Puerto Rico vs Canada | 2019 WBSC Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier
In front of a fully packed Softball City stadium, Canada took a pivotal win today over Puerto Rico, 3-0, to seal the first place in Group A. Sara Groenewegen, Jenna Caira and Danielle Lawrie combined for a 4-hit shutout.
In the bottom of the first inning, Victoria Hayward opened the lineup with a single. She drew a long, elevated bunt that fell behind first baseman Karla Claudio for an infield hit, and then stole second base, putting herself in scoring position. However, Taran Alvelo escaped the jam. With one out, Jenny Gilbert hit a long fly ball to left-centre field but Alessia Ocasio made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track, preventing Hayward to score from second. With two outs Holy Speers grounded easily to Alvelo’s hands and ended the inning.
In the top of the second Puerto Rican cleanup hitter Jena Cozza hit a grounder to shortstop, Janet Leung didn’t attack the ball and Cozza beat the throw for an infield single. However Canadian defense recovered with a 5-4-3 double play.
In the bottom of the third, some defensive miscues proved costly for the Puerto Rican defense. Leung was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Hayward bunted to advance the runner, however, nobody covered the play, with Claudio standing at first bag and second baseman Natalia Rodriguez covering second. Then Alvelo retired Jenkins with a pop-up fly ball, and Claudio made a good play, grabbing a grounder off the bat of Gilbert and retiring Leung at home in an easy tag.
However with runners in the corners and two outs, Holly Speers hit a grounder up the middle, Cozza fielded the ball, hesitated to throw to first base and tried to tag the runner at second, but Gilbert slid and reached safe, allowing Hayward to cross the plate with the first run of the game. Three pitches later Jenn Salling launched a two run-scoring double to center field, making it 3-0.
Puerto Rico threatened in the top of the fourth, putting the first two runners on base. Diaz hit her second single of the game to left field, and Carsyn Gordon followed with a hit to the left side of the field. However, Groenewegen escaped unharmed. Ocasio grounded to first base, Cozza flew out in foul ball zone in front of Puerto Rico’s dugout and finally, the right-handed starter fanned Claudio with a perfect change up for the third out of the episode.
It was the last pitch for Groenewegen. In the fifth inning Head Coach Mark Smith sent Jenna Caira to the circle to replace Groenewegen, and the veteran pitched two perfect innings, keeping out of balance the Puerto Rican line up with her nasty changeup.
In the top of the seventh Danielle Lawrie pitched a perfect inning to close the game.
With this result, Canada secured the first place in Group A and will advance to the Super Round with a perfect 2-0 record. Puerto Rico will close tomorrow the Opening Round against Cuba.