AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – After three wins to open the COPABE Women’s Baseball World qualifier, the Canadian Women’s National Team dropped its first game of the tournament in a 21-4 lopsided loss to Team USA on Wednesday.
The squad from north of the border notched eight hits in the matchup, the offence led by multi-hit games from 16-year-old Ellie Jespersen (Spruce Grove, AB) and 21-year-old Kelsey Lalor (Red Deer, AB), but couldn’t solve the American pitching any further. Team Canada’s staff was undone by eight-run frames from USA in both the fourth and seventh to dig into a hole too deep to climb out of.
“It’s a wakeup call,” Canadian manager Aaron Myette said. “We were chatting before the game about how we came out flat yesterday, and then we came out a little flat today, lacking intensity. As a group, what we can take away from that is that we need to be on point for every game.
“We’ve got to be prepared and not just come in and hope that we get things started later in the game. We’ve got to start from the minute we show up to the park, be mentally prepared and focused on each game.”
The Americans scored 21 runs on 23 hits, also capitalizing on five walks and four errors from the Canadian national team to earn their fourth straight victory of the qualifier, while Canada moves to 3-1 in the tournament.
“They’re a fantastic team,” Myette said of USA. “They have a ton of good arms and a very strong lineup. The runs and hits speak for themselves. They hit balls hard today, and you have to give them credit for hitting pitches hard. We made a lot of mistakes and got away from our strengths and our game plan, and pitched into their strength and their game plan. That’s an adjustment we have to make.”
Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC) got the start for the Canadian squad and the 14-year national team veteran allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts, before making way for two relievers.
The leader on a team with 10 different players from last year’s bronze-medal winning World Cup squad and eight players facing international competition for the first time, Asay hopes the young team can learn from Wednesday’s game to help it as it moves forward in the event.
“Luckily, this came in the middle of the tournament,” Asay said. “It may be a devastating loss because of the score, but not so devastating in the standings, which is nice. It’s not the worst thing that we got to experience a loss before we came to the end of this tournament, because it will be good to build from here and to have something to come away from and refocus us a little bit. Our game against Cuba didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked, so this is a wakeup call that we can all take away from.”
Heading into Thursday’s matchup against Venezuela, before Team Canada takes on Puerto Rico and Mexico ahead of Sunday’s medal games, the squad’s skipper hopes his players can learn from the loss and quickly look ahead to what’s next.
“I’d like them to individually look at their performances and self assess where they could have been more focused – that’s the first step,” Myette said. “As a group, they’ve got to understand they’re not going to go through their whole lives undefeated, but it’s about what we do now. We got our butts kicked, but it’s baseball.
“We have another game, we have another day, and we’re not out of this. We’re going to look at what we could have done better, make adjustments and come out stronger, more aggressive and more focused. The feeling we had today sucks, so we’re going to come to the park with the mentality that we’re not letting that happen again.”
Up next: The Women’s National Team will take on Venezuela as the home squad on Thursday, with first pitch set for 12:00 p.m. CT. COPABE is expected to live stream all remaining games here.
2019 Women’s National Team roster
2019 COPABE World Cup qualifier schedule
You can also find all the latest information on our Women’s National Team Twitter account: @BaseballCANWNT