THUNDER BAY, Ontario - In a see-saw game under a hot Thunder Bay sun and swirling winds, Canada rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and held on to win game three of the Friendship Series, 10-8.
BOX SCORE Canada 10, USA 8
The crowd of nearly one thousand at Baseball Central in Thunder Bay, Ontario, roared in approval seeing the Women's National Team show how well they are capable of playing, after the Americans took the first two games of the five-game series, winning by scores of 16-2, and 7-1.
With Canada trailing 7-4 after the US came back from an early deficit, Maddie Willan (Edmonton, AB), who was 3-for-3 on the day and is now 5-for-7 in the series, began the rally with a double down the left field line. Pinch-hitter Ella Matteucci (Fruitvale, BC) was hit by a pitch, and Claire Eccles (Surrey, BC) beat out an infield single to load the bases, still with nobody out. Ellie Jespersen (Spruce Grove, AB) lined a run-scoring single to left field to narrow the margin by one, before Mia Valcke (Stratford, ON) tied it up with a two-run single to left field. Daphnée Gélinas (Repentigny, QC) lined a single to centre to re-load the bases, which was followed by a a force out at home plate for the first out of the inning. But with the score tied a seven, 17-year-old catcher Reese Velocci (Toronto, ON), making her debut with the Women's National Team, scorched a single to left, plating two runners. Zoe Hicks (Boissevain, MB) then whacked a sacrifice fly to bring home Canada's tenth run of the game.
The finish was rivoting, as the USA had a pair of runners on with two out, and with the tying run at the plate, and Olivia Pichardo drilled what looked like an extra base into right centre field. The runner from second scored, but the runner from first tried for third. Centre fielder Eccles threw made a frozen rope throw all the way to third basewoman Hicks for the final out of the game, as the Americans were trying to get the batter into scoring position at second base.
Mena Floria (Vaughn, ON) was Canada's starting pitcher, allowing four runs and five hits over the first four innings, a quality outing against an explosive offense, using her signature sinker ball to induce ten ground outs. Julia Konigshofer (Waverly, NS) pitched well in relief, allowing three runs, but only one earned, over two innings. Sophy Gagné (Ste-Martine, QC) notched the save by pitching final inning.
After the US scored one in the top of the first, Jespersen, for the third consecutive game, hit a lead-off single. Valcke then hammered a deep fly to the left field corner to put runners at second and third. Daphnée Gélinas hit a liner to right field to tie the game, and Elizée Gélinas (Trois Riviéres, QC) followed with a run-scoring single to put Canada ahead by one. After Velocci walked, Willan lined a single to centre to give Canada a 3-1 lead. They increased their lead to 4-1 when Jespersen reached on an error to begin the home half of the second, Valcke and Daphnée Gélinas each singled to load the bases, and Elizée Gélinas hit a sacrifice fly.
The series continues on Sunday.
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