Team Canada Takes First Loss of USA Softball International Cup Against Japan

Team Canada Takes First Loss of USA Softball International Cup Against Japan

11 July 2018 Gilles LeBlanc

International Cup

Irvine, Calif. – The Canadian Women’s National Team took its first loss of the USA Softball International Cup by dropping a 7-1 decision to Japan. Japan held a 2-1 lead after five innings before taking advantage of a costly error that led to four runs in the sixth and added one in the seventh to earn the win.
 
Japan did not waste any time opening the scoring as Misato Kawano led the game off with a homerun over the right field fence. Japan proceeded to load the bases with a hit by pitch, a single and a walk, but Canada was able to limit the damage by getting a strikeout and a pair of fielder’s choices to hold the deficit at 1-0. The red and white put two runners on base with walk in the bottom of the inning, but Japan was able to hold them off the board with a pair of fielder’s choices of their own.
 
Team Canada came back to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Holly Speers (Surrey, B.C.) led off with a single and after fielder’s choice, Larissa Franklin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) singled to put runners on the corners. The runner on third was thrown out at the plate on a ground ball to shortstop, and after a passed ball put runners on second and third, Kelsey Jenkins (Delta, B.C.) lined a single to left that scored one run but the second runner was thrown out at the plate to end the inning with the score tied 1-1.
 
Neither team was able to push any runs across through the middle innings until Japan loaded the bases with three consecutive singles followed by a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth. The following inning, Japan loaded the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch, and with two outs, Manami Daikuwa hit a fly ball to center that was misplayed for a costly three-run error. The next batter doubled in a run as Japan took advantage of the error to take a 6-1 lead. Japan added another run in the seventh, while Canada was unable to get much going offensively.
 
Box Score: Japan 7 vs. Canada 1
 
Sara Groenewegen (Surrey, B.C.) took the loss, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Jenna Caira (Toronto, Ont.) pitched two third of an inning in relief, allowing a run on two hits and two walks, while Karissa Hovinga (Edmonton, Alta.) threw the last two innings allowing four unearned runs on two hits and a walk. Jenkins had an RBI single for Canada at the plate and Erika Polidori (Brantford, Ont.) got a hit and a walk. Franklin and Speers each contributed a single.
 
Team Canada (3-1) will play its next game against USA Blue (3-0) at 4:00pm PDT on Thursday in a game that will air on ESPN.