Team Canada Qualifies For Softball 2020 Olympics

Canada became today the fifth qualified nation for the Olympic Games softball competition in Tokyo 2020. The host team secured its ticket with a 7-0, five-innings win over Brazil. Kaleigh Rafter belted a walk-off home run to center field in the bottom fo the fifth episode and sent Canada to its fifth Olympic Games.

Canada scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. With one out and a runner in first base, Larissa Franklin sent a line drive to the right-field fence for a run-scoring triple, putting Canada ahead in the score.

One inning later Canada rallied for five runs and secured the game. The host team loaded the bases with a bunt single by Victoria Hayward and base on balls to Kelsey Jenkins and Jennifer Gilbert. Brazil forced the first two outs at home plate on two grounders to third and second base, however, they couldn’t avoid the damage. Kaleigh Rafter hit a strong grounder to third base, Mayra Akamine made a spectacular diving catch but couldn’t retire any runner; and Franklin plated-in two more runs with a single to right field. Then Emma Entzminger hit a grounder to second base, Samira Tanaka made another incredible diving stop, but the Entzminger beat the throw at first, producing the fifth run. Finally, Joey Lye cashed-in the sixth Canadian run with another single to right field.

And in the bottom of the fifth episode, Beijing 2008 Olympian Kaleigh Rafter sealed the ticked to Tokyo with a walk-off home run to center field to clinch the game.


“I was just thinking of stay inside the ball. I had the feeling that she would want to go with the rise ball, so staying on top of that… It’s just a bit funny she throws a changeup and I saw it coming so I tried to stay inside the best way I could,” said Kaleigh Rafter. “It’s been a long journey, a growing journey, I’m just excited for the teammates”.

Asked about playing with the National Team for such a long time, Rafter said: “I love this country, I love softball, I love playing for this team… It’s been a part of me since I first tried out at 19 years old. It’s everything, it’s kind of who I am now”.

“The reality is that for most of the players it probably will be the only opportunity to go to the Olympics, so I think it’s especially sweet for them. And for the older ones is the chance to go back and make right the experience they had 12 years ago, that didn’t go the way they hoped,” said Canada Head Coach Mark Smith. “I know how hard they’ve worked, I know the time they’ve put in, and I know the personal sacrifices they’ve made.

“We have proved ourselves to be legitimately one of the top powers in the world. And our stats this week proved that: we have given up only two runs in the tournament, and that two runs cost us a ballgame, but when you look at our stats offensively, defensively; they have proven that they are as good as anybody in the world.”

Canada will participate in their fifth Olympic Games next year, along with Japan (host), USA (World Champion 2018), Italy (Europe/Africa Qualifier) and Mexico (Americas Qualifier). The sixth team in Tokyo 2020 will be the winner of the WBSC Asia/Oceania Qualifier, to be held in Shanghai, China, from 24-28 September.

Why Mary Nutter Is A Critical Battleground For Tournament Seekers

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Mark Allister is the author of Women’s College Softball on the Rise: A Season Inside the Game. He will be writing on DIII softball this spring and would welcome story ideas and comments at allister@stolaf.edu

LSU Travels To The Judi Garman Classic

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BATON ROUGE – The No. 4 LSU Softball team will travel to Fullerton, California for the Judi Garman Classic Thursday through Saturday at the Anderson Family Fields.  All five of LSU's games this weekend will stream online through FloSoftball. A fee to watch will be required. All five games will also be available via live stats at LSUStats.com.

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THE Spring Games is back. With over 500 college softball teams participating, THE Spring Games is undoubtedly the largest college softball event in the world.

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Prior to the start of the 2020 season, the LSU Tigers were picked to finish third in the SEC Coaches poll behind Alabama and Tennessee. They opened the season ranked 11th in both the ESPN/USA Softball poll and USA Today/NFCA DI Coaches poll.

Alma College Remains 3-0 at THE Spring Games

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Alma College remains perfect at THE Spring Games after picking up their third straight win over Capital University, winning 9-3. They also plowed through their competition on Sunday, winning 22-1 over Northern Vermont-Johnson and 11-3 over Hanover College. 

What To Watch For At The 2020 Judi Garman Classic

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March is right around the corner, and the last week of February means play in the Judi Garman Classic will close out the opening month of the 2020 NCAA Softball. Cal State Fullerton will again host the 13-team event starting on Thursday, February 27 and running through Sunday.

South Dakota Finishes 4-1 at THE Spring Games This Week

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The Coyotes wrapped up their trip to THE Spring Games by defeating Merrimack 8-0. They were able to capture a 4-1 record on the week while improving their overall record to 8-8. 

Dawn Bodrug Throws A Perfect Game As Stony Brook Goes 5-0 On The Week

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Stony Brook had quite the showing at THE Spring Games as they went 5-0 on the week after defeating both Georgetown and Cornell. Not only did they leave Florida with a perfect 5-0 record on the week, but Dawn Bodrug also added on a perfect game to wrap up their journey at THE Spring Games. 

2020 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Photos: UCLA

UCLA softball photos from the 2020 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic taken by Kelvin Kuo from USA TODAY Sports.

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2020 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Photos: Wisconsin

Wisconsin softball photos from the 2020 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic taken by Kelvin Kuo from USA TODAY Sports.

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