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Women's World Qualifier: Veteran Asay leads Canada to dominant win over Nicaragua

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – Two days into the COPABE Women’s World Cup Qualifier, Team Canada has two dominant victories under its belt.

On Monday, the Canadian Women’s National Team followed up its tournament-opening win over the Dominican Republic with a 19-2 mercy-rule-shortened four-inning victory over Nicaragua. Every player in the lineup reached base and scored at least one run in a contest that saw 13 hits for the team from north of the border.

Canada was led by 14-year national team veteran Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC), who reached base in all four of her plate appearances. After singling in a run in her first at-bat, the day’s biggest blow against the Nicaraguan squad came from Asay, who launched a three-run triple her second time up in the first inning. The first baseman added a walk, another single, three runs scored, and drove in five total runs in the contest, adding value to what she already brings the team off the field.

“We have so many new players this year and Amanda has taken on a huge leadership role,” manager Aaron Myette said. “It wasn’t something we asked her to do, she just naturally stepped in and took that role upon herself.

“The younger girls look up to her, respect her, will go to her for answers, and we need someone who can lead these young girls. It’s fun watching the group together. There’s no division among the veterans and young ones, and I attribute a lot of that to the veteran leadership on our team, including Amanda.”

With more than five years more experience than the team’s next most veteran player, and 11 years older than the team’s average age of 20, Asay is excited about what she’s already seen from the young team in Aguascalientes and looks forward to what more they might be able to accomplish.

“There’s a lot of energy, which is great,” Asay said. “We have a really young squad, so it’s cool to see how excited everyone gets over everything. The first time we played the US [on Friday] was an exhibition game, but when we play them in real international competition, it will show through even more. I’m pretty excited to see that.”

Right fielder Sena Catterall (Pierrefonds, QC) also notched three hits in the affair, scoring two and driving in three, adding two stolen bases to her day. Claire Eccles (Surrey, BC), Maddie Willan (Edmonton, AB) and Marika Lyszczyk (Delta, BC) each doubled in the contest, and the lineup helped itself to victory by capitalizing on seven walks, three hit batsmen and swiping five bags.

“We’ve had a lot of positives, which has been excellent,” Asay said. “Having a lot of balls in play and getting the chance to play some good defence, which we’ve seen, has been really great. We’re going to see more of that, and more powerful contact, so it was good to have a little bit of defensive play to get us ready.

“And in women’s baseball, no one’s going to blow it by you 100 per cent of the time, so facing a couple teams that don’t throw really hard early on has been good for us to sit back, wait for good pitches to hit, and our bats have shown that we’ve been able to do that.”

Added Myette: “It’s tough hitting when the velocity from the pitchers isn’t the same as what the players are used to. I had some good discussions with hitters about their approaches, being patient, not getting overanxious and trying to pull the ball, and instead really staying up the middle and keeping on the ball.

“Obviously we had timely hits – we scored 19 runs – but we had so many quality at-bats, a lot of hard-hit balls and line drives up the middle. That’s telling me the hitters are getting dialled in and they’re sticking to the plan of hitting the ball hard, producing rallies and producing runs.”

Britt Langlais (Garson, MB) got the mound for Team Canada, and earned the four-inning complete-game win. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, with three walks and four strikeouts.

“Fortunately we were able to finish this one in four, so that helped to keep her pitch count down and she can bounce back sooner for us,” Myette said. “We’ve gone two games without using the bullpen, so we have a very fresh staff moving forward. Britt allowed us to not have to go to the ‘pen, she got the win and it was a quick game. As a staff, we’re fresh and that bodes well for us.”

Up next: The Women’s National Team will take on Cuba as the visitors on Tuesday, with first pitch set for 9:00 a.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