With the long weekend in full swing the ball season is far from over, especially at Softball City in South Surrey where the Americas Qualifier is the centre of attention.
The opening round wrapped up that saw teams move into what they call the Super Round or Placement Round to see who would be successful on the “Road to Tokyo.”
One should remember that Women’s Softball was played in Canada dating back to 1952 and 53 that saw teams compete from both Canada and the United States.
Prior to that an International event was held in Australia who again hosted the first ISF Women’s World Championship in 1965 being played in Melbourne that saw them defeat the US by a 1-0 tally.
Saturday kicked off the first game that saw Team Canada play against powerhouse Mexico a team that has not had a spot in the Olympic Women’s Fastpitch since their last visit in the 1990 Women’s World Championship.
The event was played in Normal Illinois that saw Mexico finish with 2 wins and 7 losses that was an “eye opener” as we were told by some fans.
In a game that some called a “must win’ contest for Canada they were up against a talented Mexican team that were relentless on the diamond.
Canada started Surrey’s #17 (RH) Sara Groenewegen to the mound while Team Mexico sent (#12) Dallas Escobedo (RH) who started throwing speed (65 MPH) that retired the first three batters, two with a pop-up and one strikeout.
The bottom of one saw Sara manage two S/O’s as well as one pop-up sending 65 mph across the plate but the game remained scoreless unless the top of the third.
Entzminger got on base that saw Hayward double scoring Entzmiger giving Canada the early lead bringing the fans to life, but only for a short span.
The hard fought contest remained 1-0 until the bottom of 5th when Mexico opened up the game bats came to life starting off the inning with Palacios drove one up the middle to CF getting on base.
Mexico sent in #26 Bravo as a pinch runner that saw Cerventas manage a single advancing Bravo to second.
All photo’s by D. Laird Allan
Gonzalas walked that saw Canada load the bases as Canada sent in (#29) Caria in a relief for Sara who got a hand from the crowd.
Caria’s first two pitches were crossing the plate at 64 mph only to be followed by a walk to Brookshire giving Mexico the tying run across the plate.
Team Mexico Rangel hit one to LF scoring (22) Cervantes giving Mexico a 2-1 lead to the delight of the solid supporters for Team Mexico.
Head Coach Mark Smith changed pitchers sending in Lawrie to wrap up the game and retire the side sending Canada to the sixth in hopes of getting the tying run.
She managed to S/O the next two batters in an inning that saw Canada allow 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error leaving three on base heading to the top of the sixth
Canada sent five players up to bat only to be denied any scoring chance getting back in the game and the bottom was no different for Team Mexico sending three up and three back to the dugout.
Canada’s last chance was the top of the 7th that sent three to the plate with Franklin ground out, Entzminger strikeout followed by the third out with Polidori striking out retiring the side, giving Mexico a trip to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Congratulations to Team Mexico on the win!!
Canada waits for the outcome of the game later on as Puerto Rico takes on Team Brazil.
Canada will face Brazil the final game of the Americas Qualifier Sunday September 1st at 3:30 pm on Diamond 1.