Team Canada had an impressive start at the Scotiabank Canadian Open Tuesday night, blasting Basque Country (Spain) 13-0 in the first game of the Women’s tournament for both teams.
It was the first of three victories for the host country at the eight-team competition, which features four national teams. Canada also topped the NJCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Associoation) 10-3 and blanked Mexico 5-0 in two games played Wednesday.
Canada needed just three innings to end the game against Basque Country on the 10-run mercy rule, scoring six times in each of the first two innings and adding another in the third, doing the damage while hammering out a dozen hits.
The win came a few hours after Team Canada was introduced to local fans in the afternoon, its first appearance since placing second to Team U.S.A. at the World Cup of Softball IX in Irvine, California last weekend.
“We have a very good team mixed with veterans – several of whom played in the 2008 Olympics – and a sprinkle of younger players and rookies with excellent softball background,” Gregg Timm, president of the Canadian Open Fastpitch Society, told Black Press while the team held its first practice at Softball City.
In the first game, Richmond native Sarah Hopwood put Canada on the scoreboard in the top of the opening inning, driving in the game’s first three runs with a two-out bases-loaded double. Two batters later, Natalie Wideman hit a two-run home run.
Caitlin Lever, Wideman, Erika Polidori and North Delta native Jen Yee each had a pair of hits in the game.
Karissa Hovinga was the winning pitcher, allowing only a third inning single while getting eight of the nine outs by strikeout.
“We are coming off of a great tournament,” said Joey Lye, a longtime national team shortstop, originally from Toronto. “We’re playing well together and we expect to be in that championship game at the end of the week. So that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Lye was three-for-three with three runs scored in the win over NJCAA, with Carey-Leigh Thomas and Victoria Hayward collecting two hits each.
Kaleigh Rafter opened the scoring with a two-run home run.
Against Mexico, North Delta’s Jen yes led Canada with three hits, including a double.
The White Rock Renegades seemed poised for their first win of the tournament on Tuesday, taking a 5-0 lead after one inning and holding the advantage until the bottom of the fifth. But Team Mexico scored seven in the fifth and three more in the sixth for an 11-10 victory, handing the Renegades their third consecutive loss to start the tournament.
Lauren Kamachi was three-for-four at the plate for the Renegades, hitting a triple and driving in four runs while scoring twice. Stephanie Caron had a pair of hits and three RBIs.
Team U.S.A., which defeated Canada 5-2 in the World Cup’s championship game Sunday morning, split their first two games on Tuesday.
The Americans blanked the Bloomington Lady Hearts 8-0 in five innings Tuesday afternoon, as Jessica Moore tossed a no-hitter that featured nine strikeouts. Moore didn’t allow a Lady Heart batter to get on base.
In the evening, Japan rocked U.S.A. pitching for 12 hits for a 9-2 win. A five-run third inning broke a 2-2 tie, and two more runs in the fifth upped the Japan advantage to seven runs, invoking the mercy rule and ending the game.
Yu Yamamoto led Japan with three hits including a double and a home run, scoring two runs.
The U.S.A. rebounded Wednesday to blank Basque Country 10-0, while Japan ran their record to 3-0 (won-lost) with a 7-0 victory over Basque Country in the afternoon and an 8-1 romp past the NJCAA All-Stars in the evening.
Round robin play will conclude Saturday afternoon, to be followed by a playoff round Saturday evening and all day Sunday.
Three teams will advance to the final day of play. A semifinal at 5 p.m. Monday will be followed by the championship game at 7:30 p.m.
The Futures (under-19) tournaments are also taking place at Softball City and Cloverdale Athletic Park. The championship games in both the Futures Gold and Futures Showcase tournaments will take place Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Softball City.