Triple Crown Colorado catcher Mia Davidson loses her balance and falls after scooping up a ball and quickly throwing to first base, as Team Canada shortstop Janet Leung tries to outrun the throw during a Canada Cup round-robin game Friday afternoon. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Canadian national softball team wins second straight Canada Cup

Team Canada defeats Texas-based Scrapyard International in gold-medal game Sunday in Surrey

For the second summer in a row, the Canadian women’s national softball team has struck gold in Surrey.

On Sunday evening at Softball City in South Surrey, Canada – with Semiahmoo Peninsula pitcher and former White Rock Renegade Sara Groenewegen in the pitcher’s circle – defeated Texas-based U.S. club team Scrapyard International 8-4 in the championship game of the Canada Cup International Fastpitch Championship.

The victory marked the second year that Canada has defeated a U.S. club squad for the tournament title; in 2018, they shut out Triple Crown Colorado 3-0 to win the Canada Cup for the first time in more than 20 years. Prior to last year’s win, the national program – and de facto home team at the week-long international fastpitch showdown – had not won the event since 1996.

• READ ALSO: Pro prep helps Team Canada during busy softball summer

This year’s win was no easy feat, despite the fact that Canada cruised through the round-robin portion of the tournament with a series of mostly lopsided results. Canada opened its tournament July 9 with an 8-0 win over Great Britain’s U22 team, and followed up with victories over Alberta’s Calahoo Erins (10-0), New Zealand Major Sox (12-0) and Chinese Taipei (4-2).

On Friday, Canada wrapped up pool play with an 11-4 win over Triple Crown, and later in the day, defeated Puerto Rico 12-1 in the first game of the playoff round.

But that’s when things got a little more difficult.

Facing Scrapyard in a semifinal tilt Saturday night, Canada’s offence was stymied by pitcher Kylee Hanson, who held the high-powered Canadian team – considered by many to be the best team the country has ever produced – to just three hits in a 2-0 Scrapyard win.

The result bumped Scrapyard directly into Sunday’s gold-medal game, and meant Canada would have to win another do-or-die game Sunday afternoon against Chinese Taipei in order to claw back into the final of the double-elimination tournament.

That game, too, was a close one, with Canada edging Chinese Taipei 2-1 in extra innings.

At the start of the eighth inning, with Canadian infielder Janet Leung on second base – per international tie-breaker rules, team start extra innings with a runner on second – Joey Lye executed a sacrifice bunt to move Leung to third base, and one batter later, she scored when Kaleigh Rafter grounded out to first base.

In the bottom of the eighth, Taipei was not able to advance their second-base runner beyond third base, and Canada escaped with the win.

In Sunday’s final, Canada – who jumped out to an early 6-0 lead – was led by Groenewegen, who struck out five batters, scattered nine hits and allowed four runs in seven innings of work en route to earning the win.

It was a fitting end of the tournament for the former Renegade, who didn’t get to enjoy last year’s championship victory after being hospitalized with a serious illness near the end of the tournament.

Groenewegen acknowledged Sunday night that she felt confident early this year’s final.

“It’s a good day when you can have your pitches working in all four quadrants,” said Groenewegen, who was named the tournament’s top pitcher. “I had some good plays behind me, and it’s more comfortable when you have an early lead like we did.”

At the plate, Canada was led by tournament MVP Jennifer Gilbert, who had two hits and one run-batted-in. Lye also had three hits in the victory.

In nine games this week, Gilbert had 16 hits – including three doubles, a triple and one home run – and 11 RBI.

Next up for the Canadian squad is a return to the National Pro Fastpitch league, where Team Canada plays out of Illinois as the Canadian Wild of Southern Illinois, and from there, they’ll head to the Pan American Games, which are set for Lima, Peru from July 26-August 11.

The Canadians will be back in Surrey late next month, when they’ll be one of a dozen teams vying for two 2020 Olympic berths at the Softball City-hosted 2019 Americas Olympic Qualifier.



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers and kung fu demonstrations on display

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read