Canadian women win bronze medals
* Autumn Mills (Burlington, Ont.) came 0n in relief to get the final two outs as Canada beat Australia 17-13 and then the bronze-medal celebrations began. Photo: Adam Morrissette ….
By Adam Morrissette
EDMONTON _ In a wild and whacky game where Australia gave Canada all they could handle, Canada managed to prevail 17-13 to claim the bronze medal at the fifth IBAF Women’s World Cup.
The medal is Canada’s fourth out of five IBAF Women’s World Cup events after winning bronze in 2004 and 2006, and winning silver in 2008.
Canada built an 8-1 lead through three innings before Australia fought back to within one run of the lead in the fifth. Canada went ahead 17-8 after six innings before Australia made things interesting in the seventh by scoring five runs only to see Autumn Mills (Burlington, Ont.) come in to pitch and get a fielder’s choice and strikeout to end the game.
“I’m very proud of my team and we’re happy to be bronze medalists,” said Canadian manager André Lachance. “To lose the way we did (in the semi-final) and have a crazy game like this and come out on top says a lot about the character of our team.”
Canada jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second where Nicole Luchanksi (Edmonton, Alta.) hit a three-run, inside-the-park, home run much to the delight of the 2,000 fans in attendance.
Australia scored one in the top half of the third off Canadian starter Vanessa Riopel (Repentigny, Que.) before Canada added to their lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning coming off an Ashley Stephenson (Mississauga, Ont.) bases-loaded double.
When it looked as though Canada was in the driver’s seat, Australia stormed back with three runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to make it an 8-7 game.
“Australia never quit and they will battle you until the final out,” added Lachance of the pesky Australians. “Today they proved that.”
Canada answered back in a big way in the bottom of the fifth scoring four runs to go in front 12-7. The inning was highlighted by a Stéphanie Savoie (Québec, Que.) triple with the bases loaded that scored all three runs.
Savoie was 2-for-5 on the day with two runs scored and four RBIs.
After Australia scored a run in the top half of the sixth Canada put up a five-run sixth to make the score 17-8.
Jenna Flannigan (Cornwall, Ont.), son of legendary former Brockville Bunnies star John Flannigan, picked up her fourth hit of the day in the inning and also scored one of her teams five runs.
Flannigan tied for the team lead in doubles and RBIs, while hitting .520 out of the nine-hole throughout the tournament.
Mills replaced Hannah Martensen (Ottawa, Ont.), who was credited with the win on the mound, in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and only one out.
For Lachance, the victory is meaningful for the man who has been behind Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Team program since Day 1.
“The victory is big for women’s Baseball in Canada,” said Lachance. “We’re really working hard to develop the sport for girls at the grassroots level which hopefully will lead to success at the international level for years to come.
“Also, the level of play internationally has increased tremendously over the past eight years which is great for baseball as well.”