Team Canada hitter Natalie Wideman is out at first base during her team’s 1-0 win over the California A’s Sunday at Softball City.

Canada finishes fourth at Canadian Open

Japan advances to women's international division championship game for third year in a row.

For the third consecutive year, Japan will play for first place in the women’s international division of the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship, while Canada will settle for fourth.

Japan punched its ticket to the final – which was played at Softball City Monday night, after Peace Arch News’ press deadline – after a 5-0 shutout win Sunday over the United States.

Japan was to face the winner of a Monday afternoon semifinal between Australia and the U.S. – a game that was also played after press deadline.

Australia played the role of spoiler Sunday, knocking out the fan-favourite Canadian squad with a 6-4 win, to leave the host country in fourth place.

The Aussies plated one run in the first inning – courtesy of a pair of hits and a double-steal – but the damage could have been much worse for Team Canada, had pitcher Marina Demore not been able to pitch out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam later in the inning.

Canada took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Meagan Baird hit a two-run single through the right side of the infield.

The decisive inning, however, was the third, as Australia put five runs on the board, highlighted by a two-run single by Belinda White and an RBI double by Stacey Porter.

Canada replied with two runs in the fourth when Erika Polidori scored both with a bases-loaded single, but the Canadians couldn’t get any closer than 6-4; Canadian batters went down in order in the final three innings.

All three Canadian pitchers in the game were former White Rock Renegades – Demore started and lasted two innings before being relieved by Jocelyn Cater and Sara Groenewegen, the latter of whom was playing her first Open for the senior national team.

Cater was tagged with the loss.

Earlier Sunday, Canada defeated the California A’s 1-0, with the game’s lone run coming on a solo home run from Canada’s Jenny Gilbert.

Round-robin awards

Three players from Team Canada received awards for being on the Women’s International all-star team following the round-robin portion of the tournament.

Outfielders Victoria Hayward and Caitlin Lever and shortstop Joey Lye were the Canadians among the 10 players honoured.

Hayward hit .500 with four runs scored and six RBIs, while Lever hit .474 with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Lye had a .375 average.

Lyndsey Doyle of the U.S. was the third outfielder to receive an all-star nod, after hitting .438 with three runs scored and three RBIs.

The infield was comprised of Amanda Chidester (.500 average with one home run and five RBIs) of the U.S. at first base, Yuruby Alicart (.462 average with one home run) of Venezuela at second base and Raven Chavanne (.571 average with eight runs scored and an RBI) of the U.S.A. at third base.

Mandy Ogle of the California A’s received the all-star award at catcher, hitting .444 with three RBIs. The lone Australian to be recognized was Georgia Casey, named as a utility player after hitting .429 and driving home five runs.

The top pitcher was Cheridan Hawkins of the U.S., who had a 1.50 earned run average with 15 strikeouts.

Women’s Elite

The women’s elite tournament was won by the White Rock Renegades, who defeated the Quebec Rebelles 2-0 in the final game Sunday.

The Rebelles actually lost in semifinals, 11-4 to Team BC, but still advanced after the BC squad withdrew from the tournament due to not having enough players to field a team for the last game. According to Canadian Open director Greg Timm, the team was short-staffed due to injury as well as having some players with other playing commitments.

In the final, the Rebelles were stymied by White Rock pitcher Maddie Lynch-Crumrie, who pitched a complete-game two-hitter.

White Rock’s first run came in the third frame, when Jesslyn Hodge singled and later scored on a Richelle McGarva triple.

The team doubled its lead in the seventh, when Kyla Myre doubled, then scored on a Emma Culling double.

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