Team Canada is doing its best to make sure spectators at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship get their money’s worth.
After three exciting weekend games – one big win, one close loss, and one thrilling victory over powerhouse Australia – Canada played two more nail-biters earlier in the week, losing 3-1 in eight innings to the world champion United States Monday, followed by a thrilling 1-0 win over previously undefeated Japan Tuesday at Softball City. Canada had previously lost to Japan 2-0 on Sunday morning.
The loss was the second of the day for the Japan (4-2), knocking them into second place in the women’s division, behind the U.S. (5-1). Canada sits third with a 3-2 mark.
Playoff rounds begin tomorrow (Friday) and the tournament wraps up Sunday.
On Tuesday, Canada and Japan – the best defensive team in the tournament, through the first half the round-robin schedule – played to each other to a 0-0 standstill until the top of the seventh inning, when Canadian catcher Kaleigh Rafter singled, and Shelby Lia, pinch-running for the veteran Rafter, was brought around to score from second base on a two-out Megan Baird single.
In the bottom of the inning, Canadian pitcher Sarah Phillips – who pitched the last three innings in relief of starter Jenna Caira – allowed just one hi to Yukiko Ueno, and though she eventually advanced to third base, was stranded there when Phillips struck up Maki Furuta for the final out.
Against Japan Monday, Canada took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, when Jill Russell got on base with a one-out single, then scored on a double from Danielle Lopez with two outs. The Americans pulled even two innings later on a lead-off home run from Valerie Arioto.
In the top of the eighth inning, the U.S.A. had one runner on base at the start of the inning under the international tiebreaker rule, and added a second on an intentional walk.
Molly Johnson then smacked the game-winning hit, a double which scored both baserunners.
Keilani Ricketts struck out three Canadian batters in the bottom of the eighth to end the game.
Canada played Venezuela Wednesday night after Peace Arch News deadline, and tonight (Thursday) they play back-to-back games against Australia and the U.S. to finish off their round-robin schedule.