Playoff Matches Set as Round Robin Comes to a Close
July 19, 2012 (Whitehorse, YT) – The last game of the night decided the last playoff spot at the 2012 ISF Women’s World Championship.
Italy needed to beat Canada in order to clinch fourth place in Section B and advance to the first playoff round. A loss or a tie would hand the spot to Chinese Taipei. Unfortunately for Italy, Canada was determined to head into the first playoff round on a high note, handing the Italians an 8-0 loss.
Canada got on board in the top of the 2nd. With Jennifer Salling on base, Caitlin Lever drilled a two-run shot over the fence in right field. They would add five more before the end of their at-bat. Megan Timpf scored on a single from Joey Lye, and then Sheena Lawrick sent both Lye and Melanie Matthews home. Lever picked up two more RBIs in short order, smoking a double to score Lawrick and Jennifer Yee.
The Italians couldn’t find a way to beat Canadian pitcher Jenna Caira, who allowed just three hits over 5 innings, and Yee put the exclamation point on the victory with a single to score Natalie Wideman in the 4th.
Chinese Taipei made it to the playoffs by edging New Zealand 2-1 in the first matchup of the day. With their raucous fans filling the stands on Diamond 2, the White Sox gave Chinese Taipei a good challenge.
Thanks to stingy pitching from both Chung Hui Lin and Michal Tangaroa, the teams remained scoreless until the bottom of the 5th. Yang Ti Ting broke the deadlock with a home run to put Chinese Taipei ahead 1-0. They added to their lead in the bottom of the 6th, when Lin Feng Chen scored on a single by Li Yu Ting. Melanie Gettins drove in a run for New Zealand in the top of the 7th, but it wasn’t enough.
In another game with playoff implications on Day 7, Netherlands and Puerto Rico battled it out for third place in Section A, with the Netherlands prevailing 7-1.
Puerto Rico was on the board first, when Aisha Figueroa was sent home on a single from Aleimalee Lopez. The 1-0 lead held until the top of the 3rd, when Virginie Anneveld went deep for the Netherlands, scoring three. They never looked back, putting up another run in the first and two more in the 6th on an error.
The USA and Japan finished atop their sections with a bang. The Americans allowed their first run against in the tournament, when they took on Argentina.
Magali Frezzoti scored in the top of the 1st to put Argentina ahead 1-0, but that was all USA pitcher Chelsea Thomas would allow. Amanda Chidester hit two home runs, bringing her total in the round robin to five. Lauren Gibson, Jessica Schults and Molly Johnson added two RBIs each as the USA won 14-1.
Japan went up 2-0 in the 1st inning, en route to a 9-0 victory over Mexico. Maki Furuta recorded three RBIs for the Japanese while Mika Suzuki had two. Both USA and Japan finished the round robin with perfect 7-0 records.
Elsewhere on Day 7, Australia blanked Great Britain 8-0, the Czech Republic downed South Africa 8-1, and China narrowly defeated Venezuela 1-0.
With the final eight teams set, the schedule for round one of the playoffs on Friday will be as follows:
12:00pm PT – Netherlands (A3) vs. Chinese Taipei (B4)
2:30pm PT – Australia (B3) vs. Puerto Rico (A4)
5:00pm PT – USA (A1) vs. Canada (B2)
7:30pm PT – China (A2) vs. Japan (B1)
All playoff games are available live via webstream: www.sportscanada.tv/worldfastpitch2012
Check out the official Flickr site for pictures of all the action: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2012