July 1 2010
CANADA WILL EARN 1ST WWC MEDAL SINCE 1978
Canada posted two bottom of the seventh inning victories today to ensure that they will go home with a medal.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA — It wasn’t enough for Canada to go home from here with a medal finish. They assured that a bronze, silver, or gold will be hung around their necks tomorrow night by posting two dramatic playoff wins today at the International Softball Federation’s XII Women’s World Championship.
Canada eliminated China tonight, 1-0, by scoring the game’s only run with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning after having come from behind earlier today to post a bottom of the seventh 3-2 win over Australia.
China had reached tonight’s game by starting off this second day of playoff games by eliminating the home team, Venezuela, 6-1, after which the country’s president, Hugo Chavez, came out onto the field to shake the hands of the Chinese players and pose for a team picture with them as well as his own national team.
The day’s other game saw Team USA clinch a spot in tomorrow’s gold medal game by defeating Japan, 4-0.
Japan will play Canada tomorrow at 4pm (local time). The loser will get the bronze medals while the winner will advance to face the Americans at 7pm for the gold.
Team USA is the defending ISF women’s world champion (2006). Japan won the gold medals at the Olympic competition two years ago, however. Canada has assured themselves of an ISF women’s world championship medal finish for the first time since 1978 when they were the silver medalists in El Salvador at the fourth edition of this event.
The streak will continue of the ISF women’s world championship having never had the same top three finishers (in order) two times in a row. (The last edition saw USA first, Japan second, and Australia third.)
Canada and China appeared headed for extra innings tonight before China’s diving left fielder missed a ball hit to her that allowed Caitlin Lever to reach second base. After Jennifer Yee, who has become a home run threat in this tournament, was intentionally walked, Sheena Lawrick lined a 1-2 pitch just past the third baseplayer and into left field to bring Lever home with the winning run.
Winning pitcher Danielle Lawrie went the distance and allowed just one hit. Canada had finished round robin play as the #2 seed in Pool A with a 6-1 won-lost record but then opened the playoffs yesterday with a 16-1 thrashing at the hands of Team USA.
Earlier, Australia had carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before Canada scored once to cut the lead in half and then Lever hit a shot to left field that scored Jill Russell from third base and Melanie Matthews from first, beating the throw to home plate to complete the comeback.
Lawrie started this game as well but was replaced by Jenna Caira in the fourth inning after the Aussies scored their second run. Justine Smethurst pitched the whole game for Australia and didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. She struck out five but walked five.
Australia had been the #3 seed out of Pool B (5-2 won-lost record) and had last night won 3-2 over the Netherlands, knocking the Dutch out of the playoffs.
Today began with China handling the home team, scoring twice in the top of the second and four times in the top of the fourth before Venezuela got their one and only run in the bottom of the fifth.
Venezuela hurt themselves with three errors and six different China batters had at least one hit each.
Venezuela was the #2 seed in Pool B, finishing round robin play with a 6-1 won-lost record but then opening the playoffs yesterday afternoon with a 2-0 loss to Japan.
Today’s loss to Team USA was Japan’s first of the tournament after having gone a perfect 7-0 in round robin play to finish atop Pool A. The Americans are now 9-0 since this tournament began (with 16 countries participating) on June 23.
Winning pitcher Cat Osterman threw a complete game, one-hitter, striking out 12 while Sayuri Yamane went the distance in the loss, striking out three but walking four batters.
Team USA scored three times in the bottom of the first inning and tacked on one more run in the fifth.
CHAVEZ, MATA TO RECEIVE MEDAL OF HONOR
World Governing Body’s Highest Honor to be Given to Venezuelan Pair
CARACAS, VENEZUELA — Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and former Sports Minister Victoria Mata will receive the International Softball Federation Medal of Honor at a ceremony here tomorrow. ISF President Don Porter made the announcement today during the XII Women’s World Championship, which began – with 16 national teams – on June 23 and concludes with the two medal games tomorrow.
First awarded in 1990, the ISF Medal of Honor is the highest form of recognition given by the world governing body.
“These are two very deserving individuals,” Mr. Porter said. “President Chavez has not only been supportive and personally involved with this world championship since it was first awarded to Venezuela at the end of last year, but he attended Opening Ceremonies last week, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and has now expressed interest in both helping softball return to the Olympics and building a legacy for the venues used for the tournament we’ve been holding here.”
Regarding Victoria Mata, the ISF president pointed to her hands-on involvement with not only this event, but the ISF XXIV Congress held on Margarita Island last October. In addition, Mr. Porter added, although she has just left her position as sports minister, she has echoed President Chavez’s desire to bring more international softball events back to Venezuela in the near future and possibly develop a South American regional training center at the site of the 2010 world championship.
“Both President Chavez and Victoria have been very visible and very involved and certainly deserving of the recognition we intend to bestow on them tomorrow for their commitment to seeing that softball continues to grow,” the ISF president concluded.
The ceremony will take place at 2:30 Friday afternoon in the press conference room in La Rinconada Stadium and media members are welcome and encouraged to attend.