VIERA, Florida – The Canadian Women’s National Baseball Team is bringing home a bronze medal from the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup after a thrilling, 8-5, extra innings victory over the United States.
Canada exploded for five runs in the top of the tenth inning starting with a Daphnée Gélinas (Repentigny, QC) RBI single while Mia Valcke’s (St. Marys, ON) RBI single and Ashley Stephenson’s (Mississauga, ON) two-run single provided some much needed insurance runs.
“This team never gives up and we showed how bad we wanted (the bronze medal) today,” said Canadian Manager André Lachance who was managing his final game after 14 years with the program. “I’m so proud of this team, what a great way for us to finish the tournament.”
The win was Canada’s first over the United States since 2012 and avenges a loss in the Super Round earlier in the tournament. Canada now has four bronze medals and two silver medals in eight all-time Women’s Baseball World Cup events.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of this team, how they compete on the field and how they represent Canada and women’s baseball,” said Lachance. “It has been a true honour to be their manager.”
Down by two runs in the fifth, Gélinas belted a three-run homer that gave Canada its first lead of the game.
“I was just looking for a strike to hit,” said Gélinas of her approach at the plate prior to hitting the home run. “I didn’t know it if was going to go (over the fence) but I knew that we were going to score some runs.”
With Canada clinging to a one-run lead and looking to close out the victory in the seventh, the US tied the score on a Malaika Underwood RBI double coming off reliever Allison Schroder (Fruitvale, BC).
Schroder, 16, swallowed hard and managed to get a fly out to left and a ground out to send the game to extras before shutting the US down for two innings before Canada took the lead in the top of the tenth.
International rules dictate that extra-innings begin with runners on first and second providing teams with greater opportunities to score. Neither team could push any runs across in the eighth and ninth but there was no shortage of drama.
In the bottom of the eighth, with the bases loaded and one out, left fielder Emma Carr (Toronto, ON) bailed Canada out with an unconventional 7-2 force out at home to prevent the winning run from scoring before Schroder got a fly out to left to extend the game.
“That was a huge play in the game,” said Lachance of Carr’s headiness in left field. “To stay calm in that situation, realize where the play was and execute properly turned out to be a game saver for us.”
With the winning run 90 feet away in the bottom of the ninth, Schroder came up with a huge strikeout that gave the Canadians an extra boost heading into the tenth.
“For a 16-year-old to be that composed in a situation like that was really impressive to watch,” said Lachance. “I think that strikeout really gave our side some momentum heading into the tenth.”
Canada received a solid start on the mound from Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC) pitching on just two days rest following a complete-game one-hitter in a win over Venezuela. Asay lasted five and two-thirds innings and gave up two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three.