Irvine, Calif. – The Canadian Junior Women’s National Softball Team put itself in a great position to compete for a medal at the WBSC U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup with a 5-3 win over China and a 7-0 victory over Australia on Thursday. Canada (4-2) will close the Super Round against Puerto Rico (1-4) at 5:30pm PDT (8:30pm EDT) on Friday.
In the first game against China, Canada jumped out to an early lead as Kendra Falby (Tampa, Fla.) led off with a single, stole second and scored on a single to center by Allyse Volpe (Scarborough, Ont.). After Volpe stole second, Alexis Lucyshyn (Calgary, Alta.) hit a ground ball up the middle to score Volpe to give Canada a 2-0 lead. China tied the game up in the third by taking advantage of an error and three singles to push two runs in to score.
Canada was able to regain the lead in the bottom half of the fifth when Volpe laced a one-out triple to right and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Lauren Benson (Surrey, B.C.). The red and white added a pair of insurance runs the following inning, as Mia Valcke (St. Marys, Ont.) led off with a single, was sacrificed to second and later scored on a single by Falby, with the other run scoring on a fielder’s choice to make the score 5-2. China was able to get one run in the top of the seventh but that was as close as they would get.
Box Score: Canada 5 vs. China 3
Falby and Volpe led Canada at the plate with two hits and a run batted in each, with Falby adding four stolen bases and Benson driving in two runs. In the pitcher’s circle, Lucyshyn picked up the win by scattering two runs on six hits and striking out four batters in five innings of work. Kianna Jones (Surrey, B.C.) registered the save, allowing one run on three hits and two strikeouts in two innings of relief.
Against Australia, Samantha Ryan (Monroe, N.Y.) and Maddie Hickingbottom (Glen Williams, Ont.) shared the pitching duties with three innings a piece and combined for a no-hitter in the six inning win. The Canadian bats picked up right where they left off earlier in the day, with Rebecca Jones (Toronto, Ont.) connecting with a one-out triple to center before scoring on a double down the left field line by Benson. A single by Grace Messmer (Surrey, B.C.) moved Benson over to third followed by a sacrifice fly by Lucyshyn to give Canada another 2-0 lead after one inning of play.
In the bottom of the second, Canada poured on offensively as Cameryn Maykut (Winnipeg, Man.) and Falby hit back-to-back one-out doubles followed by a walk to load the bases, with Messmer coming up with a key two-run single with two outs followed by an RBI single by Lucyshyn to give Canada a 5-0 lead. In the third, Valcke led off with a single and advanced to third on an error before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Maykut. Canada put the game away in the bottom of the sixth when Falby walked, stole second, advanced to third on a deep fly ball and scored on an error to end the game on the run rule.
Box Score: Canada 7 vs. Australia 0
Ryan got the pitching start for Canada and held Australia hitless while issuing only one walk and striking out one over the first three innings. Hickingbottom was just as effective, also walking only one batter and striking out three in her three innings in the circle. At the plate, Messmer went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in with Falby, Benson and Maykut each adding a double. Lucyshyn drove in two runs.
The two wins improved Canada’s Super Round record to 4-2, good for third behind Japan (5-0) and the United States (4-0). There is currently a three way tie between Chinese Taipei, Australia and Mexico at 2-3. The top two records after the Super Round will play for Gold on Saturday, with the following two team competing for Bronze.