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Women's World Qualifier: Canada launches two homers but falls to Venezuela

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – The Canadian Women’s National Team launched its first two home runs of the COPABE Women’s World Qualifier on Thursday, but dropped its second game of the tournament, falling to Venezuela 12-3.

Stacy Fournier (Surrey, BC) got the Canadian squad out to an early lead when she hit a solo shot to centre field for the game’s first run and the team’s first long ball in Aguascalientes. Kelsey Lalor (Red Deer, AB) hit a two-run homer to centre in the fifth inning. Lalor, a six-time national team veteran, also walked twice in the matchup, Fournier taking one free pass.

“Those are boosters individually and as a group, for sure,” Canadian manager Aaron Myette said. “We saw some flashes today, and we know what they have in them. When they come to the plate, you can feel the momentum building and the enthusiasm building. Those are just glimpses of what they’re capable of, but we know we can hammer the ball and that we can put up runs.”

The Venezuelan squad scored their 12 runs on six hits, capitalizing on nine walks, three hit batsmen and five errors from the Canadian team. The win for Venezuela moved both teams to 3-2 in the tournament with two games left to play before the medal round.

“It’s another tough loss, and we beat ourselves with a lot of things,” Myette said. “We have to grow from this. What I hope these girls take is that they don’t walk out of here with their heads hanging low or get down on themselves. These are plays they’ve made hundreds or thousands of times before, and they’re capable of making them.

“We can leave that game knowing that we can come in tomorrow and not only improve on those, but we’re going to step up and get better with those things and avoid repeating those mistakes that we’re falling into, and we’re going to be more confident. It’s only going to get better.”

Alli Schroder (Fruitvale, BC) got the start for Team Canada and the 17-year-old right-hander fought through 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on three hits with four walks, two hit batsmen and one strikeout, before making way for a trio of relievers.

“You know you’re going to get a battle when Alli goes in there,” Myette said. “If she’s on point and hitting her spots, she’s untouchable. Today she struggled a little bit with command, but she’s still such a strong pitcher that when she gets behind in counts or she’s having a tough game, she’s still going to find ways to have success.

“It’s difficult when you start the first few innings and you have to get extra outs and there are a lot of pitches building up early. But you know she’s always going to give you everything she has on that mound until she’s done.”

After three wins to open the event, the Canadian squad fell to Team USA and Venezuela in back-to-back matchups. The team from north of the border will take on Puerto Rico and host Mexico before the medal games take place on Sunday.

“We have to keep things in perspective,” Myette said. “In baseball, we play so many games. I know this is a short tournament and it would be easy to take this really hard, but at any level, you’ve got to have a short memory. We can step away from the bad, let it go and leave it behind us.

“We need to get back to us, and we need to bring that back on the field. When we see this team play like it can play, we’re going to see a different outcome.”

Up next: The Women’s National Team will take on Puerto Rico as the visiting squad on Friday, 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