Canada defeats Japan in a thriller at the 2023 WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage

Canada defeats Japan in a thriller at the 2023 WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage

24 July 2023 Emma Lindblad

Buttrio, Italy - The Canadian Women’s National Softball Team beat Japan 6-5 in an exciting showdown in game four at the 2023 WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage on Monday.

Morgan Rackel (Calgary, Alta.) got the start in the circle for Canada for the second day in a row.

Japan scored early in the bottom of the first, off a double to center field to make it 1-0.

Canada answered back in the top of the second off a Zoe Hicks (Boissevain, Man.) RBI single to score pinch runner Rylie Crane (Toronto, Ont.)

In the bottom of the second, Japan took a 2-1 lead off a home run to deep left.

Canada started the third inning strong with a lead off walk from Nicole Rivait (Oakville, Ont.), followed by a single to right field by Kelsey Harshman (Delta, B.C.) to get some runners on base, with no outs. The bases were loaded when Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ont.) was hit by a pitch. Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) hit an RBI single to right center, scoring pinch runner Natalie Wideman (Mississauga, Ont.) to tie up the game at two. The momentum kept coming when Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) singled to left field, scoring Leung to take the lead. Polidori increased the lead to two off a passed ball to make it 4-2.

In the top of the fifth, Callum Pilgrim (Abbotsford, B.C.) stepped up and hit a triple to right field, scoring Grace Messmer (Surrey, B.C.) to end the inning 5-2.

Harshman kicked off the top of the sixth inning with a perfect home run to deep left center to extend Canada’s lead to four.

Canada made a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth, bringing in Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, B.C.).  Rackel pitched five innings, giving up two runs, five hits, with three strikeouts.

Japan closed the gap to make it 6-4 off an inside-the-park home run. Japan then added another home run to pull within one. Canada made another pitching change, bringing Rackel back into the game.

The Canadians would hang on to defeat the reigning Olympic champions 6-5 in an outstanding offensive and defensive performance. Rackel would earn the win with six and two-thirds innings pitched, with six hits, two runs and four strikeouts.   

Canada closes out the opening round of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Cup Group Stage on Tuesday at 11:00am CET (5:00am EDT) against New Zealand. All games will be live streamed on  For event information, please click here