Irvine, Calif. – The Canadian Junior Women’s National Team made history on Saturday, defeating Australia 5-4 in the bronze medal game of the 2019 WBSC U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup. It was the country’s first medal ever won in the U-19 Women’s category, with Canada’s previous highest placing being fourth at the event in 1981, 2015 and 2017.
As they have done throughout the tournament, Canada jumped out to an early lead in the game against the Aussies. Kendra Falby (Tampa, Fla.) led off the bottom of the first by slapping a high chopper to the pitcher and reaching on the infield single. She quickly stole second and scored when Allyse Volpe (Scarborough, Ont.) lined a triple to the right-center field gap. Volpe crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Grace Messmer (Surrey, B.C.) as Canada took a 2-0 lead. The following inning, Nicole Rivait (Oakville, Ont.) drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a ground ball to the pitcher and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an error.
Down 3-0, Australia took advantage of an error to get their first batter on second base. A run-scoring single followed by an RBI double cut Canada’s lead to 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Alexis Lucyshyn (Calgary, Alta.) led off with a triple and later scored on a fielder’s choice, while Rebecca Jones (Toronto, Ont.) later hit a run-scoring single as Canada took a 5-2 lead. The Aussies came back strong with four consecutive singles to score two runs in the top half of the sixth, but Canada escaped the inning by throwing a runner out at home and Maddie Hickingbottom (Glen Williams, Ont.) got a big strikeout to end the inning with Canada up 5-4. Australia got a two-out single in the seventh and the batter stole second, but another strikeout by Hickingbottom sealed the historic win for Canada.
Box Score: Canada 5 vs. Australia 4
Samantha Ryan (Monroe, N.Y.) started the game in the pitcher’s circle for Canada, picking up the win after yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits and striking out four batters over five innings. Lucyshyn entered the game in the fifth and allowed a run on three hits and one strikeout, while Hickingbottom registered the save with two hits and three strikeouts in an inning and two thirds. At the plate, Falby had a single, two walks and four stolen bases, with Volpe and Lucyshyn each smacking a triple. Volpe, Messmer, Jones and Mia Valcke (St. Marys, Ont.) each drove in a run.
In addition to Canada’s historic first medal at the event, Kendra Falby entered the WBSC record books by breaking the tournament’s stolen base record with 13. The previous record was held by Puerto Rico’s Elicia D’Orazio who swiped 11 bases in 2015.
Canada’s overall record on the tournament was 8-2, with their only two losses coming against the United States and Japan who met in Saturday’s gold medal game. The United States came out on top 4-3 in eight innings to earn gold, while Japan took the silver medal.