GRANBY – It took some extra time for some last minute dramatics, but Canada Black was able to rally in the top of the ninth to comeback and beat Japan 3-1 to capture the gold medal at the International Women’s Invitational Series.
It was a pitcher’s duel for the first seven innings of the game, which is the full length of a game in IBAF Women’s tournaments, as neither team would give an inch. Shelby Gordon (Calgary, AB) threw 4 – 2/3 shutout inning to start for Canada Black. She allowed five hits and a walk while striking out two. Martine Nadeau (Québec City, QC) was perfect for 2 -1/3 innings and Cindy Saavedra (Toronto, ON) earned the win for her two innings of work in the extra frames.
Canada broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth when Bradi Wall (Swift Current, SK) came in to score on a wild pitch and put Canada ahead 1-0.
Japan responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning when Yui Shingu came in to score and tie the game once again, 1-1. Yuki Naoi drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly. Saavedra surrendered the run without allowing a hit.
But Canada Black would not be denied in the top of the ninth as Samantha Magalas (Burlington, ON) and Saavedra, who helped her own cause, drove in the go-ahead and insurance runs respectively, driving in Melanie Harwood (Aurora, ON) and Karine Gagné (Granby, QC) to put Canada ahead by two. They would hold on in the bottom of the ninth to win the gold.
“I am very pleased with the conclusion of the tournament,” says WNT Manager André Lachance. “Team Japan came to Granby with great young athletes and the high intensity games played against them will be beneficial for our players in preparation for the World Cup in 2010.”
“I am also glad that that we can count of promising young players adding some depth to the national program,” he added.
In the Bronze medal game, Canada Red defeated Team USA by a score of 14-1. There was no doubt from the first pitch that this was Canada Red’s game. They were all over the USA in every aspect. Great pitching performances from Melissa Armstrong (Saskatoon, SK) and Jessica Bérubé (Charlesbourg, QC) and hitters one through nine contributed offensively, led by Kate Psota (Burlington, ON).