Canada falls short to Team U.S.A in 2023 Border Battle

Canada falls short to Team U.S.A in 2023 Border Battle

31 July 2023 Emma Lindblad

Cleveland, Ohio – The Canadian men’s and women’s slo-pitch teams both fell short against Team U.S.A. in the 13th edition of the Border Battle. The women’s team answered back with four runs in the fourth after a 9-0 deficit ultimately losing 14-7. While the men’s team followed the pattern by answering back in the fourth after 12-0 lead by the U.S.A ending the match 16-9.

The Canadian women’s team put up solid fights throughout the weekend in their exhibition schedule with the first two days being close games throughout the series but couldn’t pull out a win entering Sunday 0-4. In the first game, Team Canada lost the lead in the fifth trailing 10-8 against ARGM followed by a 17-13 loss against U.S.A Futures. The Saturday game versus ARGM was a nail biter with the game ending up in a tie in the seventh, causing the teams to go into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Team Canada was able to put up four runs, but ARGM answered back ending the game at 11-9. In the final game of the exhibition series, the game was close throughout the match against U.S.A Futures with both teams having 19 hits, but USA Futures came out on top winning 10-9.

In the Border Battle game, Team U.S.A jumped out to the lead scoring five runs in the first and Team Canada struggled to answer back up until the fourth inning. Marnie Scow (Port Hardy, B.C.) started it off in the pitcher’s circle, lasting 3.1 innings with one strikeout followed by Michelle Lorenz (Toronto, Ont.) entering the circle for the remainder of the game, only allowing two runs. The women’s team had a total of 14 hits throughout the match. Jesse Goddard (Langley, B.C.) started off the rally in the fourth for Team Canada by leading off with a triple to center field. Tina Gulbrandsen (Langley, B.C.) kept it going with a single scoring Goddard. Melanie Gulbransen (Aldergrove, B.C.) drew a walk followed by Kendra Saunders (Kitchener, Ont.) collecting two RBIs driving in both Gulbrandsen and Gulbransen with a double. Paige Churchill (Winnipeg, Man.) kept the rally alive with a single advancing Saunders followed by Jade McGarr (Guelph, Ont.) hitting a fielder’s choice for Team USA’s first out, scoring Saunders.

Sarah Berry (Acton, Ont.) led Team Canada with three hits in four at bats. Gulbrandsen gave some life to the middle of the lineup, leading the team with three runs batted in and going two-for-four. McGarr, Goddard, and Saunders also contributed with a multi- hit day. Ultimately Team U.S.A overpowered Team Canada, out hitting them with a total of 18 hits in the day, consistently adding to the board throughout the game.

The Canadian men’s team started off strong in their exhibition schedule heading into Sunday with a 3-1 record. They ended Friday with two wins with a score of 20-8 against On the Go with Bob Hennings (Oshawa, Ont.) leading the way offensively and 22-14 against Ohio’s Select with Thomas McKay (Eastern Shore, N.S.) hitting two homeruns. The men’s team split on Saturday beating Ohio’s Select 19-13 but then losing to USA Futures 22-2 before heading into Sunday’s game.

In the Border Battle game, Team U.S.A immediately put pressure on Team Canada by scoring nine runs in the first inning. Canada began to answer back in the fourth by putting up four runs on the board with a double by Justin Pennell (Edmonton, Ont.) to start off the inning followed by a series of singles and one walk to keep the inning alive. The bats continued to be hot in the fifth when Pennell started the inning off with a triple followed by Connor Prentice (Surrey, B.C.) driving in a run with a double and Hunter Platten (Edmonton, Alta.) with a two-run homer making the score 12-7. The men’s team ended the game with a total of 15 hits.

Pennell, Colin Andrews (Hanover, Ont.), Henning, Prentice, Curtis Neabel (Woodstock, Ont.), and Platten all had two hits in the game. Platten led Team Canada with three RBIs going two-for-four. Steve Rempel (Lethbridge, Alta.) started in the circle for Team Canada playing the entire game.

Team U.S.A proved to be strong offensively, earning 16 runs with six of their 19 hits being homeruns. Canada ended the game with no errors and one double play.