianopenfastpitch.com. The website also has live Pointstreak live scoring for all Women's International and Elite games.
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